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
Ruby J: How One Mountain Biker Fights for Inclusion With Cartoons
Tune into tonight's premiere: a film about inclusion, identity, and hand-drawn heroes. Read more…

Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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