Tag Archives: mountain biking

Losing an adventure buddy. Farewell little Axel Charrette.

I’ve had writers block before, but nothing like this.

I’ve mentioned Jen on this blog before. I’ve never physically met her, but from the moment I started following her blog I knew she was someone I’d love to be neighbors with. I had to be content to just follow her blog periodically, keep tabs on her families biking adventures, and occasionally shoot her an email when I needed biking advice.

Jen and her family have been living, playing, and working in Mexico for the last few months. They’ve been having fabulous adventures with their kids. Biking, surfing, relaxing and enjoying being together.

All this came to a screeching halt two weeks ago. Her youngest boy is gone. Forever. And I feel like I’ve lost one of my own. The online world is a weird one. Strange how you can let yourself be so vested in the life of someone else. What do you say to a Mom who’s lost their child? I could hardly bring myself to speak the news out loud to my husband.

Jen, Randy, and Kalden, my heart aches for you. It aches for Axel. It aches for the life that won’t be lived. It aches for the horror that exists in our world. I know that the way I feel is 0.000001% of how Axel’s family feels right now, and that makes my heart ache even more. And it is desperately looking for solace somewhere. I find it by hanging onto the conviction that there is more happiness, and peace, and love in this world than hatred and grief. (more…)

Jamie Whitmore: Athlete. Cancer survivor. Mom.

I first learned about Jamie Whitmore when I had to call her to arrange some travel plans so that the company I was working for could create this video. At the time I had no idea what her story was, it wasn’t until I watched the final film that I thought, “wow, this Mom is amazing!”

Jamie was once the most decorated off-road triathlete of all time. But when she was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, her doctors told her that she would probably never be able to mountain bike again. Or have kids. She did both. And she’s racing again.

Such an inspiring Mom. I had to share this video.

How to make a recycled bike chain bracelet

The last time I gave handmade gifts to my friends for Christmas I was 11. I hand painted them all little wooden rabbits.

Twenty plus years later I decided it was high time I made another batch of handmade gifts. I first came up with this idea because I wanted to make something ‘bikeish’ for my much missed mountain biking buddy in Reno. After making a bracelet for her I loved it so much I made more. Who knew  you could make something so ascetically pleasing out of  an old bike chain and some utility cord.

Here are the supplies you will need: (more…)

Postpartum Mountain Biking – When to get back on the bike?

Note: this post contains words related to child-birth. If theses sort of words make you light-headed, please look at this post instead.

Shortly after every pregnancy I’ve opened up my laptop, pulled up the internet and typed in to the search bar things like “postpartum mountain biking”, “how soon can I mountain bike after pregnancy”, “mountain biking after delivery”, “getting back on my bike after vaginal delivery”, etc.

I never find anything. No testimonials, no words of wisdom, no pictorials. Nada. I am going to rectify that situation. This post is for all those new OutsideMoms looking to see when other Moms get back on their mountain bikes after the brutal event known as ‘giving birth’. (more…)

Three ideas for building your own bike rack

After a month of living in our new home we finally took the weekend to unpack and organize the garage. The biggest problem we faced was the number of bikes we own: 4 kid bikes, 4 adult bikes, 1 bike trailer and 1 trail-a-bike. After careful consideration 2 kid bikes we’re booted out to the shed but the remaining 8 contraptions needed to be accessible.

With all of us bike commuting every day and mountain biking whenever we get the chance we were in a constant state of bike piles. The garage looked like this, on a good day…

We wanted to build a bike rack, but had a few criteria. It needed to be 1. Cheap. 2. Easy to assemble. 3. Sturdy. 4. Adjustable. We found three viable options online (click links below for photos and instructions). Option 1 and 2 can even be made to fit in your truck bed.

  1. Rack made from PVC pipe.
  2. Rack made from 2×4’s and other assorted wood pieces.
  3. Rack made from pallets.

We chose option #1, the PVC pipe, but made the following modifications: (more…)

Road ID Bracelet: Hope it never comes in handy

My husband commutes 16 miles a day by bicycle. Come rain, snow, sleet, hail or most often in Reno, wind, he’s out there pedaling. Most of those miles are busy non-bicycle friendly roads. When we moved here we invested in brightly colored clothes, safety lights, and a life insurance policy.

Most recently Joe added another item to his safety repertoire. A Road ID Bracelet. It’s a bracelet that shows his name, along with phone #’s of people to contact incase of an emergency (and medical info if necessary).  If he’s unconscious along the side of the road I’ll be the second to know about it (after 911 hopefully).

I’m mentioning this because the bracelet is actually really cool, and could make a good (albeit slightly morbid) Fathers Day gift. It’s not only applicable to bikers, but runners or hikers as well. Joe’s also been doing some backcountry trail running. Alone. Sometimes at night. He doesn’t carry his ID when he runs.

Joe tells me the one he has is really quite comfy. I think it’s pretty hip. Just hope it never really comes in handy.

Facing my fears: clipless vs toe clips

I’m pretty sure I’m the only mountain biker I’ve seen in years who still uses baskets (otherwise known as toe clips).  You’d think that this observation alone would have been enough to get me to switch to clipless pedals.  Nope.  There was NO WAY I was going to hook myself to my pedals.  What if I couldn’t get my foot out?  I’ve seen it happen to others; it’s not pretty.  I really didn’t want to be the girl lying sideways in the trail, still straddling her bike, still hooked by her feet to those tiny metal clips, still wishing she hadn’t entrusted her life to them.  It just seemed so… dangerous.

Oh, and I’m stubborn, resistant to change, a tight wad, and possibly a little overly sentimental.  I’d already traded my cutoffs for bike shorts.  My tevas for shoes (albeit New Balance sneakers).  My bandana for a helmet.  My Gary Fisher for my Cannondale.  My baskets were the last piece of the 90’s I had left!

Still.  When a rep from Pearl Izumi contacted me about reviewing some gear on my blog I knew in an instant what I had to do.  The time had come.  It was time to join the legions of mountain bikers around the world and go clipless.  It was time to face my fears.

I got my Elite II’s in the mail a few months ago. I was immediately intimidated.  They sat on the living room floor where I could see them every day.  I’d vacuum around them, tell myself that tomorrow was the day… I biked all summer with my baskets, assuring myself that each ride was the last.  “I’ll try them on the next ride” I’d tell Joe.  Pretty soon I started wondering if I should just send them back.

Then one day, for no reason other than that it was Tuesday, I went for it. (more…)

The 5th Date: Getting Outside with your Spouse.

Joe and I have outdoor recreational hobbies that often don’t work very well with kids; hobbies we’re not really interested in giving up. Yes, it is easy, important, and wonderful to share your hobbies with your kids. But let’s be honest. Biking down a dirt road with a double-wide trailer is just not the same as flying down a single track, especially with your better half eating your dust. (more…)

Unexpected Lessons from an REI Bike Clinic

The other day I attended a clinic at REI called “Basic Bike Maintenance for Women”. Did I learn about bike maintenance? Yes. Is that the point of this post? No.

To be honest, if something ever malfunctioned on my bike (tire, chain or otherwise) out on the trail, and Joe wasn’t with me, I’m not sure what I would do. Hike up a hill until I got cell service and call Joe? Look up tutorials on YouTube with my phone? Laugh my head off with my girlfriends while we fumbled our way through an hour long flat tire change? Judging by the amount of time it took us to figure out one of those fancy tire inflators the other day, I’d place my bets on the latter. I knew I needed to brush up on my maintenance skills.

So when five minutes into the workshop a woman raised her hand and said “So… how do you shift into a harder gear?”, I’m ashamed to say my initial thought hovered somewhere between annoyance and impatience. Had I stumbled into the How-to-Ride-Your-Bike workshop? Of course the instructor graciously took her question and walked her though the whole process, and while I grumbled to myself about this distraction, I noticed that several women in the room had the same question.

And suddenly I felt like a complete fool.  And a hypocrit. (more…)

Mountain Biking with Kids? Get a Trailer Bike.

Makes mountain biking with kids easier
We debated for a long time over getting a trailer bike. Would we like it? Is it a pain to pull? Does it do well on single track? And most importantly, will Ari like it?

Ari is, how should I say this… cautious? Ok, basically he’s afraid of everything but bugs. He won’t go anywhere near a climbing harness (yet) and up until last week wouldn’t set foot in a water vessel. BUT he has shown an interest in biking. He learned to ride pretty quick and seemed to really enjoy single track on his balance bike. So maybe?

Then our friends posted this video of their daughter (Ari’s age) riding a trail with her Dad. It was all over. We had to have one.

And now I can tell you all the reasons we love OUR trailer bike: (more…)


    I'm Lindsey. I'm an environmental educator, my husband's a biologist. The outdoors is infused into everything we do; which explains why I'm better at mud pies than home decorating. More About Me

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