Chainsaws, Chain Lube, & Duct Tape

by Beth Donovan

Meet Kelley Carter. She is currently a property manager of a campground in Stokesville, Virginia; a bike mechanic; and mama to an amazing two-and-a-half year old. 

Kelley came to Kitsbow through a shared Iove: biking and wool.

Yes, wool! There just aren’t many brands that combine the two anymore, especially one that includes a women’s clothing line.

She was thrilled when she found Kitsbow and immediately wanted to be involved with our brand.


What draws you to the outdoors?

The outdoors have always called to me; it’s where I feel calm and the happiest. Being surrounded by nature and its beauty is grounding to me, it gives me an appreciation and respect of the world we live in. And then recreating in the woods is a bonus. Beauty + fun!

You have been spending a significant amount of time in Stokesville, VA — what’s been occupying your time in this pocket of the world?

In my time living in Stokesville and managing the campground there’s just never enough time for everything! Between property maintenance, reservations, local trail clearing, chasing my kiddo around, and riding my bike(!!!), the days go by quickly.

Stokesville is infamous for it’s trails and I couldn’t ask for a better place to live and spend my time. The trail system out here is just incredible. A lot of time and thought was put into building the trails here. We are on the edge of the George Washington National Forest and it really gives an increased respect and appreciation of the privilege we have in access to our public lands.

What are your recommendations to people to recreate responsibly? What meaningful ways can people get involved in their areas to give back to the spaces they play in?

People come out from all over to ride the trails here. Recreating responsibly is key to preserving the beauty of the environment for others. Leave no trace and leave the area better than you found it.

People wanting to give back can always participate in trail work days. New trails, maintaining current trails, there’s always work to be done and it’s the volunteers that make that happen! Around here SVBC (Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition) is the local organization that puts together a lot of trail building and trail work.

You are equipped with critical bike mechanic skills. 
What enticed you to better understand the inner workings of these machines?
Before I moved to Stokesville I was a bike mechanic for 10 years working in a shop as well as a bike share fleet. I can’t say it was initially bikes that drew me to being a mechanic so much as just fixing things.

Initially I thought I wanted to be a car mechanic as I loved working on mine, but then I realized bikes are way cooler. As long as I can remember I’ve been drawn to the knowledge and skills to fixing things myself, and of course the satisfaction when you succeed at it! 
And, what on the road or trail tip or trick would you share with new riders to keep their steeds rolling?

Tips for riders: always check your bike before riding. The bike ABCs: Air, Brakes, Chain lube. For the trail it is good to ride with a multitool that fits your bike, a tube, tire lever, a pump, and duct tape. Pro tip: Wrap a section of duct tape around the tire lever.

How do you encourage new riders, especially with this bike boom, to keep pedalling as the colder months approach?

Dress for the weather!! Layering is key and tech material or wool is ideal. Avoid cotton. I’m a huge fan of wool since it is naturally antimicrobial (less stink) and keeps the heat in even if sweaty. Layers that unbutton or unzip at the neck are a nice helpful for regulating body temps as you climb hills and then descend them.

All images provided courtesy of Kelley Carter.
Instagram: @bicykelley

Kelley's Favorite Pieces (you guessed it, they're wool):