Have you heard of the Mountain2Mountain movement? No? Maybe you're like me. I pretty much take for granted that the only thing stopping me from riding my bike is...me. As an American woman, I'm free to do it. There are certainly no prohibitive cultural biases against me hopping on my bike. And I definitely don't need my husband, older brother or father pedaling it for me (with me riding side-saddle) for safety. However, women riding bikes is still considered taboo in Afghanistan. Through years of work by Mountain2Mountain (founded by Shannon Galpin) this is slowly changing. They have touched hundred's of people's lives in very deep and meaningful ways. But they still have a long way to pedal.
From Shannon's field-notes on the M2M website:
... and while these women are riding their bikes in public, it is not without risk. The girls face enormous challenges to ride a bike, illustrated best by the fact that they can’t ride their bikes alone, or with their teammates. The only way to ride safely is with a male family member or their coach. Whether they realize it or not, these women are challenging gender barriers very publicly and setting an example to other young women everywhere.
We are putting together a second gear drive to support these amazing women and help to spread cycling through the country. We need road and mountain bikes, helmets, and women’s cycling clothing. This will be distributed in the spring to support the formation of the first women’s cycling team in Bamiyan.
Secondly, we need funding and sponsorship dollars. Like any sports team, the women’s team cannot function and grow without funding. These women are part of Strength in Numbers, and we all believe that our strength IS in our numbers and that together these women will help pedal a revolution.
Want to learn more? Go to the Mountain2Mountain website and read all about it. As Shannon writes, you can "support the women that are pedaling a revolution in Afghanistan, one pedal stroke at a time."