at the top right of the video above to watch the full video.20% of all income generated by video on demand will be invested in women's mountain biking organizations in countries where free riding women are not accepted.
Free Riding Iran
A look behind the curtain: In the West, one knows above all the Iranian moral rigor and war
rhetoric, the Enduro professionals Anita and Caro Gehrig experience open-minded people,
hospitality, a great interest in the West and last but not least an unconditional passion for
mountain biking. There is a reason for this: The bike is a vehicle for freedom, because on the
trails, no moral guardians exist. Freeride, or better Free Ride, gets another dimension in the
land of mullahs. Although you might not be able to understand each other's words, on a bike
you always speak the same language. Free Riding Iran is a movie about courage, passion
and mutual inspiration on two wheels.
In cooperation with Halsundbeinbruch Film, the Gehrig Twins realized their long-planned
video project in May 2018. The result is a 32-minute documentary film that celebrated its
premiere at the UCI World Championships in Lenzerheide.
The movie has been supported by Red Bull and Samsung Switzerland.
________________________________________________________________________________Behind the Scenes
The idea to go to Iran came up in 2014. A friend of ours returned enthusiastically from a ski trip to Iran and said that we should go there and definitely take our bikes with us. We couldn't let go of the idea and the more we thought about it, learned about Iran and developed the idea, the more convinced we were of it. In November 2017 we made a recce trip without bikes to take a look if it was even possible to film freely. To our surprise no one seemed to care, we could even fly a drone.
Iran has exceptionally beautiful scenery and very high mountain peaks. Mount Damavand as ridden here is 5,610m high. On our recce trip, we had the worst night ever in the shelter hut on 4,600m. It was so cold that our water bottles in the room froze also we had gone up to altitude too quick resulting in a heavy headache and insomnia.
Our road trip covered 4,500 kilometers within 10 days. The streets are okay but the travel speed is far below what we are used to. Actually, we were surprised we did not kill each other along the way with driving times up to 8 hour daily. Sister love was deep!
Our aim with the road trip was to see as much diversity as possible. Iran often is prejudged as a desert country but one can find lush green landscapes.
Can you imagine to go on a trip with 15,000 US Dollar cash in the bag? Damn this seemed not ideal to us too, but no Credit-/Debitcards work in Iran due to international sanctions. We were simply not left a choice. *Fun fact: One day the backpack with the money was left in the hotel lobby. The mistake was discovered shortly before departure...
In Faranak’s home city of Shiraz, there is a small but sworn group of female riders that meet up for riding on a regular basis. These women see mountain biking as their own escape of the boundaries that they have to face in their everyday life. It gives them a moment of freedom, self-fulfillment and pure joy. They all had to overcome their own battle with families, authorities and people around them to be able to ride a bike. For them it’s much more than just a passion it’s a silent revolution!
While looking for filming spots in the web we kept on seeing this spectacular landscape but could not make out where it was. One day we found it on Instagram with a location tag. None of us had been there before and it was pure luck that it turned out to be an absolute highlight of our trip. Earlier in the year, the landscape would even be luscious green. Thanks Insta!
The Persian garden was designed as a reflection of paradise on earth. One could tell from this picture.
The culture and architecture are one of the oldest in the world, some magnificent buildings and sights can be discovered here.
Usually, you see the boys play and the girls hide and watch from the side. Not this courageous little girl that couldn’t get enough of riding bikes with us. For once the boys had to watch!
Hossein Zanjanian is Iran's fastest Downhiller. Himself and his friends built a very fun downhill track near the 8.6 Million city Tehran. The bike community there has a close bond and you could tell all of them are proud of Faranak pushing the boundaries for female mountain bikers in Iran. Was it safe?
We were aware of the political instability and that every major crisis could end our project within a blink. Once again we see Iran mainly through the facade of the western media and of course we had our own concerns. Once there we felt safe and were not once in a hairy situation. Iran is a wonderful place to travel and discover, people are friendly and from the hospitality of the Iranian many on this planet could learn.Now let us take you on our journey and watch the film!
Anita and Caro Gehrig
About: 31 • Flims Switzerland • Enduro • Norco Twins Racing
Anita and Caro Gehrig started riding bikes at the age of 19. Being fascinated by the pure speed and technical skills required for downhill mountain biking, the girls began racing as soon as they had their hands on bikes of their own. Since its inauguration in 2013, the twins have been traveling the globe with the Enduro World Series making their mark on the sport alongside some of the best female MTB athletes globally. Though racing their bikes against the world ’s fastest is their passion, the girls are dedicated to bringing more women into the sport of cycling. They are proud to organize and lead bike camps specifically designed for women at their home base in Films.
Faranak Parto Azar
About: 31 • Shiraz Iran • Cross Country • Iran National Team
Faranak is the first Iranian female Mountainbiker that took part in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in her discipline Cross Country. She dreams big and her drive and motivation to progress are impressive. It is a rocky road for her but she made it as far as representing her country at the World Championships in Lenzerheide and has a medal at the Asian Champs to her name. Faranak is not only a badass biker but also has brains and empathy, her mission is to even the grounds for the next generation of mountain bike girls in Iran.
Christian Dassi About:THANK YOU
42 • Valais Switzerland • Freeride • Owner/Guide ExorideChris has travelled to Iran around ten times and can definitely call himself an Iran expert. He has gained a rich knowledge about the country and its trails. The Swiss guide loves to explore the unknown and often finds surprising places. If you want to experience this fascinating country first hand with him, get in touch on Exoride
A huge thank you goes out to our incredible team...
...Halsundbeinbruchfilm: Alec Wohlgroth the director and cameraman, Mario Hari cameraman extraordinaire, Sonja Brumann, Andrea Brun, Diego Defilla
...Jane Doe Media GmbH: Raphael Hug for your trust in the project
...Photographer: Simon Ricklin that could sleep whenever sitting down
...Guide: Christian Dassi
...the crazy drivers the two Mohammeds
To all the Iranian riders, keep on shredding!!www.FreeRidingIran.com
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