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One Woman’s Two-Wheeled Escape From Iran to North America

Published: January 15, 2019
Last updated: April 1, 2021

This is a story of a two wheeled escape.

It was almost 30 years ago that Maria Rasouli and her best friend, Eli, set out on bikes together, exploring their rural neighborhood in northern Iran. Two girls, one bike. Maria took the pedals and Eli balanced atop the handlebars. Joyful and free, they’d ride laps, past boys playing soccer, through fields, and to the forest just beyond the village. “I’d pedal as fast as possible for the thrill of the wind in our faces,” recalls Rasouli. “Exploring the world on my bicycle was my childhood definition of freedom.”

Two Wheeled Escape

And then, as happens to all bike-riding kids, a tumble. A tame one but enough for Eli to land with her skirt over her head. The girls laughed until an older man stopped to tell Eli, “My daughter, you are a grown-up woman. Getting on a bicycle in a skirt is inappropriate, especially around these young men. Go home and wear proper clothing. The two of you are women and should not be on a bicycle.” Maria Rasouli and Eli were 11 years old. Read more…

Inspired? Why not take a tour and discover the beauty of Ottawa by bike. More info here.

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