2011 May

Interview with Jill Homer
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Win a Bike Light – Motivational Monday with Jill Homer

Light & Motion Motivational MondayThis month’s Motivational Monday posts are brought to you by one of my personal favorites, Light & Motion. Between now and the end of June, Light & Motion wants to know who or what in the cycling community motivates  you. All you have to do us leave a comment here or on Light & Motions’ Facebook page. At the end of the month we’ll be choosing one lucky winner to score a brand new VIS 360 commuter light!


What’s your name and location?

Jill Homer. I currently live in Los Altos, California.

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

If I had to sum my riding up in one phrase, I would say I love “bicycle touring.” I love seeing small parts of the world from the seat of a bicycle, from the winding
singletrack in my backyard mountains to the vast frozen tundra of the Iditarod Trail. Sometimes I travel for a couple hours and sometimes for days, but always, in my mind, the emphasis is more on fun and discovery than pure training. Because of this desire to really get out there, I enjoy all types of riding — mountain biking, snow biking, and road cycling.

What is your first cycling memory?

When I was six years old I received my first “big girl” bike as a Christmas present — a yellow Huffy with a brown banana seat. It was a hand-me-down from one of my mother’s friends. I was always secretly ashamed of my yellow-and-brown bike and was jealous when, a few years later, my sister received a much prettier pink and purple Huffy. I’m not sure if not wanting to be seen on an ugly bike is solely to blame, but I didn’t ride that avidly as a child. I used my bike when I needed transportation to my friends’ houses, but didn’t often just go out for simple bike rides.

Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?

In the cycling industry, I would say the guys at Salsa Cycles inspire me — Jason Boucher, Joe Meiser, etc. Not only is their company continuously developing innovative bicycles for all types of riding, but they’re out there riding them all the time. Jason rides through the winter in Minnesota. Joe has finished the Tour Divide and Trans-Iowa. I’ve met them both — Jason is on the board at Adventure Cycling Association — and they’re just cool guys.

Interview with Jill Homer

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

My best bike moment came in the midst of a 140-mile gravel grinder on the Denali Highway in Alaska, called the Denali Classic. At the time I was contemplating
taking a job in Missoula, Montana (where I lived for 8 months before moving to California.) I was very apprehensive about leaving Alaska, and that long ponderous ride gave me time to really process it. Toward the end I was suffering quite a bit — it was a warm day, I was sunburnt and the rougher-than-expected gravel road had rattled my hands and back — but I crested a hill with a great view of the Susitna Valley bathed in golden evening light. A feeling of peace washed over
me and I knew moving to Montana was the right decision for me. It’s been a wild year of change ever since, but this single moment stands out as a definitive point of perspective.

In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2011?

In 2011, I’ve directed more of my endurance training focus to running. Right now I’m training for the Tahoe Rim Trail 100, which will be my first 100-mile trail ultramarathon (I’ve completed one 100-mile foot race, the Susitna 100 in Alaska in February.) This requires a lot of running focus, so my main goals
right now with bicycles are to commute regularly and have fun. I work from home right now and often use my bicycles to run errands and access trails, and try to drive as little as possible. I also recently moved to California and have a couple of big goals, including a day road tour of the Santa Cruz Mountains that will likely amount to a double century with a ton of climbing, and also linking up a mostly dirt mountain bike route from my home on the east side of the mountains to the Pacific coastline.

Wanna Know About my Bikes?

I am the current owner-user of five bicycles, more than I ever expected. I have a 2010 Rocky Mountain Element, a high-end racing mountain bike; a 2008 Surly Karate Monkey, my steel-framed hardtail 29er that I rode in the Tour Divide and that is currently set up as a single-speed; a 2004 Calfee carbon road bike,
which is actually my boyfriend’s bike but I’ve largely inherited it; a 2007 Surly Pugsley, my beloved snow bike; and a fixed-gear commuting bicycle.

Off to the Races

I’ve been rather silent this week in preparation for my first 24 hour solo mountain bike race.  I’m working on packing, and heading up to camp out tonight in a thunderstorm to get a good pit location.

Once I recover I’ll check back in with you all on the other side of this huge undertaking!

Bontrager Shoe Review
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Bontrager RL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes Reviewed


Long Term Bontrager RL Mountain WSD Cycling Shoe Review

MSRP: $139.99
Sizes: 36-43 euro (including half sizes between 37.5-41.5)
Details: eSole insole, durable heal cup and toe box, two straps and a third ratchet with buckle

Shoes and saddles have always been the two most sensitive areas with me.  I’ve owned several brands over the years, previous to owning the Bontrager shoes my feet were found in pink Sidi Dominator’s for 3 years.  When I was looking at the Bontrager cycling shoes they were for back up, for rain or during endurance races when you may need an extra pair of shoes.  Quickly, the e-soles inside and the fit of the Bontrager RL WSD shoes won me over.  I went from a pair of $280 cycling shoes, to $140 shoes and they made my feet happy enough I would have paid $300 for them!

Initial Feelings of the Bontrager RL Mountain Shoe

Part of me wished the shoe came in a couple color variations. Coming from my pink and red Sidi Dominators I wanted something with character and funk!  The black and blue design grew on me, having some feminine flair but not a ton.  The moment I put the shoes on I felt like Cinderella as the shoe fit like a glove.  I was able to take out shims beneath my cleats during my first fitting with the shoes.  This is due to the eSole insole system that had variable arch support, keeping my foot from rolling in towards my crank which had been causing me knee pain for the past 6 years.  Yes, a proper fitting, arch support, shoe helped me with the knee pain I had been dealing with forever (including over 18 bike fittings!)

Bontrager RL Shoe Review

Side View

Main Features of the RL WSD Shoe

The key selling features to me were the following

  • fit
  • neutral yet fun color
  • ventaliation
  • toe box protection
  • toe spikes for cyclocross or mud
  • price

Overall Review of the Bontrager Shoes

If the shoe fits, wear it.  I have gone through so many different pairs of cycling shoes to find on my first long ride that they make my feet go to sleep.  While I may receive product for review on Bike Shop Girl, and they may end up being shoes, I will continue to purchase Bontrager shoes for my personal shoes.  Shoes, much like any piece of clothing, is based on fit and your needs.  The shoes have lasted me almost two seasons as I purchased them two years ago while an employee at a shop.  Now that I pay retail for most things, I will still be happily paying the $140 for these shoes, I’m actually weighing the option of purchasing the RXL version mainly due to the patent leather and gold look (plus much lighter/stiffer.)   I wear these shoes DAILY, for commuting, road riding, mountain biking and everything in between.   My family lives mostly on a shoe string budget and even with that I will still be happily paying for these shoes.  There are some things in your life you shouldn’t skimp on, for me it is my cycling shoes.

Bontrager RL ATB Shoe Review

Sidebar

I feel that I should add one last thing to this review. To some people $140 is a lot for cycling shoes, for others compared to Sidi or other more boutique shoes this is half of what they normally would pay.   Products to me shouldn’t be weighed by cost.  If something is going to help you be a better and happier person it should be worth you saving your pennies, OR in the case of these shoes be open minded to something cheaper than I normally would have purchased.    Also, my shoes are worn out.   The have become flexy and the back heal has started to peal apart. They still ride wonderfully but are slowly finding their way to becoming my “rain shoes.”

These shoes were purchased with money out of my own pocket. I was not paid nor bribed for this review, though it would be nice to make money on this one day.

Georgena Terry
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Win a Bike Light – Motivational Monday with Georgena Terry

Light & Motion Motivational Monday

Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!

This month’s Motivational Monday posts are brought to you by one of my personal favorites, Light & Motion. Between now and the end of June, Light & Motion wants to know who or what in the cycling community motivates  you. All you have to do us leave a comment here or on Light & Motions’ Facebook page. At the end of the month we’ll be choosing one lucky winner to score a brand new VIS 360 commuter light!


One of the best known women within the cycling industry, Georgena Terry has created an amazing company with one goal : Get more women on bikes!  I’ve been over the years that she has taken the time to reply to every email, question and thought as I’ve tried to learn and become a better leader within women of the bike life.

Georgena Terry

What is your first memory of cycling?

Wobbling around the backyard on my red Schwinn girl’s bike.

Who in the current cycling industry inspires you?

Two women: Jacquie Phelan, the queen of mountain biking and Natalie Ramsland, of Sweet Pea Bicycles.

What are the biggest marketing motives in 2011? Or.. what are some motivating factors for Terry Bicycles in 2011?

1. Get more women riding.
We aim to do this through innovative new social media efforts, expansion of our product line and increasing our involvement in event sponsorship like the Wild Goose Chase, Little Red Riding Hood, MS150 and other benefit rides.

2. Revitalize the Terry brand.
We’re introducing a new identity complete with tagline: the original women’s bicycling company; a new approach to catalog merchandising that focuses on cycling themes; full custom apparel prints that are modern and fashion forward; new saddle graphics across the entire saddle line; expanded line of bicycles in steel and aluminum at the widest variety of price points we’ve had in years.

3. Expand our customer communications.
We’ve historically used our catalog as the primary means of reaching our customers. For 2011, we will be shifting our marketing dollars from catalog to web, introducing a new online effort designed to attract a broad range of females who are currently unfamiliar with the Terry brand.

With how large the cycling market is these days, at the end of the day what are the three main points that make Terry stand apart?

1. We’re still the only brand dedicated 100% to designing solutions to every aspect of a female cyclist’s life.

2. We design for all female riders and consequently have products that are suitable from 18 to 80, in sizes 2 to 22.

3. We have me, the woman who pioneered this industry, leading it all.

Terry Bicycles have a great podcast series going on, how long has it been around and what were the motives when you started it?

For about 4 years. I started it because I thought it would be a cool thing to do.

cyclingadvice
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Cycling Advice for Women


My Best Advice for Women Cyclist

In no particular order these are things I have said over the years to friends, customers and myself.  If you have more advice to add please join the conversation in the comments at the bottom of this page.

Research, learn and learn some more

You may find a great local shop, but unless there is an experience girl there, they won’t be able to tell you from their own experience.  Boys are made differently, even their thinking is different, which makes for some things not to be comparable. (Saddles, shorts, clothing, etc.)   Try to learn from as many people as possible, test ride, and ask a ton of questions.  Don’t stop learning or asking!

fi:zik Vesta Saddle

fi:zik Vesta Saddle

Invest in a a good bike seat and bike fitting

You should not have any numbness or pain when you ride your bike normally.  If you start training for Ride Across America or something like that, it may be different.  A two hour ride should be fun and enjoyable, make it so.

Also, make sure your favorite bike shorts aren’t causing problems.  With a seam or stitching in the wrong place, it can cause a ton of problems.

The wonderful woman behind Lovely Bicycles posted a great article that I could never do justice.  Go read over there about bike saddles and the female anatomy.

Be careful shaving down there, especially the first few times before you ride

When you first start riding, purchase a new saddle or change your bike fit, it is very important to take note of these changes when you are shaving or trimming your crotch area. This goes for any area that is touching the bike saddle.  In grown hairs, shaving burns and all those things can be heightened by cycling shorts and saddles rubbing up and down for many revolutions of your pedals.

Try some sort of butt and “cooter” lube

You may not realize you are chaffing or rubbing areas.  Also, many have an anti-bacteria add in.  My favorite is DZ Nuts “Bliss”.

Women’s Cycling Shorts, saddles and handle bar tape/grip wear out

The same as you look at your drive train and tires, keep a good look on these things before they cause you problems.

Encouraging Women's Cycling

Photo Credit: Dirt Divas UK

Find other women to ride with

Even if it is once a month and you have to drive, do it. This spring I made a vow to do my best to ride with a local women’s ladies mountain bike group the Dirt Divas or atlas ride with some of them when time allows.  The social aspect, the motivating factor, the “belonging” feeling and finally to motivate OTHERS, are all reasons to do it.

Women cyclist should ride with the boys

It will make you stronger and faster.

Become self reliant

Learn how to change your tire, clean your chain and the basic lingo so you can maintain your bike with your local bike shops help.  You don’t need anyone else for those basic things, plus you’ll be safer when riding if you know these things.

Encourage

“There’s a place in Hell reserved for women who don’t help other women.” – Madeleine Albright

Try to remember the first time you went bike riding with a group, tried clipless pedals or entered your first race.  Make sure to smile at the start line and encourage.  Competition is healthy but women will be the back bone of making this sport a success, I can promise you that one.

Be proud

You are a woman, you are an athlete and you should be proud of all these things together.

2010 Raleigh Clubman Review
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2011 Raleigh Clubman Bicycle: Full Review

Raleigh Clubman Steel Bicycle

MSRP: $1150

Main Features: Tiagra 9speed, full fenders, Brooks Swift leather saddle, Lezyne pump

Other Notes: I reviewed a 2010 model, the only changes to the 2011 are the paint (now green) and the wheels from my understanding are now 32h instead of 28

Over the past year I have been able to review a ton of great product.  A product that I started to review for Commute By Bike and was put on hold during my fear of riding on the road is the Raleigh Clubman.  As this bike is one of my reliable and one of the most eye catching frames in my fleet I want to make sure to give it a full review for all those interested or looking at purchasing one.

Read More

pushlightJPG.JPG
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Princeton Tech Push Light Review

Princeton Tech Push Light Review

Princeton Tech Push Front Light

MSRP: $49.99
Power:
100 Lumens powered by an LED
Burn Time:
63 Hours Blinking
14 Hours Low
4 Hours High

Initial Thoughts of the Push Light

I received the Princeton Tech Push light in for review last fall.  After my accident in October I wasn’t able to really test it as it should be tested in a true commuter/road aspect.  A few weeks ago I started using it as part of my daily front light for my commuter.  My first feelings of the light out of the box was superb.  Princeton Tech has great retail product package experience, and they also do a great job with the user interface of the light.  It simply works.

The light mounts to the handlebar using a rubber coated round clamp that tightens up with a plastic knob on the end of a screw/bolt style.  The light head pivots on the mount incase your bar isn’t perfectly straight.   The light easily is removed, yet is very sturdy on the handlebar thanks to the combination of the rubber and knob you can tighten down on.

Push Light Review

I chose to mount my light upside down on my bar mainly as I felt the red blinking lights that are on the side (cool feature) weren’t able to be seen if the light was mounted on the top of the bar.   Normally I also like this way as the light has less “top heavy” feel, flopping less on the bar.

Main Features of the Light

We’ve already gone over the mounting system of the light.  This works well as I have mounted the light on my mountain bike and did some easy off roading and the light did not move.  Here’s some more features that I love.

Easy to use large button function. One button, with gloves it is easy to find.

Red blinking lights on the side. This is a pretty cool feature and even able to be seen to a point during the day.  On drop bar bikes the drops hide the blinking, and if you mount the light on the top of the bar the red blinking light is towards the bottom of the light… which it was more centered on the sides.

Several light functions. The below video will give a good run through of the settings.

Overall Review of the Light

This light for $49.99 is a great deal. Aesthetically I love it, even over my normal go to Planet Bike Blaze 1W. This is mainly due to the mount feature and the clean metal/black look. The Blaze does have a better run time, but I don’t know what the Blazer provides in lumens (I haven’t been able to find on the internet..) I should also mention that more local bike shops carry Planet Bike products over Princeton Tech.  I haven’t run my Push light through a full set of new batteries, that is a set of batteries I have installed fresh instead of the ones that came in the box.  For the most part I run this light in blinking mode during my commute thanks to day light savings.

I highly recommend this light for someone that needs a reliable light source, has funny handlebars or possibly will take their rig off the beaten path.

Buy it Now

This product was given to me at no charge for review.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out. Several of the above links are affiliate links.  I believe in this product and feel you’ll be happy if you purchase.

 

Motivation Monday
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Motivational Monday: Who is Your Motivation?

Motivation Monday

A Monday morning tradition that we are starting to keep you motivated and to be striving for your goals even during a hard week or long hours at work.  It is time to hear from you all, what women in cycling motivate you and inspire? Tell us so that we can interview them!

Are you a female cyclist?  Answer the below questions to be included with our Motivation Mondays!

What’s your name and location?

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

What is your first cycling memory?

Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2011?

Wanna Know About my Bikes?

Email to: Girly@BikeShopGirl.com

People for Bikes
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I Believe in Bikes, They DO Make the World Better

People for Bikes

I believe that bikes can solve many of the worlds problems if we put enough energy behind it to do so.  I know I am happier on the bike than most anywhere else in the world.   In honor of May being National Bike Month the fine folks at People for Bikes have created a short film.

I believe in bikes, and I believe that we can find ourselves out there on them.

30 Days of Biking
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#30DaysofBiking Update

30 Days of Biking It has been over a week since updating you about my 30 days of biking challenge, so here is a quick update.

Day 1 : A 19 mile road rideCharlotte Commuting

Day 2: A daily commute of 5 miles to Davidson, NC – take the bus from there to Charlotte and then a mile commute.  In the evening I reversed it

Charlotte Commuting
Day 3:
I only did the end of day commute, riding the bus completely stinks and makes me feel that I’m in a 14 ton coffin.  Avoided it for the past week.

em:pwr cycling group ride
Carson Street Station

Day 4: em:pwr cycling lunch time group ride and then the bus/commute home.

em:pwr clothing

Day 5: A early morning mountain bike ride before work.

Day 6: Rode my mountain bike into the weekend by knocking out 12 miles after work on the singlespeed 29er.  I also scurried home to build up the new Airborne Goblin 29er.

Airborne Goblin in the Trunk

Day 7: A shake down mountain bike ride at Lake Norman State Park.  Adjusting my cock pit, getting used to gears and suspension

Road Riding the Airborne Goblin

Day 8: A 28 mile road ride on the 29er mtb for fit and adjustment reason

Girls on Bikes

Day 9: 7 mile afterwork mountain bike ride

Day 10: Built up a friends new Airborne Goblin, tweaked his new Stevens cyclocross bike and test spun around.

Day 11: (Today)  Changing out some bits on my Goblin and beating it up around the block.

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