Last time we checked in with Natalie she had made it to South America on her journey from Alaska to Argentina along the Pan-American Highway. Through Colombia, past Ecauador and the equator, we hear from her now as she continues south through the unforgiving mountains of Peru.
Here's the thing... an excursion into remote, uncharted lands isn't always the key to a great weekend escape. Sometimes, the more easily accessible it is, the more likely you are to actually fit it into that one weekend of free time you found in your schedule. All the more likely friends will join in, coming in from Long Beach, Santa Monica, and the East Side.
It’s hard to say where my thoughts really were for those 60 miles. Mostly water and food, the rest was a jumble of emotions, which I know paled in comparison to the jumble of emotions that Elyse and Sara were experiencing. It didn’t seem fair that they had crashed, and I felt some guilt for continuing. At the same time, I wanted more than anything to finish, so I’d never, ever “have” to attempt Dirty Kanza again.
I did not think I could ride 200 miles in one day. It was absolutely beyond my comprehension. I figured I would find a way to get out of it.
Ever say "yes" before you know what you are saying yes to? That's how I found myself in Southern Utah with a group of badass women.
We took off and clipped in and while my first instinct was to settle further back – where I “belonged” as a second-time crit racer – I settled into sixth.
When we planned to make a video recording real reactions from real riders trying on Machines bib shorts for the first time, we were nervous.
"Cycling wasn’t just skinny young men racing each other, comparing egos. It could be tons of women, looking out for each other, pushing each other, and shamelessly downing beer."
"I have never been a talented athlete, but I am incredibly stubborn, I’m strong, I have endurance; all of these qualities I associate with simply being a woman surviving the 21st century. And so with a mission to prove my place, I began what I now think of as my 200-mile weeks."
We compiled a list of our favorite outdoor brands with women* at the helm.
When Amy Lippe signed up for her first Trans-American Bike Race, she had never done anything like it. She had toured a bit, leisurely. She didn't consider herself a cyclist.
Natalie is currently riding from Alaska to Argentina as the first trans woman to ride the Pan-American Highway. We last heard from her on the Northern leg of her trip. Keep reading for her latest dispatch from Belize.
There is a place we go when we become tethered by our conveniences. We lighten our loads. We take what we need. We find freedom in independence and strength in community. We go together.
In Sara’s words, “sometimes finishing last is damn fun.”
I savor the challenge of the road, the required vigilance. I’m one of the only 50-something women out there amid college girls on candy-colored bikes, wearing headphones and flip-flops. Riding my bikes renews me and makes me feel like a kid again.
Head on your bike in a direction you never go. Find some dirt. Find some friends, Leave the Garmin at home. Change up your mid-ride food to a dozen donuts or a breakfast burrito. Anything to make things fun again.
More than a custom bike, this one-of-a-kind S-Works Tarmac Disc signifies an important shift in the cycling industry and a new perspective on women's gear. Read about the women behind this build, and how this important project came to be.
We interview Re Wikstrom, the badass cycling and ski photographer who is paving the way for other women in her industry.
We asked a group of people in Los Angeles how they challenge traditional concepts of femininity. Here's what they had to say...
"I often get asked by people I meet along the way where I’m going next, what’s my route, and how long it is going to take. All of those are important questions when considering an adventure like this, but a lot of times I don’t have a concrete answer."
Just when you thought you had your ride food dialed... Meagan Jones flips everything upside down!
We use the highest quality fabrics from Italy and Switzerland. If technical features make your eyes glaze over, here's the skinny...
As a cyclist, I’ve been lucky to get to know the intricacies of the cities I’ve lived in since then, in that way anyone who rides a bike will understand. In Los Angeles, my home for the past two years, that knowledge has taken place in the many neighborhoods that some people don’t even know exist. The mountains, too, of LA are idiosyncratic.
For a long time, I thought I just wasn't a descender. Timid, feathering the brakes, and taking it slow, descending filled me with dread rather than joy and I was always, without fail, the last one down the mountain.
The Plan: A whirlwind weekend trip to Denver, CO to ride Mt. Evans, the highest paved road in North America.
The Challenge: What to pack?
At MACHINES FOR FREEDOM, the holidays are a time to reflect on the people, programs, and experiences that have enriched our lives. Rather than participate in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales that have become synonymous with the holidays, it has become tradition to do things differently and celebrate what this season is really about – giving thanks and showing appreciation.
What is it about the open road and hours of conversation that color everything with possibility, even weeks after returning home?
Relationships are give and take. You've gotta put in the time to make it work.
How does the old saying go, cycling caps are a girl's best friend? When it comes to riding bikes they really are.
We sacrifice a lot for our training, but let's not give up a future of healthy skin.
Ever felt super confident after you crushed a ride, only to question those feelings a few days later when you get spit off the back?
We dug a little deeper in our latest story, exploring how to stay motivated no matter where you find yourself in the pack.
You can find epic in the ordinary, even in the most unassuming hillside on the side of a highway.
Sometimes a flat tire is all you need to stop and take a look around.
Since the beginning, Machines For Freedom has been about girls on bikes and all the epic adventures, community vibes, and personal growth that idea encompasses.
For the most experienced insight into winter weather preparation, we caught up with biking’s favorite female snow pros, Elle Anderson, Jen Hudak and Elizabeth “Bud” Reeder.
Learning how to create an on-the-bike look that's both personal expression and high-performance is tricky. One cyclist shares what she's learned.
In honor of the approach of cooler temps, we talked to our friend Mandy Harper, owner & founder of Wholesome Bakery about comfort food for on the bike and she shared with us a killer recipe to spice up winter rides.
We have a running joke here at MFFHQ that compression is a gateway drug.
A good laugh with friends is worth a thousand solo training rides.
On the bike, you do what you gotta do. You shoot rockets of snot out of your nostril, you hawk up loogies that would make your dad proud and toss ‘em over your shoulder. What you don’t do is look back and see where they landed.
If you're taking a hiatus from social media as a means to preserve your ability to witness the glory of the TDF as it was meant to be seen, we don't blame you.
Here is a bikepacking guide from someone who thinks a bikepacking guide is pointless because there is no one right bike setup.
Mild crotch discomfort is something widely known about cycling by all riders. So it can be confusing for women new to the sport to gauge; what is normal discomfort? Which I should push through and how much is too much?
A wise woman once said, "It's easier to turn bike friends into real friends than it is to turn real friends into bike friends."
What is it about joining in on a group activity that makes us feel it is necessary to give everyone a PSA regarding our potential performance? It’s important to note, also, that no one ever asks this of you when you show up to a new group ride. No scary gang of girls rushes up on you, demanding to know if you will slow them down on the hills.
"Goals aren't always about succeeding. Most of the time they are about really putting in a real effort to possibly succeed." Read the interview.
Some purists will scoff at the idea of mucking up a nice clean setup with a tacky bag hanging off the back, but we here at MFF are die hard saddle bag converts. Chalk it up to our love affair with cycling accessories, with being prepared for any disaster, or maybe we just like to ruffle Fred Feathers.
There is a moment, before it happens, when it is unclear what is really going on. A frenzied series of questions and justifications run through your mind, trying to explain away this troubling phenomenon.
Without fear, would I know when to stop? Fear is so primal and emotional. A much more effective method than thinking. Like an automatic safe-o-meter. Maybe I trust it to pop-up just when I need it. And trust that I will listen to it and use it as a gauge of my boundaries and abilities...
If there's anything I've learned this year it's that sometimes the best parts are the unexpected parts. The happy surprises you can't predict and don't plan for...