I recently wrote the story of Alaa al-Dali for Cycling Weekly. Alaa was a champion cyclist in the small but gifted cycling community in Gaza, Palestine. In 2018 he was shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper, and – although there is a longer story to tell – the article briefly covered his emotional and physical recovery from amputation. It is an incredible story of bravery and tenacity, and the simple, unadulterated love of cycling.
By sheer chance, Alaa has a brief appearance in Fifty Miles Wide. Although I didn’t meet him there, I was in Palestine at the time of his being shot, and a cyclist I meet in Ramallah tells the story of an injured rider in Gaza. I had the pleasure of being part of a webinar with Alaa last year, and he was amazed that his story had made it into print. He is an incredibly humble man who seems almost surprised that his determination would be an inspiration to many.
The longer story of Alaa’s struggle has been captured brilliantly by Italian filmmaker, Flavia Cappellini, in her fifteen-minute short film, Cycling Under Siege.
My full article and interview with Alaa appeared in the print edition of Cycling Weekly, in May 2021. The article, including a short interview with Flavia also, can be accessed here.