About Us

Bikepacking Roots is excited to welcome our new Executive Director, Noelle Battle. Selected following a competitive national search, Noelle brings a broad skillset to the organization including non-profit leadership, strategic planning, program management, advocacy, and of course an obsessive love of bikepacking. Most recently, Noelle worked at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), providing programmatic and operational leadership for a national advocacy initiative to secure federal, state and local food and nutrition policies that improve public health. Noelle is based in Baltimore, Maryland, where she earned a Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University.

Our outgoing Executive Director, Ally Johnson, will be welcoming her first child very soon! We wish her the best and are happy that she is eager to stay involved as a volunteer with the organization. Co-founders Kurt Refsnider and Kait Boyle will also continue in their respective roles as Routes Director and Education and Events Director.

Keep reading to get to know Noelle a little better:

    • How did you discover bikepacking?
      • About 15 years ago I was first introduced to the idea of long-distance travel by bike and it became my only “bucket list goal” after discovering a teacher’s blog about a trip from New Jersey to the tip of Patagonia. When I moved to Baltimore 8 years ago, I was serendipitously introduced to the amazing, diverse community of cyclists here. Through weekly group rides, themed bike parties, joining a cycling team, and my first overnighters with friends, my passion for bikes grew as did my knowledge and gear to make bikepacking a reality. My first multi-day trip was biking the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C. My dream of an epic trip finally came to fruition in 2019 when I took off from my house on a ~4,200 mile adventure on a self-developed route through the Northeast and Maritime Canada to the northernmost inhabited point of Nova Scotia and back. Since then I have cycled around Western Cuba and most recently did Adventure Cycling Association’s Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route.
    • What do you love most about bikepacking?
      • Spending hours in the saddle pedaling out in nature is very meditative to me. I love the simplicity of life on a bikepacking trip – not much else to think about beside pedaling, ensuring you are eating enough, thinking about where to sleep that night, etc. I love being reduced down to the bare essentials, far away from the pressures of consumerism in everyday life. It also really allows me to live in the moment and connect with the natural world around me, and my experiences bikepacking have shown me that this is when the magic happens.
    • What drew you to this position?
      • I have been a follower of Bikepacking Roots for several years now. I have admired the mission, especially the focus on building an inclusive bikepacking community and ensuring that bikepackers connect with and are good stewards of the land through which they travel. I know that there can be barriers to getting into a sport like this and I have experienced how finding a supportive community can make all the difference. I look forward to being able to foster that ethos through our programming. This truly is a dream job for me being able to bring together all of the skills I have developed in the last 20 years of my career and dedicate them to one of the things I am most passionate about in life.
    • What projects are you most excited about to work on with BPR?
      • As the first East Coaster to be leading Bikepacking Roots, I am super excited to expand our organizational footprint around the country. This means members, routes, and events. In our 2022 Community Survey, one of the biggest things we heard loud and clear from our membership was the desire for more diversity in routes by region of the country, length, and accessibility. We have some new projects in the works that are working toward those goals, and I hope to do much more of this in the future. I’m looking forward to connecting with organizations and individuals around the country to develop partnerships and support each other in an effort to live out Bikepacking Roots values.

Photo by: Brian O’Doherty