sweaty bike commute

Commuting Basics: If You Arrive on Time, You’re Late

Bike commuting is a passion of mine. The joy of swinging a leg over my bike to get to my next destination is freeing and can make any day feel complete. One thing I realize as more friends and readers are getting into bike commuting is that there can be a hugee lack of preparation for going by bike and the stress that involves. There are many topics on this subject, but today’s point is this.

Just because you rode your bike does not mean you should walk in sweaty and rushed.

Too many times in my experience bike commuters are running behind because they didn’t give themselves enough time. For those showing up early they are sweaty and need time to “cool off.” Selfishly, I want bike commuting to be looked at as a viable alternative to many people’s car commute. Helping give it a good image and taking a bit of time to be presentable and ready to go when your day starts will go a long way!

Suggestions for looking like you didn’t commute

  • Time can be your friend. Give yourself built in time incase of a flat tire, mechanical or to try a new route to work. I’ll often wait to drink a cup of coffee for when I get to work, that way I have time to stop sweating before I wipe off and change.
  • It’s not a race. Enjoy the ride and don’t rush it. If you want to rush off somewhere on your commute, let it be the ride home where you can be sweaty in the comfort of your own couch.
  • Wear wicking clothing and have spares. I wear a running t-shirt in the wicking material, or an Ice Breaker light weight wool t-shirt. Unless it’s under 70 I come prepared with a different shirt. The same goes for the bottom, except I bring extra unders! Working in a bike shop I’ll wear the same pair of jeans 3 or so days straight, leaving them at the shop but bringing in clean underwear every day with me.
  • Action Wipes. It’s like a shower in towel, disposable and all natural. Start from your face going down, it will leave you feeling clean and you won’t be salty the rest of the day.

 

fizik vesta

Fizik Vesta Bike Shop Girl Edition

It’s not really a Bike Shop Girl edition, but fitting that soon after I posted that the Vesta is one of my top 3 saddle they released information on a black and pink version for a limited time only!

Banjo Brothers Header

New Product from Banjo Brothers

While I realize the below product may not be that new from Banjo Brothers, it is awesome product that I haven’t talked about yet. Look for many of the mentioned products in Bike Shop Girl reviews over the coming weeks as a box of bag goodness showed up earlier this week from Banjo Brothers!

Metro BackPack $74.99

 

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

 

Features

  • Available in Black, White and Red
  • 18 oz vinyl tarp material (for easier cleaning) with hanging liner for excellent water resistance
  • Full width wicking back pad
  • 12 interior and exterior pockets
  • Padded laptop pocket fits up to 10″ x 15″ notebooks
  • Cell phone holster included
  • Front and rear reflective tape and webbing tab for safety light
  • 16″H x 11″L x 6.5″W / 1100 cubic inches
  • Click for Product Page

 

Canvas Waterproof Commuter Backpack $99.99

 

 

Banjo Brothers Canvas Commuter Backpack

 

 

Features

  • Fully-waterproof replaceable liner
  • 20-oz heavy-duty canvas construction
  • Water repellent dry-wax finish
  • 1500 cu in.
  • Click for Product Page

 

 

 

Frame Packs $32.99-34.99

 

 

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

 

 

Features

  • Efficient gear carrying frame bag
  • Ballistic nylon
  • Waterproof Zippers
  • Zipper-pull Garage
  • Two Pockets – one full size and one flat pocket for smaller items
  • Med Size fits 70-oz hydration bladder
  • 01064 (medium) is 15.5″L x 5.75″ H x 2″W and 01063 (small) 14.75″ L x 4.25″ H 1.75″W
  • Click for Product Page

 

 

Top Tube Bag $14.99

 

 

Banjo Brothers Top Tube Bag

 

 

Features

  • 41 cubic inches (6.25″ L x 2″ W x 3.25″ H)
  • 840 denier nylon fabric with padded and lined interior
  • Rubber-backed frame straps are secure and gentle on bike’s finish
  • Interior key clip and reflective piping
  • Clear flap helps keep your stuff dry and allows full view of contents
  • Plenty of room for race tools/food, or camera, phone, etc.
  • Click for Product Page

 

Jersey Pocket Cycling Wallet $5.99

 

Banjo Brothers Jersey Pocket Cycling Wallet

 

 

Features

Saddle Recommendation Header

3 Women’s Saddle Recommendations

The question of “What is your favorite saddle?” is a very popular question in tweets, emails and in shop conversation. It is also probably one of the most user specific question around bike fit. My bits are not built like your bits, my seat bones are not the same width as your seat bones but I can give some generic feedback of my “go-to” saddles for women.

Pro advice: Make sure you check your saddle measurements prior to swapping out any of these seats! This includes height, and the distance of where your sit bones are most comfortable on the seat to the handlebars. Every seat will be different but these are good x/y starting points to measure off!

The Most Popular Women’s Saddles I Recommend

 

Fizik Vesta

Fizik Vesta

 

If you don’t know where to start with a new seat, start with this one.

When swapping out bike seat during a women’s bike fit this is normally the first seat I try. The channel through the middle section allows some relief on your girly parts and the wider sit bone area on the back of the seat keeps you well supported. This saddle was once on 100% of my bikes but as my handlebars went lower I had to switch to something with a flatter front to back profile and not a drop in the middle.

Tip: Make sure the area where your sit bones hit is level!

 

 

Specialized Ruby Pro

 

 

Specialized Ruby Pro

If your handlebar is lower than your saddle height than try out the Specialized Ruby. The relatively flat back area of the saddle and flexy middle section allow for a leaned over position. This saddle doesn’t have a ton of padding some if you are relatively upright it may be a bit too tough for your sit bones.

Tip: This saddle does come in different widths, so make sure to get your butt properly sized!

WTB Deva

WTB Deva

This seat is a bit narrow so if you are on a super upright hybrid or mountain bike the saddle may not support you properly. Saying that, this saddle has been a goto for cyclocross season for many years due gel inserts in the firm and pretty flat surface.

Tip: This saddle is not as tall as many others. You may need to move your seat up significantly.

(Yes, I like white saddles. It always makes a bike look faster in my humble opinion!)

Motivational Monday with Mac

Motivational Monday with Mac in Chicago

What is your name and location?

Mac Grambauer, Chicago, IL

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Commuter and recreational riding.

What is your first cycling memory?

It’s not my first, but it’s one of my most vivid–I was 5 or 6, riding down my walkway, and there was a big bee on the ground. I served to avoid running it over, and I swerved so hard and fast I threw myself off my bike and scraped my knee. Being a little kid I started screaming and yelling until my mom came out and got me to take care of my knee. The whole time she was bactining me I was worried about my bike, lying undefended in front of the house next to a giant bee. And when she was finally done cleaning me up and had put a giant bandaid over my knee I remember thinking “whoa. this is the biggest band-aid ever. I can’t wait to tell everyone about my bike battle wound!” It was my first point of pride injury. (and both my bike and the bee were fine and lived happy, long lives). I spent the rest of the afternoon proudly riding my bike up and down the street and showing off my big bandaid.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

I have no one person as an inspiration–I’ve been riding since I was five, so it’s just a way of life. However, being a Chicagoan, I am alwasy inspired by my fellow year-round bikers. Riding in Chicago in January is a character-building experience, and I have made some friends along my snowy, cold, daily commute to work.

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

Aside from the first really nice day of the spring, which of course made for one of the most pleasant rides, as a commuter biker I have to deal with a lot of car traffic and drivers, particularly around where my office is. One day, I was in the bike lane heading straight and there was a minivan slightly ahead of me; as we came to a cross street the drive suddenly turned into my bike lane to make a turn down the street (sans signal) and I had been suspicious that might happen, so I was able to stop short without any incident. There was a construction worker on the corner who saw the whole thing and he just said “Nice stop.” Which was a nice little moment of affirmation.

Tell us what you ride

I have one right now. It’s a Trek 3900 mountain bike, matte black. Her name is Bernedine, and I’ve been riding her for…eight years now. She was the first bike I ever bought entirely with my own money. She rides smooth, but she’s tough and can take the obstacle-course like Chicago streets. A lot of people don’t understand why I don’t want a road bike so I can move faster, but I love Bernie. I can move pretty fast despite her being a ‘tank’ as of my friends likes to say, and she can take me hauling all my groceries and stuff around. Plus she’s matte black, which makes me think of Batman, which makes her even more cool. We have been through a lot together–a week after I got her I got hit my a car (very minor) I had a banged up leg and she had to have her rear alignment fixed it was one of those battle experiences that bonds you together. :-) We also made a cross-country trip together, and explored a magical city in the desert for a week. Now, too, since I adopted a little dog, Bernie takes care of both of us Wicket (the dog) rides around with me on a milk crate in the back, which people seem to find really adorable–I have a lot more friendly chats with people at red lights. She’s a good bike–she always takes care of me, she’s up for a ride to a new place or a place we’ve been a billion times, and she doesn’t care how often I hum the Batman theme as we ride down Humboldt Blvd on summer (or any other season) nights. :-)

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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! 

Denver Bike Commute

Bike Commuting in Denver: Part III

An on going series of riding and commuting in my new city of Denver Colorado. See more about my Denver Cycling experience here. 

With my move successful complete (there are still boxes to find and empty if you would like to help,) I started testing out the commute from my house to the bike shop this past Monday. While I’ve only done the round trip commute a couple times it is great to explore a new city and perfect the streets to ride on or avoid completely.

Denver Bike Commute

Below is a Strava map of my ride into the shop. Pretty mellow and down hill until the last 2.5 miles which are constant climb to the front door of Salvagetti. This isn’t a horrible thing, but I’ve been testing out riding a single speed cyclocross bike with flat pedals for commuting and daily errands. I’m interested to see how fast the ride goes with gears so that I can push the pedals a bit more on the downhills.

My goals for the next few days are to get Emily’s new commuter rig built up (photos and bike profile coming soon) and to finish the unpacking of essentials like my 4 tubs of clothes. This will allow me to be less stressed and able to get out of the house next Tuesday/Wednesday when I have off.

Giant Tempt 27.5

Released: Giant Tempt 27.5 Women’s Mountain Bikes

Giant has released to the wild three models of a new women’s 27.5″ mountain bike called the Tempt. Available in the 0, 2 & 5, look for full spec and pricing shortly. For now you can find below why Giant went with the in between wheel size for their new line.

Three key characteristics of 27.5 technology:

1. Lighter weight

  • 27.5-inch wheels are only 5 percent heavier than 26. By comparison, 29-inch wheels are 11 percent heavier than 26-inch.
  • Overall weights of 27.5 bikes also trend closer to 26 than heavier 29 versions of the same series.

2. More Efficient

  • 27.5-inch wheels accelerate much like 26, outperforming 29-inch wheels.
  • 27.5-inch wheels roll over obstacles with much more control than 26. That translates into more efficient cornering, acceleration and braking capabilities.

3. Better Control

  • The larger the diameter of a wheel, the greater the contact patch of the tire. A larger contact patch results in better traction—which improves acceleration, deceleration and cornering. 27.5-inch wheels provide a contact patch that is similar to 29-inch wheels.
  • The larger the wheel, the larger the frame dimensions must be—and that leads to unwanted flex. A flexing frame causes sloppy handling and slower acceleration under heavy power. A 27.5 frame flexes less than a 29 frame, resulting in better control.
Jaybird BlueBuds X

Review: Jaybird Bluebuds X Headphones

Headphones I find to be essential for the long haul, putting in training miles, or maybe the need of getting lost in a good podcast while being active. Loud enough to tune my thoughts out, but not loud enough to tune out the cars around me.

In late April there was a short preview of the Jaybird Bluebuds X headphones, Bluetooth, multi-fit, “training tools”, as I would call them. They aren’t a requirement for a good workout, but they do make it easier.

Full Review of the Jaybird Bluebuds X

Features and Spec

  • MSRP: $169.99
  • Wireless music and phone calls
  • In-ear white noise reduction that eliminates listener fatigue
  • 8 hour playtime on one battery charge
  • Sweat-proof

Personal Thoughts on Features

Pricing

When I see prices of Bluetooth products these days my jaw drops. Normally $100 will get you a “decent” Bluetooth headset to make calls in. Anything below that will wear out and echo. When I saw the price of the BlueBuds X, I thought “that is pretty expensive” and then I thought about using them for music and phone calls. If they prevented me from ever using my phone to my head again, that will be worth it.

Wireless music and phone calls

Phone calls sound amazing, and the music quality warms the soul but if you are a cyclist you may not be able to get both. The headphones have multiple fits, one in your standard “in-ear” and then one “over-ear.” The in-ear fit bothered me with my helmet straps, and the over-ear fit was perfect but you can’t use the microphone very well when the headset is in the over-ear setup. Switching between the two fits isn’t hard, but it include pulling off a rubber wing and putting it on the other ear bud. Over time the wings stretch and don’t stay in place any longer.

One last gripe is that the features on my phone for music are no longer accessible. The double click forward tries to make a phone call, and the triple click for last song confuses my phone. This is a bummer to be able to use it well with my iPhone.

 

Jaybird gave me some directions on how to move tracks forward and back: Hold the up volume and it advances the track, hold the down volume and it goes back a track.

In-ear White Noise Reduction

This feature works really well. I have found in the past with Bluetooth headphones if I am listening to something very quietly the low buzz of the headphones & music output is annoying. There isn’t really a low buzz using these headphones.

8 hour playtime on one battery charge

This one is key for me, I have enough things to charge after a bike ride or day at work. Remembering to plugin my headphones every night is a nuisance. I’m able to get through almost a full weeks of bike commuting with these headphones, or a couple days on the road while making phone calls when driving. It uses a mini-USB charger so make sure to it handy, as an Apple user this size plug isn’t too common for me.

Sweat-proof

All I can say on this one is that it seems good so far. I’ve done a couple pretty sweaty workouts with the headphones and they are still working fine but this is exactly how I’ve killed a couple other Bluetooth headphones.

Overall Impression and Thoughts

Jaybird Bluebud X Headphones

As headphones these guys are great, all the fits work well for my ears and the sound is amazing. The cable resting on my neck doesn’t bother me or tangle in my hair at all. With a long lasting charge and easy to sync feature it will be a big hit for those that don’t mind the in-ear fit with their helmet and want to make phone calls.

I’ll continue to use these headphones, and will check back if they ever stop working. If you are an avid music lover and want something for your active lifestyle these are it. Better than the Motorola, Beats and Yurbuds that I have tested. If you are wanting something for both, you’ll have to pick between your music or phone call quality but at least you can pick which you want to sacrifice.

20% off Bike Shop Girl Discount for 10 days only!

Jay Bird has offered a 20% off discount code for Bike Shop Girl friends. Use BSG20 at check out and get 20% off!

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review. 

Motivational Monday with Jackie

Motivational Monday with Jackie in Alpharetta, GA

What is your name and location?

Jackie Tyson in Alpharetta, GA

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

I like to ride my road bike and my mountain bike for recreation

What is your first cycling memory?

With my first bike, I was able to ride one mile to a community swimming pool. I felt very liberated as a 10 year old!

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

The pro cyclists in the Tour de France, Tour of Utah, etc inspire me to ride up hills and not complain…I’m outside and burning calories, no matter how long it takes me to finish the climb!

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

Climb l’Alpe d’Huez with only one short stop!

Tell us what you ride

I love my Litespeed road bike, and have a Cannondale mountain bike. I hope to get a new Devinci road bike.

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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! 

The HandleBand

The HandleBand

I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of this mount but my rockstar girlfriend has debated with me over coffee that this design is very thought out and will benefit many people. Not so secretly, they had me at bottle opener.

What Is The Handleband?

Our phones help us navigate and train. They’re our cameras, our lights, and our emergency link home. So why don’t we use them with our bikes?

The Handleband is a simple tool that brings to light the untapped potential of our smartphones. It offers a simple, elegant and universal means of uniting your smartphone with your bicycle.

Here are a few things that make it unique:

  • (1) In use, it is smaller than a deck of cards.
  • (2) It is removable (so its doesn’t clutter your ride)
  • (3) It works with any phone, bike and case.
  • (4) It is simple and robust. (One reinforced unit)
  • (5) It holds a lot (flashlights, pumps, diplomatic flags)
  • (6) It is a bottle opener.

Check out Handleband.com and Kickstarter page