For the last eight years, National Geographic has combed the globe to find Adventurers of the Year, each selected for his or her extraordinary achievement in exploration, conservation, humanitarianism or adventure sports. This year, our founder, Shannon Galpin, was named one of 2013′s Adventurers of the Year.
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE INTERVIEW
Adventure: While most know you as an activist, two-wheeled vehicles never seem far away from the conversation. You’re known to ride a motorcycle around Kabul. You bring your mountain bike on many of your trips. Does your passion for biking overlap with activism?
Shannon Galpin: I launched Mountain2Mountain the same time I became a mountain biker. I think there is something very different about embracing a sport that you know wholeheartedly is going to make you bloody. You know you are going to crash when you mountain bike. There is no way to get better if you don’t crash. I think there is a synergy in it. When women first started using the bike in the 1800s, it was literally a vehicle for their empowerment. They broke barriers on women’s suffrage and embracing their own freedom of transportation.