The amazing company behind the delivery of 53 new racing bikes in Afghanistan are part of the Giant and Liv/giant family. I accepted a role as their newest brand ambassador as I saw their team embrace my work and the Afghan National Women’s Cycling team in a way that spoke loudly of their commitment. I can’t imagine another bike company involving themselves the way Liv/giant has. Last spring I delivered 6 Avail composite racing bikes for the newly formed team in Kabul. They watched my progress with the team development as well as the development of the documentary I am producing with Let Media and filmmaker Sarah Menzies about the Afghan National Women’s Cycling Team, Afghan Cycles, and then they stepped up to the plate in full support of the team and the expansion of women’s cycling in other parts of the country. To start, they donated 53 more road and mountain bikes, along with clothing, tools, tires, tubes, and helmets for 40 women.
In becoming their brand ambassador, they also set me up with both a road bike and a hard tail mountain bike. As a dedicated single speed rider this is my first foray into geared bikes, and the testing ground for both bikes would be Afghanistan. A bigger test than riding in a war zone would be building up two new bikes myself, especially two with derailleurs. Thanks to a whirlwind bike mechanic 101 lesson with my landlord, I arrived in Kabul with two bikes, tools and bike stand from Pedros, and a page full of notes to build up not just my bike, but all 53 bikes in Afghanistan.
After a once over and a big sigh, I started the assembly process, knowing that this was one bike of 55 that I would start to assemble over the next week. Everything was going smoothly until the dreaded derailleur and I couldn’t figure out which way was up. After some cursing and a few different approaches, I had the bike built up and ready for a quick test ride through the courtyard Next stop, a much more public training ride with the Afghan National Cycling Team on the open road. A huge thanks to Liv/giant for their incredible support of my work and their passion for women’s cycling. #pedalarevolution photos by Deni Bechard – you can follow him on instagram at @denibechard