As Susan B. Anthony declared in 1896, “The bicycle has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can’t get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”
Nowhere is this inspiring quote more fitting today than in Afghanistan, a country where women are struggling to move forward in terms of women’s rights. While not technically illegal, riding a bicycle in Afghanistan is seen as one small step above many of the morality crimes that Afghan women can be jailed for in the country. Similar to the women’s suffrage movement in America, to which the bicycle was intrinsically linked, riding a bicycle could also be a vehicle for change in Afghanistan.
This Saturday marks the first Global Solidarity Ride in support of the Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team, a program of Mountain2Mountain.
Afghan Cycles is a feature length documentary that tells the story of the brave women who dare to ride in a country that does not allow women to be on bicycles. The film illustrates how women, perceived as victims, can be the catalysts for change in their communities and how the bike is instrumental in empowering National Geographic Adventurer of the Year and Afghan Cycles Producer, Shannon Galpin, started her nonprofit Mountain2Mountain to empower women and girls in conflict zones and has been working in Afghanistan for the past 7 years. The first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan in 2009, Galpin used cycling to challenge gender barriers and eventually discovered the women’s Afghan cycling team in 2012.
Afghan Cycles is a Let Media production, directed by filmmaker Sarah Menzies. The nonprofit partner of the film is Mountain2Mountain, founded by Shannon Galpin. Follow Afghan Cycles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To take part in this story, and to help to pedal a revolution.