Bicycling is fueling social change in Afghanistan

At Cascade we believe in the power of the bicycle. Bicycling is a gateway to a happier, healthier life. The joy of bicycling makes adults feel like kids, and kids feel empowered. The bike means transportation. The bike means overcoming obstacles. The bike means freedom. 

In the Puget Sound Region, we witness the power of bicycling through programs like the Major Taylor Project, which transforms the lives of underserved teenagers in South Seattle.

But in Afghanistan for example, the power of bicycles is transforming lives on a much bigger scale as it fuel social change, breaks gender barriers and transforms the lives of girls and women.

Shannon Galpin, National Geographic’s 2013 Adventurer of the Year and founder of Mountain2Mountain, has used her love for mountain biking to break gender barriers in Afghanistan. In 2009, she became the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan -- a country where the culture does not allow women to ride bikes -- creating opportunities and empower women along the way.

With support of the bicycle manufacturer Liv/giant, Galpin has been instrumental in forming the first-ever National Women’s Cycling Team in Afghanistan as it makes a bid to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games.

“Because of cultural stigmas, cycling is considered controversial for women in Afghanistan. So just by riding their bikes, and training to be athletes, these women are challenging gender barriers and promoting opportunities in their country,” Galpin stated in a press release.

Come learn more about Galpin and the power of bicycles on Tuesday, May 20th at Fremont Abbey for the Women (em)Powered: Harnessing Recreation to Advance Human Rights event.

The Women’s WorldWide Web (W4) - in collaboration with The American Alpine Club and Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance - will host Shannon Galpin and Wasfia Nazreen -- the youngest Bangladeshi and first “one-woman team” from Bangladesh to reach the summit of Everest-- to address precisely this question: how they are transforming advocacy and grassroots initiatives for girls’ and women’s empowerment through woman-powered alpinism, cycling, and mountain biking.

The Fremont Abbey Arts Center will provide an intimate setting for the audience to hear astonishing, true stories of these two awe-inspiring women who, through their heroic adventures, are breaking barriers to raise awareness of the perils and successes of marginalized girls and women in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and around the world.

Women (em)Powered: Harnessing Recreation to Advance Human Rights event.
7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20.
Fremont Abbey Arts Center, 4272 Fremont Avenue North, Seattle, Wa. 

Tickets are $20 at Brown paper Tickets 

Anne-Marije Rook's picture
Anne-Marije Rook