Empowering women in cycling

Archives › October 2009

How to : Weekly Safety Check

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We’ve hit upon the preventative maintenance and how to lube your chain so now is a weekly safety check that all riders should know how to do.

A Safe, Clean, Bike

A Safe, Clean, Bike

Wipe frame and wheels down : This is a pretty important step to make sure structurally your frame and wheels aren’t developing any cracks or chips in the paint or metal.  I use a watered down Simple Green in a spray bottle to do this.

Clean in tight areas : Make sure to wipe down in tight areas, between pivot points or where your cables may wear.  Built up dirt can actually wear into your frame.

Pivot Bolts

Pivot Bolts

Tighten pivot bolts : This applies to mostly full suspension bikes but any part of your bike that moves, like the full suspension linkage, needs to be checked more often.

Check over all bolts : This is pretty self explanatory. My biggest word of advice is to not OVER tighten the bolts.

Go through shifting and braking : Make sure the brakes hit the wheels or rotor evenly and there isn’t any excessively odd wear on the brake pads. The shifting should be crisp and not over shift any cogs or chain rings.

This process, though sounding lengthy, can take only about 5 minutes once you get the hang of it and also if your bike isn’t so dirty.  Soon I’ll go over the proper way to clean off that mucky bike but you are well on your way of a happy bike that will live a long life as your taking good care of it.

They Say We Need More Women Bicycle Commuters

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BikeShopGirl CommuteAcross the internet there is a buzz on an article that was originally posted on Scientific American. The article titled “How to Get More Bicyclist on the Road” hits again and again that aiming the cycling infrastructure around women that you will have not only more women on bicycles but more families and men.  Citing many reports and research done across the world Scientific American makes it seem that if you have off road bike paths that have more direct routes to and from places, than scenic routes, than you would have a stronger cycling infrastructure.

I agree, but only to a point.  Yes, I think women control a lot of household events and happenings.  If it was easier for me to get to the grocery store on a bike than my whole family would be doing it and taking my children to football practice or school.  All of these are right on the target with what researchers have said.  The point that I disagree is what happens if your errands are small, maybe you are a single woman or live more than 3.5 miles from the stores and work?

Most U.S women will not be going by bicycle for utility reasons if it is more than 3.5 miles and here is why :

1. It is very hard for a woman to stay presentable over 3.5 miles, especially if the terrain is not flat.
2. We do not want to be sweaty, to re-apply make up or to fix our hair for the second time that day.  Nor do we feel like it is okay to do that in the bathroom at work (normally.)
3. It isn’t socially acceptable to go by bike in most U.S cities.  I would argue that the culture and city life has to change, not only the way you ride a bike.  In Portland, OR or Boulder, CO it is the cool thing to ride your bicycle everywhere.  It has been taken in by the city with open arms.  If you move to one of those cities and you don’t ride you will be ready for a wide awakening.

Follow the buzz across the internet and add your own below in comments.

EcoVelo – An Indicator Species
TreeHugger – How Can You If Tell Your City is Bikeable?
VeloMuse – Recent Findings That Give Pause

I Spy : Hoo Ha Ride Glide Review

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There are tons of different types of chamois butter, from various companies that are special for different reasons. First you have “natural” ingredients, others have a cooling sensation, and some a numbing.

Hoo Ha GlideNow Hoo Ha Ride Glide is the first chamois butter created by women for women, because guys we are built different down there.

Some of you might be asking what chamois butter is.  Most roadies swear by chamois butter as it is a lube that goes on your skin in various “under” areas to help with chafing and saddle sores.  Some women can’t even ride with out it as their soft tissues down there are so sensitive.

I’ll be reviewing some Hoo Ha and seeing what I think.  I’ve used many different chamois butters over the years and I haven’t noticed too much of a difference, maybe Hoo Ha will really help!

What is a Scrader Valve or Presta Valve?

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When you ride a bicycle it will come to a point that you’ll need to inflate your tires.  Soon, I’ll be going over how to change a flat, different types of pumps and what makes a tire tubeless, tubular or standard.  For today we will be starting very basic and figuring out which valve you have and why you need to know.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

A schrader valve is the commonly used valve in the U.S for automotive tires and most bikes under $1,000.  The valve has a spring inside of it that opens and closes the valve core.  The valve core is what keeps air from leaking out of your tire.   On a schrader valve it is very important to have a valve cap (plastic top) to cover the valve to keep dirt out, if not the valve could stay open or jam shut.Schrader Valve GIFA presta valve is found on higher pressure bicycle tires or higher end wheels.  This valve is much smaller in diameter and has a top nut that controls the valve core.  You need to screw open this nut to let air into and then screw close to shut off the valve.  Due to the fact the valve does not use a spring to control the valve core it is able to hold higher pressure in the tubes, leak less and also not need a valve cap.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

Depending on your application both valves work great and are easy to use.  The presta valve involves a softer touch to open and close that valve so you don’t damage the valve core but I have faith in you!   We will go over pumping up the tires more in depth next week.

A video on differences between valves with Carlton Reid

Valve Stem’s on Wikipedia