Empowering women in cycling

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Introducing em:pwr cycling

27 empwr cycling kit

We mentioned a Bike Shop Girl cycling team for 2011 and with much discussion, planning and “crayon on napkin” design we are ready to reveal!

Welcome to em:pwr cycling

empwr cycling kit

Yes, this is the team for all teams. If you are a sponsored rider or a recreational cyclist we are for you.

em:pwr cycling. em:pwr yourself. em:pwr others.

Our mission is simple, empowering ourselves and others to get on a bicycle to ride or to go faster and smarter on that bicycle. We aren’t elitist (even though some of us are fast), we will ring the cowbell for any and all cyclist. Creating a global community of like minded cyclist, and creating a portal to find knowledge or motivation to go that much further by bicycle!

Are We Preaching to the Choir?

If you are reading this you love bikes or have some interest in them. We are creating a force across the land that will bridge the gaps of beginners, women, children, men or fans.

Join Us!

Leave a comment below with an email address or email us at empwr@bikeshopgirl.com to get on the list.

Nalgene On the Fly Bottle Review

0 Nalgene On the Fly OTF

Nalgene On the Fly
MRSP: $12.99
Size: 24 ounces
Companies Pitch: Nalgene’s newest leak-proof loop-top swings open wide to reveal a contoured, high-flow drinking spout that’s easy to fill at the fountain or sink. One-handed push button for easy open/close; locking bail for ultimate insurance against leaks

From Nalgene on their OTF Bottle

Nalgene’s newest leak-proof loop-top swings open wide to reveal a contoured, high-flow drinking spout that’s easy to fill at the fountain or sink. One-handed push button for easy open/close; locking bail for ultimate insurance against leaks.

  • Holds 24 ounces
  • Silicone stopper seals off the drinking spout
  • Leak-proof with bail engaged
  • Fits standard cup holders
  • Molded-in measuring marks
  • Dishwasher safe
  • 63mm cap fits other Nalgene wide-mouth bottles
  • Compostable EarthFirst® bottle “shrink sleeve” packaging is made from renewable plant resources
  • OTF bottle is made in the USA from copolyester manufactured without Bisphenol A (BPA). OTF closure is made in China from polypropylene manufactured without Bisphenol A (BPA).
  • Weighs 136g

Test Results

Tested and abused for the past 8 weeks. Brutal testing done by not only myself, but my testing team. The team consist of two athletic 9 and 10 year old boys. I knew when it came to testing a “leak proof” bottle they would be the best abusers.
Nalgene On the Fly OTF
The above bottle is one that was tested, we haven’t gotten around to taking the label off but even that has worn well. The two bottles that were supplied for review have been taking to sports practices, school backpacks, and even slept in bed with them. I’m happy to report there hasn’t been even one leak!

On the Fly Conclusion

For $12.99 and BPA free I think it is a great lifestyle bottle.

The Nalgene bottle isn’t for me.  I prefer either a cycling bottle top or a drink with a straw.   The biggest positives for me for this Nalgene bottle is that there are no hidden pieces to pull out or to find moldy down the road, the top design does not leak and is easy enough for kids to use well.  For $12.99 and BPA free I think it is a great lifestyle bottle.

Product Disclaimer : 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.

Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand : Product Preview

1 Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand

As a mechanic you become very territorial and particular with your tools.   Once you find something you like, and that doesn’t let you down – you stick with it until it does.  Ultimate Repair Stands which became Feedback Sports a few years ago is one of those things.  They make repair stands, and scales that I would recommend to everyone and anyone.   When I was given the opportunity to upgrade from my old and well used Ultimate repair stand to the Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand, I bit the chance hard!

Specifications of the Pro Elite Stand

Key specs that I like to point out of this stand are the following

  • Weight : 12.6 lbs.  It makes it easy to take with you on the road and for smaller women to manipulate around
  • Transportable. Tie the weight with the ease of collapsing down the the stand into a relatively compact package
  • Stable. This is where the importance for a mechanic comes in.  I want to be able to do a complete rebuild, full service and do it all on the road.  Everything I’ve thrown at this stand, it has taken. This is thanks to the 54″ tripod base system.  As long as you position the bike correctly on the legs, you won’t have it tipping over on you, no matter the bike.
  • Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand ReviewQuick Release Clamp.  One of my favorite parts of this stand is the quick release button.  All repair stands need this, more importantly all stands need this feature with it lasting as long as Feedback Sports release last. If you work on bikes often, you’ll love this one hand use clamp.

More on the Pro Elite Stand

As the testing continues, bikes get heavier, clamps get used more, and so on there are a few other notes to mention that aren’t above.   This stand can come with or without a tote bag, I like the tote bag but if you plan on transporting it once a year save your money.
MSRP : Between $220-240 depending where/when and if you want the tote bag

Until I’m finished my review, take a look at Road Bike Review’s video of Feedback Sports 2011 line up:

Disclaimber : 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.

Post Race Bicycle Clean Up

2 Raleigh Hi Life Cyclocross Single Speed Frame

Bike prep is one of the most important things you can do prior to a race or any big ride.   Most people will do a last minute check over before any race or big ride, but when was the last time you did a post race check over?

Road Wet and Hung Up to Dry

When your done with that big ride, the last thought in the back of your mind was to clean up your bike.  Now, this could be the worst thing you are doing for your bike.  If you let your bike sit after a hard ride for days, it doesn’t matter if its dry or very wet, your chain, bearings and others are aching for attention.

Steps to Post Ride Bike Check Over

Today, I’ll be walking you through what I did after my cyclocross race on Saturday.  Some of these steps may differ depending on what type of riding or conditions your in.

  • Gently hose off the muddy bike.  Using a soft scrub brush or rag to clean down the frame and rims. As you are wiping off the frame check for any new scratches, dents or damages, especially if you crashed.
  • Wipe down chain and drip on your favorite lube, leave it soaking in as you do the rest of the checkover
  • Check the brake pads and braking surface
  • Spin wheels and make sure wheels are true, while spinning make sure there aren’t any new cuts or missing rubber from your tires
  • Check shifting and brake tension
  • Wipe off chain lube

The above check over should take 15 minutes after you get used to the process.   Depending on the ride, like my race in the mud on Saturday, I may leave my lube to soak into the chain overnight.   If you don’t have full sealed bearings you may need to soak lube into those as well.

Many people neglect their bike after a race.   I’ve seen chains frozen solid or someone taking a bike for a ride after a race and not having any brake pads!   Make this check over a normal part of your routine and you’re bike maintenance bill will go down and your parts will last longer.   In additional you’ll be happier on the bike with a well maintained machine!

Announcing a BSG Team

14 Women's Bicycle Racing

For 2011 we are excited to get rolling a team of all teams, one to empower, encourage and motivate to move everyone towards bicycles!

We will be USAC licensed but more than anything we will be here for each other.   As I renew my USAC Coaching license and take more classes, I’m going to empower you this season.  You don’t have to be a racer, but racing is nice, the goal is anyone that reads this becomes interested in giving a hand to empower and motivate everyone on bicycles!

If there is enough interest we’ll speed up the process of ordering jerseys and shorts (kits.)  Even though the goal of the team is to empower women, I know that juniors and guys need that happy places as well.  Are you interested? Sound off below!

Image Credit: The Junk

2011 Cycling Resolutions

2 New Years Resolution

My resolutions were simple, and parallel much of my 2011 season list we touched on last week.  I want to make a keynote that I want to know your resolutions and how we can make each other accountable for them!

Drum Roll Please

  • Start riding on the road
  • Start actively riding 3+ times a week
  • Fill in the other days with working out and yoga
  • Start racing as much as financially possible
  • Give up coffee and coke, none/zero/nada!

Breaking It Down

At the end of the day I want to make myself, sponsors and friends proud.

The Best of 2010 at Bike Shop Girl

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One of the best things I enjoy about ringing in a new year is looking back at 2010 and taking inventory.

A recap of sorts, we’ll touch on popular post, link traffic in, and Bike Shop Girl elsewhere in the world.

Most Popular Post in 2010

The Bicycle Industry is Regressing – In 2011 I plan on picking up the podcast with more steam and bringing many people in (not all women!) to touch on this subject more from behind enemy lines.

Women in the Bike Industry – Who is to Blame? - Another one of those that tickled those women that work in the bike industry, or try to shop within a male dominated industry.  We will continue to make forward progress and continue to teach store managers, owners and suppliers how to better server all customers (especially women.)

Thank God for Spandex – I’ve Gotten Fat - This officially change officially starts tomorrow with a bike ride and detox.  Water, green tea and salad, but I’m open to more educated suggestions.

I was Hit by a Car on Friday – This was originally posted on Arsbars.com, and has many, many, many loving and thoughtful comments.  You, my readers can never understand how much your support through the recovery has helped me.

Safety is Important - Only days before my accident on October 1st 2010, I wrote about how safety is important and cyclist have no chance against automobiles.

SRAM Force Brakes, Breaking? - I pissed off my media contact at SRAM for pulling this old news out of the sewer, but I still feel like people should be reminded to check their NOS (new old stock) brakes as they keep resurfacing.

Women’s Designed 29ers – Gary Fisher has done it and introduced 29ers with a women’s fit and part.  Amen, I’m excited and can’t wait to get my hands on one for review!

Another Cyclist Hit in Charlotte, NC - One of many cyclist injured or killed in 2010 within our region.  Sad and sickening.

Can I Wear Men’s Cycling Shorts? - YES, but know what to look for.

Top Referrers to Bike Shop Girl in 2010

Commute By Bike - As you know I sold this site in October, but hope to start contributing again in 2011

Kent’s Bike Blog – Dear Kent whom wrote kind words of encouragement to get me back on the bike

Cycling Weapons of Mass Destruction

Arsbars - My own personal site

Bicycling Design - Educate yourself on design an upcoming technology

District Cycling – Mostly a podcast, centered around road cycling and Washington D.C

Bike to Work Barb - I can’t forget Barb, whom started a hashtag for me on Twitter! #youcanride

Found Elsewhere in 2010

Bike Shop Girl NAHBS on YouTube – I was fortunate enough to do quick/dirty interviews for NAHBS 2010.  Looking back I had a lot to learn, but glad I was fortunate to help!

Bike Shop Girl on Facebook -  I don’t utilize this channel as much as I should, but at the time of writing this there are 880 people liking the page, and I’m honored

Bike Shop Girl on Twitter - @BikeShopGirlcom I enjoy twitter and have been active since 2008 with my personal account @arsbars.  With @BikeShopGirlcom I try to dedicate my tweets to cycling oriented, retweeting or promoting the site and others.  At the time of writing this I have 3,457 followers and 2,825 tweets.   (Compared to @arsbars with 1,157 followers and 5,827 tweets)

Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 Tire Initial Review

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Last week I finally received my new Industry Nine wheels that have been on order for about a month.   The same time as the wheels I had ordered a couple Continental tires that I’ve had my eye on for awhile that no one has used locally that I have been able to find. The Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 for the front and the Race King 2.2 tires for the rear were what I ordered.

Width of Continental Tires

There’s always been an issue, especially with mountain bike tires, with the wrong advertised spec compared to truth width. Continental seems to be worst of all companies with this. When I ordered the tires I was aware of this but hoped by going with a 2.4 for the front that it would end up around 2.25.

Continental Mountain King 2.4 Measurement from Twenty Nine Inches was originally at 52.6mm or 2.07 inches for the casing. The guys over there went on saying the tire “stretched” and of course a tire will measure out or fill out differently depending on which rim and rim width you install it on.

Personally I need to measure mine.  They’ve been installed since last Thursday night, and maybe they have “stretched” out a bit too.  Regardless, 2 inch tires aren’t what I was looking for. Especially the front which is supposed to be a 2.4, so now I have a 2″ tire for roughly 800 grams. Not very happy where the weight/width/volume for ride is.

Continental Mountain King 29x2.4 Tire

Installing Continental Mountain Bike Tires

Installation of the Mountain King 2.4 tire was a bear on the Stans Arch rim. Currently, I’m running tubed and pinched a tube when there was 3 inches of tire left to roll on and no where to go. I’m not going to be very happy if I get a flat on the side of a trail somewhere, I’ll never be able to get the tire back on unless the tire truly did stretch.

Ride Quality of the Mountain King 2.4

The tire rides well. It’s a true trail tire with well positioned deep knobs that ride over various trail conditions from roots, rocks and floats over sand. If I was riding a full suspension, riding deep in the mountains or had front suspension this tire would lay better with me.  Currently it’s on the list to be taken off after a few more rides. I can’t ride a heavy tire with no volume on a fully rigid bike. There are too may other good tires out there to waste my time on riding this. I may try it on the rear once I find a replacement for this as a front tire.
Continental Mountain King 29x2.4 Tire

Overall Opinion of the Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 Tire

I’m not impressed.  Tires, wheels, grips and saddles make or break a bike for me.  There isn’t much else left on a fully rigid 29er but still…these things matter to me. I like stiff wheels, squishy tires with strong yet subtle sidewalls and a comfortable fit. The tires will be measured, I’ll try them tubeless and we will be back for a full review.

Steps to Recovery After My Bicycle Accident

2 Bicycle Recovery

Bicycle Recovery

Physically, the recovery from my accident has been pretty straight forward. My mom and lady friend (wife in lesbian terms) took care of me in every way possible for the 48 hours immediately following the accident.

My legs, left hip and lower back all didn’t want to work well for me. The drugs helped curb the pain but not being able to walk or even go to the bathroom on my own was the most difficult part for those few days after.

To date, the bruises are starting to fade and granted three weeks after I still have an amazing lump on my left leg from the top tube of my bike. My lower back and hip gets sore after a long day at work or driving. But, those are my only physical complaints.

Mentally I have Been a Wreck

It would be easy to say, great I got hit by a car.. now get back on the horse and ride off in the sunset. That’s what I would have done 6 years ago (that is what I did 6 years ago) but things are different in my life, as well as internally.

  • I have a family that needs me
  • Life isn’t as easy to pass by
  • The “unbreakable” feeling I had most of my youth is gone
  • This accident has made me painfully naked
  • I have moved on from CommuteByBike.com

Leaves are Turning Over

It is fall after all, and its my favorite time of year. The leaves on the trees are beautiful colors, there is cyclocross bike races, beautiful chill mornings and my birthday is right around the corner. Keeping all those things in mind I’ve been trying to take steps forward.

  • Purchased a car. As dirty as it originally felt, I’m very excited about the daily driver (this car will have its own post) and being able to get to the MTB trail on my own time
  • The gym is my friend. I’ve been starting to go to the gym in the morning before work. It sets a great tone for work and hopefully we give me the strength and weight loss I need for further motivation. Hell, I may go again after work.
  • Forcing communication and interaction. The accident made me realize, as did the reminder from friends, I have become a lock box as of lately. A hermit within my own mind. Something inside of me, even before the the accident, has been keeping my emotions safe inside without sharing any feelings or thoughts.
  • More mountain biking. Simple as that, and as happy as it makes me.

Trying to Put the Pieces Together

I’m weeding out Facebook for all the non-friends I have added. I’m calling or writing all the friends I haven’t contacted. I’m trying to connect with my distant family again.

I’m slowly riding, but riding. All of it is off road and I am grateful for being able to return to my MTB roots. I hope to get my lady on the bike more. I hope to take more photos, and write more words. I hope to get this all out so I can start feeling again.

The Lost Art of Customer Service

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A new main series we will be focusing on here at Bike Shop Girl will be on customer service, the lost art. My hope is to target the companies that are doing it well, and explain what others could be doing better.

What Are Your Experiences

This website is an open dialog between all of those within the bike industry, as owners, employees, advertisers, media and most importantly, customers.

The bottom line in any industry is the customer, regardless if the customer is a B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to customer.) Even in the example of a B2B, there still is a customer – the end business. Whenever money or goods are transferred, there is a customer and this is a note that needs to be remembered more often.

Utilize the comment field, contact form, or email to the best of your communication comfort zone.