This article from the New York Times highlights Shannon Galipin’s efforts to outfit the Afghan Women’s National Cycling team with needed apparel and accessories, something lacking for women in Afghanistan where riding a bike is seen as something of a moral crime.
In the hierarchy of cultural offenses committed by women, it ranks somewhere between driving a car and so-called moral crimes, which include running away from home or being spotted in the company of a man who is not a relative.
The team currently trains in long pants and full sleeves, but companies like Giro, among others, are helping set them them up properly and Galpin will be heading over with a film crew to drop off the supplies and make a short documentary of their efforts.
Galpin formed the organization Mountain2Mountain to aid women in conflict-ridden areas, and this work with the national cycling team is the latest of her efforts. More than just establishing a national team, the Afghan women view their cycling as an effort to break the social taboos that keep them on unequal terms.
Despite having received death threats, many of the female cyclists are eager to speak publicly about the team, Galpin said.
“They’re no different than women in Afghanistan who risk their lives to attend school or run for Parliament,” she said. “They know the only way to challenge and break the taboo is for other women to see them riding bikes.”
Read the full New York Times article here.
Through the weirdness that is Instagram, I recently came into contact with Aaron Edge, co-founder of Further Faster Forever, an organization dedicated to “Inspiring & Encouraging Athletes Everywhere”. Soon after I friended Aaron (IG: Man_of_Multnomah) I discovered we have a lot in common, from our involvement with the vegan straight edge music scene, to our running and cycling pursuits, to our interests in graphic design and, most notably, our recent diagnoses of life-altering diseases.
Upon diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, Aaron underwent a period of grieving and depression that began to drown the life he previously knew, but since then has rebounded to become another force of inspiration for athletes everywhere. Previously confined to a bed for over a month due to the pain of his MS, he has been slowly getting stronger and is now back out running and riding again.
Friend and photographer, Brenton Salo, recently did a photo shoot with Aaron, highlighting his story and getting shots of him out attacking the Portland hills. The full blog post and photo shoot can be seen here.
To help Aaron with his mounting and continuous medical bills, go here to order shirts.
Matt Ruscigno, of True Love Health, is keeping the amateur “race” tradition he started back in 2006 alive. On April 28th, he will be again hosting the Feel My Legs, I’m A Racer group ride around the hills of Los Angeles. The ride is based on the Dirty Dozen in the Urban Velo hometown, following the pattern of a group ride to each hill where the race to the top begins, points being awarded 5 deep. In true DIY ethics, the race costs nothing and prizes are…non-existent! This is a ride for the sake of riding, though Ruscigno might have some pancakes on hand at the end if you’re lucky.
As described on the event site:
Yes- fun, rain, shine, any bike, water, snacks, tube, tools, stokedness, riding just to finish, riding for points, waiting at top of each hill
No- bad attitudes, entitlement, car support, jock mentality, entry fee, prizes
Check the facebook page here.
This article in the Indy Star details elite athlete Ken Martin, a 2:09 marathon runner and the marathon champion in 1984 and 1985, who is now battling Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. As anyone who has seen chemotherapy treatments first hand, you know they take an incredible toll on the body, leaving the recipient drained, weak and lethargic, but Martin is betting on his athletic routine to combat those effects. Instead of just sitting in a chair and letting the poison drip into his body, he brings his stationary bike into the treatment center and pedals for 30 minutes at a time, counting on the adrenaline surges and internal system boosting to not only lift his spirits, but also speed recovery time.
Martin is primarily doing this for his own benefit, but he is also working with researchers who are analyzing his gathered data during treatment to measure the potential benefits of cycling and activity during treatment. To the end of promoting this method, he has created The WorkOut Cancer Research Fund to finance the effect of exercise on tumor and cancer treatments.
Read the full article here.
This looks to be a really promising movie documenting the diversity of bike culture progression around the country. The creator has been touring the country for the last year filming and interviewing cyclists of all stripes to get a perspective on what is advancing cycling in their specific area, but so far it seems to focus on smaller Midwestern towns (The Midwest is best!). I couldn’t find any release date estimates, but the Tumblr is continuously updated with photos of the riders who will appear in the video. Looking forward to a complete production.