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Watch: Afghan Cycles Trailer

November 19th, 2013

“Nothing is possible without the participation of females today.”

In Afghanistan, females riding bikes is still considered taboo, and is hardly considered a given right. But some brave women are working very hard to change that by way of the Women’s National Cycling Team of Afghanistan. From Vimeo:

“Afghan Cycles introduces the first women to ride bikes in the country, illustrating the gender and social barriers that the team is breaking, one pedal stroke at a time. Highlighting 4 of the 12 teammates, we look at their lives on and off the bike. From training on dangerous trucking highways to following them through a typical day in Kabul, the film shares the intimate story of these brave and passionate young women who feel free when they are on their bikes in an otherwise oppressive culture.”

Check out the trailer for this short documentary film above, and take a minute to peruse the new Afghan Cycles website too.

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Active Lifestyle, Advocacy, Bike, causes, International, Non-profits, Osprey Athletes, video , , ,

Bikes Can Pedal a Revolution

July 18th, 2013

Here at Osprey, we’re huge supporters of Shannon Galpin, who has created an epic movement with Mountain 2 Mountain, and who is actively moving mountains in Afghanistan by giving women and girls in conflict areas a voice — the catalyst for social change. Let’s all take a minute to listen to what Shannon has to say in her TEDx talk: Two-Wheeled Revolution, in which she explains how the bicycle is a vehicle for social justice, and shares her experiences and work in Afghanistan creating the Afghan Women’s National Cycling Team.

Go Shannon!

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adventure, Advocacy, Bikes Around the World, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Life, Pedaling Change, video , , , , , , ,

Life & Bikes in Kabul

May 17th, 2013

Six years ago, Shannon Galpin walked away from her career as an athletic trainer and used her own limited funds to launch Mountain2Mountain and “be the change” she wished to see in the world. Today, Shannon and the M2M team, are just returning from their latest trip to Afghanistan where they launched the Streets of Afghanistan project and rode bicycles through Kabul to raise awareness of cultural barriers and empower women and girls in conflict regions.

As big supporters of Shannon and the M2M work she does, we’re happy to stay in touch with her and get period updates throughout her travels. That said, we’re also excited to share what she has to show and tell from those very journeys, the latest of which center around the Streets of Afghanistan project. Here’s the latest from Shannon both in words and in pictures. Enjoy!

“Yesterday we had the finale show of the Streets of Afghanistan exhibition at the Sound Central music festival — its up for four days throughout the incredible  four-day alternative music festival.  Yesterday was the women’s only day to kick off the festival, where young Afghan school girls attended the festival for slam poetry, a fashion show, Afghan rap duo, Afghan singer songwriter, Ariana Delwari, and White City — fronted by my long time friend, advisor, and founder of Sound Central, Travis Beard.  We brought three members of the cycling team to watch the concert and to help with the M2M Bike School.

All in all a full day. Streets exhibition set up and finale show at Sound Central Festival, M2M bike school and rock concert, finished with filming at Darul Aman Palace. Whitney, the co-director of Afghan cycles is leaving today, and then our crew is just a duo until we leave.  Whitney has been amazing, and creates a sense of community, friendship, and openness wherever we go, she interacts with the Afghans we meet with grace, humor, and authenticity that I have rarely seen.  Her infectious laugh combined with everyone’s exhaustion at the end of the long days makes for a slap-happy crew.

Exhaustion is starting to take hold, but perhaps that will just make the plane ride home go quicker as we sleep our way home.”

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Active Lifestyle, adventure, Advocacy, Bikes Around the World, International, Non-profits, Osprey Athletes, Osprey Life, Pedaling Change, photos , , , , , , , , ,

M2M to Launch Gear Drive for Afghanistan National Cycling Teams February 15th

February 7th, 2013

Mountain 2 Mountain’s Shannon Galpin has spent the past several years pedaling in Afghanistan, and in the midst of her journeys, she’s observed the following: “… usually the only bikes I see are simple Pakistani made commuters bikes, ridden around the country on dirt roads and highways by men and boys of all ages.” But last November, Shannon met the Men’s National Cycling Team, which made a huge impression. As Shannon put it, “They have a real love of the sport, racing in Kabul and in Pakistan.  Several mentioned their hope to compete one day in the Olympics.” What’s more, even though it is culturally unacceptable for women to ride in Afghanistan, Shannon found out that there happen to be 10-12 women on the Cycling Team with the support of the coach.

While the cycling community in Afghanistan is there (and slowly gaining ground), it remains fact that those riding are doing so with virtually no support, on bikes that don’t always suit their needs and with gear that’s less than ideal. That’s why Mountain 2 Mountain is organizing a month-long bicycle gear drive that will begin on Friday, February 15th. Here’s the full run-down of details:

The most-needed items (i.e. suggested donations) are, for both women and men, both road and mountain bike: “helmets, pedals, shoes, cleats, seats, chammies, long pants, jerseys, gloves, jackets, windbreakers, sunglasses, socks, tools, tubes (no 29′ers please), tires, lube, air pumps.  Lightly used old gear and new gear is welcomed!!” Cash donations to help with transport costs will also be accepted. There will be four drop-off locations in Colorado (Denver – Salvagetti Bicycle Workshop, Boulder – Boulder Cycle Sport, Golden - Rise Above Cycles, Frisco – Podium Sports). Additionally, individuals are welcome to send a box of their gear donations directly to Mountain 2 Mountain (PO Box 7399, Breckenridge, CO 80424). All gear will be picked up on March 15th, so gather your goods and get them out the door ASAP!

You can follow what’s happening with the drive and check for updates on Mountain 2 Mountain’s Facebook page.

If you want to make an online donation to support the teams or our upcoming Strength in Numbers program you can do that here!

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Use Your Voice, Share Your Story To Support Mountain2Mountain + Win An Osprey Raptor Pack!

November 7th, 2012

Mountain2Mountain's Shannon Galpin and Georgian photographer, Mikhail Galustov ride through the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan. Photo: Warren Buttery

Dare to believe in our common humanity.

Six years ago, Shannon Galpin walked away from her career as an athletic trainer and used her own limited funds to launch Mountain2Mountain and “be the change” she wished to see in the world. Today, Shannon and the M2M team, are just returning from their latest trip to Afghanistan where they launched the Streets of Afghanistan project and rode bicycles through Kabul to raise awareness of cultural barriers and empower women and girls in conflict regions.

We believe in the power of voice as a catalyst for social action.

Here at Osprey, we are proud to support Shannon and M2M’s work, both in the US and in Afghanistan. This year in particular, we’re incredibly proud of Shannon, who is one of the National Geographic Adventure’s Adventurer of the Year nominees—and you can vote for her throughout all of November and into January! To celebrate and stoke the fire of Shannon’s work, we’re highlighting this incredible organization for the entire month of November. Please join us and spread the word about M2M.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Use your voice. Share a photo or video from M2M with your online network on Facebook. Make sure to tag M2M and Osprey Packs in your post.
  2. Tell a story. Post a photo of your own on the Osprey Packs Facebook wall. Your photo can be of someone that inspires you, or an image that you believe exemplifies our common humanity. Just make sure to write a short caption that tells us about your image.

At the end of the month, we will be choosing three people at random to highlight right here on our blog and Facebook page and we will also award each winner with an Osprey Raptor Hydration Pack!

It didn’t take long before Shannon gathered a crowd of other bikers and formed a bike gang. Photo: Warren Buttery

Please share your stories between November 7 and 29. We will choose three winners on Friday, November 30. You can share and submit  from anywhere in the world, but we will only ship prizes to addresses within the United States and Canada.

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Friday Round Up: Shannon Galpin, A MoveShake Story

June 8th, 2012

A rape survivor and mother, Shannon Galpin realized she couldn’t just sit on the sidelines when it came to standing up for human rights. Working in Afghanistan, Shannon founded Mountain2Mountain and continues to tackle a complicated issue in a conflicted country. Determined to combat apathy on the other side of the equation, Shannon shares her stories of success of creating positive change in an area that many assume is hopeless.

Read more…

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Pedaling Change: The Panjshir Tour by Mountain2Mountain

March 31st, 2011

Welcome to Pedaling Change! There’s a lot of good work being done in the world of bikes, from alternative transportation advocacy to international development. To highlight some of the great action that’s going on out there, once a month we’ll be profiling a non-profit in the bike world to look at just how they’re working to make positive change.

Being inspired to act can take many forms. For some it’s taking a weekend to volunteer. For others it’s writing a letter. For Shannon Galpin, it meant leaving her career, selling her house, launching a nonprofit and committing her life to advancing education and opportunity for women and girls. Focusing on the war-torn country of Afghanistan, Galpin and her organization, Mountain2Mountain, have touched the lives of hundreds of men, women and children.

As if launching a nonprofit wasn’t enough, in 2009 Galpin became the first woman to ride a mountain bike in Afghanistan.

Panjshir Tour 2010 – clips reel from Shannon Galpin on Vimeo.

Now she’s using that initial bike ride to gain awareness around the country, encouraging people to use their bikes to “as a vehicle for social change and justice to support a country where women don’t have the right to ride a bike.” It’s called the Panjshir Tour and it’s being organized to take place in cities across the US on October 8, 2011.

We caught up with Galpin to learn more about the tour and why she thinks bikes are such a great vehicle for social change.

Tell us about Panjshir Tour.

Panjshir Tour was created out of my own desire to mountain bike in Afghanistan. I rode in 2009 and 2010 in the Panjshir Valley amongst my multiple trips to the region with my non profit, Mountain2Mountain. I found that I could do a lot of things, like ride a bike, as a foreign woman with the encouragement of Afghans that Afghan women were still forbidden to do. It’s an interesting phenomenon that me, with my blonde hair, can push on some cultural barriers in a unique way without offending the locals simply BECAUSE I have blonde hair. So after the success and the positive reaction by the local men in Panjshir in 2009, I decided to plot a series of grassroots rides in the US exactly one year from the first day I mountainbiked (October 3, 2009) to create a fundraising event on bikes while I was attempting to ride the entire Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan – linking our project communities and our donor communities through a bicycle for the first time.

Why launch the tour now?

Last year was the first incarnation as a series of very grassroots rides in various communities that took place during the same time that I was riding across the Panjshir Valley. The thought had been to make that connection, create a story to build off of and launch a Panjshir Tour 2.0 this year. Then we got the support of Matthew Modine and David Holbrooke in NYC and we thought, okay, let’s really build this up. So right now we are at 9 rides, three of them grassroots community rides, and the other 6 are more formally run events that can attract bigger crowds. Minneapolis, Portland, NYC, Los Angeles, Denver, and Washington DC – each ride having its own unique personality. Road rides, mountain bike, kids rides, cruiser bike rides, even a cyclo-cross event. It’s really cool to see a biking event that can spread across the US that isn’t just a road or just a mountainbike event, its much more inclusive.

Read more…

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Pedaling Change ,

Waking Lions: Challenging Stereotypes and Perceptions in Afghanistan

February 2nd, 2011

In 2006 Shannon Galpin, a single mom from Breckenridge, Colorado with no experience in aid work,
sold her home and flew to Kabul, Afghanistan with the goal of empowering the women and children of that region.

“I am tired and I have said ‘Enough’. I am not going to sit on the sidelines and allow atrocities to happen against women.”

Read more…

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Bikes Around the World: Hydration Packs in Afghanistan

October 5th, 2010

We just had to post this photo, taken by Shannon Galpin of Mountain 2 Mountain.

Founded in 2006 by Shannon, M2M is a non-profit that creates education and opportunity for women and girls in conflict regions. Today, M2M is a burgeoning nonprofit that has touched the lives of hundreds of men, women and children in Afghanistan. Not only has Shannon managed to launch projects across the war-torn country, but in 2009, she also became the first woman to ride a mountain bike in Afghanistan.

According to her, “apparently even dodgy Afghan boiled water tastes better coming through your hydration packs!” Thanks Shannon!

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