2010 January

Grit & Glimmer : Are bike shops *still* failing us?

Over at Grit & Glimmer a question was posed to get feedback on why or how bike shops are failing in general, women.

What is the shop doing, or not doing and how can we, the women, hope to see change?

Everyday more and more women are climbing onto bicycles. It’s our time. We’re here and we’re ready to ride. Are bike shops ready for us? What’s your experience? Do you have ideas on how bike shops can be better?

Do you have a story to share?

Let it rip.

I’ve been contacted over the past few months by several large companies (a shop included) to help them figure out how to better serve us. I’m excited, energized and enthusiastic about it – and I have commitments from them that they will be willing to take risks, trust me, and do what it takes to truly make a shift-change.

What do they need to hear?

Today I’m asking specifically about bike shops but I promise later to also address the question of the larger industry. We’re making strides, to be sure, but we’ve got a long way to go.

Originally found at GritandGlimmer.com

Please take a moment to give her feedback and help all of the bike industry find a better way to help women into cycling.

Batavus BUB
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Batavus BUB : Initial Thoughts

This was originally published at our sister site, Commute by Bike. As the bike is a step through design and fits in well with trying to get more women on bicycles, I’ll be cross posting the review on both sites.

When the Batavus BUB rolled into my bike shop a good amount of thoughts rolled into my head with it.  It looked heavy, was it? Where were the hand brakes or gears?  Could I take it down my 4.5 mile daily commute with a decent size hill in the middle?  (My worry was going up and down on it.)

Riding the BUB


I quickly checked the BUB over and rode it home that 4.5 mile commute.  The step through design was very handy and made me crave for one in my daily ride.  Very easy to get on, plus I didn’t worry about ripping my jeans as I didn’t have to throw my leg over the back of the saddle.  The handlebars and saddle seemed to me much like what we consider in the US as a Beach Cruiser.  For the entire first ride I was fighting with finding a position I felt efficient, yet comfortable in.  If I was comfortable on the saddle, it would start to rub my inner thighs.  If I was comfortable with the handlebars I was in a weird laid over position grabbing half way down the long swept back bar.

It took me a week to really grasp the ride of the BUB.  It truly is a bike for folks that maybe don’t ride everyday, or are looking for something on the end of the spectrum from their mountain/road bike.  You can easily hop on this and go, you won’t be going very far or very fast but it is easy and comfortable.

As I mentioned, initially I couldn’t get comfortable on this bike.  Mainly due to the length of my long legs and once I was home I raised the stem a good amount in order to sit more upright than leaned over.  In the end it fit a wide height range, for my 5′10 height down to my 5′5 girlfriend just as well.

The Prototype BUB & What I Would Change

The bike that I was reviewing was a prototype of sorts, it didn’t have the 3 speeds that the standard BUB will.  Gears would of helped keep me in a comfortable seated position on the small climb I have coming from my work.  I also wish it had some sort of rear or front hand brake to assist with the coaster brake, but that was also mainly me as I’m not used to riding a coaster brake bike.

All the options were installed on the test BUB.  Front and rear racks, as well as front and rear lights.  The racks had an interesting mounting design, it is non-standard and you’ll have to rig up your favorite rack to work on this bike if you wish.  The racks felt very strong and stable, a small child could sit on the front, but would completely wreck the steering of the bike.  The tubing on the rack is oversize, to the point a standard pannier clip system (of all types) doesn’t fit without bending or modifying.  Out of all my panniers in my collect only the Basil bags that you drape over one side of the rack to the other worked.

The lights weren’t anything too special.  Yes, a little different in looks but if you already have lights from another bike, save them and reuse them on the BUB.

Small Details

This bike turned heads, and caught many eyes.

The unique paper clip design made people ask questions and want to ride it.  The only other bike I own that causes such questions is my Xtracycle.

The “mood meter” seemed like a joke to me.  This little dial under the top tube that you are supposed to move dependent on your mood.

New pedals are needed unless you are rolling this bike in only fair weather.  There is no grip on them and several times when wet I slipped off the pedals.

Full Chainguard, good fenders, strong wheels, and reflective Schwalbe tires. The small details that many “commuter” bikes are left off with weren’t forgotten here.  I just fear they over thought the design aspect of the bike, leaving it very limited to accessories.

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out

Q&A : No underwear under my bike shorts?!

Over here at Bike Shop Girl headquarters we get many emails asking common questions on how to survive being a cyclist and a woman.  In order to get more insight from other women I will often ask if I can put the email I received up on the web for others to answer.

Question : Okay – I have heard this before but it has always been from male sales people.  I rode to work 3 or 4 times a week this year until the temps dropped and the snow started flying.
I am having difficulty wraping my head around the idea of putting on the same pair of shorts I wore on my 8 mile ride in the morning, to ride the same 8 miles on the way home – without underwear.  It is easy to change my underwear a couple of times a day and pull on the same pair of shorts.

What do other commuters do?
BSG : During the hot times of year I carry two pairs of cycle liner shorts.

.  They look much like a boxer brief and are thinner than their spandex sister shorts.  The reason for two is that I can sweat on the way to work, and not have to put them back on.   If in a forgiving environment I often have rode to work, showered and hand washed my cycling shorts.  Leaving them to dry during the day.
Now readers, what are your thoughts?

Girls and Bicycles

There is a blog I follow, and have linked to several times : Girls and Bicycles.  The blog is run by a lovely lady living up in Canada, who has the beautiful ability of bringing skirts and bicycles together.

Recently she started sharing writing on “Shareable” and I love getting even more of her writing into my blog feeder everyday.

Every time I leave the house by bicycle I get exercise (even pregnant, as I am in the above picture). I often meet new people and almost always have some chat with a neighbour while I’m coming and going. As a result I actually know the people in my neighborhood and the business owners in the surrounding areas. I save time by not having to go to the gym. I sleep well at night because my body is getting a lot of activity. I can eat whatever I want without feeling guilty.
Found at Shareable : Girl on a Bike

If you need inspired, or motivated to get on your bike and use it for various things, including outings with friends, go read Girls and Bicycles now!

fi’zi:k Vesta Review: Initial Thoughts

A beautiful fi’zi:k Vesta showed up at my doorstep a couple of weeks back.  Quickly, I snapped some photos and then installed the saddle on my cyclocross bike. Since then it has been on my goto bike for long road rides, and my daily commute.

Initial Feel

The very first feeling of the saddle is the firm, yet padded support.  This is a good feeling as I don’t like a saddle that I sink into. If you sink too much into a saddle your sit bones are no longer holding you up and the soft tissues are left holding you up.  This saddle hasn’t seen more than an hour and a half of consistent ride time so we can only tell how the padded feeling holds up.

The “pressure relief channel” seems to work so far.  It isn’t a cut out so if I rock into the drops I can feel pressure on my soft tissue areas but to this point there has been no numbness or pain when this pressure happens for an extended amount of time.

Look & Design

The saddle is an eye catcher.  Subtle enough, but if someone walks close enough to see the top of your saddle they will stop and ask, “WHAT?!“  This exact story has happened to me with everyone that has seen the saddle.  My only worry about the eye catching colors are they will bleed over time into my white bib shorts.

Closing Thoughts

Sitting initially on this saddle I didn’t think “this is the one,” but that never has happened before with any of my favorite saddles. There are always fine tuning with the bike fit and trying different angles and fore/aft of the saddle.  BUT I didn’t sit on this saddle and feel horrible pain, nor did I feel pain after 25 miles.  The jury is still out on this saddle but I will check back with you as the fit is modified and more miles are logged.

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