Happy Fall Yall!

Happy Fall, Pride Riders! 

As the seasons change and we start looking towards snowy days, we are reflecting on the joy we were able to find together on the trails this summer, even in the midst of a lot of chaos. Our inaugural Pride Rides team participated in the 2020 Catamount MTB Race series, and it was awesome! The 2020 season was socially distant and this took some pressure off folks who were new to racing and wanted to explore it without the intensity of group start times and a crowded course. There were many firsts for the whole team, and we can’t wait to see what future seasons bring. As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, through the advocacy of the Pride Rides leadership and community, Catamount Outdoor Center added a non-binary category to their race groups – thank you Catamount Outdoor Family Center, for being a leader! Also a huge thank you to all the folks that supported the riders through sponsorship of the race entries for the entire season! Thanks to SDR Clothing co, Owen and Jenn Mayhew, Caroline Peckenham, and Kelsey Pasteris for each donating to make this possible! We are so thankful for all of the community support we continue to see from everyone.

We asked our team riders to do a little interview and highlight their experience of the Catamount race series and the first Pride Ride team! Here are a few profiles of our Pride Rides MTB Team Members! Enjoy getting to know us a little bit more:

MEGAN DOCZI

Your name, age, and gender identity

Megan Doczi, 39, Female

Why did you choose to join the Pride Rides Team for the Catamount Trail Series?

LGBT+ visibility is an important issue to me. And while I’ve always wanted to try MTB racing, committing to a team with other members who share the same vision of diversity, equity, and inclusion was the ideal scenario.

What bike are you riding?

Liv Lust 1 (2016) – my first and only full suspension bike

Best moment of the season was…

Winning a prize from SKIRACK for the fastest time in my age group (35-44 years). How did they know old people love socks?!

Did you have a goal this season? If so, tell us more

My goal was to participate every single week, but the commute was a big hurdle. Sometimes I would drive 45 minutes to bust out my 20 minute lap and get back in the car and drive home. So, I didn’t meet my goal, but I made a new one! I would love to organize a few Pride Rides closer to my home in the Mad River Valley (Blueberry Lake, Flatbread Trails, and Paine Mountain).

Who’s your favorite person to ride with and why?

My favorite person to ride with is me. I’m very used to solo rides, so this year’s socially distant race series at Catamount was perfect. As a college professor, toddler mom, and rural central Vermonter, I squeeze in rides when I can, often at the last minute and at odd times. But I love exploring the woods alone – it’s refreshing and peaceful.

What are your biking goals for the year ahead

My #1 goal is to bike with my daughter. She’s two years old and just getting used to her Strider. I wasn’t introduced to the sport until much later in life, so I’m hoping that getting her into the trees early will pay dividends for her future wellness!

What barriers have you experienced in MTB? What barriers do you still see to overcome?

Personally, my main barriers have been time and location. What’s it like to have a trail network within riding distance from your house/apartment?? Other than that, I do feel like it’s been a challenge to break into the MTB community. I don’t really know too many people who ride, so I’m really glad that Pride Rides was formed. I am excited to connect with other fun, open-minded people! 

ABI GARDNER

Your name, age, and gender identity

Abi Gardner, 26, They/Them – Non-Binary

Why did you choose to join the Pride Rides Team for the Catamount Trail Series?

I had never been apart of a race team and this opportunity seemed like a more accessible way to enter into racing. Kris is also really good at marketing opportunities.

What bike are you riding?

I ride a 2017 Rocky Mountain Growler 750 hardtail

The best moment of the season was…

Honestly, my favorite moment of the season was going over the handlebars doing a lap on one of the courses and still finishing with a personal record time of the summer. I was so proud of myself.

Did you have a goal this season? If so, tell us more

My personal goal was to see improvement in my skills and endurance and I most certainly achieved that goal. My race times only seemed to get better and better throughout the summer, and I am really proud of myself for that.

Who’s your favorite person to ride with and why?

Miguel! He is an excellent motivator and really gets you in that race mentality without having the pressure of 30 other bikers on the course with you.

What are your biking goals for the year ahead?

My goal for the next year is to try fat-biking at least one time this winter and continuing in progressing my skills through continuing riding with friends.

What barriers have you experienced in MTB? What barriers do you still see to overcome?

One of the biggest barriers in mountain biking I’ve come across is the cost of mountain biking. I’ve only ever had one mountain bike and am slowly saving for another but they can get pricey FAST as can fixing your bike if something goes wrong. Getting to know the ins and outs of my bike has definitely helped as does having a great friend group who love tinkering on bikes.

Other barriers I see overcoming beyond cost(because that is one ever-present hurdle) is being a non-binary rider in racing. This summer we were able to get a third option added to Catamount’s Summer Race Series for racing, however, this will be an issue I can see moving forward if I want to explore racing outside of Catamount.

KRISTOPHER HUNT

Your name, age, and gender identity

Kristopher, 31, Trans man

Why did you choose to join the Pride Rides Team for the Catamount Trail Series?

I saw an opportunity to introduce folks to mountain bike racing in a low stress setting. It also turned out to be a great opportunity to advocate for non-binary recognition in the VT mtb race scene!

What bike are you riding?

🦄

I rode my Orbea Occam TR. Aka batbike. With the unicorn horn!

Best moment of the season was:

Riding with so many new folks! Some Pride Riders and some from REI and even more still from other teams.

Did you have a goal this season? If so, tell us more.

My goal this season was to be able to complete 4 total race laps, which I accomplished 1 time!

Who’s your favorite person to ride with and why?

I love riding with everyone. Seriously sharing bike riding is one of my favorite things in the world. I also had a lot of fun riding with my friend Joe during the season, watching him progress as a mtn bike rider and chatting about each week’s course and how we felt we did. 

What are your biking goals for the year ahead

Gap jumps and drops! I got to spend some time DH mtbing this year and wow is it fun and exhilarating. I’d like to “send it” a bit more. Haha.

What barriers have you experienced in MTB? What barriers do you still see to overcome?

$$. MTB or biking in general can be an expensive hobby. Downhill tickets are pricey, bikes and their upgrades also $$, repairs, race entry costs, etc. The good news is that there is a lot of free bike networks to ride and I have invested in quality gear that gets me into the woods. For that I am grateful!

Exclusivity and an overwhelmingly bro-y behavior in the mtb community is another huge barrier I have seen. Thankfully some major changes are taking place and many more diverse riders are popping up all over VT – we are riding together and calling for change in the overall culture. There is no one way to be a mtber and everyone getting on a bike and hopping on the trails deserves to feel welcome and included there!

Thank you again to all the riders who came out and rode as a team in socially distant times. They pushed their personal comfort levels and challenged themselves to a different level of mountain biking! You are all superstars and we hope you had a great racing bikes with us. Here’s a very socially distanced group photo 😉

Highly creative team photo collage made by Kris on the sophisticated editing program, snapchat.
Riders left to right: Joy, Meg, Kris, Abi, Amy, Miguel, and Rowan!

An update and hello!

Hey folks!

It’s been a little quiet here on the website front, but we’ve been doing some cool things which you might have seen some of on our Facebook or Instagram!

So, what do we have going on?

Pride Rides T-shirts!

Picture description: Kris and Caroline posing in a candid with Pride Rides T’s and having a casual bike ride near their home.

For our first official fundraiser, SDR clothing designed and printed a t-shirt and they came out great! We have a few limited unisex sizes left if you want to scoop one up for your self, a friend, or a little nibbling in your community: 2 XS, 1 S, 1 M, 1L, and 1 XL. – all money goes back into the Pride Rides account to raise general funds, sponsor riders and events, and increase accessibility. Send us a message if you’re interested! We anticipate rolling out some other cool Pride Rides gear in the future, so keep your eyes on our social medias for more of that.

Pride Rides Race Team!

A few great people in our community donated funds to cover the entry costs of folks wanting to ride with Pride in Catamount Outdoor Family Center’s weekly race series. Read about the race series here. In 2020 the race series has moved from a mass start to a socially distanced format where riders can ride the course anytime between the weekly course reveal on Sunday and Thursday evening. Silver linings – this has created a perfect low stress entry into racing for new riders, and allowed for the creation of a team based on team spirit, community, representation, fun, and self competition. The goal is not to be the fastest to the finish line (although if that is your goal we will cheer you on enthusiastically!), but instead to bring some queer representation to the local race scene, lower the barriers of getting into MTB racing, and challenge ourselves by leaving our comfort zone and leveling up our MTB skills and endurance each week. Coming up soon – a snapshot of our Pride Rides race team! Stay tuned to learn more about the awesome folks cruising Catamount each week and representing with pride.

When signing up for the team up for the race series, we noticed the lack of a non-binary category, which was problematic to us as a LGBTQ++ race team and for our non-binary racers. A few emails back and forth, and working closely with the race organizers we can now celebrate he creation of a non-binary category, the first of its kind in any Vermont bicycle race and maybe even in the country. While advocating for this category to be added to the male and female categories, we researched, and we googled, and we came up with…well not a whole lot! Only one race series in the UK had a published resource regarding non-binary athletes. I am so happy and proud to be involved with and have a Vermont trail organization be on the leading edge for queer folks in MTB racing! Thank you Catamount! We will continue advocating for this and hope to see more inclusive categories catch on in other races and events in Vermont.

Picture description: The new Catamount racer gender categories on the weekly race form to be filled out by racers. It shows an F, M, and X options.

Pride Rides Monthly Group Events!

Photo description: The Pride Rides VT logo( a pride flag sky back drop, a mountain scene with a single track line through the mountains and a mountain bike at the beginning of the trail. There is an added Stowe Trails Partnership logo at the destination of the trail depicted on Pride Rides logo.

We’ve developed some safe riding protocols and are working with local shops and trail chapters to bring back the monthly group ride after several months off. We are watching and taking into account the local pandemic situation and feel privileged to live in a state with low rates of contraction and virus spread to date. Our first ride was this past weekend at Cady Hill in Stowe (thank you Ranch Camp and Stowe Trails Partnership!) Unfortunately the MTB portion of the day was called off due to rain and trail conditions. Still, we enjoyed some tasty treats, drinks, and good queer company (including some new faces!) at Ranch Camp while it rained outside. When the rain slowed down a little bit we toured the beautiful bike path in Stowe with our MTBs. The trail riding portion of the day will be rescheduled – watch out for new date!

Photo description: Kris taking a group selfie with the Pride Riders that attended the July rain out ride in Stowe. In the picture is Kris, Miguel, Caroline, Barb, and Abi!

Next Up!

Next MTB group ride will be on August 9. Location TBD but we are keeping our fingers crossed starting now, for a sunny day. Mark your calendars! Look out for more rides in the following months along with some Pride Ride group trail work day opportunities. Come out and ride(or dig) with us soon!!

**Reach out any time if there’s a ride or spot you’d love to explore with Pride Rides, and we’ll look into it!

**Out riding the trails solo? Take a pic and tag us (@prideridesvt). Semi-social distancing spring continues into summer!

**Can’t wait to see you all out there soon.

Kristopher & The Pride Rides Crew

Loops and Routes!

Hello Friends! Here are some routes for you to check out. Since these are times for solo rides I thought I would share some of the rides that I have enjoyed on my own. I have personally ridden/verified each of these routes and have added a little description of what you should generally expect out there. Each of these routes are posted on my personal Strava, which is not private in any manner, so feel free to head over there and see other routes that I have created in the past or see where I’m riding today! These routes all have the potential to be edited for more or less gravel roads, some off road adventure as the trails dry up, and for adding/subtracting miles. Feel free to reach out to me anytime to ask questions about these or other potential routes or route finding. I would love to chat about it and help you find rides that you can get excited about!

Since we can’t have group pride rides right now, I am putting up these routes as good spring options for getting you out there on two wheels. I hope that you will share your rides with the rest of us! Please post pictures on the Facebook page or tag us on Instagram for a feature on our story, join the pride rides Strava club , and maybe all of the above! Let’s connect virtually about our adventures on bikes while we can’t physically get together.

Trail Etiquette


Mountain biking is a sport of shared venue. Whether we are riding alone or in a group, we are all riding bikes on trails that are built by a trail crew, maintained by a crew or club, owned by a person, town, tribe or business, and enjoyed by many other users. It is important to keep all of these things in mind when we are out there riding. Respect the land that you are on, the other users that are there, and the people that make being there possible. One of the very first things we should learn about a trail system is who is using the trails. What activities are other people using the trails we are riding on for? Many trails are multi-recreational, giving access to many types of activities. This could include: Hiking, biking, dog walking, horse back riding, skiing, snowshoeing, snow machining, etc. Since we are all using the trail differently and at different speeds, it is important to acknowledge each other and give each other space. Here are some “rules” or trail etiquette suggestions to be the best and conscientious trail user you can be.

Yield when appropriate. Some trails have right of way rules. Uphill users are asked to yield to downhill users and sometimes it is the other way around. Usually bikers are asked to yield most other users. This is usually due to the idea that cyclists are the least vulnerable user in most circumstances. Snow machines are asked to yield to all other users and to drive slowly through shared access areas. While these are common, it is not all encompassing and some trails deny access to certain activities, including biking. It is important to research a new to you trail to find out the rules for that particular trail. Often times trail access for certain activities can be contingent on users following specific rules.

Stay in control at all times. Or do your absolute best to do so. It is important for your safety and the safety of others to maintain control of your bike. This is not to say you shouldn’t try new things for fear of crashing, etc. but when attempting new maneuvers, be sure the coast is clear, communicate your plan, and then send it! Know that there may be other users down trail, perhaps only really let loose if you know that a trail is bike only and is directional(one way trail). Similarly if you need to stop on a trail, it is best practice to step out of the way to let other users pass or wait to stop where there is space for you to be off of the trail.

Practice leave no trace. There are seven principles of leave no trace. For another post or for when you feel like googling, they come with fun hand symbols and illustrations. Basically the are: don’t litter(this includes things you deem biodegradable like food scraps), don’t disturb the peace of nature, don’t cut new trails without permission, stay on designated trails, don’t have fires outside of designated fire areas, bury or carry your poop and carry out your canines poop, leash or really truly have your pets under voice command. Leash rules are a highly contested rule, but dogs and pets are nuisances to wildlife and can be a bother to other trail users and diminish their enjoyment of the trails. Plus if they poop in the trail and you don’t see it, it’s not a tree falling, the poop is still in the trail. No one wants to step in or run over dog poop. 🙁

Respect trail closures. Many, many hours go into building and maintaining the trails. When a chapter or trail network is closed, don’t ride on it. It could be closed for weather, trail work, clearing, forestry work, pest control, logging, events, hunting, etc. Whatever the reason, it is up to the land managers whether or not the trails will be open on any given day. Additionally, with time and if you ask other experienced riders, you will find there are days that you should avoid riding trails even if the land manager doesn’t post a closure. Extremely wet and rainy days tend to lead to rutted and muddy trails that dry and harden with ruts that will have to be repaired by trail crews, most of which are volunteer crews with limited resources and time for trail work. Similarly on groomed snowy fat bike trails, when the weather is warm and things are getting melty and/or if you are leaving a ruts in the groomed trail, do not ride. In any of those trail closed situations, pump up those trail tires or switch yourself to your skinny tired bike and hit the grav grav aka gravel roads. Have yourself a scenic ride where you’re sure to spot a barn, sugar shack, cow, townies, brooks, a good view, and random art installations. That’s Vermont for ya.

Go to trail work days. Tied into the rule above, it is best etiquette to spend some of your ride time helping to build or maintain trails. Even if you can only make one trail day at one location all summer long, get out there and try to participate. Most trail crews are 100% volunteer based and do amazing work to bring us such sweet sweet single track and the least we can do as riders is offer to carry some lumber, rake some trail, clear some trees or help repair a bridge a few times a season. We will post some trail work day options on our social medias and special pride ride trail work opportunities on our calendar. Join us to chip in and have a good time diggin’ some dirt!

Above all it is best to etiquette to be friendly and welcoming of each other and other users. Pride Rides is all about inclusion on the trails and we wish to exemplify that value at every ride be it with a group or on our own. Acknowledge each other and give a greeting as you pass or while stopped at a view. We are all out here to enjoy nature, the great outdoors, sweet trails, active movement, fresh air, and good company.

Why Pride Rides?

Why Pride Rides? For diversity, inclusion, and representation of LGBTQIA+ folks on bikes, because barriers to inclusion for LGBTQIA+ folks still exist.

It is good to belong! Building a community of queer folks inside the community of cyclists in VT creates a space for folks to ride without having to hide/closet or be quiet about their queerness, which for many of us is a big and important part of our identity. While I, and many of my friends, have had mostly positive experiences regarding acceptance and inclusion in Vermont, there have still been instances of discrimination, exclusion, ignorance, phobias, etc. These can be the dangers of being “out” among a group of mostly heteronormative people that may not accept or have an awareness of LGBTQIA+ people. Things have changed for the better in a lot of ways since over the years, but society still has a ways to go in the realm of LGBTQIA+ rights, awareness, and acceptance. Having a LGBTQIA+ specific group gives us that freedom to express ourselves fully and without the fear of judgment or worse. It is a safe and welcoming space to be ourselves on bikes. This can be especially important for folks who are new to biking. To be a beginner and be learning a new skill is intimidating all on its own. We can have an easier time learning when we feel safe and like we belong in this new space.

It is also for representation. To show the broader community that we are out here! My favorite little saying with a twist of my own, “we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re riding bikes.” This can be an obvious statement of existence or a resistance to the image that mountain biking is an activity of straight white men. Part of who I am is my transness, my queerness, also I am a cyclist. We all have multiple aspects of our identities, but often LGBTQIA+ are not shown to exist in certain spaces, leading to the idea that we don’t. Cycling and sport is one of those spaces. Though, because of brave athletes and allies and better representation, that is changing! When we come together and create this community we are also showing LGBTQIA+ youth that they too can exist in this space. Another of my favorites “you have to see it to be it!”

Other than just acceptance there are some statistical barriers. Bikes can be expensive to get into. Once we get into biking we joke about the magic bike formula: N+1. Where N is the number of bikes you currently have and +1 is how many you should have. Therefore it is an infinite number of bikes. All bike banter aside the first bike is a major investment, especially for mountain biking. To get a mountain bike that is mechanically safe and up to the task of taking you to the woods can cost you anywhere from $300-$3000(even more if you want to get really wild and extravagant). In addition to these numbers, statistically LGBTQIA+ people are more likely than their cisgender heterosexual counterparts to have lower incomes, experience economic shortages, live below the poverty line, be unemployed, etc. I have personally fallen into one or more of these categories for my whole life. Fortunately, I have had some really great opportunities and some seriously wonderful friends who have made that economic barrier surmountable for me. One of the major goals of Pride Rides is to address those barriers and provide the same access that was given to me to other queer identified folks. What that has looked like so far is working with allies, local shops and trail networks to: provide demos and rental donations for folks to ride at the Pride Rides, wave trail fees for riding on the day of events, and designing the rides to be beginner friendly. Looking to the future we have hopes to provide access to bikes for every ride and any rider who needs one.

After almost a full year of Pride Rides, I am so happy to say that it has been more of a success than I expected. So many wonderful people came out to ride each and every event. They have been some of the most well attended group rides I’ve ever organized or attended. I’m stoked to keep this ride rolling and see how we can grow and develop in the future. Thanks for coming out and riding!