"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...
The Velominati may be gospel to the hardcore roadie. But when it comes to women and cycling, we felt there could be a few addendums to THE RULES. Weigh-in and tell us where you stand!
Before embarking on my trip to the Pyrenees all my non-cycling friends had the same question... “Why?” Hmmm. That is a very good question...
Everybody knows that getting on a bike gets you svelte, but the perks to cycling don't stop there. From insta-friends to instant street cred, there's more to cycling than just feeling fit. Here are the top ten reasons being a babe on a bike is rad...
I can be quite an over-thinker. I get stuck between should and want, think and feel. I make things black or white with no room for grey. If I do what I should do, I’ll miss out on all the fun. If I do what I want to do, I will screw everything up. Maybe, just maybe, there is room to live a little...
With women's cycling on the rise, doctors are taking a closer look at a phenomenon called "Bike Face" that has plagued lady cyclists in the 1800's. Back then, stories of women "looking tired", having "dark circles under their eyes", or having symptoms as extreme as "clenched jaws and bulging eyes" ran rampant as women experimented with a new invention called The Bicycle. While little proof existed back then, new telescopic photo technology gives us new evidence that the phenomenon is real....
I was days away from leaving for a long cycling event in Europe when Jenn asked me to bring along the latest bib prototype. Sure, I said. Love to give them a go. Nothing like 9 days of +100 miles and +10,000 feet of climbing to put their performance to the test. Little did I know that I would be tested too...
Big rides are no longer about how much suffering I can endure. They are reminders of how resilient I can be. That no matter how badly I've been broken down I'll come back stronger than before. And I'll do it with a smile on my face.