Empowering women in cycling

Archives ›

New Steering Wheel on the Surly Sled

0 Ergon GC2

Tonight (Tuesday, March 21, 2011) is the first Dirt Diva’s group ride of the year.   As this is the first season I’m not working retail I was very giddy to get back in the saddle with a large group of fellow women that love cycling.   I also knew to keep my respected name in the area I would have to get my bike to stop creaking before the group ride.

Over the weekend when I was riding Fisher Farms my handlebar kept popping and my rear disc kept whining.   Now, I couldn’t have that continue as it was driving me batty!   After a long grocery shopping adventure last night I was ready to check over the bike and make needed changes.   Until both lights in my garage popped.    Did I mention it was 8:30pm and dark now outside?  Even darker in my garage… Never fail, I pulled out my contractors lights and set them up.

Contractor Bicycle Lights

Look into the light...

Next I loosened up my stem to clean out any dirt that may be causing the creaking.   Oh yeah, my handlebar was cracked.  Gotta love aluminum handlebars and Thomson stems…

Origin 8 Space Bar Cracked

Time to swap out the the carbon bar I’ve had laying in the corner and try out the Ergon GC3 grips with bar-ends I’ve been waiting to ride on a straight bar.  Everything happens for a reason…

Ergon GC2

Then it was time to cut housing before I strangled myself or a passing by squirrel… and finally tuned up my brakes with the cleaner line of housing.

Trim Bicycle Housing
It was a quick 30 minute change of parts and rearranging on the Surly Sled.  I do adore this bike, even though it is probably the most “heap” of parts bike I have ever owned but it also probably the one that has seen the most mileage, abuse and scenery.

Motivational Monday : Mary Reynolds

0 Mary Reynolds Cyclist

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.   Do you know someone that motivates and inspires you?  Send us your answers and photo to girly@BikeShopGirl.com

What’s your name and location:

Mary Reynolds, Tucson, AZ

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Mountain, Road, Commute

What is your first cycling memory?

5 years old, riding homemade sky blue bike built by my Grandpa

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

Jeannie Longo, she’s won everything there is to win in women’s cycling worldwide, and she’s still racing at age 52!

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

Riding the AZTrail 300 at sunset on the second day and seeing 20 or so deer run across the trail in front of me

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

Win my category at the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, AZ; encourage more women to mountain bike

Why Women’s Specific 29ers Don’t Work

27 Women's 29er Geometry

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to test ride on a local trail a few women’s specific 29er mountain bikes.   As I had mentioned in the past I was very excited about this new idea of women’s sizing  in 29″ technology but that is where my research ended.

The idea of fitting smaller individuals (men or women) on to the larger wheel technology has been something that I’ve had hopes for.  A few years ago when the 650b movement started I was completed behind it for that reason.  The 26″ wheel, to me, is not the solution for everyone based on how they ride and where they ride.  People deserve options, an example of this is why 3″, 5″, 7″ and 9″ suspension systems exists.

Back on topic, riding women’s specific 29ers

I didn’t have the ability to check saddle fore and aft, saddle to handlebars or any specifics other than seat height.  Now that my disclaimers out of the way….

The bike didn’t handle well.  I don’t know how else to say it….   The geometry of it all doesn’t make any sense.   Take a normal size 29er, keep the wheel base the same length and shorten the top tube.  What you get is a very slack, very flip flop, very slow handling bike thanks to changing the head tube angle to something that would mimic a 5″ travel “all mountain bike”.

Women's 29er Geometry

To a point I understand why they did this.  Shorter top tube to fit women with shorter upper bodies.

My Opinion : How to fit women on 29ers

My bike fit is 140% female.  I have a super long inseam and super short upper body, even my arms are short.   This is my take on fitting my own personal 29ers.  Longer top tube than I would ride on a 26″ bike, and an inch shorter stem. My effective length from saddle tip to handlebars hasn’t changed, but how I achieve it has.  My handling is changed to make up for the bigger (heavier and larger) front wheel and often more raked out fork.  Faster steering is achieved with the shorter stem and my front wheel isn’t tucked up under me either.

Your Bike, Your Opinion

Fitting mountain bikes is a very dynamic effort. It’s not as straight forward as fitting someone on a road bike.  You take everything that you know from fitting road bikes, tie in your own mountain bike experience and then tie in the person RIDING the mountain bikes own feedback.   Test ride, try out things, and repeat.

Depending where you ride, how aggressive you ride, and your own body type (size, shape, fitness, strength &  flexibility) every bike will fit you different.  A bike out of a box most likely won’t fit you.  How the mechanic that built the bike probably won’t be how you need it to fit.

The above feelings about how the 29er women’s specific bikes rode is my own experience, I ride aggressively, I push my bike and body every time I’m out riding.   The handling of the bike was too slow and did not excel for technical riding.   Inquire with your local bike shop, talk about bike fitting and your own needs!

Cycling Websites Worth Your Time

0

On Twitter it is called Follow Friday or #FF, where you mention your friends that you believe are worth other people’s time to follow.  Every once in a while I’ll throw up the links and websites that I am frequenting or that are motivating me to get on my bike, get on my keyboard or inspiring me to inspire others.

MomentumPlanet.com – smart living by bike

The fine folks at Momentum have been nothing but nice to me over the years.   Just a great group of people at events to spend your time with.  Also, the fact that they are some of the most cheerful people I have ever met in the bicycle industry is very helpful as well.

PavedMag.com – From the makers of Bike

This magazine put my faith back into road cycling.   Yes, I love cycing and I love bikes but every road niche magazine out thee shoves high end bikes and racing down your throat.  What about the passion of riding?  This magazine does it.

JeffKerkove.net – Mr. 24 himself

Pro endurance cyclist, and everything Ergon in the USA.

Milltown Cycles

A bike shop doing it right in Faribault, MN.

Grizzly Adam - Biker, Skier and Fabulous Photographer

I read this site and I feel like an anti-epic slacker.  The photos, the stories and the inspiration is all there.

Osprey Special Edition Verve 10 Women’s Hydration Bag

1 Osprey Pack Verve 10

Purple is not what most people associate with Breast Cancer, but that is exactly the color that Osprey Packs hopes to use to raise atleast $5000 for the Breast Cancer Fund.

The special edition Verve 10 is amethyst with a front pocket screen of the iconic Breast Cancer Fund prayer flags that carry messages of love and healing and help to support breast cancer prevention. As with all Osprey packs, the Verve 10 is free of BPA, PVC/pthalates and triclosan.

“We are committed to the Breast Cancer Fund and their vital work in making the world a healthier and safer place for everyone,” said Gareth Martins, marketing director of Osprey. “This season, we are proud to show our continued support of this important organization through these special edition packs designed specifically for women.”

Verve 10 Women’s Bag Details

MSRP: $84
BioStretch™ harness
“Spacer mesh” backpanel for support and ventilation.  * I can vouch for this as I use an Osprey Pack and it works!

Learn more over at OspreyPacks.com

Hiplok – A Better Wearable Lock

4 Hiplok Wearable Lock

I lived in Washington D.C and learned how to wear my bike lock (a Kryptonite chain lock) around my waist.   Sometimes it was heavy, but you got used to it.  Kryptonite was smart and put a cloth sleeve around it to prevent pinching and hard pain on your hips!

Now there is the Hiplok

How it works: (From Hiplok.com) Adjust the Hiplok around waist to a secure, comfortable tension as you would a normal belt or aircraft seat strap….

Hiplok How To

We found a discount on Hiplok

For a short time there is a discount I found on Facebook : Visit Hiplok.com and enter L2BHPK for 10% discount

Motivational Monday : Shannon Carson

0 Tough Chik

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.   Do you know someone that motivates and inspires you?  Send us your answers and photo to girly@BikeShopGirl.com

Sorry guys, I never pressed publish on this yesterday morning.. So Monday but a day late!

What’s your name and location?

Shannon Carson, Owner of Tough Chik – Mission Viejo, CA

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Road, but I do dabble in the mountains

What is your first cycling memory?

My husband actually taught me to ride in my 20’s. I had a hard tail Trek and we took it for a spin on a large paved trail in the Dallas Suburbs. I got spooked by a group of people coming the opposite way, fearing the sidewalk wasn’t big enough for the both of us. I swerved off the path and my front tire got stuck in between the concrete and the grass and I fell off. My trip computer flew off the bike and a group of young kids ran off with it! Luckily I was in love and stuck with it!

Tough Chik

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

Jacke Van Woerkom – She runs a non-profit organization in Southern California called Trail Angels. The goal is to help other women discover mountain biking as well as discover the confidence and camaraderie that goes with riding. The Trail Angels’ vision statement reads: “To grow and develop a group of women mountain biking enthusiasts and create a symphony of characters that come together and strengthen one another spiritually and physically.”

“On Jan. 8, 2004, something happened that changed the Trail Angels and everyone in it forever.
A 2-year-old mountain lion killed expert mountain biker Mark Reynolds in Whiting Ranch and hid the body in the brush. No one knew. Hours later, Trail Angel Anne Hjelle, 30, happened to be on the same trail. Hjelle was attacked by the same lion. Her riding partner, Debi Nichols, arrived within minutes. Horrified, she jumped off her bike and pulled her bloody friend from the lion’s jaws, saving Hjelle’s life. Several minutes later, other Trail Angels arrived at the scene; Van Woerkom was among them. The tragedy could have ended the club. But instead it did just the opposite. It bound everyone together. Overnight, membership doubled to more than 100 riders.

On Nov. 28, 2006, Trail Angel Christy Kirkwood wrapped up a ride with fellow member Debbie Brown. The pair was in the bicycle lane on Santiago Canyon Road. A car veered and killed Kirkwood, a Garden Grove school teacher.

Again, with the help of Van Woerkom, the Trail Angels banded together. And, again, membership doubled, this time to nearly 250 riders.

For most of us, the saying “what doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger” is just a cliché. But for Van Woerkom and the Trail Angels you could say the saying is a code. Today, the club’s logo includes the paw print of a mountain lion.

Last year MTBChick.com (mountain bike chick), honored Van Woerkom as one of the “Five Most Influential Women in SoCal Cycling.” In the citation, MTBChick.com stated. “Jacke has the energy of an army of women.”

Van Woerkom also rides horses, sky dives and surfs. But, always, she returns to the Trail Angles and her family for sustenance, never forgetting the lesson she learned in the ’90s. Balance.

During a recent talk at REI, she discussed the importance of including one’s self in the equation, along with career and family.

It’s also is a theme she talks about on her website, changinggearscoach.com .

“If you find a place to release stress and relish in what you are passionate about for a few hours,” she says, “you have so much more of yourself to give back to everyone.”

(Quoted from an article in the OC Register)

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

On January 29th I fell off my bike suffering a compound fracture in my right forearm and a slash requiring 14 stitches across my cheek. After 3 days in the hospital and 3 months of physical therapy I was able to get back on my bike. After being sidelined for almost 3 and a half months, it was the most freeing experience on the bike. I was a little apprehensive at the beginning but rode the 25 mile loop with little fear. I was relieved to find that although my arm was a little sore and uncomfortable, my spirit and love for cycling was even stronger!

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

I am currently training for the AIDS/Lifecycle which is a 7 day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in June. I also plan on competing in my first triathlon.

Learn More About Shannon at her company Tough Chick

Planet Bike Superflash Turbo : Preview

2 Planet Bike Superflash Turbo Review

Blinky lights, especially rear lights, are very crucial to a road cyclist, I’ve ranted about it before.. Even during the day you should be rocking a blinky to be seen.

Planet Bike Superflash Turbo

The Planet Bike Superflash has been a favorite of mine for awhile.  With the Superflash Turbo, Planet Bike have outdone themselves.

  • MSRP : $34.99
  • One Watt Power LED plus 2 red LEDs for visibility up to 1 mile
  • New attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern
  • Turbo flash mode is highly visible, even in daylight
  • Ultra compact vertical design is weatherproof, lightweight and durable
  • Includes bike mounts and clip mount for multiple mounting options
  • Soft-touch power switch accesses flashing or steady mode for up to 100 hours of run time on two AAA batteries

A Quick Video of the Planet Bike Superflash Turbo Rear Light

Nothing special here, something I grabbed with my pocket camera to show settings.

A full review will be coming in the next few weeks!  For now, visit PlanetBike.com for more info.

Progress is Motivation

0 Cycling Workout

It is amazing to me how much encouragement you can provide yourself, when you allow it.   As I’ve talked about, I’m slowly trying to get back in to the swing of a healthy, full, life.  This includes eating well, exercising, setting a routine and sticking to it.   Daily, I’m waking up and setting forth to really change and change how I am living.

After two weeks of sticking to a routine, exercising and eating healthy I’m seeing changes.  Physically, on the scale, running longer and feeling stronger when cycling.  The scale doesn’t lie and it feels good! It also feels good to lift larger weights or pedal up that hill without sucking breath.

Keep At It

If you are doing things for the right reason and in a healthy way, you will see change.  Are you listening? Please do.   At this time of the year many people are dusting off their bikes and finally throwing their legs over their bike the first time this year.   They pedal off, and unless they rode the trainer or kept up in shape over the winter (and holidays,) they are going to feel it on that first hill.   Maybe your pants feel too tight, or you feel like an outsider anytime you visit that gym you have a yearly membership to.  My advice to you is as simple as this: Keep At It

You’ll learn your way around the gym, what machines you like or what times to go, you’ll start saying hi to more people and look forward to visiting instead of feeling awkward.  You’ll start pedaling easier, and your bike will need a tune-up for using it, instead of a check over for sitting in the garage. And an extra benefit is your clothes will fit better!!

Photo Credit : lululemon athletica

The Shocker at the Scale #17DayDiet

3 Camelbak Bottles

I lost track of time last Friday when I meant to originally write this, so you may get a bunch of 17 Day Diet posts…

Never have I been a fan of diets.   Counting points or reading every ingredient on every piece of food or drink you put in your mouth does not sound appealing to me.  This is what causes people to lose focus, drop the ball, eat the double stuffed Oreo’s or lose their mind. In the past I have told my friends that go on Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, etc, etc etc, is to ride more.   Yes, I am lowering my head in shame..

Enter the 17 Day Diet

For the past year from stress of running a micro-managed bike shop, to starting a new job in a completely different industry, to being run over by a car, to life at work, and excuses, excuses, excuses…

A couple weeks ago my mother sent me a few links of a new “diet” that she saw and if both Dr. Phil and The Doctors said it was good – well I’ll check it out (sarcasm.)  After reading through the basics of this 17 Day Diet I decided “What do you have to lose, Arleigh?”

Things Not to Do

I didn’t weigh in when I started, I don’t know what my starting point was and that’s frustrating.  I finally weighed in on Friday, that’s 5 days into the diet, and god I hated what the scale said. I have tons of work to do!!! Looking back I wonder if I lost any weight over those initial 5 days and it puts fear in my heart if I was even heavier than what the scale said on Friday.

Camelbak Bottles

No Cheating

I haven’t cheated, not once.   Some people have said on the weekends you should cut yourself some slack, but I can’t.  I know myself, and if I give in at all – in routine, food, work life, etc.  I can’t cut my self slack or cheat, that is what has gotten me here and I’ll go sliding down the hill that I’ve been marching up.