Liv Beyond – Shannon Galpin as Liv Ambassador from LET MEDIA on Vimeo.
“Riding in Afghanistan is like nothing else in the world. It’s hot, it’s dusty, you’re in layers and layers of clothing, and yet you’re surrounded by these epic mountains. It’s incredibly beautiful, but obviously also dangerous.” – Shannon Galpin

In 2009, Shannon Galpin became the first woman to mountain bike in Afghanistan. At this time, no women were riding, as it was not seen as proper. In response, Galpin decided to start Mountain2Mountain, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering and providing opportunities to women in areas of conflict. For women in Afghanistan in particular she decided to use cycling as a way to break down gender barriers. Today — although it’s still very much seen as taboo — there’s now a National Women’s Cycling Team — with the female riders fully supported by their families and coaches. Moreover, the women’s cycling brand, Liv, is helping to sponsor bikes for women in Afghanistan.

On the Mountain2Mountain website, Galpin writes, “…one woman can make a difference but an army of women could change the world.  Using bikes, long a symbol of freedom of mobility, and a tool of the women’s suffrage movement in America in the early 1900’s, to unify the women we work with to pedal a revolution of change for women’s rights.”

This isn’t just about riding bikes. It’s about change, empowerment and revolution.

Watch the above video to learn more about what Galpin and Liv are doing to change the women’s cycling culture in Afghanistan.

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Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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