There is something gloriously incongruous — and almost incomprehensible — about a risk-averse, non-athletic, native Rwandan DJ finding the real meaning in his life by pedaling across Canada to its frozen Arctic Ocean shore in an attempt to break the record for the longest, continuous, fixed- gear bike ride. Through the course of this unlikely adventure, the protagonist, Jean-Aime Bigirimana, also finds that the truth about escaping is not as black and white as, say, his spandex silhouette against the cold Canadian snowscape.
It takes guts for girls to ride bicycles in modern-day Afghanistan, says its first competitive female cyclist, shrouded in Afghan Cycles so her husband won’t discover her dangerous history with the National Cycling Team, which dissolved in 1987 under Soviet/Taliban rule. Now, a new generation of females has taken to the saddle, despite the taunting, rock-throwing, vehicular menacing and death threats they endure. “I have a feeling of joy when I ride the bicycle,” says Frozan, who dreams of proving, at an upcoming race in France, that despite the unimaginable hurdles faced by the team as Afghan women, “We can pedal like you.” Because, says Tahira, “If we do not stand up for ourselves, nobody will.”