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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

Motivational Monday : Karen Skorochod

0 Karen Skorochod em:pwr cycling

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 want to get involved?  Send us your answers and photo to girly@BikeShopGirl.com

What’s your name and location?

Karen Skorochod, Wind Gap, PA
Karen is also a member of the new Bike Shop Girl Cycling Club : em:pwr cycling

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Track and cyclocross are my favorites so far

What is your first cycling memory?

Pedaling a tiny used bike I got for my birthday – my first two-wheeler, without training wheels, with dad running beside me the whole way.  It took me a while to get used to that, I have not-so-good balance apparently!

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

There are so many inspirational people in cycling!!   I am inspired by people like Liz Reap Carlson, a world-class track cyclist who started later in life and worked relentlessly to get back to the top once again and taught my very first class on the track, Tom Kellogg of Spectrum Cycles – an overall classy gentleman who builds the most beautiful bicycles I’ve ever seen, coaches like Gil Hatton and Bobby Livingston who have reached the top of the sport and now spend countless hours coaching and mentoring cyclists of all ages, and Julie Lockhart – a multi-time national champion who I believe is turning 70 this year.  She has an amazing attitude and races all cycling disciplines, I just love talking to her and watching her race.  I am also encouraged by the fact that she took up competitive cycling in her sixties – goes to show you it is NEVER too late to try something new and to get in shape!

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

Winning the Air Products Womens Finals at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center.  I took one beginner class and really loved riding on the track.  It was a huge thrill being able to compete in and win this race with my very limited experience and training time.  Racing under the lights with a big crowd cheering me on felt absolutely unbelievable!

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

First, for 2011 I need to have a procedure to get my heart arrhythmia (supra-ventricular tachycardia) repaired once and for all!   Then, after that I would like to try my first-ever road racing.  I plan on racing in the Masters and Rookies track series at the Valley Preferred Cycling Center for this summer and taking some more Air Products classes to acquire more skills.  Then, in fall, I would like to try cyclocross once again now that I have my very own cross bike!  I just want to ride as much as my schedule allows (with 3 kids and 3 jobs) and HAVE FUN on the bike all year!
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Time to Join em:pwr cycling

2 em:pwr kit

It’s time to make this official.  We’ve been talking about em:pwr cycling for the past month, we’ve secured some sweet sponsors and its ready to launch!  Please read below for all the perks of joining, or the “elevator pitch.”   Our initial order is closed, but we’ll be doing a reorder ever 3-4 months depending on needs. Please email me girly@bikeshopgirl.com if you want to be on the to order list!

em:pwr cycling is in session

The Basics :

em:pwr cycling is a group/team focused around motivating and EMPOWERING yourself and others on bikes.   From the beginner to the CAT1 racer, you’ll have a home with us.  Also, we don’t have to be your “race team” but a large group of us are racers and will be all over the circuit in the United States. (From old fat guys, to junior mountain bikers and of course a boat load of chicks kicking ass!)

The Benefits :

We are a USAC licensed team (Club #13664).  As cool as it sounds, it more adds insurance on our end, another reason to have a few kick ass races this season and if you happen to race one of those races that like to charge you “unattached fee’s”  you won’t have to any longer!  If you’ve already gotten your license for the year, let us know and we can contact our USA Cycling rep to have you added to the team and a new license sent out.

An Email List. This is one of my favorite parts of this group.   We are forming a Google Group/List for everyone to email between themselves.   No, we aren’t doing a forum as they can be a pain in the arse for upkeep.   The idea for the group is this : are you looking for a friend to ride with or do you want to buy clipless pedals and would like to have an idea before walking into a store, do you need motivation before your first group ride, or did you just CAT up and worried about turn 3 in that next crit?   Well that is what we are here for.  We will not only be ringing a cowbell at the races for you, but a virtual one on this Google List for whenever you need!   Everyone is encouraged to participate and if you like, you can trim down your interactions with the group from daily to weekly (or to receive them whenever someone emails.)

Extra Things from Our Sponsors.

The first 10 people to sign up get a Lazer Genesis helmet in team colors for free (worth $130)
Pro-deal from Lazer on all other helmets through a Lazer Retailer
A bag of Kinetic Koffee
Swag & Water Bottles from Twin Six

Testing Sweet Product. Through out the year as Bike Shop Girl gets product to test.  If you fit the bill, we would like to include you in the testing.  (Example, we get fenders and you live in a rainy area, or a baby helmet to test and you have a cute 2 year old!)

Do You Like Making Videos and Bicycles?

0 Bicycle Film Fest

Submissions are now open for the Eleventh Annual Bicycle Film Festival! The BFF is looking for films with a bike-related theme. Any
style is acceptable: animation, experimental, narrative, documentary and music videos are all a go.

There is no fee to enter your film, simply download a submission form from the BFF website, and send a copy of the film to the BFF Head
Office in New York.

The Bicycle Film Festival began in 2001 when Brendt Barbur, founding director of the festival was hit by a bus while riding his bike in New
York City. He insisted on turning his negative experience into a positive one. The Bicycle Film Festival is a platform to celebrate
the bicycle through music, art and, of course, film.


The BFF travels to over 25 cities around the world, including Paris, London, Tokyo, New York — and Sydney. Last year, more than 225,000
people attended the festival. The BFF is not only a showcase for new films, but also, includes rock shows, street parties, art shows,
dinners, bike rides and more!

The 2011 submission deadline is April 1. Any inquiries please contact Brendan or Jen at:
info@bicyclefilmfestival.com
jen@bicyclefilmfestival.com
brendan@bicyclefilmfestival.com

Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape Review

4 Velo Orange Bar Tape

A few months ago when I was trying to inspire myself to get back on the road bike, I changed out some parts on the Raleigh Clubman I had received for review.   I made it a bit more “women’s fit” and classed it up with Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape.   I’ve always loved the look and feel of the Brooks leather bar tape but it was a crazy price to try out a new type of bar wrap.

Details of the Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape

MSRP : $45-55 from VO (currently they have it on sale for $45!)

Colors : Honey Brown or Black

Initial Preview & Installation of the VO Leather Bar Tape

When I received the leather bar tape I was hesitant to install, to be honest it sat in my parts bin for a couple months after receiving due to be run over by a car and the lack of will to ride.  Slowly I realized the bar tape, among other things, is what I needed.  I needed to find beauty in road cycling again.

Installing the bar tape is much tougher than installing normal cork style bar tape.   There is next to no give and the bar tape in the bend of the bar wants to crease.   I had to try two or three times to get it right and have enough to end properly on my 42cm bar.  This may be due to liking more padding and overlapping half of the wrap as I went around, but I don’t know how it would wrap a 46cm bar and not be super thin.  Or, quite possibly my upper body strength isn’t what it should be to wrap leather bar wrap?

Riding with Leather Bar Wrap

The words I can put in this paragraph won’t sum up how nice the leather feels in your hands.   It reminds me of a well loved baseball glove, or settling into an expensive car with the glamorous baseball glove leather seats.   Grabbing on to the bars, and the soft feel that the bar wrap gives back is like a nice hug back from your bike.   The padding is another story.  I have to wear gloves when riding this bike, and padded gloves are not something I normally wear.

Other Notes

If you look closely at the pictures there are two where the bar wrap was stitched together half way through the roll.

White leather would be hot.

Overall Impression

If I had a carbon fiber 14lb road or cyclocross bike,  I wouldn’t use this bar wrap. For a nice classic steel ride, this will be my staple bar wrap.  No question.  And the $55  is well worth it as it will last 5x more than the cork wrap.  When installing it again, I may find one of my strapping muscle clad friends to help man handle the leather, but its good to know the bar tape will be able to take it!

Find online at Velo Orange

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

The Ass Backwards Ways of the Bicycle Industry

9 Fixing the Bike Industry

If you are a common visitor to BikeShopGirl.com (thank you) than you may have noticed that the tag line and description have changed.  Originally this site was targeted to specifically women and our niche.  We aren’t leaving that niche, and I’m a woman so I’ll continue to concentrate on helping women in the cycling industry.   As comments and emails stream in on a daily basis, I realized that almost everyone other than the bike snob elitist related to the words I have been typing.   Many people are scared to walk into bike shops, they are scared to try on spandex for the first hundred times and they feel like they are trying to be sold to instead of educated.   This is the nature of retail and consumerism thanks to used car and Xerox sales guys.

Recent Observations

Here are some recent musings while talking to friends and cyclist of all types

  • My impression is most people that ride bikes, do not refer to themselves as cyclist
  • They fear shopping for bikes, due to sticker shock and lack of knowledge
  • They relate to their friends and family, wanting to include them as much as possible in their experience
  • Due to lack of knowledge, they will shop based on friends recommendations or sources they trust (this is where I come in)

My Goals are Not to Crush

Making a bike shop profitable in a saturated market is getting more and more impossible.  Margin’s are getting skinnier, there is more knowledge needed by their staff which means higher salaries and more training, more product by more vendors means more room to store it which adds to overhead, and the online retailer (unfortunately for local bike shops) are doing it right.  Call them, ask them tons of questions, price shop, and repeat.

Today, across all industry’s, it is the time for the consumer.  Consumer’s want you to save them money, to be treated like your long lost first love and for it to be all about them.  Because after all, they are giving you their money and they want you to earn it.  They will be needy, helpless and walked through many things.  But, hey, that’s okay!!! Treat them right and they will be your loyal customer referring you to friends for years.

We’ll talk about what bike shops could do, and hopefully get more feedback from end users.  But in reality, my goal is to help the consumer.  EMPOWER the consumer to shop smarter and have a better experience riding their bike.

Soul Run Tool Roll and Wallet Review

1 Soul Run Review

Last summer I mentioned Soul Run products and carrying your tools in style.  Now that I’ve had some time under my belt with their tool roll and jersey pocket wallet I’m ready to reveal my feelings and emotions around their products.

Soul Run Tool Roll

The Tool Roll is a great concept.   It is somewhat like a seatbag, but it unrolls to display all your tools, tubes or bits without having to dump your goods on the ground to find that tube patch or tire levers.    You can keep it in your messenger bag, under your seat or in your pocket.

Soul Run Tool Roll Review

Overall this roll has been a great addition to my daily riding, especially when commuting or changing bikes/bags.   I can easily take the tool roll from one bag into another, or throw it under my seat with a toe strap.   It won’t ever replace a seat bag as it is impossible to attach a light to it, but again for someone with several bags I use to commute with – this was a lifesaver.  I no longer had to make sure I had everything I needed every time I set off on a different bike or with a different bag.

One of the coolest features to this tool roll was the custom colors, I was able to pick anything I wanted for no additional charge!

The only con I found of this roll is due to the pockets and limited space I couldn’t fit too much in the roll.  I routinely kept a CO2, adapter, tube, tube patch and tire levers.   That’s all that fit and even with that it was very bulky and looked “over stuffed.”

Soul Run Pocket Wallet

Soul Run Review

This wallet was the lifesaver that I never knew I needed.   I carry an Android smart phone and a small digital camera on every ride.  As the summer is hot and humid in Charlotte, NC, I would often put these electronic devices in a plastic bag to keep the moisture of my sweat out.  This wallet saved me from looking like a fool, and I started to use it daily for other uses.  On the one side I put my phone with license and credit card, the other either my camera or cash.   It kept everything dry and stink free!  It also kept everything easy to find in a huge messenger bag, or backpack with out stash pockets.

Other Mentions of Soul Run

Back in October when I was run over by a car, Soul Run sent me a “get well card” to my house due to them having my address from sending me their product for review.  It was one of the sweetest things and motivating factors to my healing process.

Check out Soul Run on Etsy to check out their latest colors and products.  Personally I’m eyeballing the pro bike tool roll!

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

Budget Minded Airborne Delta Cyclocross Bike

1 Airborne Delta Cyclocross

When friend and follower Rick Vosper sent along spy photos of a new cyclocross bike he had up his Airborne Bicycles sleeve, I was impressed and excited.  I was sworn to secrecy until they finished testing it.

Here’s the low down.  $1099 for a SRAM Apex equipped, custom carbon fork, disc brake cyclocross bike.  Yes, you read $1099.  Do you know how rare it is to find a cyclocross bike around $1000?   Meet the Airborne Delta CX.

Now Airborne Bicycles is a unique company as it is everything that local bike shops hate.  You can only purchase them online, and because they take out the middle man their bikes are cheaper.   There’s going to be a specific customer for their niche, one that knows what they are looking for, and either knows how to put their unbox their bike, or is okay to take it to the bike shop.   Personally, I’m a fan of this concept.   Buy your bike online, as long as you know what you are doing, bring it to the shop for them to properly build it and then pay them again to fit you.   No low margin bikes for the shop, and only money making profit on the labor of the services.  This is a completely different rant, but for now I’ll save you.


The Airborne Delta CX One Part CX, One Part Commuter

This bike will be ready to rock well before the cyclocross season comes back around.   It is also equipped with bosses for your rack, as a disc brake cyclocross would be a perfect commuter.   That’s the great thing about a good cyclocross bike.  The ample tire clearance gives you room for fenders, rack and all those goodies plus a slightly more upright position than a road bike.  While living in DC, Boston or major cities cyclocross bikes were my go to bikes for 80% of people wanting to “tool around”, commute and go for a fun road ride.

View more photos on Airborne’s Facebook Page.

Turn That Light On, Even in the Day

8 Cateye Light

There are reasons that daytime running lights have become standard on many cars, they add safety.   It would be obvious to cyclist to add this extra level of safety to their daily bike rides, even during the daylight.

A Customer’s Story

Two years ago a good customer of the bike shop I was managing was literally run over by a car.  She was on a quiet road during the mid day, with 4 open lanes around her.  The customer is now healthy and able to bike again, but it was a touch and go case.  The owner of the bike shop kept the fork off her run over bike in reminder of the actions we take when riding our bike.  The driver of the car had a pretty standard reply,  “I didn’t even see the person!”  The cyclist was in a very shady part of the road and even though it was sunny out, she was camouflaged by her surroundings.

“I didn’t even see the person!”

As a cyclist and a driver I know this can sometimes be the case.  When lighting is bad, clothing is dark and the cyclist blends into the scenery.  With so many other distractions for drivers to checking in on, phone, radio or the screaming baby in the back, I push everyone to give them better time to see you.

Brighter clothing and not riding in the gutter can help this. My big push to every person I’ve ever sold a bike to that is going to be ridden on the road is a light.  Buying batteries once a month is much cheaper than your life, and with most lights viewable 2,000+ feet behind I’ll take it.Cateye Light

From Facebook and Twitter

Several people chimed in on our Facebook and Twitter accounts to answer the question about riding with their blinky light on during the day.

Tawny Yambrovich I see other cyclists do it in daylight and it is virtually invisible; therefore it is a waste of batteries, and a waste of resources (reducing your use of batteries means fewer in landfills or needing recycling).

Tawny, I agree with you that normally a light isn’t viewable but in that one low light situation I would rather be wasting a bit more than wasting my life.

Josh Lipton Something really bright like the Planet Bike SuperFlash on flash mode is bright enough to easily catch people’s eyes even in broad daylight. I figure the sooner other road users see you, the better.

Amen.   Give motorist a heads up that you are riding, most people aren’t used to riding around cyclist and they need prepared.

Partnership with People for Bikes

0 Picture 16

With our the announcement of our em:pwr cycling, we want to dive deeper into our main, and very exciting, partnership with Bikes Belong and their People for Bikes program.

People for BikesPeopleforBikes.org is a movement created by the Bikes Belong Foundation – the national nonprofit focused on bicycling safety and children’s bike programs. The goal of PeopleforBikes.org is to unite one million voices to improve bicycling in the United States by asking people to sign a pledge in support of biking. PeopleforBikes.org aims to make our country a better place to ride by sending a unified message to our elected leaders, the media, and the public that bicycling is important and should be promoted.

Nearly 200,000 people, including Lance Armstrong, Gary Fisher, and bike-friendly Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak have already signed the pledge since the campaign’s launch last spring. Please take a moment to visit the website and add
your name today. It is quick, easy, and free, and it will help the future of biking. All they need is your name!

Whatever your background, whatever your bike, and wherever you ride – everyone has a stake in building more bike lanes and trails, securing more funding, and influencing local and national policies to better support bicycling.

Please sign the pledge today, and share peopleforbikes.org with your fellow riders.