Empowering women in cycling

Archives › August 2013

Mailbox Question: Larger Sized Cycling Shorts

15 Mailbox Cycling shorts

Daily I receive a good amount of email questions from the Ask a Question form. As I find frequently asked or interesting questions I will be answering them from the Mailbox.

Mailbox Question

I have decided to begin to ride a bike to lose weight and get fit. I am currently a size 18/20.

I want some gel bike shorts but not only can I not find any big enough but also none that are big enough for my chunky thighs. I don’t want saddle soreness to put me off so can you suggest any answers? The bike gel seats that you can buy to go over the saddle seem to be made for small mountain bike saddles and mine is a normal wide sprung saddle.

My Opinion

There are two parts I want to address, the first is finding a pair of shorts that fit.

Many manufactures have women’s XX-Large shorts that fit much like an 18/20. Also, I’ve had great success with women over size 14 wearing men’s shorts or bibs. I highly suggest trying a bib short on (it will feel weird in the dressing room but amazing on your bike) as the spandex is removed from your waist and pulls everything together under your jersey.

You mentioned gel short and saddle. I try to push folks away from gel under your rear as much as possible. The first reason is that gel compresses after some saddle time and causes more pressure in areas you don’t want. The second reason is that it wears out/moves and breaks down rather quickly. If your handlebar and saddle are in proper height you shouldn’t feel any extra pressure that you wouldn’t when seated on a wooden chair.

Recommendation

Pearl Izumi has a good Select In-R-Cool short that goes up to 2x if a shop doesn’t have anything near you. If there’s a good shop near you try on things, don’t be scared of the guys. When you are trying on, use underwear but no after you buy them!

Disclaimer: I work for Pearl Izumi but those are awesome shorts.

 

Motivational Monday with Terry

1 Motivational Monday with Terry

What is your name and location?

Terry in Santa Clarita, CA

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Road and Mountain

What is your first cycling memory?

Oh my. I was in, probably, 2nd grade. My g-pa bought me a girl’s bike, used, and painted it ‘Candy Apple Green.’ It was beautiful. I remember falling on the bar and dragging my toes on the ground and scraping them badly. Also, hitting that bar with my crotch was so painful. That’s my first memory of cycling. That was 45/46 years ago.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

At this time, just my own motivation keeps me going. I bought my road bike in Nov. 2012 for my 52nd birthday. I wanted to be able to ride farther on our city’s bike paths. My mtn. bike was holding me back. I’ve only ridden 250 miles since getting it, but they’ve been good miles. I challenge myself each time I ride to 1.) Go farther and 2.) Go faster. I’m still slow and the farthest I’ve gone on one ride is about 23 miles. But I’m so excited to keep trying.

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

…Moment…Was a ride. From the beach parking in Ventura up to Ojai and back. Riding up and back down was great. I’ve done it twice and can’t wait to try again. There was some walking uphill, but mostly I rode. I felt so proud of myself.

Tell us what you ride

I have a 2012 Giant Defy 3 and a 2008 TREK WSD. I forget the details. Both bikes are great. When I’m just cruising on Venice Beach or someplace flat, I have a basket on the front of my TREK and put my small dog in the basket.

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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! 

Review: Giro Sonnet Women’s Helmet

6 Giro Sonnet

Giro Sonnet Women’s Helmet MSRP $90

Details: 25 vents, no visor, in-mold construction

A helmet under $100 with a slender shape for women, that’s the Giro Sonnet.

Pro’s: Weight, price, color options, availability in-store or online

Con’s: Fit system hits my ponytail (details I know), very neutral colors available

Overall Thoughts of the Giro Sonnet Women’s Helmet

I see two users buying this helmet. The first time road warrior that will be on the bike up to 2 hours at a time, or a MTB/commuter that is upgrading from that entry level, $40 heavy helmet, they started with. If you are either of these people, this helmet is perfect. If you are going to be doing 3+ hour rides, the helmet will feel heavier on your head and there are more ventilated options out there.

It’s a great helmet at a great price. I wish they tried one crazy color in the line up, but that’s me.

Purchasing this helmet online? Support BSG and purchase through this link to JensonUSA.

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no cost for review. If you purchase through the JensonUSA link, I may receive commission. 

5 Fundamentals of Riding Everyone Should Take Note Of

10 womenroll

When I tell people I run a website with the goal to empower women in cycling they automatically hear “feminist.” This is as far from truth as you can get as I simply want more people on bikes, and realize that a huge opportunity is to empower women on two wheels.

Last week the Bike League released a report wrapping women’s cycling stats and misconceptions together. The report, Women on a Roll, is a great summary of the state of cycling but not just for women – for everyone. Anyone working to get more people on bikes could benefit from reading the stats and assumptions found in this report. Stripping the spandex and politics from getting more bikes on the road this report gives a great baseline for many shops and advocacy groups to build forward momentum off of.

Focus on the 5 C’s

Catchy, but effective. The 5 C’s will help increase ridership in all communities (and across most niches.)

Comfort
Convenience
Consumer Products
Confidence
Community

If brands, product managers, bike shop owners, and advocacy directors focused on the 5 C’s cycling will be headed in a positive direction.

Sunday Bike Ride with the Greenwalds

6 Screen shot 2013-08-11 at 9.27.32 PM

For the past few days Emily’s parents have been visiting us in Denver. They are a fairly mellow couple but also very active. It’s a great joy to have them around, watching their mutual loving relationship and the enthusiasm for adventure is contagious. I can only strive to be to Emily what her parents are together!

Yesterday we decided to go on a bike ride down the Sand Creek Greenway. Without a goal in mind we reached the end and decided to head into Denver on the Platte River Trail. A few things to note: Emily’s parents are in their early 70′s, her mom rode a Pugsley and her dad a folding Dahon with 16″ wheels. We went 24 miles for the full round trip.

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In my humble opinion yesterday’s bike ride was amazing and I’m super impressed with both of Emily’s folks. I know where Emily gets many of her traits that I love so much!

What did you do this weekend?!

Motivational Monday with Christy

4 Motivational Monday with Christy

What is your name?

Christy

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Long group rides and tackling hills

What is your first cycling memory?

Learning on the old red Schwinn all four siblings learned to ride on in the back yard.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

People in my riding group who encourage me to challenge myself.

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

60 mile group ride loop including beautiful scenery I had not seen before.

Tell us what you ride

Trek Domane 5.2 named Velvet.

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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! 

Weekly Bike Commuting Update

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After last week’s post of finding motivation, I’ve put my legs to the grindstone and found happiness in both days of commuting on Thursday and Friday. With threats of rain (flooding to be exact) each day as I pedaled closer to home I found myself chasing rainbows and finding peace with where I am.

Next week I hope to track my food intake better, at least for breakfast/lunch/dinner. Not down to calories, but just to have a better clue have how much food it’s going to take to hit the 1,000 miles this month. For now I’ll leave you with some Strava stats and Flickr photos.

Stats for the first 10 days of August (4 on the bike)

  • 169.0 miles (831 miles to go!)
  • 11hr 28m of ride time
  • 5,856ft elevation

Review: Portland Design Works Aether Demon

9 PDW Aether Demon

It’s pretty apparent how I feel about bike lights and the level of safety they add to your bike rides. A blinking front and rear light are found on most of my bikes, including some of my mountain bikes if I’m going to hit the road on the way to find my dirt diet. When Emily started commuting to the hospital every morning we purchased a couple lights for her All City Nature Boy that were bright, but it became apparent that the USB front light was kicking the watch battery powered rear light’s arse. Every couple weeks the batteries needed replacing or the rear light wasn’t shining as bright as new. Make fun of me that something this small stressed me out, but at 4:30am I want her seen as much as possible.

That’s about when a little birdy told me about a new USB powered rear light coming out from PDW.

Meet the Portland Design Works Aether Demon

MSRP: $49.00

Details: 

  • Nichia™ 0.5 watt LED
  • USB charging Li-ion battery
  • Texas Instruments™ integrated circuit (I have no idea what that means)
  • 4 modes (run time): Dance (8 hrs), Breathe (8 hrs), Group Ride (175 hrs at 10% power), Rock Steady (3.5 hrs)
  • Includes seatpost, seatstay mounts

Overall Thoughts of the Aether Demon™

Sometimes, though very rarely, I review a product and all I have to say about it is “it really works.” This light is it. The short USB plug that comes with the light plugs into the bottom and then either into your computer, or I use the USB box that came with my iPhone/iPad. It blinks demon blue until it’s charged, you unplug it and go on your way. With included mounts you can install the light on your seat post or on a seat stay on the bike frame. Both mounts allow you to pivot the light to be pointed properly behind you.

Pro’s and Con’s

For $49 it’s hard to beat a USB charging rear light that last for a good long while. Especially one with a great company standing behind it. The only thing I would change has to do with the light output, I’m a big fan of the Light & Motion Vis 180 rear that has light output on the sides for cars coming towards you perpendicular. That’s really my only feedback of the light.

The mount is solid, the USB plug closes up well and the light strobing options are great. If you are in the market for a new rear light and you want something that won’t blow through batteries, take a look at this beauty from Portland Design Works.

Check them out online, or find your local bike shop that stocks them.

Disclaimer: This light was provided at no charge for review. Saying that, I would buy one full retail.

Commuting, Setbacks and Motivation

5 Rainbow Hunting

Last week I committed to commuting 1,000 miles in August. Not less than 12 hours after typing that post I woke up swollen, looking like a chipmunk, in great pain from a tooth that later that day would need to be removed. After a dentist visit, one less tooth and one more hole in my head I spent most of Friday through Sunday being lazy around the house and controlling the swelling of my face. By Sunday night I felt pretty alright but needed the dentist to confirm this.

With a pocketful of other excuses I can say I haven’t been on the bike since last Thursday, and today is Wednesday of a new week. No commuting miles and not any closer to my 1,000 miles. While for a moment this morning I allowed myself to be frustrated with this fact, I swallowed my shame and remembered I made the decisions that put me in this situation. All I can do is get on my bike tomorrow morning and maybe add some longer routes to my commute strategically to hit the 1,000 mile marker.

Setbacks Happen, Moving Forward is the Success

A wise friend once told me that when a setback, injury or change of course happened they welcomed it with open arms. It shaped them, it allowed them to show true strength, intelligence or humility where some might find frustration, embarrassment or anger. It made them mentally and emotionally stronger, but more importantly a better person than if it was all smooth sailing.

Lately I have been finding comfort in these thoughts and words.

We are only as good as how we handled our biggest failure. Your true character is the one that shows up when you are handling stress, struggles and fear. As an athlete I find excitement out of proving myself when the chips are against me and this commuting challenge isn’t any different. The strongest people I know aren’t numb to their emotions or ignorant to fear, but instead they find the rainbow and learn how to dance in the rain.

How do you handle a setback in training or life?

Everyone handles things differently, how do you handle a setback? How do you stay motivated? Is it through music, an idol or an inspirational quote taped to your bathroom mirror?

Motivational Monday with Katie in Charlotte, NC

4 Motivational Monday with Katie

What is your name and location?

Katie, Charlotte, NC

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

mountain biking. More specifically, getting my wheels off the ground as much as possible

What is your first cycling memory?

Learning to ride without training wheels in a school parking lot. It was amazing.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

All the super fast DH girls like Holly Feniak and Micayla Gatto really inspire me. If they can be faster than most of the male-mountain biking population, then why can’t I? :)

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

Every moment on my bike is awesome, but probably the most memorable moment on my bike so far this year was crashing in a loamy, off camber turn. Whenever I picked my bike back up, the fork had worms all over it.

Tell us what you ride

As if I don’t talk enough about my bike lol! My baby is my Banshee Wildcard. I love it to death and I ride it everywhere. I also have a vintage Raleigh road bike that spends most of its time in my garage. I can’t stand road biking.

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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!