Niner Sleep Away Camp

Words by Reese Ruland

Images by Adam Concannon

I’ve worked in the outdoor industry for several years now. I’ve definitely struggled with and questioned the ups and downs that go along with the industry, wondering if the ups are worth the downs, and wouldn’t it be so much better to get a rigid high paying office job and buy a massive house in suburbia? But I’ve always come to the same conclusion everytime those thoughts arise. It’s a no from me, dawg.

I often find myself forgetting how rare it is to actively choose to spend quality time outside of work with your coworkers. In fact, calling the people I work with “coworkers” seems to dismiss the family aspect that Niner has cultivated.

In August, I pitched the idea of having a Niner Sleepaway Camp in Red Feather Lakes, CO. I figured it would likely end up being me and maybe one or two other people because after all, most people want to leave work once the weekend hits. But to my surprise, most of the office showed up. Which meant I’d need to buy way more bacon, eggs, fizzy water and beer than previously anticipated.

Earlier in the week, I planned a route for a casual bike ride we could all do together, knowing that it would be a Choose Your Own Adventure kind of ride, meaning go as fast and as far as you feel like. As we all left the cool shade of our tents to embark on a hot, midday ride,  I couldn’t help but notice the difference in apparel and bike choices for the ride. Some people (aka me) were on the RLT 9 RDO in full lycra and clipless pedals, while others had saddled up the SIR 9 or RKT 9 RDO and were sporting sandals and jorts. Which is simply the visual representation of who and what Niner is. We don’t care what bike you’re on, what you’re wearing, how fast or slow you go. We don’t care if you’re drinking a La Croix or a New Belgium Fat Tire Ale.  Instead, we place value on the person, if they are genuinely good, have a positive attitude, can work hard, play harder, and can enjoy the finer things in life, like bikes, dirt, campfires, and the more than occasional office shenanigans.

Don’t worry, Mom. It’s a BB gun.