We did it again! Shifting Gears, a local non-profit in Bellingham, WA and The Kona Bike shop came together to lead 10 ladies on a first time, semi-supported, overnight bike adventure. This is the 2nd year we have been able to do this thanks to the sponsorship of the Kona Bicycle Company.
The trip is a vision that Kona staff member, Amanda Bryan has wanted to host since she first started with Kona in 2015. “I remember being asked what my goals were with Kona during my interview and I was gunned and ready with so many ideas, but this trip was the one I wanted to make happen the most”.
Amanda Bryan Kona USA sales
Amanda was injured the year prior and couldn’t co-lead the trip but managed to keep herself mostly intact to help guide this year and cheerlead the other participants up, over, and through the mountains. “This year was an emotional one for me as I got to see these badass women pushing themselves to do things they weren’t sure they were capable of doing. All weekend these ladies were thanking us for hosting this trip but all of us were so thankful for them! It’s hard to put into words the amount of heart-swelling gushiness myself and the trip leaders experience from trips like these. I’ll admit It, cried a bunch on this trip – all happy tears!”
This women’s bike packing 101 trip had all the local star power in attendance. Hilary Neevel, the owner of Pack NW, was one of the trips leaders and route designer. Pack NW along with friends and family outfitted all 10 women’s bikes – It really does take a village!
Hilary used this trip to gear test before bike packing the Tour Divide this summer. Good luck, Hilary!
Shifting Gears showed up with some heavy hitters as trip leaders and we were spoiled with the humor and experience this team brought to the table.
Left to right: Nadine Van Niekerk , Shifting Gears Executive Director and Camp Mom. Jenny Schmidt, Shifting Gears President. Kari Humphreys, Shifting Gears Program Manager.
Kona ambassador Delia Massey and Kona gravity/enduro team member Hannah Bergemann are two returning guides that always know how to turn up the party.
Delia Massey on her single speed Honzo CR/DL
Hannah Bergemann on her Big Honzo ST doing what she does best, playing! The Kona Bike Shop invites all of the participants and the leaders at the bike shop on Friday before the trip to host a packing party. This part is really fun because the ladies that show up have no idea how they are going to fit all the gear they brought on their bikes. It’s great watching as tents, sleeping bags, and clothes start to fill up every inch of free space and seeing how creative people get with strapping stuff on just about anywhere they can. It can be a frustrating process, but laughter quickly takes over. The packing party is where the excitement really starts to build and it’s so infectious!
When Saturday morning finally rolls around, everyone meets at the shop for a last min bag and safety checks before we get the party started. This year the mechanicals were kept to a minimum and we were able to blast music and show off how to connect the greenway trails of Bellingham, Wa to the single track on Galbraith Mountain. The trip in its entirety is about 35 miles and just shy of 2000 ft elevation.
Smores were consumed and ice-cold beverages are enjoyed while belly laughs took over the campground. The weekend was stuffed full of challenges overcame and new friends being made. 10 ladies came together to try something new and left with new, bigger goals in mind. We are all already looking forward to next year!
Huge thanks to Paul Kelly for the snaps!