Sarah Bodine didn’t even own a bike when she decided to join a friend and three strangers on a cross country cycling trip. She picked up a used road bike and packed her bags for a journey from Oregon to the Atlantic Ocean. She had no idea what she was in for, she remembers that “within the first two weeks of riding through the mountain ranges on the coast I basically cried every day.” She had much less experience than her companions and frequently got left behind with nothing but a calling card and a phone number where they would inform one of their parents on their location from time to time.
On that first trip Sarah found herself mostly alone and occasionally in serious danger. She “often had to pass semi trucks or cross bridges or tunnels with other vehicles and the fear was real. I would have the fear of moving forward but I knew if I stayed where I was I could die”. Most would have given up and gone home, but Sarah had set a goal and she didn’t want to give in to the temptation to get on that greyhound bus back to Oregon. She pushed forward and beyond all reason, she made it all the way across the country in two and a half months.
During that time Sarah learned a lot about herself and she met some amazing people. Somewhere in Iowa Sarah met a man who sparked her interest in Mountain Biking. Upon her return to Oregon Sarah hit the trails. She didn’t have her own mountain bike but she found a sisterhood of riders who were willing to take her in. They would lend her a bike and share their knowledge and comradery as Sarah learned the ropes.
She had never thought of herself as an athlete until she found cycling and began to compete with herself. It turned out that Sarah could be quite competitive. She eventually got her own bike and found a passion for punishment. In the days before Bend Oregon was equipped with mechanical lifts, Sarah was grinding her way up the mountains, enjoying the brutal climbs as much as the thrilling descents.
Today, Sarah has been riding for over 15 years. She still loves to explore the word on bike, spending many of her weekends bikepacking with friends. She also enjoys sharing her passion and her strength with girls in her community through the Little Bellas, a program of women mountain bike mentors. Sarah enjoys the opportunity to challenge and inspire confidence in girl’s lives. As Sarah says, “You don’t have to be the best and you don’t have to be the worst, you can just support each other wherever you are.” By surrounding herself in a community that does just this, Sarah hopes to continue to share that love with others. She ended our conversation with: “life on a bike is a really good pace for me,” and I couldn’t agree more with her.