88 Bikes and M2M

“I think 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.”  – Susan B Anthony 1896

2010 highlights the first of many of Mountain 2 Mountain’s collaborations.  This one relates directly to Team M2M and our love of the two wheeled machine and my own foray into mountain biking in Afghanistan this past October.

This winter we met with Dan Austin of 88 Bikes and discovered a mutual love and respect of third world communities, children, and bicycles.  He is co founder of 88 Bikes and is currently in Cambodia delivering bikes to children at an orphanage there and taking them on a bike ride to the coast.  We are collaborating to raise enough bikes for the children in a remote mountain village in Afghanistan.  Something that has been a goal of Team  M2M from the beginning and it makes much more sense to partner up and let 88 Bikes do what they do best.

They understand that you can’t just collect western bikes and ship them over to countries like Afghanistan.  First the shipping cost is enormous.  Second the obviously western looking bikes are theft targets.  Lastly, buying the bikes locally and hiring bike mechanics to help assemble puts cash into the economy and builds more connections of support on the ground.  The 88Bikes Foundation has a very simple goal: to provide a sustainable, joyful, empowering form of transportation to young people in developing countries, in situations where these children have been challenged to be their own heroes due to war, conflict, poverty, disease, or other regional hardships.

Mountain 2 Mountain’s goal is to empower the women and children of Afghanistan through education, scholarships, trade schools, and microfinance.  As a mountain biker myself, I’ve wanted to look at getting bikes out to the rural communities as transportation for the children walking to school each day.  Our hope is that over the next year we can work with the communities to ensure that both boys and girls will be allowed to own and use the bikes we bring in with 88 Bikes.

We are looking forward to keeping you in the loop as we move forward with this.  For more information – checkout www.88bikes.org and see what they are up to and visit their Village project to learn how to donate a bike to our joint efforts in Afghanistan.



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