The people behind the scenes


Northwest Excursions is a small Hood River local business. The folks behind the scenes here are genuinely stoked to share some of the best parts about the place they call home. Your positive experience matters, and that’s what Northwest Excursions is here to create.


Lydia Lehner

Owner/Operator of Northwest Excursions

Lydia is the founder of Northwest Excursions. She is also a realtor at John L. Scott Columbia Gorge and co-owns Mountain View Cycles bike shop in Hood River with her husband Rafe. She and Rafe share a passion for cycling and living an outdoor focused lifestyle. Lydia is an advocate for women’s cycling, and hosts women’s group mountain bike rides and clinics for all skill levels throughout the summer. She also enjoys other activities besides cycling, such as paddle boarding, hiking, wine tasting and visiting the many orchards in the valley. She and Rafe love living in Hood River, where they are raising their young family. Her goal with Northwest Excursions is to share this great outdoor lifestyle and welcoming community with other likeminded people.


Bekah Rottenberg

Professional Guide and Instructor

Bekah initially came to mountain biking by exploring the logging roads with her dog near her rural western Massachusetts home. Despite her early love of bikes, trails took a back seat during high school and college as she played Division I lacrosse at Brown University. Post college, Bekah fell back in love with bikes and started racing in 2009. She raced at the professional level from 2014 – 2018, competed internationally, and emerged as one of the premier riders in the Pacific Northwest. Bekah loves the community around bikes and has been excited to transition from racing bikes to helping others feel more confident riding bikes. Bekah is the head coach for the Cooper Spur Mountain Bike Program, teaches classes at The Power Station gym, and coaches lacrosse for the Hood River Valley High School. She is a certified Professional Mountain Bike Instructor (PMBI) a Wilderness First Responder, and a certified USA Weightlifting coach. Bekah lives in Hood River, OR with her wife, dog, and 6 chickens.  



Brian Nicholson 

Professional Guide 

Brian is always looking for ways to give back to the sport he loves. “Becoming a Professional Guide for Northwest Excursion just felt like a perfect fit for doing so. It allows me to share the sport of mountain biking and my extensive knowledge of the gorge trail systems with like minded individuals.” Brian truly does know the ins and outs of all the trail systems in the gorge and most of the PNW. He has the ability to quickly evaluate his clients skill level and form a ride that is perfect for the group he is riding with. Nicknamed the “Golden Retriever” by his riding buddies, you will quickly see why… Brian always has a smile on his face, a super positive attitude, and we are pretty sure if he had a tail it would always be wagging!



Laura Vallion

Professional Guide

Laura grew up in Portland and moved to Hood River full time 3 years ago to be closer to the cycling, windsurfing and skiing she loves.  She has taken up cyclocross and gravel road racing and divides her cycling time between road, gravel and mountain biking.  Laura has been fortunate to have also cycled extensively in Europe:  Switzerland, France (Alps, Provence), Italy (Dolomites, Tuscany, Piedmont), Spain (Mallorca) and is planning a trip to the Pyrenees this September.  Laura has two sons in college and has recently made the leap from the corporate world to one focused on outdoor adventure guiding and volunteer work. 



Julie O'Brien

Professional Guide

After years of weekend kiteboarding in the Columbia River Gorge, Julie relocated from Portland, Oregon to Hood River, to enjoy playing in mountains all year around.  She enjoys supporting local trails, mountain bike racing, endurance trail riding, but most of all discovering new mountain bike trails.  When off the bike, Julie can be found spending time on the river, sampling local beer and wine, or adventuring around the Gorge with her family.  


Amy Black

Professional Guide

Amy's passion for biking has inspired her to help others discover the sport that has taken her to incredible places, introduced her to amazing people and built confidence to tackle obstacles both on and off the bike. She served on the Board of Directors of Georgia’s NICA League, mentored for the Little Bellas Program, and joined the 706P Chicks Women’s Team before moving to Hood River to chase new trails. Now she’s elated to share her passion for exploring the world by mountain bike with Northwest Excursions’ clientele!

Megan Barton

Professional Guide

Megan, her husband and three children relocated from Northwest Arkansas in 2008 and landed in the gorge area by chance. Although an avid ultra runner and occasional road cyclist, she had never mountain biked until 2014. A steep, but obsessive learning curve brought her opportunities to volunteer and than coach with the Trek Dirt Series as a PMBIA certified coach. She has also had some had some success with cyclocross racing and won her her first mountain bike race this past summer. When dirt is replaced by snow, Megan enjoys backcountry and nordic sking and serves as a volunteer nordic patroller with Mt. Hood Ski Patrol. Megan works full time as a Family Nurse Practitioner in Hood River for Columbia Gorge Family Medicine and enjoys serving her community.