Hey, can you tell everybody where you are based and what you do!
My name is Andrea Champredonde. I live in Barcelona, Spain, but didn’t start here. I am an American living in Europe since 2003 when I moved to Paris through an educational exchange program to get my Masters in French language and culture at Paris IV. Fourteen years later, I am now a naturalised French citizen who lives in Spain.
I am a life-long cyclist who eventually embraced my passion, turning it into my work as a cycling guide in the spring and fall. Because I speak French and now Spanish, too, I work in both of these regions. The rest of the year, I am a freelance translator and cycling content creator. I am married to a French chef who is also a cyclist, so we ride together.
How long has the outdoors been a part of your life?
The outdoors has been part of my life since I can remember. I love that bicycles allow you to see and enjoy nature and the environment while doing something fantastic for your mental and physical health. Barcelona is surrounded by green low mountains and quiet roads for road riding; a real pleasure.
I live near a massive park too (Montjuic), so when I’m not up for a ride and prefer a walk, I’m out of the noise and among trees and nature in five minutes. A stroll along the Mediterranean coast is another favourite way to reconnect with the outdoors.
What’s been your favourite trip or adventure?
Guiding takes me on many adventures, but my favourite place remains Mallorca. It is the largest of the Balearic Islands bursting in natural beauty and a bucket-list destination for road cyclists. My first trip there was many years ago and I have been returning ever since. So much so that we have decided to make the leap and move there in the near future.
Even if you aren’t into cycling, Mallorca has something for everyone: amazing landscapes and views, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, walks and hikes on ancient Roman roads, delicious food and wine, culture, charm, water or the mountains, the sophistication of the city of Palma, or the peace and tranquillity of the island’s interior countryside and villages.
How do you find a balance between being active and life’s other responsibilities i.e. work and family?
My definition of balance came nine years ago when I finally gave up my stressful 9-to-5 office job and focused more on living by trying my hand at freelancing. Today, I live with a lot less, but am happier.
Working freelance allows me to organise my schedule around family and work obligations. It also usually frees me up to ride about 15 hours a week, something important to me as a cyclist.
Is there anyone who inspired your love of the outdoors?
No one in particular comes to mind, but I always remember being outside and playing with neighbourhood kids or riding my bicycle around as a child. I just had to be home for dinner when it started getting dark. My family was equally active and we regularly enjoyed family walks and outings in the vast natural beauty of the great Pacific Northwest of the US where I am from (Oregon).
Do you find that being outside has a positive impact on your wellbeing and mental health?
Absolutely. And I feel the difference if I am unable to get outside and exercise for a few days. Cycling and being in touch with nature is vital to my mental health and wellbeing. Being on the bike is my form of meditation and the perfect opportunity to reflect and workout whatever is on my mind.
What is it about cycling specifically that you love.
I love that anybody riding a traditional pedal-bicycle does the same amount of work. It doesn’t matter where you come from, your gender, age or the size of your bank account. Cycling is an incredibly social sport that brings people of different communities together, serves as a valid means of eco-friendly transportation, and is good for your health and wellbeing.
E-bikes have also paved the way for pretty much anyone to get outside and start riding and/or offer them a return to open air and the sport they loved but were prevented from doing because of medical, mobility or health reasons, for example.
When did you discover FINDRA?
I discovered FINDRA in 2015 when browsing on a UK sport-clothing website for some new cycling kit. It was a hot pink long-sleeve merino wool top with a thin line of navy blue trim around the bottom and on the end of the sleeves. Already a fan of merino wool, I bought that top and fell in love with the brand. After that, I went to the FINDRA website directly to see what other models were available. The product line has definitely expanded since then, and that includes my personal collection.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Oh, that is a tough one. I have a very good friend who told me I wasn’t responsible for everyone. I tend to be a people pleaser, often putting myself second, even to virtual strangers. Her words helped me bring this to my attention and recognise that I should reserve my energy and efforts for family and friends that show me the same in return.
On writing this blog, what do you feel is the key motivational or inspirational message you would like to highlight to our followers that would inspire them to get outdoors more.
Staying active outdoors is an excellent way to keep mentally and physically fit, particularly as you age. It’s the proverbial fountain of youth and it’s never too late to start, or get back into it.