For Lindsay Warner, one unusual piece of sporting equipment led to another.
Already a skier, one snowy day last winter she decided to take a binding-less snowboard, called a Snurfer or no-board, down the driveway of her Hinesburg home.
Warner had already signed up for the annual Rasputitsa Spring Classic, a Burke Mountain bike race that takes place in April on gravel, mud and snow-covered roads.
The trial with the Snurfer didn’t go so well.
“I broke my hand and sprained my middle finger so I couldn’t put weight on the handlebars and couldn’t shift or brake,” she recalled.
Warner was determined to do the race so her boyfriend built her a lady’s cruising bike with thumb shifters. Soon though, the pair had another idea and Warner became the first person to complete the 45-mi. course on a three-wheeled recumbent called a TerraTrike.
Warner is a serious cyclist when she is on a more conventional two-wheeled bicycle, competing in road, mountain and cyclocross events. A member of the Barker Mountain Bikes race team, she has done the Rasputitsa twice before, once finishing 21st in her age group, but this was a different story.
“It started as a joke,” Warner recounted. “I got the bike on a Wednesday, and did seven miles on Thursday, and the race was that weekend.”
Initially embarrassed to be riding a tricycle, Warner didn’t unpack the bike until right before the race but other competitors were encouraging and not only did she complete the course before the six-hour cut-off but she was able to ride through some of the steep sections where others dismounted because her bike was more stable.
On the downside, when she had to dismount it meant pulling the 44-pound bike (not counting paniers with snacks and water) behind her. At the end of the ride she was given the Hero Award by Colavita, one of the race sponsors.
When she’s not on one of her bikes, Warner is a freelance writer, editor and copywriter. The 35-year-old started her journalism career in Australia, writing for a polo magazine. When she returned to the U.S., she got a job as an editor for a Philadelphia newspaper. From there she went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where she worked in communications and then the Philadelphia Inquirer. She moved to Vermont in 2011 and began freelancing.
These days, Warner combines writing for publications like National Geographic, The Washington Post, and Bicycling and Backpacker Magazines with industry writing for various blogs and the Outdoor Industry Association.
She works as an independent contractor for a number of agencies, including Burlington’s Driven Studio, where she writes copy for businesses such Ben & Jerry’s, Cabot Cheese, and Seventh Generation. One example she offered was how she’s written descriptions for ice cream flavors sold in other countries such as the green tea and caramelized pecan Ben & Jerry’s variety available only in Japan.
She also works for Meredith Content Licensing where she spends one day a week in the office, writing and editing for publications such as Eating Well magazine.
“I love the flexibility of it,” Warner said of her work. “I love that I am doing five different things at once.”
Some of Warner’s work takes her far afield, for example a story for Dwell Magazine that sent her to visit a factory in Italy. But sometimes the things she does for fun, like a recent bike-packing trip in Norway, can be pitched as story ideas. “As a freelance writer, you can sometimes turn vacations into work,” she said, “and try to offset the lack of a salary by making the most of your destination.”