Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Marriage of Cycle Touring & REI

What do you get when you marry a girl's passion for cycle touring with her love for everything REI?

Me -- a girl who loves cycle touring and REI.
(Photo: REI)

Need a hint? Do you recognize the girl on the right in the screenshot below?

That's a familiar face!
(Screenshot of https://www.rei.com/h/co-op-cycles-adv)

Yup, that's me! As is the cyclist in this image, which you may have seen on REI's Facebook page:

And me again.

Or perhaps on posters, such as this one, wrapped around a column in the cycling department at the Seattle Flagship store:

I'm wrapped around a column.

Or on display at the Bellingham store:

And I'm hanging on a wall.

Or in a video promoting Co-Op Cycles Adventure bikes:

Who woulda thought those juggling skills would come in handy!

As you know, I'm a diehard fan of cycle touring. And I'm a diehard fan of REI, too. (For those of you not familiar with REI, it stands for Recreational Equipment Inc., a retail and outdoor recreational co-operative.)

Having spent a good chunk of the paychecks from my career days at REI, I was always curious what it would be like to work at the co-op. In my post-career days, I entertained that curiosity by working for a brief while in the cycling department at the Seattle REI (refer to A Fun Job: Not an Oxymoron). I was informally known amongst the cycling department as the "Touring Guru." Whenever a customer had a question related to touring, they were always told, "Talk to Sarah."

In early 2017, REI overhauled its Novara line of bikes and cycling gear and launched a new brand: Co-Op Cycles. The brand includes more than a dozen new bikes -- mountain bikes, road bikes, city bikes, adventure bikes, and kids bikes. REI wanted real cyclists to promote its new brand. So when the opportunity arose to help promote the Co-Op Cycles fully-loaded adventure rig, I jumped on it!

Here's a short video about Co-Op Cycles. I love the philosophy behind REI's new line of bikes! (I'm the one in the red vest).

The other woman riding alongside me is Jessica Cutler. She is also a real cyclist. She is a bad-ass chica who has an impressive racing history. What a great pleasure to share a video with such a studette!

Funny story: During the shoot, one of the photographers noticed my tattoo (see Sailors, Whores, & Ink) and asked if he could take a photo of it. I suggested he photograph Jessica's tattoos instead, as she is covered with them. When the photographer turned his camera towards Jessica, she grabbed her lower lip and tugged it downwards.

Coolio! So apropos!
(Photo: https://jesscutler.com/2012/10/08/closing-in-on-the-point/)

I had no idea Jessica had this tattoo. My jaw nearly fell of my face as I thought to myself: "Dear lord almighty, I think I love you, Jessica." Jessica's bikes! tattoo sure as hell beats my lowly non-bike-related tattoo!

Here are a few more photos from the shoot. I love these!

That is a genuine "I love cycling" Sarah smile...
(Photo: REI)

...and a genuine Sarah tongue, too.
(Photo: REI)

Many thanks to the REI producers, photographers, and videographers who were all an absolute blast to work with! I love you, REI! And many thanks to those of you who helped align the stars so I could partake in this opportunity -- you know who you are!

Updated October 15, 2017: 

Adding a few more photos that have since come to my attention:


  1. I got to meet Jessica when she coached some of my Cyclocross bootcamp classes. Badass indeed!

  2. This is so awesome, reading this blog post made my day. What a great way to express your love for cycling to such a wide audience. And you've never been more beautiful. ;-)

  3. Umm, does this mean you are a professional model now? Can I have your autograph?

    1. I would think professional models likely have multiple shoots lined up. I haven't exactly had anyone else ask for my photo. 😉

  4. OK FINALLY got to this site on a real computer! Sarah I am SO happy you did this. Every time you blog, you inspire me to ride. Now, with this, you will inspire thousands to do so! They could not have picked a better person!


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