BY : TAYLOR DOYLE
Sisters in the Wild is a new event series which aims to connect women and non-binary folks over the special activity of bikepacking and offroad riding.
It is a community and safe space for those looking to spend time outdoors with like minded people. With skill sharing, fear conquering, and community building as priorities, SITW is a women-led initiative which has so far featured engaging weekend getaways first in Slovenia, and now here in the UK.
Here is my interview with Rae after having major FOMO from not having attended the first Sisters in the Wild in the Lake District back in August.
SITW UK are now hosting some fall gatherings, including their Autumn Bikepacking Gathering which Stayer are once again providing two offroad rigs for, as part of two subsidised spots for folks who are shy of the gear and the bike to participate. Rae was one of these supported attendees back in August, and let’s just say she had a pretty good time. To apply for one of these spots, just shoot sistersinthewildUK@gmail.com an email. They won’t ask for any personal or financial info, just a hello, and bit about you is enough 🙂
Taylor: How are you feeling in the aftermath of the weekend?
Rae: It feels like … you know what, a song keeps popping into my head, this like, really old, Diana Ross song that’s about the sweetest hangover. I feel like I just had such an amazing time, that I’m kind of in that hangover now of like, oh I want to go back, I want to be in that space again. With that kind of vibe and memory of this really great time.
Taylor: Aw, that’s amazing! What would you say is the biggest barrier you experience to bikepacking?
Rae: The biggest barrier is probably confidence, because there’s so much information out there about–you have to have this kit, or you have to have all of this stuff ready, you have to have this experience, and a lot of it is, I think just people trying to sell you stuff, and actually it’s really quite eye opening how with just the stuff you already have you can probably already do a trip if you’re already into camping, or you’re already into cycling. So for me, the biggest barrier is just the confidence or lack of knowledge.
Taylor: Yeah that’s a really good answer. On the flip side of that, what makes you feel included in the wide world of cycling?
Rae: You know, I haven’t actually felt included until this event. I was explaining to people before that I predominantly got into cycling because of my male friends, and they are very much, you know, on their own, they would go off and do a really long journey, or they would go out for the day, and I would tag along, so, that was the extent of it. So I didn’t really feel like there was a community behind it, until I realised that actually, there is a big community out there, and people are talking to each other, and they are planning things together. So yeah, I would say I didn’t really know of that before this event.
Taylor: Wow, my heart is full. Okay, and now having done bikepacking, for the first time, what do you think your favourite part is about it?
Rae: My favourite part is probably waking up without an alarm, and knowing that my day is oriented around cycling, and sharing that with other people who also love cycling.
Taylor: Oh my gosh, that is beautiful. I guess you’ve sort of answered my next question which is, do you prefer group riding or solo riding?
Rae: You know I have a love of both because I love the independence of being able to say, okay, I’m going to go from A to B, and there’s no limitations to that, I don’t have to, you know, think about logistics for how we do that as a group. But when you can come together as a group, then I just feel like, yeah, you get to share in all that, kind of joy and are able to come instantly together around how you’re enjoying that experience with other people, and they’re also in that same position. So they’re different things, but I love them both equally for what they offer.
Taylor: Yep, I completley agree with that. Do you prefer, or do you think you’ll prefer, because you are just starting out, cooking your own food or buying food as you go, at various pubs and things?
Rae: I would probably prefer to cook my own food just because of accessibility. There are some places that are really great, I live in Bristol and everywhere in Bristol will cater to the max. But as soon as you go further out of the bigger cities, which to get the great views and to be in nature, means it’s a little bit less that way. But normally when I go camping I like to cook as well, so it’s quite nice to take bits and pieces along or grab bits from the shops along the way and just cook something up.
Taylor: Nice! Okay, how would you describe, in a few words or sentences, the vibe of SITW?
Rae: I would say, hmm… there’s something that I keep wanting to describe it as. For having gone through that experience, and come away completely in love, and so for me, I would sum it up as a whirlwind romance.
Taylor: Haha, amazing, I love that. And would you go back again?
Rae: 100%, try and stop me.
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