My Personal Story
Living to be Free...
At a very young age I was interested in the joy and freedom that bicycles brought people. When I was 12 years old my family and I moved from the suburbs Southern California to the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio. In Ohio we drove cars everywhere, and bicycles were a means of keeping up with my Dad training for a marathon, or getting to a friend’s house. I first noticed my love of bicycles when I got my first job at the local Bike Rental in a nearby town. People would travel from out-of-state to rent a bicycle and enjoy the Little Miami Scenic Trail, a 78 mile continuous paved path along an old railroad grade. Throughout my 8-years at the Bike Rental, I worked with families and individuals of all ages, novice cyclists and enthusiasts.In general,people just trying to do something fun and healthy outdoors no matter their size, age, color, or athleticism, in a place, unlike California, with very few outdoor recreational spaces.
The Bike Rental gave me a taste of small businesses. While pursuing a major in History at the University of Cincinnati I worked as the operations manager at a larger independent bicycle store, called Cycle Sport. I knew I wanted to work for myself one day and I wanted to combine my passion for bicycles with my organizational and managerial skills.
This dream became a reality in 2011 when my partner and I opened Swallow Bicycle Works, a 1,500-square foot bicycle shop in Loveland, Ohio specializing in bicycle sales, equipment outfitting, bicycle fitting, and maintenance. I attribute our success to the personal relationships we developed with our customers and our use of social media to share our passion for exploring and traveling by bicycle. We inspired thousands of individuals with the knowledge and tools to enjoy bicycling.
In 2015 my partner and I wanted to make a change in our lives, so we closed our bicycle shop, moved out of our house, and embarked on a 5,000-mile ride across the United States of America on dirt roads. The route we followed is called the Trans-American Trail, or TAT, and is traditionally traveled by dual-sport motorcycles or 4-wheel drive vehicles. At about the same time gravel riding and bikepacking where becoming popular in the cycling industry.My partner and I did what nobody had done before , riding our bicycles from the east coast to the west coast on dirt roads.
I realized on the TAT adventure that I would rather live to be free than work to live. I wanted to continue to travel and share my experiences from the road through photos and stories, so I kept riding and living nomadically.
For the past 3-years I have ridden my bicycle and camped over tens of thousands of miles throughout the United States. Canada, Baja California, Spain, and Morocco. Things are always changing for me with this lifestyle, sometimes I’m living on my bicycle for months at a time, sometimes I live in a vehicle, and sometimes I stay put in one place for a while by staying with friends and family. I support myself through sponsors and stories and am constantly looking for new opportunities where I can leverage my organizing, planning, communication, and analytical thinking skills to plan an adventure combined with my adaptability and endurance to document an experience and convey a compelling story.,