Meet Our Bikepacking Collective Routes Access Fund Awardees: Part 2

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We’re delighted to introduce our second group of 2021 Bikepacking Collective Routes Access Fund awardees. Get to know some of the BIPOC bikepackers who’ll be receiving grants and gear to support their upcoming trips here…

Last year, we introduced our Bikepacking Collective Routes Access Fund, through which we’re hoping to help increase representation of individuals who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and work toward changing the face of bikepacking by empowering aspiring BIPOC writers and creatives. We asked our community of readers and a number of brands from around the cycling world to donate to the fund, and we also chipped in $10,000 from our Bikepacking Collective membership dues. In total, we raised around $35,000 for recipients to put toward their pedal-powered adventures.

We were blown away by the quality of applications and the unique and meaningful trips that were proposed, as well as the creative forms of documentation that were proposed, from podcasts, to zines, to feature-length films, and more. After carefully reviewing and discussing all of the applications, our committee (introduced in part one of this series) selected around 30 awardees to receive support in the form of grants and/or gear.

Meet the second group of Access Fund awardees who’ll be receiving a Ride and Report Award to document their bikepacking trips below. Each shares a bit about themselves and their plans in their own words:

Annika McFarlane

She/Her / Age 24 / @annikamcfarlane

North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

I’m Annika, an optimist, night-owl, and a lover of all things outdoors. I also really love biking (I may even go as far as saying we might be soul mates). When I’m not outside (or thinking about being outside) you can find me drawing, learning new things (currently Spanish and piano), or spending time with my family. I’m a design and illustration student who has a deep love for visual storytelling and I can’t wait to share my bikepacking adventures with you.

Annika McFarlane

I plan to ride the BC Trail next summer or early fall, hopefully accompanied by my favourite (and only) sister. I’ve lived in BC my whole life and it’s the perfect kind of “road trip” to get up close and personal with the place I call home. In the meantime, I plan to hit up some shorter overnighters because I believe it’s important to show that bikepacking isn’t a super intense activity where you must log day after day of riding, but one that anyone can enjoy even if just for one night.

Alex Villalba

They/Elle / Age 28 / @furrypoutine

Los Angeles, California

I am a community organizer, birthworker, gender transition doula, and former bike mechanic based in Los Angeles/Mexico City. You can usually find me going on long walks with my dog through the city, making yummy vegan food, or getting stranded in the backcountry from entirely avoidable mechanical issues.

Alex Villalba

For my upcoming bikepacking trip, I will be tackling the Trans-Mexico Sur Bike Route. While I am very familiar with Northern and Central Mexico, I have never been to the Southern region. For me, bikepacking has always been an incredibly taxing, healing, and spiritual experience that allows me to further deepen my connection with the land that I am native to. My hope is that this trip will leave me exhausted, grateful, and with a better understanding of where I come from.

Danny Odum

He/Him / Age 54 / @chainloose_danny

North Carolina

Much of my life has been spent in learning mode. I love the concept of teaching and learning, absorbing as much as the mind can hold about people and situations. My own journey is one of wonder and happy accidents that created beautiful circumstances that allowed me to meet amazing people. From having been able to study German in San Fransisco to hanging in the Arizona desert and racing in Colorado, a bicycle has always been part of the experience. Like many, the adventures start small. A ride to the movie theatre or grocery store, then they grow. At the age of 53, I came back to cycling as my primary mode of physical expression (I took nearly 20 years off from serious riding or racing to help raise our two children). In February, I toed the line of my first race in two decades, The Renegade Ramble 35 miler. The muddy gravel course and near-winter weather reminded of cyclocross races. After two hours, against an open field of all ages, I crossed the line first. It really was like riding a bicycle. The feeling came back!

Danny Odum

I was born in Boston, MA, and grew up on a southward trail of states, eventually graduating high school in Tennessee. It was near the end of high school that I got into road cycling. The freedom to roam rural roads at human speeds was exciting. I was lucky to ride with people who mentored me and allowed me to venture with them. As the only black rider in that group, I felt alone and included at the same time. This feeling remains with me to some degree. I would like to ride a route that helps me explore this insider/outsider feeling that many African-Americans feel. The route through North Carolina that I have chosen explores that emotional, cultural, and physical path by tracing the vestiges of slavery to freedom.

Nancy Hernandez

She/Her / Age 25 / @nmvmnto

San Francisco, California

Hi! I’m Nancy. When I was younger, my mom used to threaten to puncture my tires to keep me from going out on my bike. Who knew I’d only end up in the Chilean Patagonia on my first solo tour? When I’m not writing or riding, I teach bike education classes, practice tinkering with bikes, and seek adventure outdoors. Ultimately, one of my major life goals is to continue increasing access to bikes, especially as tools for empowerment and building community.

Nancy Hernandez

I’ll be reconnecting with my roots in Mexico and hope to check off a couple of routes, starting with the San José del Pacifico Dirt Tour. It’s about a week-long trip in Oaxaca and includes a healthy dose of dirt, mountains, and culture. I plan to kick off the trip in early October, and in addition to tackling other routes, get into some uncharted territory.

Jasdeep Brar

He/Him / Age 33 / @wholesoul1

Fresno, California

I was born and raised in Fresno, California, in a working-class Panjabi Sikh household. After struggling to complete school, I obtained my GED and enlisted as an Infantry Marine, serving with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment from 2006-2010. Following my service in the Marines, I joined the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) and organized with local anti-war organizations. I went on to complete my undergraduate degree at the University of California, Davis, in History and a minor in Middle East South Asian studies. Most recently, I just completed my Masters in Social Work at California State University Fresno.

Jasdeep Brar

My ride is still a work in progress, but I’m planning to join a friend for a bikepacking trip through Central California, visiting important working-class landmarks along the way.

Lulu Avila

She/Her / Age 24 / @itsluluavila

Salt Lake City, Utah

I’m Lulu Avila and I currently live in Salt Lake City, Utah, with my two dogs. I have spent the last five years disrupting the cycling industry in an effort to make the industry more inclusive to the BIPOC community. Because of local nonprofits such as the Ogden Bicycle Collective, I was able to access education and resources to become a bike mechanic. Since completing my apprenticeship in 2017, I have been able to mentor and connect the BIPOC community with critical resources; having also turned my passion into a career where I now promote cycling education to students all throughout Utah as an educator for Bike Utah. I am incredibly excited to continue promoting cycling as a sustainable form of transportation while highlighting accessible trails to those who are interested in bikepacking.

Lulu Avila

I’ll be riding Ogden’s Triple Crown, a route I designed as a love letter to my town of Ogden, Utah. Ogden holds a special place in my heart as it is where I discovered the Ogden Bicycle Collective, completed my bicycle mechanic apprenticeship, became a full-time bicycle commuter, and learned how to mountain bike. My route begins in the outskirts of Ogden where I will make my way through three of Ogden’s iconic peaks: Ben Lomond peak at 9,596 feet., Lewis Peak at 8,027 feet., and Mt. Ogden peak at 9,571 feet. The total ride will include approximately 40 miles of riding with 12,826 feet of climbing and 7,816 feet descending. Ogden is the small and rowdy town that cultivated my love of cycles. This ride is an homage to its world-class cycle trails, the dedicated people who maintain the trails, and the local community bike shops that make it home.

Ronald Yuan

He/Him / Age 20 / @ronaldstrailnotes

Birmingham, Alabama

I’m a college student studying science, technology, and society. Born and raised in the Deep South, I’ve been shaped by my relationship to race and ethnicity in every space I’ve been a part of. I came to cycling initially as an injured fencer, but my love for riding has grown tremendously over the last year. I’m looking forward to meeting new faces and learning all that I can soak up from the bikepacking community here!

Ronald Yuan

I’m hoping to showcase some of the South’s wonderful biodiversity in the Cahaba River watershed. Though I’ve always wanted to bikepack in a place far from home, there’s an environmental gem right here in my backyard. I want to bring awareness to all the conservation work being done in my state, and open the door for other curious cyclists to explore the natural landscape of Alabama and more.

Heidi de Jesus Godinez Cartas

She/Her / Age 34 / @heidi_gocar

Lynchburg, Virginia

Hello, my name is Heidi Godinez-Cartas. I am a Mexican native with Zapotec roots who has been transplanted in Lynchburg, Virginia, since 2012. I am a professional full-time engineer with a passion for the outdoors. When I am not working, I am enjoying nature, exploring the world, and always trying to connect and learn from mother earth through biking, hiking, kayaking, and all kind of outdoor activities.

Heidi de Jesus Godinez Cartas

The bikepacking trip I am planning on doing is mainly focused on exploring the wine region of France, as well as the coastal area, because what is better than pairing good seafood and wine? A multi-day trip starting from Bordeaux to the west coast and camping along the way. Riding as much as I want, stopping and exploring the towns, and pitching my tent when I get tired.

Jose Eduardo Davila Torres

He/Him / Age 35 / @j__eduardo__

Oakland, California

My name is Jose Davila and I am a pedicab operator in Oakland, California. I’ve been a cyclist for around 10 years and have been going on bikepacking adventures for about two years. I enjoy multiple types of cycling and have gotten into racing recently, but I’m passionate about bikepacking and look forward to many more adventures with my friends on my bike.

Jose Davila

My bikepacking adventure will take me on the Baja Divide route. I love long days in the saddle and would love to ride through the desert in Mexico. I’m attracted to all of the wild camping opportunities and the challenge of a long route.

Thank You!

We’d like to take a moment to thank all of the individual donors and Bikepacking Collective members who supported this effort by contributing to the Access Fund, as well as the brands who stepped up to make a cash donation or supply gear. See them all below.

Access Fund sponsors

If you missed it, meet our first group of 2021 Bikepacking Collective Routes Access Fund awardees here, and stay tuned for the third installment of this post to meet the remaining bikepackers who’ll be receiving a grant.




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