2011 February

SKS Longboard Fenders
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New Product: SKS Longboard Fenders

As I sit in my office in Charlotte, NC the rain is pouring down. The road and ground are starting to pool up with water and I’m fortunate to be in dry clothes and happy wool clad feet as I watch silly cyclist roll by. The cyclist aren’t silly for riding in the rain, but for riding with out proper fender’age. If only they had been able to read about the new SKS Longboard Fenders that have the “best coverage on the planet” as the company brags.

SKS Longboard Fender Set

MSRP: $44.99-49.99
Dimensions: 700×28-37 tires with a 45mm width profile. 6″ mudflap extension. Stainless hardware and all that jazz
Colors: Black, Silver, Beige *yes beige*

SKS Longboard Fenders on Rivendell

Bicycle Film Fest
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Do You Like Making Videos and Bicycles?

Submissions are now open for the Eleventh Annual Bicycle Film Festival! The BFF is looking for films with a bike-related theme. Any
style is acceptable: animation, experimental, narrative, documentary and music videos are all a go.

There is no fee to enter your film, simply download a submission form from the BFF website, and send a copy of the film to the BFF Head
Office in New York.

The Bicycle Film Festival began in 2001 when Brendt Barbur, founding director of the festival was hit by a bus while riding his bike in New
York City. He insisted on turning his negative experience into a positive one. The Bicycle Film Festival is a platform to celebrate
the bicycle through music, art and, of course, film.


The BFF travels to over 25 cities around the world, including Paris, London, Tokyo, New York — and Sydney. Last year, more than 225,000
people attended the festival. The BFF is not only a showcase for new films, but also, includes rock shows, street parties, art shows,
dinners, bike rides and more!

The 2011 submission deadline is April 1. Any inquiries please contact Brendan or Jen at:
info@bicyclefilmfestival.com
jen@bicyclefilmfestival.com
brendan@bicyclefilmfestival.com

Velo Orange Bar Tape
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Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape Review

A few months ago when I was trying to inspire myself to get back on the road bike, I changed out some parts on the Raleigh Clubman I had received for review.   I made it a bit more “women’s fit” and classed it up with Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape.   I’ve always loved the look and feel of the Brooks leather bar tape but it was a crazy price to try out a new type of bar wrap.

Details of the Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape

MSRP : $45-55 from VO (currently they have it on sale for $45!)

Colors : Honey Brown or Black

Initial Preview & Installation of the VO Leather Bar Tape

When I received the leather bar tape I was hesitant to install, to be honest it sat in my parts bin for a couple months after receiving due to be run over by a car and the lack of will to ride.  Slowly I realized the bar tape, among other things, is what I needed.  I needed to find beauty in road cycling again.

Installing the bar tape is much tougher than installing normal cork style bar tape.   There is next to no give and the bar tape in the bend of the bar wants to crease.   I had to try two or three times to get it right and have enough to end properly on my 42cm bar.  This may be due to liking more padding and overlapping half of the wrap as I went around, but I don’t know how it would wrap a 46cm bar and not be super thin.  Or, quite possibly my upper body strength isn’t what it should be to wrap leather bar wrap?

Riding with Leather Bar Wrap

The words I can put in this paragraph won’t sum up how nice the leather feels in your hands.   It reminds me of a well loved baseball glove, or settling into an expensive car with the glamorous baseball glove leather seats.   Grabbing on to the bars, and the soft feel that the bar wrap gives back is like a nice hug back from your bike.   The padding is another story.  I have to wear gloves when riding this bike, and padded gloves are not something I normally wear.

Other Notes

If you look closely at the pictures there are two where the bar wrap was stitched together half way through the roll.

White leather would be hot.

Overall Impression

If I had a carbon fiber 14lb road or cyclocross bike,  I wouldn’t use this bar wrap. For a nice classic steel ride, this will be my staple bar wrap.  No question.  And the $55  is well worth it as it will last 5x more than the cork wrap.  When installing it again, I may find one of my strapping muscle clad friends to help man handle the leather, but its good to know the bar tape will be able to take it!

Find online at Velo Orange

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.
Fixing the Bike Industry
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The Ass Backwards Ways of the Bicycle Industry

If you are a common visitor to BikeShopGirl.com (thank you) than you may have noticed that the tag line and description have changed.  Originally this site was targeted to specifically women and our niche.  We aren’t leaving that niche, and I’m a woman so I’ll continue to concentrate on helping women in the cycling industry.   As comments and emails stream in on a daily basis, I realized that almost everyone other than the bike snob elitist related to the words I have been typing.   Many people are scared to walk into bike shops, they are scared to try on spandex for the first hundred times and they feel like they are trying to be sold to instead of educated.   This is the nature of retail and consumerism thanks to used car and Xerox sales guys.

Recent Observations

Here are some recent musings while talking to friends and cyclist of all types

  • My impression is most people that ride bikes, do not refer to themselves as cyclist
  • They fear shopping for bikes, due to sticker shock and lack of knowledge
  • They relate to their friends and family, wanting to include them as much as possible in their experience
  • Due to lack of knowledge, they will shop based on friends recommendations or sources they trust (this is where I come in)

My Goals are Not to Crush

Making a bike shop profitable in a saturated market is getting more and more impossible.  Margin’s are getting skinnier, there is more knowledge needed by their staff which means higher salaries and more training, more product by more vendors means more room to store it which adds to overhead, and the online retailer (unfortunately for local bike shops) are doing it right.  Call them, ask them tons of questions, price shop, and repeat.

Today, across all industry’s, it is the time for the consumer.  Consumer’s want you to save them money, to be treated like your long lost first love and for it to be all about them.  Because after all, they are giving you their money and they want you to earn it.  They will be needy, helpless and walked through many things.  But, hey, that’s okay!!! Treat them right and they will be your loyal customer referring you to friends for years.

We’ll talk about what bike shops could do, and hopefully get more feedback from end users.  But in reality, my goal is to help the consumer.  EMPOWER the consumer to shop smarter and have a better experience riding their bike.

Soul Run Review
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Soul Run Tool Roll and Wallet Review

Last summer I mentioned Soul Run products and carrying your tools in style.  Now that I’ve had some time under my belt with their tool roll and jersey pocket wallet I’m ready to reveal my feelings and emotions around their products.

Soul Run Tool Roll

The Tool Roll is a great concept.   It is somewhat like a seatbag, but it unrolls to display all your tools, tubes or bits without having to dump your goods on the ground to find that tube patch or tire levers.    You can keep it in your messenger bag, under your seat or in your pocket.

Soul Run Tool Roll Review

Overall this roll has been a great addition to my daily riding, especially when commuting or changing bikes/bags.   I can easily take the tool roll from one bag into another, or throw it under my seat with a toe strap.   It won’t ever replace a seat bag as it is impossible to attach a light to it, but again for someone with several bags I use to commute with – this was a lifesaver.  I no longer had to make sure I had everything I needed every time I set off on a different bike or with a different bag.

One of the coolest features to this tool roll was the custom colors, I was able to pick anything I wanted for no additional charge!

The only con I found of this roll is due to the pockets and limited space I couldn’t fit too much in the roll.  I routinely kept a CO2, adapter, tube, tube patch and tire levers.   That’s all that fit and even with that it was very bulky and looked “over stuffed.”

Soul Run Pocket Wallet

Soul Run Review

This wallet was the lifesaver that I never knew I needed.   I carry an Android smart phone and a small digital camera on every ride.  As the summer is hot and humid in Charlotte, NC, I would often put these electronic devices in a plastic bag to keep the moisture of my sweat out.  This wallet saved me from looking like a fool, and I started to use it daily for other uses.  On the one side I put my phone with license and credit card, the other either my camera or cash.   It kept everything dry and stink free!  It also kept everything easy to find in a huge messenger bag, or backpack with out stash pockets.

Other Mentions of Soul Run

Back in October when I was run over by a car, Soul Run sent me a “get well card” to my house due to them having my address from sending me their product for review.  It was one of the sweetest things and motivating factors to my healing process.

Check out Soul Run on Etsy to check out their latest colors and products.  Personally I’m eyeballing the pro bike tool roll!

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.
Lake Norman Mountain Biking
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A Mental Mountain Bike Ride

Yesterday was a glorious day to get out on your bike.   Sitting around 60º at 2pm I hit one of our local trail systems to Charlotte, NC.  The trails are located in Lake Norman State Park and normally referred to as “Lake Norman.”   There are three different loops that require next to no technical skills in order to ride.  All three loops add up to 17.5 miles so it makes for a decent day on the bike if you do one or two circuits of the trails.    Yesterday, my goal was to hit two of the loops for 11 easy miles.

My Riding is Off

There are some days that things don’t align for you on the bike, sometimes its your health and sometimes its your nerves.   Half way due to having the flu last week, and half way due to not trusting my natural reflects I was fighting myself for the first 5 miles.   My pedals would turn over well, I didn’t trust my tire pressure, I went too slow through rooty areas that require speed.   I walked away with a great ride and glad I went, but wondering how long it will be until I find my legs and head again.

Riding Plan for the Week

Today, recover from the weekend and stretch a good amount.  Oh yes, it is Valentine’s Day!  Tomorrow and Wednesday, most likely mountain bike ride after work.  Thursday and Friday, 1 hour road ride during lunch.

What are your plans for the week?

Be A Girl Today
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Be a Girl Today Valentine’s Discount

Our friends on Twitter, BeAGirl_Today, mentioned they are having a sale in honor of Valentine’s Day.  Now they don’t make cycling specific gear yet, but supposedly it is in the works.   They have some pretty cool graphic tshirts announcing that you are going to “Play Like A Girl.”

BeAGirl_Today : Pick a shirt any shirt (bag or sticker!!) … enter the code “BeMine” for a 20% discount

Celebrate being a girl today and save 20% off through the Feb 28th, 2011.  Visit BeAGirlBlog.com

Windburned Cycling Legs
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Windburned Legs

Today was foretasted as a beautiful days, at its peak it was meant to hit 55º and be the gorgeous Carolina Blue skies that I love dearly!  When I left my house this morning at 8am, it wasn’t close to 55º and I would bet it was closer to 20º in the shade.

Why am I telling you all this?

Never Under Dress on Your Bicycle

My upper body was warm, I decided to wear a long sleeve jersey and my team thermal wind-stop jacket.   I didn’t wear long pants, nor warm gloves figuring that knee warmers and tall wool socks plus long fingered gloves would cut it.

It didn’t. 3/4 through the ride my right foot was numb and my legs had the burn of the cold.  I didn’t complain, I did go slower but I didn’t complain to my riding partners.

As I entered the shower, I didn’t realize how cold I really was.  I looked down at my bare naked legs and could see exactly the areas that my knee warmers or socks didn’t cover.   There was a 3″ line between my socks and knee warmers and again around my hip area that looked like a sunburn, and god did it hurt when the warm water hit it.  I quickly shout out for a camera from my girlfriend to take a picture of my legs.    I didn’t need to hurry her as the lines are still there 6 hours later.

Windburned Cycling LegsWindburned Cycling Legs

I’ve never done this one before, and I can promise you I never will again.

Airborne Delta Cyclocross
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Budget Minded Airborne Delta Cyclocross Bike

When friend and follower Rick Vosper sent along spy photos of a new cyclocross bike he had up his Airborne Bicycles sleeve, I was impressed and excited.  I was sworn to secrecy until they finished testing it.

Here’s the low down.  $1099 for a SRAM Apex equipped, custom carbon fork, disc brake cyclocross bike.  Yes, you read $1099.  Do you know how rare it is to find a cyclocross bike around $1000?   Meet the Airborne Delta CX.

Now Airborne Bicycles is a unique company as it is everything that local bike shops hate.  You can only purchase them online, and because they take out the middle man their bikes are cheaper.   There’s going to be a specific customer for their niche, one that knows what they are looking for, and either knows how to put their unbox their bike, or is okay to take it to the bike shop.   Personally, I’m a fan of this concept.   Buy your bike online, as long as you know what you are doing, bring it to the shop for them to properly build it and then pay them again to fit you.   No low margin bikes for the shop, and only money making profit on the labor of the services.  This is a completely different rant, but for now I’ll save you.


The Airborne Delta CX One Part CX, One Part Commuter

This bike will be ready to rock well before the cyclocross season comes back around.   It is also equipped with bosses for your rack, as a disc brake cyclocross would be a perfect commuter.   That’s the great thing about a good cyclocross bike.  The ample tire clearance gives you room for fenders, rack and all those goodies plus a slightly more upright position than a road bike.  While living in DC, Boston or major cities cyclocross bikes were my go to bikes for 80% of people wanting to “tool around”, commute and go for a fun road ride.

View more photos on Airborne’s Facebook Page.

Winter Short Track
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Charlotte Winter Short Track Finale

This Sunday is the last day of racing for the 5 race short track series in Charlotte, NC.   This series is a local favorite due to the weather proof trail and great spectator friendly course.   The trail has everything from a good climb, berms, table top and “rock garden.”

If you are in the area come check it out! You can learn more at CharlotteMTNBike.com

2011 Winter Short Track Mountain Bike Series
Renaissance Park Short Track Charlotte, NC
Sunday -  February 13 – FINAL RACE OF THE SEASON

The final race of the series is set for this Sunday.  The weather looks to be awesome for our double points race. This will be a double points race for both the individual and team competition. Ties in the series points is determined by the highest placing at the last race.

The course continues to be in great shape.  Last week, most all race participants were amazed how great the course was for race #4.

Race Day registration opens at 9:00AM
NO pre-reg needed and NO LATE FEES.

POST RACE AWARDS PARTY – 4PM
Post race awards party will be held at East Blvd Bar and Grill.  Please park in the Queen City Bicycles parking lot at the corner of Scott Ave and East Blvd, between BRIX Pizza and the bike shop.   Do not park in the grass parking area directly across from the restaurant…you will be towed. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery has provided has a great deal on beer for the race party.  Come on out.  We will be raffling off the Scott Scale kids bike, compliments of Live it Extreme Sports and the American Classic wheels, compliments of American Classic Racing Team.

Address and directions to East Blvd Bar and Grill…. http://ebbandg.com/

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