Bike Shop Girl has over 12 years of bicycle industry experience and hands on knowledge. Hoping to empower women and others on the bike so they too can feel the freedom and power that two wheels can give someone.
Commute By Bike, and Bike Shop Girl is now syndicated at Versus.com to help lead the cycling community with commuting tips, stories and how to. Much like we do on Commute By Bike already but to a bigger community! I will be writing for Versus on commuter needs as well as showing highlights from events such as the upcoming National Handmade Bicycle Show.
Please go over to Versus.com, create a login and join my community! Also, make sure to keep up with the blog over there but I hope to have some sort of widget on the sidebar of Commute By Bike to keep you up to date with what’s going on over there.
The short answer to the question “Do I need a woman’s bike?” is maybe. Maybe you do, and maybe you don’t but possibly you could go either direction with the fit.
It lays out into many variables, upper body to lower body and your flexibility/strength. Every person has proportions that their body lays into. Someone that is 5’10 and someone else that is 5’10 could easily fit completely different bikes.
Same Height but Different Bikes
Person, “Joan” is 5’10 with 34″ inseam and very limited flexibility.
Person, “Terry” is 5’10 with 31″ inseam and very flexible.
Joan will really need the woman’s fit on her bicycle, with a shorter upper body compared to her lower body. If she was to get on a standard fit bike the length of the bike may be too long. To fit Joan well, a shorter length of bike, or tube tube, is needed. Most womens bikes have these.
What Else is There?
The rest of the pieces of the bike fit puzzle for women are saddle type, and handlebar width. These two things can be accommodated on non-womens bikes but will need to be swapped out or changed down the road. Making sure you are on the right size frame is the most important and also the most costly if you get it wrong.
Not every woman needs a bike designed for women. In fact some guys need a womens fit bike. I would love if we got away from calling the standard fitting bikes “unisex” and the shorter length bikes “womens.” It should be standard and shorter. Make sure you find a shop you trust, and test ride. Some adjustment in size can happen with the stem length but not enough to make a bad fitting bike into a perfect fitting bike.
For many years I’ve been riding on the road with music. Originally it was one of those crazy Mini-Disc players that my mom thought would take over the music scene. Little did she know, it fueled my cycling passion. One of those little Mini-Disc players could hold hours of music, and run off AA rechargeable batteries. It had the ability to record on various disc and dub out/delete. I could ride, ride and ride without listening to the same song twice.
For many reasons music was needed for my riding style
Boredom – normally kicking in around 45 minutes to an hour and a half
Riding alone – see above
Motivation – Certain songs would kick me in 6th gear and I would be able to push it, be it for time or watts.. the music moved me.
That Go to Track – On days I would put a song on repeat for my 3 hour ride, it allowed me to focus and tune out the day of crap
Wind whistling pisses me off – the noise that the wind makes when it hits your helmet straps, or hair.
Feeling “PRO” – All the pro’s were wearing radios in their ears back to the team car, I’m sure their managers played some sort of music for them. If they didn’t, they should start now.
At first I rode with one earphone in, leaving the left one that was closest to the road out. Actually, I had a couple headphones that I cut off the left earphone so not to get in the way. Time went by and I had theories, if the music was low enough I felt I could hear just as well as I did with the wind whistling in my ears. I tested my theory for several rides and feeling confident enough, yes my hearing isn’t paired as long as the volume is kept low.
Mirrors are your friends
Often mirrors are even better than your ears. You can SEE, you don’t have to turn your head and you are prepared. By the time I hear a car coming up behind me, it might be too late to react.
iPod is not iDeath
one of the main issues of the headphones is not so much its removal of the individual’s ability to hear
it is more the combination of the inability to hear and the lack of focus
instead of being in tune to the surroundings the individual is focused on the music
letting the focus drift away from the variables around them
the same goes for mountainbiking… snowboarding… rollerbladding… whatever…
Unfortunately, I’m going to have to disagree with my buddy, Gwadzilla. The main issue within congestion or lack of senses, are the bicycle riders and not the iPod. As a cyclist for many years, all my senses are tuned in more than the average rider.
Now, I do find it hard to ride mountain bikes with both ears plugged in. The hearing that Gwadz mentions above is very necessary while mountain biking. Hearing how the bikes handing, the tires gripping and the gears shifting are all very important.
One Last Thing
Out of the few times there has been a run in with a car, my bicycle, and myself.. there was never ANY music playing in my ears.
When I created Bike Shop Girl a few months back it was mainly out of frustration for the lack of information that is readily available for women. The basics are out there, but you have to be a Google Jedi Master to find the right answers, and often you are left with half-assed ones that only confuse you more. My goal for this site has always been to be a resource, and maybe a place I have a rant or two but that isn’t the point.
Though limited, here are some of my favorite online resources. Some of these resources are targeted towards women, others are targeted towards cyclist in general but have great knowledge within their .com walls.
Team Estrogen – A full range of forums for women. The forums aren’t very strict so often guys will be able to search/post if they need. Keep private information just that, private.
Bike Forums- The moderators will keep tabs on you, and after a few months of them knowing you are “female” they will allow you in their private “women only” section of the site. This is my used forum online for resources, I used to post often but now use it mainly for its search function.
RideMonkey - A mountain bike oriented forum and online community. This is another forum that you’ll have to request to become part of their “women only” section.
How To Advice
Blue Collar MTB – One of the original sites I wrote for online. It is no longer active, but a great resource for how to do things on the cheap. Long term if there is interest in this type of maintenance I maybe persuaded to start writing for it again.
Park Tool - The leader in bike specific tools, this company also has invested in teaching others. Check out their how to’s broken down by bike part.
What sites do you frequent or recommend? Turn us on to other blogs or sites that have helped you become a stronger cyclist. Better yet, how can Bike Shop Girl become a better resource for you
The beginning of the year I wrote about the various ways you can pee on the go as a girl. There are various products used to allow women the freedom of peeing while keeping your pants up, which is about impossible as a women.
Once I posted the article an individual frompStyle contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing the product. Quickly I wrote back, thinking that the only thing I had to lose with testing out these pee cups was possibly a pair of wet jeans.
Loose pants with a zipper and underwear with a fly are ideal but other outfits can be accommodated. Pull underwear to the side if it doesn’t have a fly, taking care that it is fully out of the way. Place the pStyle so the widest part is between your legs and centered under your urethra. Tilt the open end slightly down, relax, and pee. It may feel strange at first but don’t worry – relaxing is key. When you have completely finished peeing, bend your knees slightly and pull the pStyle forward to remove the remaining drops. You can practice in the shower.
Pay attention when using the pStyle. It is possible to pee on yourself if you tilt the pStyle sideways or get it caught in your underwear. This often happens when you are so confident about it that you don’t focus on what you are doing. Also don’t pee into the wind…
This morning following the limited amount of directions, tried peeing in the pStyle…and failed. The angle of approach or tilt of the cup was very unclear, was the point of the cup supposed to stick out of my zipper so that the pee stream would flow? Quickly the cup filled its capacity and I was left trying to hold in the rest while retreating to the sitting style on my toilet.
For try #2, I’ll be trying to have the open end pointing out of the zipper of my pants, towards the toilet or possibly just outside.
Hints and Tips, please?
Any type of diagram or better directions would of helped this endeavor. Trying the pStyle was very embarrassing by itself, and with the high chances of leaking or peeing all over myself I think I’ll take their advice and try in the shower next time.
About 3 months ago, my shop started carrying the Ideal Saddle Modification (ISM) Adamo saddles. These saddles, at first, look very goofy. There is no nose on the front of the seat and often are referred to as the tuning forks. Flash forward the last three months and these saddles have themselves on more bikes than I originally thought they would.
Originally I really thought the saddles were a joke, we would try them out on a few bikes and see what happens. The women and triathletes fell in love. All the pressure from the frontal soft tissue was separated back into your two sit bones, where the weight belongs! Women were able to get into the aero position or drops of the handlebars without cutting off circulation.
This saddle is still towards the end of the saddles I automatically go through in my fit process. I think there is a need for them, but find they can be too wide and long term will be modifying the shell of the saddle so not to hit the groin or tendons of the inside leg. Soon the saddle will go on a personal bike of mine so I can give you a true review.
Do you know any women using this seat? If so, what are their thoughts and feelings? Where do they feel pressure, if any?