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Trip Guide

Sylvie Baele

Sylvie grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, where she spent her summers exploring the marshes and forests in her backyard. Fascinated by the diversity of people and nature on our planet, she majored in international studies and minored in environmental studies at the College of Charleston during undergrad. After earning her BA, she jumped at the opportunity to guide biking and hiking trips across the U.S. She quickly fell in love with the mountains and deserts of the west in Wyoming, then Oregon, and finally Utah.

After a couple of winters living the nomad ski bum/adventure guide life, she returned to Charleston to graduate school. While pursuing dual master’s degrees in public administration and environmental and sustainability studies, she got involved with Second Chance Bikes, a small nonprofit bike organization that refurbishes used bikes and gives them away to people in need. Currently the Executive Director, she is dedicated to cultivating a more bicycle-friendly world and is passionate about helping others develop a deeper appreciation of the transformative power of bikes. In her free time she enjoys foraging, playing bike polo, and traveling in her hand-built teardrop trailer.

 

What’s your favorite vacation destination?

Anywhere along the coast or island of the Pacific northwest. The tidepools and mossy forests are beautiful, and the wild blackberries are especially tasty!

 

What’s your favorite hike?

Mount Constitution in Moran State Park on Orcas Island or the hike down to Crater Lake in Crater Lake National Park.

 

What’s your favorite bike ride?

The Old Pass Road to Teton Pass near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was the first really hard climb I ever did by myself, and I’ll never forget my adrenaline pumping as I rode down… or when I came face to face with a huge bull moose.

 

Favorite movie?

“Tracks,” which is actually based on a book (that I read first) with the same title. It’s an incredible story about a woman who walks across Australia in the 1970s with a dog and four camels.

 

Favorite book?

I love reading about autobiographical and historical fiction about World War II, and I also devour books about people’s travels. I have always been a big reader, and my Kindle travels with me everywhere!

 

Favorite song?

Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell

 

When did you first catch the travel bug?

As soon as I did my first cross-country trip. I had just dropped my friend off in Austin, so I was alone as the landscape started to turn into the desert. I vividly remember how intense the experience was… I had to pull over and collect myself before continuing the drive.

 

What are your hobbies?

Cycling, bike polo, foraging, trivia, gardening, crafting, cooking, and playing board games.

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