A Humble Dream

Shaums March is slowly building his own slice of paradise in Bellingham, Washington. Photo: Paris Gore

A Humble Dream Shaums March Moves Forward by Giving Back

A single cord dangles from the ceiling of a nearly finished two-story house on the outskirts of Bellingham, Washington.

It’s tastefully low key, with an open floor plan. Sitting on a barstool at the kitchen island is mountain bike legend Shaums March, who’s talking about the handful of private trails he’s been roughing in as he puts down more permanent roots in this bike-centric town.

“This whole ridge, 27 acres behind us, is our property,” says Shaums, who lives here with his partner, Nicole Gerow, and two friendly pit bulls named Tucker and Kobe. “We started building a year before COVID and moved in right as the lock- down hit, which put a hold on everything, and we’re so close to being done now.”

Despite a high-profile presence during the early waves of freeriding, a celebrated downhill racing career, a coveted Red Bull contract and a pioneering role in developing a standardized mountain bike instructor training curriculum, Shaums manages to maintain an admirably mellow façade in the booming Pacific Northwest bike scene. In an industry filled with well-known personalities, he remains somewhat enigmatic—which is remarkable, considering his longtime media presence, multiple Rampage appearances and UCI World Cup success. Indeed, given his huge ongoing impact on mountain biking, his persona is borderline underground.

Now 46 years old, Shaums’ life thus far has been shaped by an itinerant childhood, a not-by-design career path and a drive to help others reach their full potential. His parents eloped to Haines, Alaska, in the 1970s, where they established a simpler existence at the end of the road. Shaums’ dad, Fred, found work as a deep-sea diver and dive instructor, and he supplemented their diet with freshly caught fish. His mother, Vivian, was a social worker.

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