Imagine if going for a bicycle ride also meant facing prejudice and threats. If trying to become a competitive cyclist meant doing something few if any had done before. If where you rode there were no bike shops, so every item you needed had to be imported.
This is what members of the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team face.
Afghanistan is a country that is often sadly in the news for all the wrong reasons, but it’s also a country that is changing, growing and evolving, with attitudes to women in particular gradually shifting for the better.
Afghan Cycles is a short film by LET MEDIA, a documentary film production company with a strong focus on storytelling. It follows four women from the fledgling Team, focussing on their training, their lives, and the barriers they face every day – barriers they are working to break down.
There are many obstacles that lie in their path, living in a country where the dominant view of the role, place and abilities of women is lesser to that of men. But there is also a massive cultural shift taking place, and these women represent hope for things to come; for a change in attitude, perception and opportunity.
The voices of the women themselves are joined by those of Parliamentary Member and Presidential hopeful Fawzia Koofi, Heather Barr from Human Rights Watch, and the President of the Afghan Olympic Committee.
The team are supported by the non-profit organisation Mountain2Mountain, which helps women in conflict zones globally. Mountain2Mountain have provided much needed cycling gear, and have worked to raise awareness and interest in what they are trying to achieve.
This inspirational piece of filmmaking is testament to the strength, courage and vision of these women and those who support them, and the power of the bicycle.
We can’t wait to see the full film, and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team.
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, untrammelled womanhood.
Susan B. Anthony