Afghan Women’s Writing Project | Biking on the Streets of Kabul

On our second group bike ride in Darlaman, an old man stopped us. To be honest, all of us were scared, but he told us: “You girls raise Afghanistan’s flag. Foreigners will change their minds about Afghanistan when they see you biking around. Let me tell you something, I am in charge of that park right there and I am not allowed to let bicycles inside, but today is a good day, and I am proud of you so I can make an exception!”

These encouragements help us to ignore the judgmental looks from others. Although many people in Afghanistan think a good Muslim girl should never sit on a bike, there are still people who give us a pat on our shoulders. We decided we would smile back at people who encourage us, rather than give up from the harassment that we receive from others. Although it can be a little bit scary to ride in public, if a girl has the courage to ride a bike, the chances that she will be stopped or physically hurt is very low.

I think the most important thing for girls is to take action. There is nothing in either the Qur’an or in our Constitution forbidding girls to ride a bike, so I believe girls should take advantage of biking.

People often ask me why I want to go biking. I tell them it is to make bike riding for girls a part of our culture. Some girls have to walk a long distance to get to their destination and it’s much faster on a bike. Afghanistan doesn’t offer girls many sport options and biking can serve as a perfect option for exercising.

It is unbelievable that in countries like Afghanistan we have to fight to make bike riding for girls acceptable for people or we have to have a complicated philosophy behind simply riding. My generation has to fight, but I hope our next generation gets the right to bike in Kabul freely.

I hope one day the domination of one sex in an activity stops, because a society really develops when both men and women can participate in all the activities. If bike riding for girls is not acceptable for people, it means we have a long way to civilization. Let girls bike, and civilization will be right in front of our doors.

via Afghan Women’s Writing Project | Biking on the Streets of Kabul.