Susan B. Anthony once said, “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.” In Afghanistan, however, most women do not get to experience this freedom. Although men there are allowed to ride their bicycles, for women it is considered a sign of immortality and regarded as a social taboo. One of the best modes of transportation, it’s hard to believe that anyone could be chastised for riding a bicycle, but this is a reality for the women of Afghanistan. Twelve very brave women in Kabul have taken a stand against this gender oppression, forming the first Afghan Women’s Cycling Team. LET Media has turned their passionate story into an inspiring documentary called Afghan Cycles.
According to the film’s description:
Afghan Cycles is a first hand account of history in the making, where the stronger these teammates become on the bike, the more powerful they will be to lead their country out of depression, poverty and terrorism. Breaking the last taboo, these young women illustrate what it is like to grow up in the post Taliban era. At the same time, their country faces a crisis as international forces withdraw from Afghanistan next spring, and as Afghan police and military continue to fight heavily armed Taliban forces; this country as well as the world is in need of positive and progressive humanitarian efforts. Afghan Cycles illustrates our common humanity, and the power of sport to create change. This is not just a story of Afghanistan. This is a story that addresses the world and the place women have within it.
To help share this story and pedal a revolution, you can donate to the film here or support the team’s non-profit partner Mountain2Mountain, which provide gear, equipment, training and mentorship to the Afghan Women’s Cycling Team so that they can fulfill their dreams of competing in the 2020 Olympics.