In September, we reach out and ask mountain bikers to join Evergreen. And sometimes, someone, somewhere, responds by sharing their own story of how they got involved with Washington's mountain bike community. Check out Michelle's inspiring story and, if you haven't already, be sure to become an Evergreen Member!
It’s been a few years now, but I can distinctly recall the day my therapist asked me; "Can’t you find something that is exercise but isn’t?"
I don’t see her very often, but, the few times that I did over the course of that year I made mention of needing real change. I had just separated from my husband of almost a decade and something had to give.
Shortly thereafter a close friend recommended that I take up mountain biking. I thought sure; I mean, I rocked BMX as a kid and was generally somewhat coordinated. Mind you, that was 30+ years ago. But sure, I thought, I got this. That weekend, I started looking for bikes, classes and events. It just so happened the same weekend was the MTB festival at Duthie organized by the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance. I ended up going solo and demo-ing a carbon, super fancy– all bells and whistles– bike. Meanwhile, I almost OTB'd (going over the bars), as brakes have definitely changed since I was a kid!
Despite the near mishap, something, a spark, an awakening of sort, occurred inside me.
Photos by Ian Terry
Looking around the clearing at all the folks young and old, the vibe felt good, felt lively, felt like I wanted to be a part of this energy. I still felt awkward and wasn’t quite sure what next. Then, I found myself at the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance tent asking a few questions.
I didn’t know it at that time but becoming a member of Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance helped me become a mountain biker. Online I found affordable beginner progression classes, small organized group rides, articles to expand my riding knowledge and resources connecting me to gender specific riding groups.
I learned about trail etiquette. I ended up taking several classes in which the instructors encouraged students to swap numbers, to ride together, and to keep in touch. Keep in touch, we did! Several years later my ride community has grown to include folks all over the Pacific Northwest.
Now I have my Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance membership set to auto renew and also contribute a small monthly stipend since I can’t always get out to do trail work. I have also become a member of several other trail organizations in the PNW.
I ride almost daily and am so thankful for the trails created, and maintained, by the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance as well as other Pacific Northwest trail organizations. And, to the army of trail makers and maintainers — your hard work and dedication gave me my life back. For this I will forever be grateful.
I encourage everyone to become a member of the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance so we can continue to enjoy our local trails and have more and more trails created for us and future shredders.
Your MTB friend!