Andrew & Kate Gates

Cricket Butler

  Check out our new series

Check out our new series

Summer vacation planning is in full swing and the Roam Rydes crew wants to help you make the most of it. 

If you were to run an internet search on the words "bike retreat", two places might show up over and over again in the search results... Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Getaway in Ellijay Georgia, and the Whitefish Bike Retreat in Whitefish Montana. What isn't immediately apparent is that both these bike-specific getaways are owned and operated by women. Thats right.... a bunch of ladies (and one fabulous fella) are running the show when it comes to the country's only resorts dedicated to cyclists. 

In this episode, we get to know Kate Gates, who runs Mulberry Gap Mountain Bike Getaway with her husband Andrew, her mom Diane and her mother-in-law Ginni, and Cricket Butler, the mastermind and owner of the Whitefish Bike Retreat. 

Choose Bikes

For once I am almost at a loss for words (possibly due to excitement) to describe our guest and her story.

Leigh Donovan is a cycling legend and her journey is the stuff made of legends.

Rough childhood? Check.

Family problems? Check.

Failure? Check.

Overcoming it all, finding joy, and kicking some major ass? Check, check, check.

Like Homer and his odyssey, Leigh Donovan shares with us her own epic hero quest; from podiums to parenthood and everything inbetween. 

You can learn more about Leigh and her current projects on her website at

I would write more, but you are better off listening. Enjoy.

Send It

I first met Meg Valliant almost exactly a year ago. I had several short interactions with her over the course of a three day biking camp in the Arizona desert . . . she was mountain biking, I was road cycling. . . we shared loud evenings of bliss with 35 other women under the night sky next to a camp fire over a few bottles of fireball and whiskey (although I don't remember seeing Meg drink...mostly because I don't remember much), we gleefully sang fairly out-of-tune pop ballads and rock classics late into the last night together. It was epic.

 Meg catching some air.

Meg catching some air.

Click here for The Sisterhood of Shred link!

Click here for the Sweetlines mountain bike coaching link!

And then I saw Meg jump. Mind blown. I had never seen a woman go over a jump and actually catch air before. And not just the 2 inches of wheel clearance that feels like you are Evel Knievel defying death and gravity just to land a quarter second later freaked out and breathless (anyone? anyone?) ... Meg SOARED effortlessly around a pump track and boosted off a kicker with swagger and confidence. I needed to learn how to do that! 

Fastforward. In June I got to actually hit the trail with Meg and was not only impressed by her jumping, but by how effortlessly she handled the group dynamics of a very wide spectrum of rider ability levels. 

Meg was kind enough to offer me a private jumping lesson. Despite Meg's incredibly patient coaching...It was frustrating. My wheels seemed glued to the dirt and I awkwardly bobbled and bounced around the park. Further demonstrating how awesome Meg is, she moved me from one frustrating task into other more manageable tasks and then made some suggestions for what I could practice with my bike off the jumps so that next time I would find more success. It worked. 

Two months later I caught up with Meg and Kat Sweet and, after a morning of skills clinics, I found myself popping off the lip of a jump with a teeny bit of air, then casing it, then knuckling the landing with my rear wheel, and then... I FLEW OVER THIS FRIGGIN JUMP LIKE A BEAUTIFUL GOLDEN EAGLE! I had never felt so happy and accomplished in my life. I let out a whoop of joy followed by another whoop from Meg and then a bunch of whoops from everyone. It was epic and things clicked and I absolutely wouldn't have done it without Meg and the Sweetlines crew. 

Meg is so impressive on so many levels (biking, jumping, coaching, parenting, etc. etc. etc.). She is passionate and kind. She is always the first to ask if you need help and the last to leave... she's the kind of person everyone needs in their life. Meg inspires me and so many people who are lucky enough to know her...I am really grateful for this opportunity to share her story. 



Human Power(ed)

Some people dream of epic travels around the world with exciting and harrowing adventures along the way. Some people do it. Our guest Meagan Butler is one of those doer types.

Meagan called in from Australia to share with us her story of ambition, resilience, and human connection as well as the lessons she has learned while riding all over the world by bicycle. An average girl from a typical Australian family, Meagan has done what many deem insane or impossible… she has biked across the US, around third-world countries, and done it at times, completely alone.

A deeply passionate philanthropist, Meags has taken her biking experiences and environmental education and is now helping others discover the empowering effect of cycling.

You can contact Meagan at

Has Meagan inspired you to tackle a bike tour of your own? Check out her list of recommendations below to make sure you have everything you need and nothing you don’t. 

 Meagan Butler enjoying a grueling climb in the Colorado Rocke

Meagan Butler enjoying a grueling climb in the Colorado Rocke


Scott Holmes - Breathe New Life

Missy Higgins - Going North

Kai Engel - Summer Days

Melanie - Brand New Keys


  1. Device for music & podcasts – some extra motivation on those long boring stretches; an engaging lesson to share with friends once in camp, or just the ability to pump your favourite tune for the well earn ’t downhill. Also handy for internet and as camera!

  2. Insulated, sealable Klean Canteen 16 OZ cup – Never missed my morning coffee even when I needed to roll out of camp before having time to finish it, I could come back to it road side!

  3. Notebook and pen – ALWAYS handy! Taking notes, exchanging details, playing games, drawing…

  4. A book/instrument/deck of cards – Something to share or just to take a timeout with.

  5. Solar Panel  (and rechargeable front, rear and head lights..) – No more battery waste!


Camping Specific

·       1 x Tent (rain fly & ground sheet)

·       1 x Sleeping bag and liner (light weight/small)

·       1 x Sleeping mat (Ex-ped – packs down super small & light, plus it pumps up to a super comfort level)

·       1 x Pocket Rocket stove (small and very simple – but I don’t like the amount of waste that goes along with the gas bottles – next time I’ll be taking my Whisper Lite stove)

·       1 x Cooking pot – I use a small one, which I can also use as a bowl if it’s just me, but a bigger pot if it’s a group.

·       1 x lightweight mess kit (w/spork and chopsticks)

·       1 x Insulated, sealable cup

·       1 x Switch blade knife

·       1 x Mini chopping board

·       1 x 6L water bladder – especially if riding in hot dry areas with big gaps between water

Clothing Specific

·       2 x underwear

·       2 x short socks

·       1 x long socks

·       1 x riding tank top

·       1 x casual tank top

·       1 x t-shirt

·       1 x long sleeve shirt

·       2 x thermal top – one a little thicker than the other

·       1 x thermal pants

·       1 x light down jacket

·       1 x light weight rain jacket

·       1 x padded riding shorts

·       1 x non padded riding shorts

·       1 x other shorts (riding/ casual)

·       1 x sandals/flip flops

·       1 x riding shoes

·       1 x bike gloves

·       1 x head scarf – very versatile!

·       1 x biking hat (under helmet)


·        1 x Rechargeable head torch (1 x set of spare batteries just incase)

·       1 x Solar Panel

·       1 x personal first aid kit

·       1 x iPhone & ear buds with volume control on the chord

·       1 x book (exchange or pass on once finished)


·       1 x Micro fibre towel

·       1 x micro fibre face washer

·       1 x Invisible Zinc sun protection

·       1 x Dr Broners biodegradable soap for EVERYTHING! (body, hair, clothes & dishes)

·       1 x hand sanitizer

·       Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste..)

·       Water purification

·       Small sewing kit

Bike Specific

·       1 x touring bike

·       1 x front rack with two waterproof panniers

·       1 x rear rack with two waterproof panniers

·       1 x Handle bar bag

·       1 x 35L dry bag

·       1 x bike multi tool

·       1 x non bike specific multi tool

·       1 x reflective vest

·       1 x helmet

·       1x Electrical tape/ extra cable ties

·       1 x Front and rear lights (rechargeable)

·       1 x bell

·       2 x drink bottles and cages

·       1 x speedometer / GPS / Garmin watch

·       1 x clippless peddles (with platform option)

·       1 x pair keen sandals w/ bike cleats

·       Tools and spares for all basic repairs and bike dismantling