Take bikers of both sexes, all ages, and various skills in cities across the country. Add in community bike shops, advocates, beer, and music to create a community bike ride. Raise money and awareness for a non profit organization working half a world away in a country where women can’t ride bikes. Coincide the event with a groundbreaking ride by two women through said country – breaking barriers that women DO in fact ride bikes.
That’s exactly what the Panjshir Tour is all about.
Launched to support Mountain 2 Mountain’s work to empower women and children in Afghanistan through education, training, and job creation. The Panjshir Tour links bikers across the US with the efforts of two female riders in Afghanistan, riding through the Panjshir province.
Last fall, Mountain 2 Mountain’s founder, Shannon Galpin rode her mountain bike in Afghanistan, becoming the first woman to do so. Her first ride was on her birthday on October 3, 2009 in the Panjshir province. She already had the idea for the Panjshir Tour but wanted to take the first step alone to see if she could ride her bike in a country of Taliban and landmines. Picking a mountainous province in the heartland of the Northern Alliance and the area most devoid of landmines, which also coincides with several projects that Mountain 2 Mountain is spearheading, she broke stereotypes and barriers. Women aren’t allowed to ride bikes in Afghanistan – which is exactly why Shannon did it.
The date for The Panjshir Tour is set for 10-3-10, exactly one year from the groundbreaking ride. We are pulling together support in communities like Los Angeles, DC, New York, Denver, Colorado Springs, Park City, Hawaii, and others in hopes that we can bring bikers together, doing what they love, to support the ride in Afghanistan and the efforts of Mountain 2 Mountain to empower women and children there.
In the long term we are hoping to partner with another organization to create a series of bicycle co-ops for women to learn a trade that has value. We can then distribute these bikes to orphanages, schools, and rural communities. We are also trying to develop a women’s specific trike/bike that we could provide to teachers and midwives that we train in rural communities. Further tying bike culture into our ethos.
For more information or to get involved in your community – please email us at email@example.com We need bikers, bike shops, sponsors, volunteers, and community voices to make this a success for years to come.