Tell me about yourself?Robin Vieira: I'm a 20-something year old woman with a full-time job living in Bend, Oregon with my partner, Ren, and our dog, Sky. I first rode a mountain bike in college with my dad and fell in love with the fast-moving adventure in the trees. After making the decision to not pursue a career in soccer post-college, I fell even harder in love with riding bikes. It seemed to fill a gap in my life I didn't know existed. I'm one of the many women who rode with the guys every day to learn the sport. It was brutal at times, but the highs were crazy high and the lows were what they were. I also became a yoga teacher, and this, coupled with my degree in Neuroscience/Exercise Science satisfied my fascination for finding "flow," which I found in myself on the trails. It's important, I think, to recognize that dedication to riding bikes takes time. I find peace in solo time spent in the saddle, whether it's on flowy single-track, technical rock gardens, or a loooonnngggg type 2 gravel ride.
What was the inspiration behind this film project?RV: This film was intended to celebrate women and their place in the bike community. Being a female rider is just about as complex or simple as you want to make it. It's easy to get hung up on being hyper competitive with others, and it's also easy to say screw it and just pretend you don't care in order to fit in with the bro-brah culture inherent to the mountain bike world. It's also hard. For me, it's not hard in a way of trying to keep up or pedal hard enough- it's hard to just be your own damn self on your bike, and celebrate what that feels like. The truth is, bikes enable a sense of confidence that women already have. When we let them, bikes somehow force us to be open and be our true selves. However, in a society with a dark history of oppression, women are constantly living between acting a certain way and being themselves- this comes out on the bike. When women ride true to their style, to who they are, it's a beautiful, freeing, uplifting thing. This film was inspired by women riding, without limits.
What have you observed about how women engage with the bike community?RV: For the sake of this question, I'll generalize, but I think women often find themselves on either end of a very large spectrum of engagement with the bike community. On one end, we have women pushing the boundary of acceptance and going above and beyond to create a very women-centric and women-powered bike community. Lots of pride, and lots of trying to put men in their "place"– a result of years of men putting women in their "place." You'll hear them say, "it's only fair... they've done this to us, right?" Ehhh wrong. On the other end, we have women trying to fit into the bro-brah culture that men have created. Make note I LOVE parts of the bro brah culture and probably find myself leaning toward this side of the spectrum. But there’s a difference between trying to blend in and copy what the guys are doing and having your own style. What both ends of this spectrum have in common are the need to survive in exclusive clubs– it's almost like women have found two extreme ways to carve out space for themselves and exist in the mountain bike community. But there is a third area which is rare, but gaining traction. I strive to exist in this area, but it's challenging. Recognizing your unique strengths and challenges, taking pride in those, and lifting other women up by recognizing theirs. Being competitive with other women, with the purpose of getting them to ride their best, and getting yourself to ride your best. Eddie and I know we are different riders and that's a beautiful thing. We value those differences and use them to grow.
What was your goal with creating this film?RV: My goal in creating this film was simple: to make a film that celebrated women riding bikes and to inspire women to honor their gifts and growth areas, I, personally, wanted to show up being my truest self- rip the downhills, get some small little playful jumps in, pedal mindfully over techy sections, and laugh really hard at Eddie being Eddie. Also just have a rowdy good time in the woods.
What did you learn through the process of working on this project?RV: Gosh. I learned about my riding style. What I love to do and what I don't. I realized how grateful I am for all the gals and guys who've shown me how to ride a bike. I remembered how much my bike has taught me while not riding, such as positive self-talk, strength and courage, to breath, and to be myself. Bikes bring out the best and the worst in us. They strip us down and show us the good, the bad, and the ugly of ourselves and others. It's soooo not about having the faciest bike or gear. It's about appreciating where you are at and where you are going. I confirmed I love to ride fast, and love riding with Eddie.
Is there anything else you think we should know?RV: It's important for us, as women, to not feel this immense pressure to "keep up with the dudes." As a woman who can keep up with some dudes and not with others, I've learned, that's great, but that's not what it's about. As soon as we, as women, embrace creating our own, inclusive culture that doesn't keep anyone out, including men, the more mountain biking as a sport and way of life will grow.
Tell me about yourself.Andy Cochrane: I’m a close friend of Robin and Sarah and an avid rider myself– gravel, roads, mountain bikes, you name it. It’s hard for me to step on any bike and not feel like a kid at the homemade pump track a few blocks from my childhood house. It’s pure freedom and I’m always trying to find ways to get more people to ride. More than that, bikes are a tool to tap into a deeper sense of who you are.
What was the inspiration behind this film project?AC: It started with some candid conversations between the three of us last fall. We were bikepacking in Utah and those long days in the saddle gave you ample time to riff on ideas. I love riding with both of them and feel like I’m always learning. We started putting together the formula for this film soon after that. Collectively, we all agree that bikes are the perfect tool to tap into a better understanding of yourself. Robs and Eddie are wildly different, which was a key. We wanted to play their personalities off each other and show that there isn’t one template for what women have to be in mountain biking.
What was your goal with creating this film?AC: Honestly, just to give them two of them a platform. My role was to put together a budget, plan the riding locations, build the right production team, and then shut up and listen. I wanted to pass the mic and see what would happen. I have a ton of trust in Robs and Eddie– they’re both incredibly smart and talented– as well as trust in our Director, DP, sound, and editor. I wanted to just be along for the ride and share, as honestly as possible, their perspectives and lived experiences as women mountain bikers.
What did you learn through the process of working on this project?AC: Women are competent, capable, strong, and unique. Let’s all stop putting them in a box.
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