What? You thought bringing 6 bikes and over 350 pounds of cycling gear to Kabul would be difficult? Nah, we got this. After bringing over the entire Streets of Afghanistan exhibition last fall, this was a piece of cake. We didn’t raise enough funds to get all of our donated gear over on this trip, and my landlord has already told me that more has arrived at my doorstep since I left. Luckily, I’ve found another solution to getting more gear into Afghanistan to support these teams, so the gear drive may ramp up upon our return. Welcome to episode 2 of Hoarders!
First step was a 3 truck convoy to Denver International Airport. Luckily, the woman at the counter check-in remembered me from four months ago. She just shook her head and said smiling, “again? really?”
Amazingly, all the bags arrived through DC, Dubai, and into Kabul where 5 willing porters helped gather up all the boxes, some quite worse for wear after the long journey.
We walked through the parking lots to find Najibullah and the minibus to take us back to our guesthouse. He smiled when he saw me and all the luggage, and like the Denver airline representative said, “Salaam, Shannon. Are we doing THIS again?” I said, sheepishly said, “yes, Najib, but I promise it won’t be like last time. We only have to load the minibus one time, not twenty.”
All the bags were checked at the guesthouse, and the guards smiled big at the sight of all the helmets and the bikes, they have seen my mountain bike more than once and even watched me ride out on a couple early morning Kabul rides in the dark. They also asked if I will be bringing my motorcycle that I usually keep in the courtyard, disappointed when I told them no. They aren’t surprised by much of anything I do anymore.
The next day we sorted out the boxes that had some jumbled up mens and women’s gear to deliver at the Afghan Cycling Federation offices.
A huge and massive thanks goes out to Osprey Packs, Liv/giant, Giro, Skratch Labs, Boulder Cycle Sport, and all the amazing individuals and bike shops that made this possible!! It was a joy to deliver the boxes to the coach and give him an inventory.
Inside, I explained some specifics about the donations from Liv/giant and Skratch Labs and about the plan to bring over additional bikes to Coach Sediq and his staff. When I asked what was specifically needed we came up with this list: pedals, cleats, standing pumps and tools, tubes, tires, wheels, bikes bikes and more bikes. We have wheels ready to roll out thanks to Inertia Racing. Now its up to us to continue to support with equipment and donated gear. More than that, or perhaps simply, in addition to that, we need funding to support their racing, travel, and major next steps which I look forward to sharing with you as we formulate the plan.
Huge thanks to everyone to making this possible and bringing major smiles to the faces of Afghan women and men. For now…here’s a sneak peek from the start of their last training ride with the women proudly wearing new jerseys and helmets from the gear delivery. Prouder than proud of the cycling community for their support. Much much more to come and you don’t want to miss it!