Mandi & Mike from America, now empty nesters, are inspiring other members of the 50+ age group to get out, get active, and live a healthy lifestyle. They are therefore embarking on their second venture called Adventure Bound 2 - to travel the Atlantic seaboard and beyond, to cycle, kayak, snowshoe, and engage in other outdoor adventures.
Already being great ambassadors for REID on their Adventure Bound 2 Instagram, we wanted to find out more about these awesome riders, so we approached them for an interview and this is what we learned.
We are Mandi and Mike - two farm kids from the U.S. Midwest (Iowa and Ohio), who currently base our outdoor adventures out of Maine. We each grew-up riding all over rural roads and through family farm lands. We have spent our careers in the outdoor and apparel industries, and have reached “empty nester” status, which gives us much more time and freedom for outdoor adventures. Throughout our careers, we served as “brand ambassadors” for L.L. Bean and Vera Bradley.
When and how did you get into cycling?
Being Midwest kids, cycling in rural areas gave us the opportunity to ride on unsurfaced roads, through fields, in river beds - day after day of adventures roaming through and racing around the countryside. We each began cycling at early ages - often on “franken-bikes” - that is, bikes cobbled together from various components taken from hand-me-down bikes donated from older cousins. Many of these “franken-bikes” had characteristics of fat tire bikes - oversized tires, stiff frames, straight bars. Both of our fathers inspired us to cycle, which led to serious road cycling as we entered our teenage years - Mandi on a Peugeot and Mike on a Raleigh Super Course 12. Since that time, cycling has been a passion for us both!
Why Fat Bikes?
Mike was introduced to fat bikes while serving as the active sports department manager at L.L. Bean. We were both taken by the “wicked cool” (a Maine phrase) appearance of these beasts! We love the rugged simplicity of the design - no front or rear suspensions required. And, the oversized tires absorb anything the terrain can dish-out - be it sand, snow, crushed stone trails, or bushwhacking. People often approach us asking about this new style of bike. And, we love to share bike features and our experiences with them!
What do you like about the REID Hercules?
So many things! But, of course, we must start with those oversized tires. Wow, they carry us through anything! We can fully inflate them for rides on more solid surfaces, or under-inflate them to gain more surface coverage on shifting terrain. The frames are perfectly proportioned for us - we have added rear racks to allow us to carry supplies, provisions, and other items for our journeys. The Shimano and Tektro components are solid and reliable. And, the high-vis lime green color is so fun! Whenever we are cruising around on our Hercules, we get loads of gazes and questions from curious folks.
How often do you ride?
Being early risers, we love to start our days with a morning ride before work. Spring, Summer, and Autumn in Maine are absolutely beautiful, and being right on the Atlantic in the far reaches of the Eastern Time Zone, we get early sun which means great rides from 5:30am to 7am daily. On the weekends, we are up and on the road early, motoring to our next adventure. We store and transport our four bikes in our Dodge Ram Promaster van - full of bikes and bike gear. Weekend and holiday rides include numerous rides on the carriage trails of Acadia National Park, in the Finger Lakes/Wine District of Upstate New York, the islands of the Great Lakes, and various coastal destinations in Maine and New England.
What has been your favourite ride so far on the REID Hercules?
Without a doubt, our favourite trails for the REID Hercules are the magnificent carriage trails of Acadia National Park. Between 1913 and 1940, the Rockefeller Family built 57 miles of “broken stone” roads that became key features of Acadia National Park when the Rockefeller properties were given-over to the people of the United States. From undulating hills to down-right serious mountain climbing, we thoroughly love these trails. Elevations can change drastically - often involving serious uphill (mountain) grades, many of which offer incredible views of the mountain peaks on the island (Mount Desert Island) and views of the Atlantic, Some Sound, and the various bays surrounding the park. One of our favorite rides on the carriage trails covers approximately 22 miles as we navigate around six mountain peaks and five ponds and lakes.
What future adventures do you have planned?
In September, we embark on a cycling and kayak adventure from Maine to Minnesota via the Great Lakes coastal route through Canada. This outing will allow us to ride our REID Hercules on stretches of trails along several of the Great Lakes as we journey to the Duluth, Minnesota area. During our stay in Minnesota, we will cycle along the long and beautiful coast of Lake Superior.
What advice would you give to those who have never been on a biking adventure or even a bike?
We are huge proponents of getting established with a local bike shop. Not only can the good folks at the local bike shop be a wonderful resource for helping you select the right bike, but they can help you with bike maintenance and upkeep, too. Additionally, many bike shops organize rides for various skill levels of riders and often coordinate outings to local destinations.
Mandi & Mike are the perfect example of the REID community, they love to ride, they love the outdoors and they're are always looking for the next big adventure. We wish Adventure Bound 2 the best of luck in their future adventures and encourage them to keep on sharing their stories and ripping up the trails on their matching REID Hercules!