05 November 2014

Afghan Cycles: Women In Solidarity

Recently, a colleague at work told me, almost sheepishly, that she doesn't ride bicycles.

I reassured her that I know plenty of people who don't ride, so she needn't be embarrassed.  She was anyway:  "I never learned how," she explained.

Nothing new there, either.  I've known others who never acquired one of the few skills one never loses.  One such person of my acquaintance grew up in a large, traffic-knotted city where even children didn't ride bikes.  Others simply didn't have a bicycle, or access to one.  The reason my co-worker gave, though, was one I'd never considered:  She grew up in a milieu in which females didn't ride bikes because the males considered it "too provocative".  In fact, women didn't participate in sports at all and a "good woman", as she says, "didn't move her body without a man telling her to".

So it was very gratifying for me to come across a website that documents the Afghan Women's Cycling Team.

Kudos to Shannon Galpin, founder of the non-profit Mountain2Mountain, which has done much to support the team and women's rights in general. Ms. Galpin met the women while working in Afghanistan.  She also just happens to be the first person (not just the first woman) to mountain bike in Afghanistan and the first person to cross the Panjshir Valley on a bicycle.

Here is a video that highlights her work with the team and on her upcoming documentary, Afghan Cycles:


Liv Beyond - Shannon Galpin as Liv Ambassador from LET MEDIA on Vimeo.

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