Longtime Bend local, pro mountain biker and skills coach Lindsey Richter just released her first children’s book, “Mountain Biking Adventures with Izzy: Etiquette is a Big Word.” The book is aimed at teaching trail etiquette and how bikes can bring joy, confidence, community and more.
It all came about when aeronautical engineer Heidi Ashwell reached out to Ritcher on social media.
“I write about how bikes and life relate and how I dealt with mental health issues,” said Ritcher. “So Heidi approached me. She said that she just realized that there’s no handbook on etiquette. And all these mountain bikers are coming out here and trashing the trails, passing people without saying, widening the trails, riding off the trails and littering. So she asked me if I would be interested.”
A book on etiquette is not only for kids, it’s for anyone in the mountain biking community who wants to understand the rules of the road, meant to show how the joy of riding a bike can help people work through fear, believe in themselves and trust in their abilities.
The art was created by fellow mountain biker Kristina Wayte.
“It’s got a lot of messages about self-preservation, camaraderie, taking care of yourself, but also taking care of others, taking care of the places that we play, being mindful that these trails don’t build themselves,” said Ritcher.
Ritcher has been a part of the bike industry for 20 years, traversing the country as a racer and a program manager. Not being able to find women who wanted to ride for fun, in 2010, she created the Ladies AllRide community. Since then, she has been a voice for women and girls helping them work through fear, believe in themselves and trust in their abilities on and off the bike.
“I want to help kids find like-minded kids at an earlier age, so they feel like they fit in because I didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere until I found mountain bike women,” Ritcher said. “And that’s why I run the company I do because I wanted to create a space around this country —s o women knew that if they came to our camps, they belong. So that’s really why we do this. And I feel like this book is an extension of that. Another way to capture another audience using etiquette because right now, let’s be real, no one has that.”
While etiquette is the focus of the book, the word itself doesn’t show up until the end.
“Etiquette is like an unwritten rule for being good,” said Ritcher. “It means taking care of your friends when they get hurt. Telling that stranger to slow down, that uphill has the right of way, cleaning up the trail if you see trash.”
Beyond those core actions, however, are a set of values.
“People forget that our core values should be loving, kindness and lifting each other instead of tearing each other down. This book has a lot of big messages,” said Ritcher. Ideally, she wants to see the book in as many schools, libraries and bookstores as possible. She would also like to do live readings and get them into local bike shops everywhere. For now, the book is available for purchase online and at local bookshops.