A Terrible Idea: ‘Everest’ on a Fixed-Gear Bicycle (With No Brakes)

Denver-area bike courier Charli Mandel set out to ascend 29,029 feet without gears or brakes, something that had never been documented.

“I like to ride bikes up things.” For that alone, Charli Mandel wins the Understatement of the Century award.

The 23-year-old bike courier has already achieved three “Everestings” — riding the vertical equivalent of a Mt. Everest summit (29,029 feet). But Mandel accomplished those feats on geared road bikes.

“A fixed-gear, brakeless Everesting has yet to be completed,” Mandel proclaims. So Mandel set off at 5 a.m. to Golden, Colorado’s Lookout Mountain, a winding two-lane road that taxes most weekend warriors with its 1,300 feet of elevation gain.

To successfully Everest that, Mandel needed to go up — and down — Lookout Mountain 23 times. That’s more than 200 miles.

As if that’s not daunting enough, Mandel made the attempt 6 months into hormone replacement therapy while transitioning male to female. Because of that, Mandel expected to lose critical muscle mass while training for the attempt.

So, how did it go? Watch this wild ride unfold over a single, grueling day in the Front Range.

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Adam Ruggiero

Adam Ruggiero is the editor-in-chief of GearJunkie and a fan of virtually all sports and activities. From biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming — if it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.