In the South East of the US it is becoming time to pull out your base layer long underwear and find your wool socks. Personally, I enjoy wearing my wool socks year round but not many others around my bike shop feel the same way.
Men have it easy, across the board it seems, with cycling. Clothing fits them easier, they don’t need specially designed bikes normally and most men don’t care what rain gear looks like or how it fits on them.
I’m different and it seems like, in the few emails I received, you are to! I’ve scored many places trying to find a suitable rain gear outfit for women and I still haven’t nailed down the colors but sizing seems to be getting better.
Suggestions for rain gear :
Not very cheap, but good waterproof and breathable rain gear isn’t. This jacket has tons of ventilation through out, including zippers under your arms and a vent on your back side. With a catching blue color this may change your idea of how a rain jacket should look.
A jacket made by the company that brought us Gore-Tex. Could you not ask for more? This jacket is in the Paclite family so it can be packed in a jersey pocket. A flip down tail will also add extra protection from road or dirt spray on your behind. With the slim fit, it is true, you need to be pretty slim to wear this jacket.
I still have not been able to find a women’s cut, non-black, pair of decent rain pants. The closest I have found are these from Gore. Unfortunately no other colors but I guess that’s how it is for now.
One of the most popular types of bicycles right now is that recreational style. Either one to ride with the family around your community, take for errands or maybe do a Rail To Trails with your local church group. Below I have outlined a good amount of the various lifestyle bikes out there, depending on which brand you try the options may vary but I can do my best to help you along the way.
A little while ago I was interviewed by a freelance writer for a new startup magazine dedicated to women, Women’s Cycling Magazine. The writer wasn’t sure the article would be snagged but she loved Bike Shop Girl and wanted to try to put it under the editors eyes. Yesterday I noticed a tweet that I was featured on Women’s Cycling Magazine online!
Wipe frame and wheels down : This is a pretty important step to make sure structurally your frame and wheels aren’t developing any cracks or chips in the paint or metal. I use a watered down Simple Green in a spray bottle to do this.
Clean in tight areas : Make sure to wipe down in tight areas, between pivot points or where your cables may wear. Built up dirt can actually wear into your frame.
Tighten pivot bolts : This applies to mostly full suspension bikes but any part of your bike that moves, like the full suspension linkage, needs to be checked more often.
Check over all bolts : This is pretty self explanatory. My biggest word of advice is to not OVER tighten the bolts.
Go through shifting and braking : Make sure the brakes hit the wheels or rotor evenly and there isn’t any excessively odd wear on the brake pads. The shifting should be crisp and not over shift any cogs or chain rings.
This process, though sounding lengthy, can take only about 5 minutes once you get the hang of it and also if your bike isn’t so dirty. Soon I’ll go over the proper way to clean off that mucky bike but you are well on your way of a happy bike that will live a long life as your taking good care of it.
Across the internet there is a buzz on an article that was originally posted on Scientific American. The article titled “How to Get More Bicyclist on the Road” hits again and again that aiming the cycling infrastructure around women that you will have not only more women on bicycles but more families and men. Citing many reports and research done across the world Scientific American makes it seem that if you have off road bike paths that have more direct routes to and from places, than scenic routes, than you would have a stronger cycling infrastructure.
I agree, but only to a point. Yes, I think women control a lot of household events and happenings. If it was easier for me to get to the grocery store on a bike than my whole family would be doing it and taking my children to football practice or school. All of these are right on the target with what researchers have said. The point that I disagree is what happens if your errands are small, maybe you are a single woman or live more than 3.5 miles from the stores and work?
Most U.S women will not be going by bicycle for utility reasons if it is more than 3.5 miles and here is why :
1. It is very hard for a woman to stay presentable over 3.5 miles, especially if the terrain is not flat.
2. We do not want to be sweaty, to re-apply make up or to fix our hair for the second time that day. Nor do we feel like it is okay to do that in the bathroom at work (normally.)
3. It isn’t socially acceptable to go by bike in most U.S cities. I would argue that the culture and city life has to change, not only the way you ride a bike. In Portland, OR or Boulder, CO it is the cool thing to ride your bicycle everywhere. It has been taken in by the city with open arms. If you move to one of those cities and you don’t ride you will be ready for a wide awakening.
Follow the buzz across the internet and add your own below in comments.
There are tons of different types of chamois butter, from various companies that are special for different reasons. First you have “natural” ingredients, others have a cooling sensation, and some a numbing.
Some of you might be asking what chamois butter is. Most roadies swear by chamois butter as it is a lube that goes on your skin in various “under” areas to help with chafing and saddle sores. Some women can’t even ride with out it as their soft tissues down there are so sensitive.
I’ll be reviewing some Hoo Ha and seeing what I think. I’ve used many different chamois butters over the years and I haven’t noticed too much of a difference, maybe Hoo Ha will really help!
When you ride a bicycle it will come to a point that you’ll need to inflate your tires. Soon, I’ll be going over how to change a flat, different types of pumps and what makes a tire tubeless, tubular or standard. For today we will be starting very basic and figuring out which valve you have and why you need to know.
A schrader valve is the commonly used valve in the U.S for automotive tires and most bikes under $1,000. The valve has a spring inside of it that opens and closes the valve core. The valve core is what keeps air from leaking out of your tire. On a schrader valve it is very important to have a valve cap (plastic top) to cover the valve to keep dirt out, if not the valve could stay open or jam shut.A presta valve is found on higher pressure bicycle tires or higher end wheels. This valve is much smaller in diameter and has a top nut that controls the valve core. You need to screw open this nut to let air into and then screw close to shut off the valve. Due to the fact the valve does not use a spring to control the valve core it is able to hold higher pressure in the tubes, leak less and also not need a valve cap.
Depending on your application both valves work great and are easy to use. The presta valve involves a softer touch to open and close that valve so you don’t damage the valve core but I have faith in you! We will go over pumping up the tires more in depth next week.
A video on differences between valves with Carlton Reid
Behind the scenes at BikeShopGirl I have been working hard at a new layout, which you should be seeing by the time this post, and also getting organized from a very busy bike season.
Here are some of the articles I have on the burner, the reason I am leaking some of the information a head of time is in case you have feedback or questions on any of the topics!
- Presta vs Shrader Valves
- Off Season Planning with a special guest
- Types of pumps
- Essentials for night riding
- How to change a flat tire