Kabul Biker Gang Gets Some Bikes

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Ask anyone you know about their love of bikes and they all say something about freedom.  “I feel free when I ride my bike”.  “I love the freedom I feel when I ride.” “Cycling gives you wings.”

In a country where women and girls have not been allowed to ride bikes, and where it is still a deeply seated taboo, there is a two wheeled revolution taking place.  What was a handful of girls just a couple years ago, is steadily growing and growing without the oversight of men.  Girls teaching girls to ride.  In Kabul, in Bamiyan, and in other pockets in the country women are empowering themselves with freedom of mobility.

Last summer, as we were working with the national team in Kabul and  riding bikes with two young women in Bamiyan, a young Afghan woman was spearheading her own bike clubs as part of a Girl Up project.  Fatima Haidari goes to high school in the US and spends her summers back in Kabul with her family.  We found out about her project and fell in love with the photos she posted of her and the girls in Kabul riding bikes they had borrowed.

Last month, we donated ten bikes to the club so that the girls would have some bikes of their own to ride.  Our longtime friend and fixer, Najibullah met Nahid, who had become the de facto leader of the club while Fatima is away at school, at the bike market to purchase bikes for the girls and arrange delivery.  The film crew from Afghan Cycles was in country finishing production and was able to be there for the delivery and interview the girls who have formed their own biker gang Kabul-style.

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The bike has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. Its gives women a feeling of freedom and self reliance.  I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.” Susan B. Anthony

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If you’d like to support this two wheeled revolution – you can donate here – what we do doesn’t happen without your help!

photo credit Jenny Nichols

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Women Ride Bamiyan – Cycling Takes Over

Last week, high in the Hindu Kush, a bike race was born. And there were girls. Girls borrowed bikes and took over the main road out of Bamiyan and their smiles tell the story.  The girl in the burgundy hat is Zahra, one of the first girls in the region to ride a bike.  She started teaching other girls to ride, and today there are around 30, many riding their bikes not for sport, but to get to and from school.  One of the young men that races on the men’s national team from Bamiyan, Mohammad, was part of the ride and supported these girls as a race official.

We have had the pleasure of skiing and riding with some of these girls, including Zahra, last spring, and in May there were only a handful of girls riding.  We hosted a training camp with the Kabul based national team, and Mohammad joined us for that ride too.  We met with Zahra and learned more about her story and why she started teaching young women to ride and how the community has reacted.  We rode around in front of the buddha niches and through town, while a young group of boys followed us around excitedly.  The number of girls riding here continues to grow, as does our desire to support them as they normalize bikes in their community, one girl at a time.   #pedalarevolution


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Global Solidarity Ride Pedals into 19 countries

We are still in the midst of tallying numbers and sifting through photos and stories but in the end we had over 70 rides in 19 countries taking part this past weekend.  Individual rides Belgium and Norway, a critical mass ride in Poland, and group rides large and small across the world.  There was an incredible community and fundraising ride in Warragul, Australia that challenged the riders to combine their mileage to cover the 11,230 miles it took to get from Warragul to Kabul.  They raised several thousand dollars with a movie screening/fundraising night, and a community effort of riding that blew us away.   We even had 4 time world Ironman champion, Chrissie Wellington, rocking the Afghan jersey and dedicating her ride to the Global Solidarity Ride, during the last day of racing the Haute Route Alps, arguably the toughest sportive.  

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Rides took place around the world in Brazil, Scotland, India, British Colombia, Philippines, Yangon, China, England, Taiwan, Japan, Poland, France, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Norway, Belgium, Italy, across the US in cities like; LA, Brooklyn, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Belfast, Seattle, Austin, Denver, Breckenridge, Durango, Saratoga Springs, Boulder, Ojai, Telluride, Denton, Plano, Reno, Manhattan, Willard, Roseville, Bend, San Diego, Medina, Los Altos, Bellow Falls, Aspen, Portland, Thousand Oakes, and in Afghanistan.  Yup, we definitely missed more than a few cities in this list, and we’ll work to sift through the posts, tweets, emails, and instagrams to put it all together… but its been mind-blowing to see all of your rides!  Thank you!!  

We look forward to sharing more photos and stories, and we will keep you all updated on the progress and  plans with the Afghan women’s cycling program, and the upcoming documentary Afghan Cycles that is documenting these women and the others learning to ride in Afghanistan.  They inspire us daily and we know now that they inspire you.  We will create a book of photos from all of your rides to share with the girls on our next visit.  

Keep sending in photos and stories to info@mountain2mountain and stay tuned for more information and updates by following Mountain2Mountain and Global Solidarity Ride on Facebook.  

Liv Launches Video with Ambassador Shannon Galpin

Today Liv announced their partnership with our founder, as their newest global ambassador and their sponsorship as a presenting sponsor of the upcoming documentary, Afghan Cycles.  Today they launched their latest brand video with our founder, Shannon Galpin.  The video highlights her work in Afghanistan with the women’s cycling team and gives a sneak peek of the documentary Afghan Cycles that is still in production.  Never seen footage of the women riding in Afghanistan along with Shannon telling the story of how she became the first person to mountain bike in Afghanistan as a way to explore the country and to challenge the gender barriers that prevented Afghan girls from riding bikes.  Now we see the first generation of girls and young women riding bikes as part of the women’s national cycling team and are watching a revolution unfold in real time as other young girls are learning to ride for the first time.

 

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

 

Inspired?  Get involved this Saturday, August 30th as part of the Global Solidarity Ride.  Over 60 bike rides in 13 countries creates a global movement on two wheels in support of the Afghan women who dare to ride.  You can join one of the existing rides listed here, create your own, or simply dedicate your bike ride on Saturday to the Afghan girls.  Send us photos, tell us where you rode, and instagram or tweet with #solidarityride2014.  You can join the conversation on Facebook here.  You can support this work and donate at www.mountain2mountain.org/donate

#pedalarevolution

Global Solidarity Ride

Its pretty amazing to see rides coming in every day.  I’ll keep this updated but for now – here are the lists, and where applicable links to existing rides.  If there is no link, its not a public event, or we haven’t received the details.  If you have more details, the best way is to share is to set up a simple Facebook event!  We’ll keep this page updated.  You still have time to take part and if you ride, wherever you ride, we would love photos!!  Thanks for being part of this inaugural event to support the women that dare to ride!   August 30th – we ride!

Please email us ride photos and share stories at info@mountain2mountain.org after the event and we’ll be sharing the global outreach!

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#pedalarevolution

#solidarityride2014

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Girls on Bikes – A Revolution on Two Wheels in Real Time

We got some amazing photos from Kabul this week.  These girls are learning to ride bikes in Kabul.  They are not part of the national cycling team, or even aware of it at the time they sent us the photos.  These girls simply started this up on their own with the help of a young Afghan woman working to establish a Girl Up branch in Kabul.  So proud to see these young women taking back the streets, and their rights,  on bikes and breaking the gender barriers that have prevented girls from riding in the past.  THIS is locally led, sustainable change, that shows the progress of women’s rights as women are leading the charge and doing it on two wheels.

We’ll be riding with these girls on August 30th as part of the Global Solidarity Ride – as riders around the world ride in solidarity with the Afghan women who dare to ride, we’ll see Afghan women like these riding too.  Its a revolution at its core, and we’re humbled and proud to support girls like these and cheer them on!!

#pedalarevolution

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Photos by Fatima Haidary

Global Solidarity Ride Launches

August 30th, we pedal a revolution!  Bikers, cyclists, commuters, and striders will take to their wheels in solidarity with the Afghan women that dare to ride, and in remembrance of the women that dared to ride before and in doing so, paved the way for independent mobility and freedom for women around the world.

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Help Send the Afghan Women to the Asian Games

So its official.  The Afghan National Women’s team will go to the Asian Games in South Korea this September!  This will be the first time that an Afghan woman has competed in cycling in such a world class event.

Backstory: Although the mens and women’s teams were invited to the Games, which only occur every four years, the Afghan Olympic Committee was not going to send any members of the men’s or women’s team to the Games because they felt they wouldn’t be able to compete on the world stage and represent Afghanistan in a positive light.  I met with the President of the Afghan Federation, Fahim Hashimy two weeks ago in Kabul, and discussed the progress of the women’s team and the positive story of women’s rights and sports development that they represent is stronger than their racing ability.  The men’s team is relatively strong for the region and both teams can learn a lot and the opportunity will be integral to their development.

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Afghan Team Heads to Asia Cycling Championship

The Afghan Women’s National Team rolled out today in Kabul for their long journey to Astana, Kazakhstan for the Asia Cycling Championship.

Mountain2Mountain secured funding to pay for the visas, passports, travel, lodging, and racing fees for 4 racers, Coach Sediqe, and an assistant.  Thanks in large part to the current President of the Afghan Olympic Committee who we petitioned for support, we were able to financially support their inclusion in this important international competition.

They will be racing on their new Liv/giant composite racing frames, helmets, and jerseys.  We are excited to see the team represent Afghanistan  in this major cycling competition.

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Support Afghan Women’s Cycling with our Afghan Inspired Cycling Kits

Strength in Numbers just got real.

 

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Thanks to the generosity of Primal Wear, and the beautiful bike mandala created by April Lemly, we are excited to share Strength in Number’s newest look with an Afghan inspired twist.  These are the jerseys that the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team will be rockin in their future international races.  We are so proud of these women and hope that the jerseys unite the team and the nation behind the women that are daring to ride – changing the very culture of women and cycling one pedal stroke at a time.

We are excited to announce the creation of the 2014 Strength in Numbers replica cycling kits will help support our continued work with the women’s national team development.

Pre sales of these kits are available as of today and delivery will be early July – in time to rock the kits for the upcoming Global Solidarity Ride on August 30th with the Afghan women and the global cycling community that is inspired by their courage on two wheels.

How to get yours?  You email info@mountain2mountain.org with your order.  We’ll direct you to make the donation and confirm your mailing address.  July 5th we’ll package up the orders and mail out to you.  In exchange we ask that you send us a photo of you rocking the jersey and that you commit to riding your bike, creating a group ride, or joining an existing ride (stay tuned for details) on August 30th to show your commitment to the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team and the spread of the women’s cycling revolution in Afghanistan and beyond.

The only change on the replica kits will be that the Afghanistan on the back of the jerseys and jackets will say ‘Strength in Numbers’ and a few more logos will be added to the back pockets and the purple Liv logo on the shorts will be removed for the replica shorts.  All three pieces are available in all sizes for men and women, but those of you that tried to get sizes last year and we were already sold out, this is your chance with a pre-order to get exactly what you want!  Get yours now and rock it all year in support of the women that dare to ride!

Pricing = $110 for each jacket, $100 for jerseys and $95 for the shorts – this includes all US shipping.  Overseas orders may have extra shipping charges.  Want one?  Email info@mountain2mountain.org to place our order and learn how to donate.

Want more information on the Global Solidarity Ride and our work with the women’s team?  Check out our previous blogs linked to both, and stay tuned for much more information in the month ahead.  #pedalarevolution

 

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Want to help support the team and their development?  You can donate directly at www.mountain2mountain.org/donation

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