St. Martin's Press
Being inspired to act can take many forms. For some it's taking a weekend to volunteer, but 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. Now she's using that initial bike ride to gain awareness around the country, encouraging people to use their bikes "as a vehicle for social change and justice to support a country where women don't have the right to ride a bike."
In her lyric and honest memoir, Galpin describes her first forays into fundraising, her deep desire to help women and girls halfway across the world, her love for adventure and sports, and her own inspiration to be so much more than just another rape victim. During her numerous trips to Afghanistan, Shannon reaches out to politicians and journalists as well as everyday Afghans — teachers, prison inmates, mothers, daughters — to cross a cultural divide and find common ground. She narrates harrowing encounters, exhilarating bike rides, humorous episodes, and the heartbreak inherent in a country that is still recovering from decades of war and occupation.
Single-Speeds in a War Zone
This is a bad idea.
Breathe. Just breathe. Steady.
Just let go of the brakes and ride through. You got this. You know how to ride a bike.
Damn, these rocks are sliding! Worst trail ever. Don’t crash. Please, please, please. Not here.
The mountainside was more rock strewn than it had appeared. These barren slopes were not like those I was used to biking in Colorado. Devoid of trees, the slopes looked like someone had dynamited the mountain and left the rubble where it had fallen. My bike