Colorado-based nonprofit Mountain2Mountain (M2M) today announced that actor Matthew Modine and David Holbrooke will serve as co-chairs of the Panjshir Tour. The nationwide bike event will be held on October 8, 2011, in cities across the Unites States, with a final celebration ride in Denver on October 15. Proceeds will be used to support M2M programs in Afghanistan.
In addition to being an internationally renowned actor, Modine is an active bike advocate, a passionate environmentalist and the founder of Bicycle For A Day. The bicycle has been his primary form of transportation since he moved to New York City in 1980. A Golden Globe winner, Modine has worked with some of the best-known directors in the film industry on projects including Birdy, Full Metal Jacket, Married to the Mob, Pacific Heights, and Showtime’s Weeds.
Holbrooke is an award-winning filmmaker, festival director of Mountainfilm in Telluride, and the son of the late diplomat, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, who was serving as the President’s special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan at the time of his death in December 2010.
Mountain2Mountain is a nonprofit organization working to help empower the people of Afghanistan, with a focus on women and girls and gender equity. M2M advances its mission through education, training, job creation and efforts to save the lives of Afghan women in childbirth and their babies. Current projects are focused on girls’ education, rural midwifery imprisoned women and children, the Afghan youth movement and the deaf community.
“The women and girls of Afghanistan deserve our attention and support,“ said Modine. “This is not a women’s issue or an Afghanistan issue. It is a human rights issue. I want to encourage everyone with a bike to use it as a vehicle for social change by coming out and riding with us on October 8th and showing your support for gender equity and opportunity for women and girls all over the world.”
“My father cared deeply about bringing peace, stability and prosperity to Afghanistan,” Holbrooke said. “I am proud to honor his legacy by working with my good friend Matthew Modine to support the efforts of Mountain2Mountain. We believe in doing all we can to empower of the women and girls of Afghanistan.”
Panjshir Tour rides are scheduled in Washington, D.C.; New York City; Los Angeles; Denver; Minneapolis; Portland, Oregon; Santa Rosa, California; and Saratoga Springs, New York. Additional locations will be announced later this year. The Panjshir Tour is sponsored by Goal Zero and Osprey Packs.
In 2009, M2M Founder Shannon Galpin became the first woman to ride a mountain bike in Afghanistan, a country where women are unable to ride bikes. The Panjshir Tour was created to commemorate that groundbreaking ride and support M2M programs. Last Fall, Galpin rode through the Panjshir Valley for a second time.
Galpin’s rides through Panjshir are the subject of "The Ride of Her Life", a feature story by reporter Nick Heil that appears in the March issue of Outside magazine. Heil spent three weeks with Galpin in Afghanistan last fall and rode with her through Panjshir province. Galpin’s rides and Mountain2Mountain are also the subject of Waking Lions: Bombs, Burquas and Bikes, a documentary film that will premiere in Denver on March 12, 2011, in association with the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day.
“The simple fact is women aren’t allowed to ride bicycles in Afghanistan. As a foreign woman I can push on those cultural barriers in ways Afghan women cannot, at least not yet,” said Galpin.
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