Monthly Archives: November 2014

100 Bikes for Afghan Girls This Holiday

Last holiday season we ran a fundraising campaign to raise money to purchase bikes for Afghan girls that were beginning to ride… we delivered over 40 bikes to young women that dare to challenge the gender barrier that has prevented women being able to ride bikes in Afghanistan. Whether members of the National Cycling Team getting bikes to take home and ride, or girls in Kabul, Bamiyan and Mazar i Sharif that are teaching each other to ride bikes for fun, for health, and for transpiration to school. IMG_4606 Mountain 2 Mountain’s work with the national team and these burgeoning ‘clubs’ have meant that we donated over 55 racing bikes for the mens and women’s team thanks to Liv Cycling and over 40 locally built commuter bikes for girls to take home and ride with friends, sisters, brothers, and fathers. This year we hope we can make our goal of 100 bikes that we can give to girls that dare to ride, but don’t have a bike of their own. Together we can pedal a revolution this holiday season and empower young women with independent mobility and freedom!! Each bike is $100 – its locally built bike that they can easily maintain and won’t be a theft risk, and includes a helmet! We will check in every few months to check on maintenance, etc. and make sure they are being maintained. You can donate today through Mountain 2 Mountain! http://www.mountain2mountain.org/donate Huge thanks for the support of these young women to challenge the cultural norms to empower themselves, one pedal stroke at a time. Want to learn more about the work we are doing in Afghanistan with the women’s team? here’s a recap of some of the press that’s hit recently! BBC World News The Guardian  IMG_4587

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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