Katherine Donnelly | 08.07.2018

As part of Outdoor Project's Women In the Wild series this summer, I have had the honor of working with outdoor women from all over the industry to dig a bit deeper into who they are, how they got to where they are now, how they approach the outdoors, and more. These women are all rad in their own right, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or how "badass" they might be. Whether they're mothers, daughters, sisters, professional athletes, beginners, weekend warriors, "instafamous," or anywhere in-between, their unique stories, journeys, opinions, and perspectives are incredibly valuable and insightful as Outdoor Project - and the industry as a whole - progresses and evolves to become more inclusive to every type of outdoors person. 

Through in-depth and often thought-provoking interviews, I hope to highlight these women's stories, their work, their adventures, and so much more with an eye toward giving them their well-deserved share of the spotlight while inspiring and empowering even more women to get outside!

In this feature we talk to Lindsey Richter.

When this Woman In The Wild says she doesn't leave home without her smile, it's no exaggeration. Her passion for bikes and community is quickly apparent and highly contagious - whether you're attending one of her clinics or being passed by her on the trail - and her work with Ladies AllRide has been truly instrumental in getting more women outside and on two wheels. Get the full scoop below.

Photo by Katie Sox. 

OP: Give us the skinny on who Lindsey Richter is. 

Lindsey Richter: I am the founder and Director of Inspiration at Ladies AllRide Mountain Bike Skills Camps. I’m passionate about teaching women how to get rad on their bikes while helping them see how mountain biking can be a catalyst toward change and growth in their daily lives. Mountain biking has taught me a lot about myself, and it has helped me find strength, courage and perseverance during dark times. Therefore, I have a mission to invite more women to try this awesome sport and see what it can do for their lives. 

OP: When did you first know that you were going to spend your life in the outdoors?

Lindsey Richter: I have always enjoyed being outside. I grew up riding horses and when I wasn’t riding horses I was running around outside riding my invisible horse, jumping everything in my path. I have an older brother and we played basketball, soccer and all kinds of outdoor sports. I feel like I’ve always spent my life in the outdoors but it wasn’t until I moved to Bend after living in Cities for so long that I realized I BELONG in the outdoors. It’s my happy place. 

OP: What does it mean to you to be a woman in the outdoor industry?

Lindsey Richter: I feel proud to be a woman in the outdoor industry, especially right now. I’m a little in awe at the timing of it all. I’ve been working in the industry since 2003, so I’ve seen the growth in the presence of women firsthand, and that’s been really exciting. I started out only really riding with men, and it was awesome and pushed me, but I could see how that might be intimidating for a lot of women. I could see that women needed women to help them feel more comfortable about the sport. I’ve seen so many women in this industry who were passionate about starting women’s programs, and I've seen how long it took to get companies to see the value in these programs. Now more than ever, companies are seeing the value in supporting women who are actively trying to encourage more women to try an outdoor sport. It means a lot to be a part of this initiative to inspire more women to get outside and play! 

OP: What has the outdoors done for you, and how do you pay it back?

Lindsey Richter: The outdoors makes me happy. Breathing in fresh air, pushing my heart and lungs surrounded by beauty and nature, climbing mountains, slashing powder down sides of mountains, it all blows my mind and brings so much joy and life into me. I pay it back by being grateful for it and supporting any groups I can that help preserve and maintain the areas I play in.   

OP: Conservation and protection of our public lands are central themes in today’s outdoor recreation narrative. As someone who spends a significant amount of time outdoors and on public lands, what role do you think mountain bikers - and outdoor enthusiasts, in general - should play in this evolving conversation and landscape?

Lindsey Richter: I think we’re really lucky to get to ride the trails we get to ride which lead to the most amazing places. It’s quite the treat to get to see what we see on a mountain bike. With that said, I believe because we get to see what we see by bike, we want to protect it. We don’t want to see houses going up or trash on the trails. It’s important to play a role in supporting trail alliances and conservation efforts already in place. I stay on trails, I don’t litter, I help raise money for trails clubs by donating my time to teach camps, and I think a lot of mountain bikers do much of the same. 

OP: Who has inspired you along the way?

Lindsey Richter: Oh, so many people have inspired me along the way. But I have to say Rebecca Rusch really jump-started me believing in myself. She invited me to coach with her back in 2010 when we were both riding/working with Specialized bicycles and SRAM. We did our first event together at the Ashland Super D, and it was awesome to work with her. We continued to work together for years following that first event, and we both learned so much! The fact that she believed in me and thought I had something valuable to offer her program opened my eyes to what I could do to help get more women involved with the sport. She was already on that mission, she just gave me a nudge to find my own mission and make it happen. 

OP: What does adventure mean to you?

Lindsey Richter: The adventure starts when shit goes wrong. I want every day to be an adventure. I love exploring new places and being inspired by beauty and landscapes. I love riding new trails I’ve never seen before at speed without stopping. I love pushing myself mentally, physically and emotionally in the outdoors. I love challenges and I love being forced to choose a good attitude in a scary or uncomfortable situation. Adventure breathes life into my mind, body and spirit. 

OP: What does the term "badass" mean to you?

Lindsey Richter: Badass to me means going for it. Living life to the fullest. Whether that means pushing out of your comfort zone to find what you’re really made of and capable of, or accomplishing a lot in a day with a million responsibilities, I think of badass as people who get after it and live a passionate existence in whatever way that makes them feel badass. 

OP: How have you managed to align your career with your passion for the outdoors? And do you have any advice for someone who is looking to do the same?

Lindsey Richter: I was in advertising and PR prior to this lifestyle, and I would sit in my office dreaming of how to get involved with the outdoor job community. When I met my ex-husband, he was a pro mountain biker who was ready to transition into a different role for the industry, and he came up with AllRide as a way to promote riding different kinds of bikes like dirt jump, downhill, cross-country etc. He really showed me how to make a living doing something you love. We invented our programs as we went, so I saw what it took to earn sponsorship dollars and give them a return on investment by being creative, not winning races.

Once I decided to make mountain bike camps my way of inspiring women in mountain biking, I already had a decade of experience working with the bike industry and finding ways to help them sell their products through my programs. I saw something in the industry that I felt was missing, so I created it. It’s hard to give one piece of advice. I feel like I was in the right place at the right time, and when I realized what I wanted to do, the industry was ready for it. 

OP: What mantra or set of words do you live by?

Lindsey Richter: Think only thoughts that serve you, thoughts that keep the wheels rolling forward… 

OP: In a perfect world, what does the outdoors (the people, the places, the community as a whole, etc.) look like to you? And what can outdoor brands and media companies, such as Outdoor Project, do better to help get us there?

Lindsey Richter: The outdoors looks like a playground and a place to cherish and preserve. I think outdoor brands and media companies are doing a lot of great things to educate people about how to get there and what to do as well as how they can help preserve it. It’s a wonderful thing to see so many programs encouraging women/people to get out and play outside. 

OP: What is one thing that you never leave home without?

Lindsey Richter: My smile.

OP: Let’s talk gear - what are your thoughts on women-specific gear? Love it, hate it? Are there any companies out there doing it right? And how so? When does it matter to you most to have gear specific to women versus unisex products?

Lindsey Richter: I love that companies are trying to make great gear that fits women. It’s not easy to fit women’s vastly different body shapes, nor is it easy to appeal to everyone. I’m excited about Sombrio’s line of mountain bike clothing for women, I think they’ve nailed it. We get unisex t-shirts for our merchandise because we want to appeal to people who like shirts snug and those who do not. It matters to me that it fits and is comfortable when I’m doing uncomfortable things like long climbs in the saddle on my bike, so I don’t think mountain biking shorts/chamois can be unisex. 

OP: What is the greatest piece of advice or direction that you’ve ever received and what’s the story behind it?

Lindsey Richter: I have received a lot of advice over the years from so many people, so this is a hard question. I think just hearing "stay positive" and "choose my attitude" has changed the way I handle myself in life. 

OP: If you could give one piece of advice to yourself when you were just starting out with Ladies AllRide, what would it be?

Lindsey Richter: It’s all going to work out, and people will come to your events. 

OP: In a world seemingly run by online personas, how do you approach social media, and how does it play into your lifestyle - both work and play?

Lindsey Richter: I really struggle with social media. It taps into my insecure side. I try and keep my social media focused on inspiring women through mountain biking, my personal stories, and other adventures. I’m on there to relate to other women and create community around my mission. I want to show women a real, vulnerable person who found herself through mountain biking and outdoor pursuits, so I try and speak from that point of view with the hopes more women will try mountain biking when they see how it can help them in life. I also enjoy giving pointers about mountain biking by showing videos and explaining what’s going on. 

OP: What’s next for you in the coming months and years?

Lindsey Richter: I’m going to keep hustling around the world trying to stand in front of as many women as possible, inspiring them using my voice and mountain bike as my tool. I want to do speaking events about mountain biking and life, I want to do more international travel. I’m so in love with what I get to do, and I can’t slow down now! 

OP: The title of your autobiography would be...

Lindsey Richter: ”Changing Lives with Two Wheels and Some Dirt” --- Or “One Step Too Far, But Not Over the Edge.” 

OP: In your next life, you will come back as...

Lindsey Richter: An eagle.

OP: Tell us one thing about yourself that no one knows.

Lindsey Richter: I still gallop around like I’m riding a horse.

OP: If our readers were to take one thing from this interview, what would you like it to be?

Lindsey Richter: That I’m really passionate about helping women get rad on their bikes and be rad at life. 

Learn more about Lindsey and her work with Ladies AllRide online and by following them on the 'gram.

Featured photo by Joe Brush.


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