Belonging Outdoors: First-Timers Bike the Backcountry

What do you get when a professional athlete teams up with two mountain biking newbies? An ultimate journey of exploration.

Director-lead Analise Cleopatra had never camped or ridden a bike off pavement when she decided to plan a weeklong mountain biking adventure with an all-Black female team. “Pedal Through” tells that story.

Cleopatra recruited her best friend DeJ’uanae Toliver and professional mountain biker Brooklyn Bell to embark on the bikepacking journey with her. In this film, presented by REI, the trio traverse through backcountry forests of Oregon to explore the landscapes and new perspectives.

“There’s gotta be something I’ve never experienced that I’m about to,” says Cleopatra. “And I want to know what [mountain biking] is all about. I’ve got a lot to learn.”

It’s a tale of new fears, new experiences, and new skills. There are epic first-time wipeouts and real, honest moments between friends. Ride along (vicariously) with these women as they learn more about mountain biking — and themselves.

The film was directed by lead rider Analisa Cleopatra and features DeJ’uanae Toliver-Porter and mountain biker Brooklyn Bell.

Brooklyn Bell biking through forest
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Mary Murphy
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Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee. She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.

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