kingdomexperiences

Get to know Caitlin

Caitlin grew up in Ridgefield, CT and was bitten by the travel bug very early on in life. Starting out as a francophile, Caitlin spent a summer in Minnesota going to French immersion camps (definitely not nerdy at all) and dreamed of living in Paris one day. Fast forward to freshman year of college in Boston, Caitlin decided to transfer to the American University of Rome on a whim and finish out her college career there. She then became a tour guide and started a tour company with a friend. After living in Rome for 7 years, she moved back to the US and met Collin, and the rest is history! Always knowing that she would incorporate her passion for travel and tourism into whatever she did, she and Collin started Kingdom Cycling & Experiences to merge their passions into one collaborative venture.

 

  1. Why is traveling so important to you?

Because it literally changed my life! Moving to another country opened my eyes to so many things and changed me more as a person than anything else I have experienced as of yet.

2.What do you look most forward to in your travels?

Traveling anywhere (even to a city near you that you’ve never been to before) is an opportunity to kind of try on another way of life so to speak. Can you be a New Yorker and live in one of the busiest cities in the world? What would life be like if you did? Or what about moving to a tropical island? Somewhere where you can’t speak the language? Going to new places and really experiencing them is such a great way to learn more about yourself.

3.Why is working in travel and tourism your dream job?

There is nothing better than being able to transfer your passion and love for a place to other people who are experiencing it for the first time. I get so into researching a new place I am traveling to (or even places I have been to before) – nothing gets me more excited than planning a trip. I’m also the non-official travel agent for most of my family and friends; I absolutely love putting trips together and customizing them towards what I know a person would love. To an extent, this is exactly what I do with KC&E.

4. If you could travel anywhere at any time past, present or future where and when would you travel?

Too hard! I would go pretty much anywhere. Italy is my adopted home country so literally anywhere in Italy – even places I have been to a million times. Some of my favorite places to explore in Italy so far (besides Rome) have been the coast of Calabria (specifically Scalea and Tropea), Sicily and the Aeolian Islands, and little hillside towns in Umbria and Lazio, such as Civita’ di Bagnoregio. The middle east/central Asia in general fascinates me – still hoping to get to Petra in Jordan as that’s been on my bucket list forever. But really, anywhere and everywhere.

*If you have any questions about Italy (most specifically Rome) please feel free to email me (caitlin@kingdomexperiences.com)! I love assisting in trip planning in any way I can. *

5. What is your most favorite outdoor adventure?

Hiking in Turkey was pretty cool! My friend Julia and I trekked through Goreme (specifically “Love Valley” – named for it’s phallic rock formations) and it was incredible. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience!

 

Get to know Collin

Collin is the co-owner and grand master of good times on two wheels at Kingdom Cycling and Experiences. He was born in Florida but quickly moved to Connecticut where he developed his love for being outdoors and cycling. He graduated from Miami University of Ohio with a BS in Exercise Science and then proceeded to move to Colorado to, you guessed it, ride bikes!

He lived just outside of Boulder, CO in a small town called Nederland. He finished his tenure out west with a short stint living and working in Moab to ride one of his most favorite trails on repeat, The Whole Enchilada. After Moab, he moved back to CT where he worked for GT Bicycles traveling as their demo driver covering a massive territory from Amarillo, TX to Maine. During that time at GT he fell in love with Kingdom Trails, trying to schedule as many demos he could in that region. A little while into working for GT he met Caitlin, his now wife. He knew when he met her that she was “the one” so they decided to change career paths and start their life together in Northern VT.

For the next 4 year Collin helped spearhead the Village Sport Shop Trailside operation while nurturing their side hustle – Kingdom Cycling & Experiences. The business showed promise but needed some real time and effort put into it so both Caitlin and Collin decided to focus on their business full time. Over the next couple years they put their full attention to KC&E and as they say “the rest is history”…

 

  1. What does biking mean to you, and how does it impact your life?

 

Great question! And where to begin…Well biking means a whole lot to me and it will mean different things to me on different days. On some days cycling will be a way of processing a tough emotion or feeling, on another it will be out of the pure excitement of going fast through the woods and to challenge myself, and on another it will be to simply enjoy the breathtaking scenery that I am riding through. The one constant with cycling for me is that is one of my favorite mediums to connect with myself, friends and strangers; I can’t think of a more positive environment to get to know someone or yourself.

 

Cycling impacts my life pretty heavily, I mean we’ve created a business around it! Cycling started as (and continues to be) a passion of mine that drives a lot of the decisions I make but don’t let it rule my life. I think how it impacts my life most dramatically now is finding new and fun ways that helps others find/grow their love of cycling that will help make positive life changes towards their health and wellbeing all around.

 

  1. How did you get into cycling?

 

You remember that heavier set kid with glasses and braces, who was unmistakably awkward and not good at team sports in elementary school? Well that was me, in a big way,haha! I started riding my bike at an early age because I found that cycling was something that I owned and was not judged on. I could enjoy being out in the woods just for the sake of enjoying it and it was not something that was tied to accomplishments.

 

  1. What is your dream cycling destination, and why?

 

Tuscany or Umbria! As you will find out in 2 questions, I love food equally -if not more than- cycling! I especially love cheese, pasta, espresso and pizza, so what could be better? Honestly anywhere in Italy where there is some mountain biking, vacant dirt roads and non-touristy food culture.

 

  1. What has been the biggest adventure you’ve gone on in life so far?

 

The journey of life hahah! But seriously, this is a tough one, I’ve had a lot of great adventures but I think the greatest one so far is having our own business. Having our own business has been kind of like learning to ride a bike all over again. At first you fall down a bunch, have some bumps and bruises but the more you keep with it the easier it is to remain moving forward. Everyday I am humbled by how little I know but excited and encouraged by the challenges ahead of me (us). Having this business teaches me something new everyday, takes me to amazing places and allows me the opportunity to meet new and exciting people constantly! Ohh ya, it is also highly encouraged that I ride my bike and find amazing food sports often, so that’s not too bad.

 

  1. What are 5 things that people may not know about you?
  1. I have no feeling in the left side of my face and have a hard time hearing in my left ear (as well as no feeling in the tip of my tongue, so sorry for the lisp sometimes!)
  2. I love food equally if not more than riding my bike, especially Italian food
  3. I meditate, journal and write gratitudes everyday to assist in being present, grateful and just to enjoy life to the max!
  4. I watch franchise movies on repeat (haha) especially, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and James Bond
  5. I am finding that I actually really enjoy small cities.

 

  1. Of all of the places you have lived so far, where would you choose to live again?

 

We already live there…well at least for half the year! Burke, VT; that place is magical. Beyond having stunning bucolic beauty, I have met some of my best friends up there. Being in Burke is really like having a little slice of serene calm in what seems to be an increasingly divisive and chaotic time (or at least the way the media makes it seem). I would love to live in some sort of city as well, I’ve always lived in small towns and enjoyed that but recently we traveled to some cities where we would walk everywhere and I really enjoyed that. I think there is a lot to be said for being less and less reliant on motorized vehicles and slowing down the pace of life a little to enjoy the views – figuratively and literally.

 

Who was Bill Magill?

By: Karen Wilson

Sitting by the fire with my morning coffee, I recollect summer days on the Kingdom Trails and one in particular stirs in my memory bank. I was guiding an awesome group of preteen girls and as we were approaching the Bill Magill trail, I said something like ” Oh, Bill Magill, he was such a great guy”. One of the girls remarked in a surprised tone “He was a real person?”. “Of course”, I replied and asked them if they wanted to hear a story about Old Bill Magill. There just happened to be a wooden bench just across from the red kingdom trail sign with his name and they settled in with wide eyes as I began my story:
 
“I first met Bill Magill many years ago when I moved back to Vermont from Hawaii. He sold his old farmhouse in West Burke to me where he had milked cows and raised his treasured draft horses. He proudly showed off two walls of trophies and an old trunk full of ribbons that he won in the horse pulling contests at county fairs. His team of draft horses pulled the heaviest slabs of stone a certain distance to win all those prizes. But what made old Bill Magill so special was the way he worked with his horses. People told me that Bill would just whisper in the ear of his horse to get them to pull those weights with all their might. They said other horsemen would yell and whip their horses to force them to pull. I liked this man the first time I met him not knowing I would get to know him better.
 
Later, I got a job at The Wildflower Inn where Bill moved his horses and he would take many of the guests on wagon rides in the summer and sleigh rides in the winter. He did those rides right here on this very trail where so many people now ride their bikes! Sometimes he would come inside and sit on a bench in the front desk area but most of the time Bill would just hang out in the barn at The Wildflower with his horses for hours at a time-even in the winter. He loved those horses like family and they knew it. It was like they could hear each other think. Yes, Bill Magill was a true “horse whisperer”.
 
So, now that you know Bill Magill was a real person, you can think about him and his gentle spirit. When you’re pushing yourself up the hill on the Bill Magill trail back to the Darling Ridge, you can imagine his whisper in your ear encouraging you to push with all your might to make it to the top!”
 
We hopped back on our bikes and it seemed as though the ride back up the hill back to the Kingdom Experiences office was a little easier than expected. It could of been due to the story telling time resting on that old bench, but maybe it was a soft whisper from Bill saying “get up”

3 ways to improve your jumping skills!

Words and Photo by: Quinn Campbell

One of the best ways to become more comfortable and capable out on the trails is to improve your jumping skills. However, it’s essential to leave the ground both confidently, and more importantly, intentionally. Whether you’re a seasoned rider looking to refine your technique, or someone who’s just tapped into their love for two wheels, here are three ways you can improve your jumping skills.

1) Start Small

I’ll begin here because safety is key. I hate to break it to you, but mountain biking is inherently dangerous even before you leave the earth, there’s no sound reason for your practice jump to be the biggest thing around. To start, find a jump you feel reasonably comfortable on and begin to familiarize yourself with the feeling of catching air. How does body position affect your takeoff and landing? How does your bike respond in the air? With a little repetition on the same jump you can move up in size and begin pushing your boundaries with more confidence.

2) Hit The Pump Track

Do a little research and find a pump track near you. Each time you hit a jump your body does a very similar motion to “pumping” a roller. You push the bike into the takeoff and pull upwards into the air while leaving the lip. It all happens in a matter of seconds, each movement practically indistinguishable from the next. Laps through the dirt rollers and tight berms will dramatically improve your timing and additionally cultivate an understanding of how your bike moves beneath you, both of which are essential components for a graceful takeoff.

3) Hone The Bunny Hop

This is the most difficult, and consequently, the most beneficial skill to learn. The bunny hop will allow you to properly control your departure and trajectory. It also gives you the ability to make jumps out of natural trail features, rocks, roots, and rolls will become opportunities to lift your bike off the ground. Don’t worry if you haven’t quite mastered the bunny hop, with a few pointers and some practice time it’ll become effortless.

Learning on flat pedals will help build proper technique. If you were hopping with clips before reading this, I’d change out your pedals and give it another go! There are three main steps to complete a proper bunny hop. Begin by lowering your chest and bending your arms and legs, essentially preloading your body. Next, in an explosive motion, move up and slightly back, pulling the bars toward your lap while pushing against the pedals. Your hips should be just behind the rear axle. Then, once your front wheel is off the ground, point your toes at a downward angle and scoop the pedals with your feet while bending your knees. This will pull the back wheel off the ground. If may feel awkward at first, but with repetition the motions will begin to blend and before long you’ll have both wheels off the ground!


When spring rolls around, or if you feel ambitious and want to haul out the fatbike and get some preseason practice in, take these three tips and put them to the test. New lines will present themselves on old trails and your confidence and bike handling skills will increase. Before long your rides will be filled with newfound airtime, greater control, and a propensity to show off.         

The Escape Artist: Vermont Dirt Road Riding

  By Collin Daulong Ernest Hemingway once said: “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle,” and that guy is pretty smart. Dirt road riding has become a recent obsession amongst cyclists of all types: the overworked business person escaping from the concrete jungle, the suburban cyclist dodging the over caffeinated (and generally distracted) drivers, and all other rider archetypes of varying fitness levels and ages. These riders are trading in their favorite stretches of tarmac for a slice of solitude in the countryside. When looking at dirt road riding and finding that perfect slice of inner peace, there is no denying Vermont as a mecca, especially when looking at New England specifically. Here are 3 reasons why the dirt road riding in Vermont is a must for any cyclist.
  1. The sheer volume of unpaved surfaces and the population density (or lack thereof). Vermont boasts an impressive paved to unpaved surface ratio, there are about 8,000 miles of unpaved surfaces versus only 6,000 miles of paved roads. When you couple that ratio with a population density of 48 people per square miles versus 742 and 858 (!) to its southern states, (Connecticut and Massachusetts respectively,) you can see why it is easier to find your sliver of solitude in the bucolic Vermont countryside.
  2. There are amazing and world renowned gastronomic gems hidden in the hills. You will be amazed where the most unsuspecting dirt road will take you and what sort of gastronomic experience will present itself. In a little town called Greensboro Vermont, a town that you could ride through and not even realize you just rode through a town, you will find one of the most recognized brewery and cheese makers in the world (yes I said the world!) Hill Farmstead brewery has been named “Best Beer in the World” by RateBeer.com 5 times in the last 6 years. Right down the road from this acclaimed brewery is The Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm. These cheese makers, similar to their bubbly and hoppy brethren down the road, are no strangers to world’s best awards. Owning accomplishments such as: “World’s Best Unpasteurized Cheese” and “Best in Class” from the World’s Cheese Awards and World’s Cheese Championships, respectively, are only a small tasting (no pun intended) of their accomplishments. These cheese and beer makers are only a sampling of what the unique Vermont countryside offers. Having gems like these in the hills offers the most delicious proverbial “carrot” at the end of the stick for your rides.
  3. It looks just like the brochure! To put it simply: the views are positively breathtaking. Speaking from my own personal experience while spending a lot of time on the dirt roads, there is not one ride that goes by where I am not floored by the uninterrupted beauty that the Vermont countryside has to offer, even if I have seen the same view hundreds of times before. Vermont does not have the tallest or most dramatic mountain peaks in the world, but what it does offer is a landscape that is stunning in its own way and calming to the soul. You will find yourself transported back to a simpler time not engrossed in technology and unsolicited tweet storms, when it was just you riding your bike for the unadulterated love of being outside with yourself or friends.
If you have not gotten off the pavement recently to ride some roads less traveled, we highly suggest it! We know that transitioning to new types of riding presents a whole new slew of challenges and curiosities, so if you have any questions at all regarding dirt road riding or how to try it out please let us know!