Continuing with our In Their Element series, our team took a fast and furious trip down to Bend, OR in mid-June. Waiting for us in Bend was the chance to take part of, film, photograph, and support Lindsey Richter’s mountain bike skills camp, Ladies AllRide. We’ll give you one guess as to which van we drove… There’s no better van to roll up to a mountain bike-centric event than Tails! The stars aligned for the resident bike mechanic to use this premium build to tune up attendees rides throughout the event.
Since 2010, Lindsey and business partner, Meredith Brandt have led mountain biking skills classes for women of all ages and ability levels. They were unhappy with the obvious and severe gap in women enjoying, let alone competing, in the sport of mountain biking. Determined to lessen the gap, Richter and Brandt embraced the connection between bikes and life as a catalyst for growth, change, plus connection with others and oneself. “We see firsthand how mountain biking can help people face fears, believe in themselves and learn what they’re capable of.
We want to share our passion with as many women as possible to help grow the community of female mountain bikers across the globe and help them get RAD on their bikes!” Offering camps in top mountain biking terrains including Arkansas, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, Vermont, and Arizona, there’s no skillset or technical obstacle Ladies AllRide shies away from.
Not a stranger to the Outside Van Collective, vans have been shared between Richter’s family members for many years. We’ve always admired Richter’s determined spirit and strong independence. With that in mind, we knew we needed to sit down with her to learn more about her story. Speaking candidly, mountain biking was a way for Richter to unleash her competitive side. Always a fan of racing against the boys and the first to suggest upping the stakes of a friendly competition, mountain biking was a way for Richter to let go. With time, experience, trial and error, the sport also forced her to slow down. “I started to realize with mountain biking how much it calmed my mind, to focus on the here and now… The minute you lose focus on a mountain bike, you can crash.”
Struggling to find mentors who’d offer more advice than to just “go faster,” Richter made it her mission to bring this total body and surrounding awareness to those not previously looked after in the outdoor adventure community. “You have to pick your bike up and you have to finish the ride… figure it out by yourself, nobody is going to ride your bike for you.” From that, Richter found a new sense of reflection and direction. “That’s where I started identifying that I can create who I want to be and if I just give into this process of learning and growing and not try to rush through life like I was, I might create a person I enjoy being.”
Back to a warm June week in Bend, the two-day camp was gearing up at the Seventh Mountain Resort. Biking in Bend offers riders the opportunity to enjoy long swooping downhills while testing their skills on corners and berms. A signature to the area is its challenging lava rock gardens. The single-track dirt in Bend is often made of volcanic powder so one of the challenges is navigating loose corners. This comes with building trust in oneself, and muscle memory acquired through regular practice. These are two takeaways Richter and Brandt hope attendees of the event bring home with them. “A lot of people feel lost in this world and it’s not about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself, creating who you want to be. You can shift at any time and recreate yourself over and over and over again.”
Ride bikes and be happy.