A Tunisian national, Sara Haba, has become the first woman to reach Makkah on a bicycle.
She started off from her home country Tunisia and cycled for over 53 days to Makkah covering a distance of more than 3,000 kilometres.
Haba travelled across the deserts in Egypt and Sudan and documented her journey on Instagram and YouTube using the hashtag #cyclingtomecca.
“A lot of headwind as I never experienced, a lot of sand and a lot of emptiness which made it unable for me to refill water and food,” she posted on Instagram. “And when the loaded bicycle wasn’t killing my lower body, it was challenging my arm strength,” she said.
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Up To the mountains . Where nights were getting froggy . I can’t believe the toughest part of the trip is behind me. . I thought that going north from Khartoum with the headwind will be the hardest part, but cycling up from Atbara to Haya was the worst. A lot of headwind as I never experienced, a lot of sand & a lot of emptiness unabling me to refill water & food. And when the loaded bicycle wasn’t killing my lower body, it was challenging my arm strength. But even though Merzoua, the magical bicycle, gave me hard time, I’m still in love with her and I’m so grateful for her amazing endurance. May we all be a Merzoua. Torza2! . Thanks for your support and your messages in those lonely days even though I was able to read a lot of them only afterwards. If nothing unexpected happens, I’ll reply to all the messages by tonight or tomorrow. . #cyclingtomecca #roadtomecca #sacredfootstep #cyclingsudan #biketravel #cyclinggirl #womancycling #cyclinglife #bikewander #voyageavelo #viewsfrommyride #africanlandscape #atbara #haya #sudan #africa
Haba credits her bicycle, named Merzouga, for being her biggest support system throughout the journey. Merzouga can be translated to “grace with blessing” in African Arabic.
In another of her posts, Haba said that cycling to Saudi Arabia was not as difficult as it seemed to be. “And as unbelievable as it may sound and despite of all my apprehension about cycling here, Saudi Arabia has been so far the easiest country to cycle since I began this journey,” she said.
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Nothing is impossible #cyclingtomecca . . I was afraid to be stopped at any point. I didn’t know if my body will follow my will and accept all what I was imposing to it. And in Saudi Arabia, where the distance and the difficulty were really small in comparison with what I went through, I was tensed before reaching Mecca as I really didn’t know if I would be allowed to enter the city, cycling by myself. But I forgot that my bicycle is named Merzouga for a reason. . The target point was Mecca but there is still a lot to explore. . But now let me apologize to each member of my family and to my friends who couldn’t sleep when I wasn’t able to give news. . And to all the people who supported me with their messages, prayers and duas, I really thank you as you were the invisible companions I had during this journey. . Thanks to Laura & my brother for visiting me. Having you by my side for 24hours and for one week has filled my heart with cariño and joy. . And a special special special thanks to each person who has crossed my way, smiled to me, shown me the way, filled my bottles with water, offered me a fruit or a jabana, shared their house with me, presented me to their family and friends, cycled with me even for 10km, cried with me and make me part of their lives. I didn’t expect anything of all what happened. . I kept making duas for all of you, holding the list of names tightly on my hands, while turning and turning in the crowd. But it will never be enough. Hope that life will give me the opportunity to give this back to the universe. . I won’t have made it without each one of you. You made it guys. . #cyclingtomecca #roadtomecca #sacredfootstep #achievement #cyclingegypt #cyclingsudan #cyclingsaudiarabia #cyclingwoman #cyclinggirl #cyclingtrip #cyclinglife #bikepacking #biketravel #mecca #visitsaudi #visitsaudiarabia #ksa #saudiarabia #arabianpeninsula #pilgrim #omra
As she kept her admirers updated with her journey, Haba met several supporting cyclists on her journey. They also wrote supportive messages for her on Instagram.
“A special thanks to each person who has crossed my way, smiled to me, shown me the way, filled my bottles with water, offered me a fruit, shared their house with me, presented me to their family and friends, cycled with me even for 10km, cried with me and make me part of their lives. I didn’t expect anything of all what happened,” she added.