kingdomexperiences

Get to know Collin

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont

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?

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont

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!

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont

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

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont
  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!          

High School Cross Country Mountain Bike Racing!

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont

By: Chris Mehlman, Photo: Alice Johannen

Mountain biking is a fast-growing sport. More and more people are taking it up as a way to socialize and challenge themselves physically and mentally. However, according to pinkbike.com, mountain bikers are “mostly male, between the ages of 25-44, and relatively affluent”. How can we ensure that mountain biking will continue to flourish in the future and attract a more diverse range of participants than it currently does? The answer: youth XC mountain-bike racing.

Cross-country mountain bike racing is not your typical middle or high school sport. Most kids gravitate towards traditional team sports such football, basketball, and baseball. However, mountain biking offers much that traditional youth sports do not. First, it is a lifelong activity. While many kids play team sports through high school, they often end up stopping once they graduate, since it is hard to find the time or a league in which to play those sports later in life. When kids take up mountain biking, however, they develop a passion for a lifelong sport. Even if they do not choose to race after high school, they now have a way to enjoy themselves and stay fit through their working life and into retirement. Second, mountain biking offers an alternative for kids who are not interested in traditional ball sports. I played lacrosse throughout middle school, but found that mountain bike racing offered me a chance to challenge myself physically
and mentally in a way that no other sport could, while still allowing me to be in a team
environment. While XC running is the closest comparison, mountain biking racing involves a longer effort and more technical prowess. Kids who are more interested in the technical nature can challenge themselves through that aspect, while kids who want the aerobic challenge can also be pushed to their limit. In mountain biking, a young racer can feel his or her own work directly paying off and bringing results or PR’s. Finally, and most importantly, the mountain biking community is a fun, welcoming group to be around. Just go to any high school race, and you will see hundreds of smiling faces, kids from different teams hanging out with each other, and a general sense of community that other larger sports do not have.

For these reasons, youth mountain bike racing is growing at an astonishing rate. New England High School Cycling Association (NEHSCA) was founded 2015, with its first race taking place in the spring of 2016. Even at the first race, there were over 175 kids. I, like many other kids who mountain bike, had always struggled to find other young people to ride with, but once I started racing in NEHSCA, I found a whole community who shared my passion. There were racers of all different ages, from 5th-12th grade, competing in several different categories. Some had raced for years, and were there to win, and others were there just to have fun. As a testament to the growing popularity of youth mountain bike racing, NEHSCA more than doubled in size in their second season, and is on track to continue that growth this year.

This massive growth is not a phenomenon isolated to New England. Throughout the country, there already are well-established middle and high school racing leagues run through the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). More and more leagues keep popping up each year, and I have no doubt that there will soon be a league in almost every state.

These leagues are also working hard to attract people other than the stereotyped affluent white male. The largest barrier to mountain biking is typically the cost. However, large companies like Cannondale, Trek, Specialized, and Shimano, along with local shops, have been generous in supporting youth cycling by offering discounted bikes and equipment to youth racers. They do this because they know that these leagues are the foundation for a strong future for mountain biking; they are these companies’ future customer bases. Some leagues have also established teams in the inner-city in less-affluent neighborhoods. In addition, many leagues, including NEHSCA, have worked hard to attract more girls to the sport, through girls-only clinics andgroups. Little Bellas, an organization founded by professional racer Lea Davison to help get more girls on bikes in order to develop self-confidence, has also helped leagues with this mission. By introducing kids of different genders and socio-economic backgrounds to riding now, mountain biking will be even more popular and widespread 20 years down the line.

Now, when I ride in the trail systems around Boston, I always smile when as I see more and more kids in NEHSCA jerseys riding in groups, or out with their parents. The bug has hit them, just as it has hit all of us.

5 ways to better plan and dress for your fat bike adventure!

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont

By: Tom Seymour

Adventure can mean many things. Often when we think of adventure in the context of cycling, our minds immediately go to far off places and big landscapes. But adventure can happen anywhere at any time and fatbikes are a great tool for adventure seekers everywhere. This being January in Vermont, I’m mostly thinking about winter adventures right now. Winter is great here in the NEK, but the temperatures can vary quite a lot and quickly. In this article I will discuss some ways to stay warm and comfortable on your next winter time fat bike adventure.

 1: Know your abilities and plan accordingly. 

According to a 2014 article in Men’s Health, fat biking can burn up to 1,500 calories an hour. While we all won’t be burning that many calories every hour we are on a fat bike, we can look at this information as a gauge of how much work our bodies may have to do during our next fat bike adventure. The first step I take when planning for a fat bike ride is to look at the weather and the trail reports and use this information to plan my ride and to choose the clothing I will use to regulate my body temperature. If you are new to cold weather cardio, I recommend  shorter, close to home rides to learn how your body and equipment respond to various temperatures.

2: Layers!!

Most of us are familiar with the concept of layering your clothing to stay comfortable in cold weather. When exercising in sub freezing temps, the right layers are key to staying warm and as dry as possible. The first layer to consider is your base layer. Whether you choose a mid weight or lightweight layer, make sure it is form fitting to allow the base layer to move the sweat that you will inevitably produce away from your skin.The next layer will be either the mid or outer layer; it will usually have some type of insulation and if used as an outer layer should have some type of wind protection. Mid layers should be some type of breathable insulation and should fit small enough so that some type of shell can be worn over it. Though fat bike specific clothing is now being offered, most cross country ski clothing works well as does winter hiking clothing.

3: Wind  protection

Even though winter riding tends to be slower than summer time riding, we are still moving through the cold air at pace fast enough to make wind protection important.  Like the rest of our clothing, exactly how much wind protection we need depends upon the temperature and the type of riding being done. For example; on a 30 degree day in the woods, wind resistant garments are not needed nearly as much as the same day on back roads where speeds are higher and much of the tree cover is lost. Again, fat bike specific clothing is now becoming available but other types of winter clothing can work well and in a pinch, a rain jacket worn over an insulating layer or two can work to block the wind. If shopping for a new garment, look for one with a wind-proof/resistant front and a more breathable back. Also look for stretchy material to allow for full range of motion and make sure it is large enough to accommodate an insulating layer worn underneath.

4: Hands, feet and head

These are areas that a very important to take care of; not many things can change the tone of your adventure like excessively cold hands or feet. For most people, a thin winter hat under your existing bike helmet will work well, you can also pair this with a neck warmer or use a balaclava for an all-in-one solution. When Temperatures dip below 10 degrees fahrenheit, an insulated alpine ski helmet can keep you warmer and keep more of the wind off of your head. Gloves could be an entire post by themselves! To keep it simple, I recommend thin glove liners and a good warm glove that blocks the wind. If your hands are particularly sensitive to the cold, consider pogies(see next point) and/or temporary chemical hand warmers. For shoes, you can choose from some fat bike specific offerings from various brands or use an insulated winter boot with a non aggressive tread that will allow good contact with the pedal. If you are prone to cold feet, you can use chemical toe warmers or there are even heated socks available.

5: Dress your bike: frame bags and pogies

 Two last items to consider to make your next fat bike adventure more comfortable are pogies(handlebar mounted mittens) and a frame bag. Pogie designs vary but they all focus on one thing, sheltering your hands from the wind and cold. Pogies are not only great for warmer hands at lower temperatures, but they also allow the use of a much thinner glove when the temperatures rise allowing for a more natural feel of the brake and shift levers. Some pogies include pockets on the inside to use for snack or hand warmer storage. Framebags fit in the front triangle of your bike’s frame an can provide storage for tools, snacks, extra clothes and water. In fact, a frame bag in conjunction with an insulated water bottle is the best way I’ve found to keep water from freezing during colder rides. By replacing a back pack with a frame bag, we lower our center of gravity for a more stable ride and have the best solution for maintaining an unfrozen water source.

Gift Guide #2: The New Cyclist

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont

Thanks for stopping in for the second installment of our cycling gift guide. Today we will be guiding you through some purchases for the New-to-cycling cyclist.

Let’s start at square one, a balance bike! These are bikes that have no pedals and generally are designed for young children to help them develop their sense of balance before dealing with the complications of gears, brakes or pedals. A few years ago my wife and I gave our nephew a balance bike for Christmas and it was much more than just giving a gift or item that they may throw to the side in a few months time. This is a gift that can help put forth the foundation for a life long of healthy and happy habits. I wish when I was growing up there were cool looking balance bikes; I was stuck with a huffy that I spray painted and which caused me multiple leg lacerations because training wheels never did the job as well as they were intended to do. Cannondale makes one of the coolest looking balance bikes out there with their single sided fork, affectionately known as the Little Lefty on this bike. This cool looking bike will have youngsters eager to engage in healthy lifestyle choices from an early age.

A new helmet! Anyone that has spent any time with me will know that I am a stickler for helmets; there is no piece of equipment that is more important than something that is going to save your noggin! Everyday on the trails I see some poor sap riding with a mid-90’s Styrofoam facade of a helmet that would not do much at all to take an impact. A good rule of thumb is to replace your helmet every three year, this will assure that the helmet will take the impact the way it was designed, it will also keep you up on the latest fashion trends :).  When looking for a helmet find one with MIP’s technology, this is an added layer of protection that has been shown to reduce the incidence of brain injury in impacts. 

Finally, some instruction! There has never been a better time to be a biker, the technology that is available to riders at the prices that it is makes it very attractive to get into cycling. That being said, you can have all the best equipment in the world but without proper education you won’t get the full benefits of your sweet new bike or equipment. Think about it this way, you have an awesome new Google Pixel 2 XL phone designed using all the best hardware, but it is using a Window’s 95 operating system, now that wouldn’t be too awesome would it? There is a foundation of knowledge that can learned at the beginning of a riders activity career that can help shape a safer and more confident cyclist. 

If you have any questions regarding any of the gift suggestions above please feel free to email us or call/text 802.427.3154 .

Thanks and hope you are all having a Happy Holiday Season!

Collin

Cycling Gift Guide #1 – The Basics

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont
 Do you have a cyclist you are buying a gift for this winter but have no idea what to get them? We’re here to help!
 
1. Dropper Post (if they don’t have one already). This is for the mountain bikers out there. As someone who gives mountain bike instruction regularly, I can safely say that there is not one piece of equipment that is more necessary to help take a rider’s ability to the next level than this! Being able to get the saddle out of the way to create “bike body” separation is key to being able to use the bike as a tool for fun rather than to be a passenger on it! When you are buying one of these you can expect to spend between $300 and $500 and will need to know a few pieces of information: what size the seat post is that the rider currently has, what length seat post you need (your Local Bike Shop can help with this) and which cable routing the bike will need (internal or external).

 2. Cycling Shorts If you are looking for a no-brainer good gift idea for any type of cyclist think about purchasing a pair of padded cycling shorts. I am speaking for the men here, but I know many of us will run cycling shorts until they are falling apart and nearly require a hazmat suit to handle. This is a piece of equipment that gets used and abused heavily during each and every ride. Spoil your cycling friend, family or significant other with a fresh pair of padded cycling shorts. You can snag a good pair for between $80 and $130. If you are buying padded cycling shorts for the mountain biker, check out Sombrio’s Smuggler Bib Short, these sweet shorts have 3 storage compartments sewn in just above the butt to store water bottles, food, or any other trail necessities.
 
 
3. NEW TIRES! Whether you are a mountain biker or road biker, a new set of rubber is always a welcome addition. There are so many tires out there with different tread patterns, rubber compounds and sidewall compositions, that you can easily change the ride quality of any bike with some new tires. For mountain bikers focused on trail riding 
we like the Maxxis Minion DHF in the front and Maxxis DHR 2 in the rear; having this combination will give your rider the assurance they need to ride that section of trail that has given them trouble! Depending on the type of compound and rubber compound these tires can range from $45 to $75.
 
 
4. Some good eye protection! I see so many cyclists out on the trails and on the roads without any sort of eye protection and that is just plain stupid. There are low lying tree branches, mosquito flying around, dust in the air, and your buddy blowing out a snot rocket in front of you! A little bit of eye protection can go a long way. I am personally a fan of the Ryder eyeware because they offer a great product at a reasonable price. Be sure to get a pair of their glasses with a good anti-fog lense (especially for mountain bikers who stopping and starting often). You can get a good pair of glasses for $80.
 
 
5. Experiences! What is probably the one reason why every cyclist rides their bike?? For the experience of it! We offer a whole range of services from multi-day skills retreats
to hourly mountain bike or gravel touring and instruction. We’re currently offering an amazing Black Friday deal beginning on Monday, 11/20, with another offer on Friday, 11/25. Let us help your favorite cyclist revolutionize their experience!

 
We hope that these gift ideas are helpful and if you have any questions about any of the ideas or others feel free to email us! Thanks so much and happy holidays!

Gravel & Gastronomy FAQ’s!

Kingdom Experiences, Mountain Bike Skill Camps and Tours in Vermont

VT GRAVEL AND GASTRONOMY FAQ’s

Thank you all so much for your interest in our Vermont Gravel and Gastronomy Experience. Based on the feedback and questions we have received, we thought it would be helpful to answer some of the most frequently asked questions below. Please let us know if we missed anything!

I can’t make the dates you have listed. Will you be running this again?

Yes! Not again until 2018, but we plan to run this at least annually, and potentially bi-annually.

70 miles is a lot for me to ride per day. Will you be running something like this with less mileage per day?

Yes! We want to have options for everyone: any age, any ability level. We will be running this exact experience with different mileage, as well as similar experiences with more moderate daily mileage, also.

What is included in the cost of this trip?

The cost of this experience includes 4 nights of lodging at some of the finest Inns in Vermont, breakfast and lunch each day, dinners and tastings each night at amazing local restaurants and breweries, seasoned guides, and sag support.

Do I get a discount if I sign up with more than one person?

Yes! If you sign up with 1 or more people, you each receive $150 off of the cost of the trip.

Do you offer any kind of a payment plan?

We take a deposit at booking; the remainder can be broken up into installments prior to the trip.

Will you be offering this kind of a trip at any other locations?

Yes! Please sign up here  to be put on our email list for Gravel & Gastronomy Experiences, and receive information on the next dates for this trip, as well as other similar experiences.

Is there a way to sign up online?

Yes! This link allows you to pay for your deposit online and secure your spot!

Backwoods Benediction

By Jane LeMasurier

I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with three siblings and lenient parents. Given our proximity to the woods and mountains, it was free-range biking for us for many years. Most of our childhood days were spent exploring old logging roads and trails in our backwoods. I have memories of barreling down creek beds with my younger sister, no gps, no map, no cell phone, just a sense of general direction and a couple of quarters in our pockets to call from a gas station pay phone if we could get to one. Things were certainly different back then. And somehow we survived.

Now in my adult life I teach mountain biking classes to kids in my town. I’m just as enthusiastic to teach them bike skills as I am to teach them how to appreciate the woods for the bona

fide joy they provide. I took a group of 12 kids on a ride last fall. We followed an under-ridden and overgrown trail near the school. Shortly into the ride I spotted some ledge just off the trail with a short and steep roll-down section that looked like something we might be able to clear off, scope out, and attempt to ride. So I slowed down, got off my bike, pointed it out to the kids and asked if anyone wanted to try it. They all raised their hands, some with blind enthusiasm, some with slight skepticism.

“But is this even a real bike feature?” one boy questioned.

“Touch that rock. Is that rock real?” I responded. He looked at me, looked at the rock, looked back at me, and smiled.

My sense of safety has evolved from the days of setting out into the woods feeling convinced all would work out for the best. I carry a med pack and bike tools and have an action plan if something goes wrong. And I stick to the trails, because there are trails. But I still carry with me the general feeling that, more than anything, a bike is a tool for exploration, into ourselves and the “real world” of nature. So I climbed up on the ledge and asked all 12 of the kids to climb up with me. We took a look at potential lines and determined a “hard” route and a “harder” route. There was no easy way down. The kids asked if anyone had ever ridden this before. And I told them, judging from the overgrowth, they just might be the first. They looked at each other with big eyes. We cleared away some brush at the bottom of the roll down and then I gave it a go, explaining first to the kids how to pick their line, get into position, and commit.
Over the next hour and a half the pack of us explored this rock: looking at it, walking on it, riding over it, all in an effort to get to know it, to learn how to roll it as smoothly and successfully as possible. The kids couldn’t get enough. It would have gone on, trial after trial, but our class was ending, so we headed back out the same quarter mile of trail we came in, back to where we started, so much further along than when we began.