Empowering women in cycling

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Can I Wear Guys Cycling Shorts?

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The easy answer to the question “Can I wear guys cycling shorts?”

Yes!

The hidden answer after that is, as long as they fit you.

For a very long time women were lucky to have various types of moderate level shorts.  There has been a few companies that come to mind that have been doing women’s cycling shorts well. These companies are : Pearl Izumi, Giordana, Sugoi, and Sheebeast.

Even with these brands, for one reason or another I’ve still worn about 50-75% of the time, guys shorts.   One of those large reasons are bib shorts, which is another topic in its own, I love them and not one company has made a good women’s design bib.  This has left me wearing guys bibs.  Other reasons are team sponsorship, right now the shops team kit are guys bibs, which is fine with me.

Reasons Not to Wear Guys Shorts

Length of chamois.  The pad/chamois goes high on guys shorts as they have more “package.” This freaks some women out as it comes well in front of the pubic bone.
Chamois size.  Remember that whole women’s design?  That goes with shorts too.  Women tend to need wider chamois in their shorts.  Just make sure the chamois doesn’t end too quickly for you or end where the saddle will rub.  That will leave you with several saddle sores.
Inseam length.  Companies tend to put a shorter inseam on women’s shorts compared to men’s.  This is another reason that I wear guys, I have long legs and the 6″ inseam on girls shorts are just too short normally.

Recommended Guys Shorts/Bibs to Try

Bontrager RXL
My go to shorts for the past year since I found them.  They have different materials through out the short to help with compression and the chamois is made to mate with their inForm saddles.

Gore Power Bib
– One of my new favorites if you read my article a couple days ago.  One note, do NOT get the Men’s Xenon bibs as the chamois has a break in the middle.  Can you say “camel toe?”

Final Thoughts

Don’t let your local bike shop confuse you, your favorite pair of shorts are two fold.  The first is the dressing room test, is it comfortable?  The second is to make sure it fits well on your favorite saddle.  Seams away from the edge of your saddles and that the chamois doesn’t “fold” in half and start pushing up on soft tissues.

Men’s or women’s : who cares as long as it fits?

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Losing Those Last Extra Pounds? Try commuting

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It is a known fact that as we age it is harder to keep the weight off.  Not only are our own bodies changing and making it more difficult, but as well as limited time and more responsibilities.   It was much easier in school, or a younger age to go for a run, make a healthy dinner or join a sports team.

Lee said women should not let the findings discourage them from exercising at all, but they may want to make small changes now to prevent later weight gain.

“I think the easiest thing is actually commuting,” she said, suggesting people walk or bike to work, and if they drive, to park farther away from the office.

If seven hours a week are just too hard to fit in, Lee said people might want to consider vigorous exercise such as jogging, which can cut the weekly time requirement in half.

Originally found at Reuters

Several years ago, I learned that choosing my bike for errands would help keep the extra pounds off.  This habit also keeps me happier at work and my brain fresh.  I’m not a member of the gym and save a decent amount of money in gas and auto expenses.  Normally, this money is fed back to the cycling habit but its a healthy habit I plan on keeping for another 10 years.

Make sure to check out my other site, CommuteByBike.com or follow on Twitter @BikeShopGirlcom

Video : Unboxing the Raleigh Clubman

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We recently took delivery of a 2010 Raleigh Clubman. In this 6 minute clip we go through the basics of unboxing a bicycle. A full review will be available on http://www.CommuteByBike.com soon.

A walk through building a bicycle up from the boxed form.  This is how most bikes show up to a bike shop, except for those boutique, build from scratch variety.   We skim through some sections in order to get you through the whole unboxing, which normally takes 45 minutes to an hour.

Unboxing

Tools

The basic tools are used were :

Park Tool Allen Wrench Set

Feedback Sports – Sport Repair Stand

Park Tool Cable Cutter

Photos of the Build Day

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @BikeShopGirlcom

Lab-Gear 99 : Full Review

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Lab-Gear 99 Mid & T

The end of October I was approached by Lab-Gear to review a few of their new woman’s line, 99.  Today we are going to go over the pro’s and con’s, as well as share some photos of the different shirts we reviewed.  First, make sure to read our preview from December.

The Process

One thing very unique about Lab-Gear was the process of ordering these garments.  You go through a whole build out picking sizing, color weighs, and options.  The options include a GT Stripe (racing stripe,) thumb holes, and various stitching for the cuff and collars.

After submitting your order the customer service is top notch.  At anytime it is telling you where your order is along in their system.  Finally, you take delivery.  They are wrapped up nicely like a brilliant gift for you.  Made exclusively for you!  It happened also, to be delivered on my birthday.

99 T


This is a lighter weight long sleeve top.  Easily worn with jeans or on your favorite long ride.    We chose to build out our 99 tops to match well together as you can see in the photos.  Due to this being very close to your skin, if you are sensitive to wool, you may get itchy while wearing this top.

Merino wool does its job, even though a very thin (tshirt like) top.  This guy will keep you warm by itself on slightly chilly days, or team it up with the 99 Mid to have a very warm outfit.

With the fitting we decided to order the top to be a fashion fit.  Not too tight, but a normal size you would by from a clothing store.  The shirt fits well, but is on the shorter side for the size it is fitting.

99 Mid


As an outerwear top it is not quite a jersey, not quite a full on jacket.  It reminded me a lot of a track style jacket.  The Mid has a higher collar, thicker weave of merino and a zipper collar.

We ordered this top a size bigger than the T as it was going to be worn over other tops.  Teaming the Mid and T up together is going to be the perfect spring morning ride apparel.   The colors we decided on go well together for the pieces separate or together.

Final Thoughts

The cost are high for these tops, but merino wool comes at a price, as does customizing to your own liking.  At the time of typing this the convert of currency from AUS to USD is:

$130 for the Mid
$78.35 for the T

After a couple months of weekly use, washing, wearing and riding in - these tops look brand new.  This isn’t normally the case with wool, you often get pulling or threads snagged.

The Mid will be a great purchase for multi use, and the T is a dream if you are a fan of wool.

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 Best of the Best : Bike Trainers

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This morning I was, brutally, reminded that some areas of the country are still in the freezing cold and in the need of bike trainers.  There are other reasons to ride a trainer outside of weather.  Including dedicated training intervals, warming up at races and even darkness can force us inside on the dreaded trainer.

The New York Times recently published an article on various bike trainers that a woman tested for 90 minutes at a time.  The article got me thinking about all the hours I spent on the trainer in Maryland and Massachusetts.  I hated every minute of it and even the famed “rollers” that were supposed to be 100% better, stunk.

Technology of Highend Trainers

As anything, technology is increasing and trainers are becoming an experience instead of a chore.  Computrainers and the Rock and Roll trainer are really pushing the envelope.

Computrainer

The best indoor trainers on the market, in my opinon.  These trainers hook up to you computer, using a profile or set thresholds the trainer changes resistance on your tire to make it feel very real life.   They also can be set up to 8 trainers connected to each other, then to the computer.  This allows you to ride with others, race, draft and really interact with others. 

I’m a bit spoiled as we have a fitness center inside of the shop I manage. We have 8 of these Computrainers and host multiple classes or rides per day.  You can really use this as a training tool and optimize your time during the off-season or daylight savings.

The catch on the Computrainer is the cost.  Starting at $1649, these trainers are for the diehard users.

Rock & Roll from Kurt by Kinetic

If you want to see a different way of thinking, check out the Rock & Roll.  The movie below can say more than I, so I’ll stop now.

The Rock & Roll will create a core strength as well as aid in the hard resistance on your body that you normally may feel on a trainer. 

Now, if you want the best of both world – take a Computrainer resistance unit and mount it to a Rock & Roll base unit.

Cycling Gives Women Feelings of Freedom

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As a young child I always going out on my bike or out on a run to get out. I wasn’t one to play video games or watch tv, I always needed to get out.

Because of this the bicycle gave me a freedom further than my two feet. I didn’t need my parents, boyfriend or anyone to aid me in getting where I wanted to go. Exploration and adventure were a pedal stroke away.

“I think (bicycling) has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance.”

Susan B. Anthony’s words, spoken in 1896, ring true today. Courtney Ramey, a dedicated bicycle commuter, agrees with Anthony: “It’s easy. It feels great. It’s freedom.” Pam Polizzi loves that “biking gives you a great deal of freedom in getting around the city easily.”

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/10/NSPP1CAFIB.DTL#ixzz0hsrYwouB

Today this is going one more step as women seem to be hesitant to get out on the road or bike trails to try this new skill. The second they do try it, they feel empowered and free of all the ties they left at home. The children, errands, work week or BlackBerry can go on hold for a couple hours as they ride.

What about riding a bike makes you feel free?

Podcast Episode #3 : Interview with Joan Hanscom of USGP

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[podcast]http://bikeshopgirl.com/podcast/BSG-Episode3.mp3[/podcast]

Last week we met up to talk with Joan Hansom of the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross and as well as the 2013 Cyclocross World Championships.

We talked about many things but key links of interest :

US Grand Prix of Cyclocross

2013 Cyclocross World Championships

Artemis Racing

Peanut Butter & Co Twenty12 Racing

North America Handmade Bicycle Show

Podcast Episode #2 : Q&A with Team Vera Bradley Foundation

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This past Wednesday, I made my way to Uptown Charlotte, NC to visit Uptown Cycles where the shop was hosting Team Vera Bradley Foundation Pro Cycling Team. The three members from the team, Alison Powers and Kristin Sanders, were in town for wind tunnel testing and the owner of Uptown Cycles, as well as pro cyclist and team member, Robin Farina, decided to host a Question and Answer panel with a few of the ladies.

Alison Powers holding the new team skinsuit

Now sit back, and learn what these amazing women are doing for the cycling arena.  If you are so inclined after the podcast to make a donation to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer research please visit VeraBradley.org

Due to the large room and semi circle of women, the audio isn’t the best but I’ve tried to level out audio and add comments here and there.

[podcast]http://bikeshopgirl.com/podcast/BSG-Episode2.mp3[/podcast]

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