MSRP: $1,199.95 A well built bike for 5 cents under $1,200. For the person looking to upgrade their entry level bike, getting into 29ers or simply a deal finder that will upgrade the parts as they need. (I fit in the latter.) Weight: 18 inch is 28 lbs Key Parts: Aluminum hydroformed (shaped) frame, SRAM X7 2×10 drivetrain, Avid Elixir R brakes, RockShox Reba RL fork, WTB Trail 29 wheels.
It is frequent that questions arise towards me for recommendations on how things should be done, or changed within the bike industry, especially bike shop management or culture. Maybe it’s the name Bike Shop Girl that brings it out of the person? I like to think it’s my charm and large brain…
With an outsiders perspective, here are some recommendations I am giving to active or maybe new bike shop managers.
Visit many corporate retail stores near you and take notes
Most shops want to keep that “home grown” feeling. I’m not recommending to lose that, if anything harness it but don’t forget in the end you are fighting to win customers over. Retailers that I recommend to visit include The Gap, REI, Apple, Best Buy, and Starbucks. Did they give you breathing room for when you first walked in? Did they great you warmly? Was the store clean and organized? Did the staff present themselves well and provide help when needed? Were you ever lost in the store? Did you feel rushed? How was the checkout process if you purchased something?
Visit them often and compare notes. These companies pay good money to train their staff, merchandise their store and have great processes to make sure all these things are handled correctly. Save your money and learn from them. Pull from as many great ideas as you can, use the ones that you can relate to.
Clean your bathrooms as if your mom was visiting
I visit a lot of bike shops, and I always ask to use their bathroom. You can really get an idea of how a shop is run behind the scenes by their bathroom. Are there magazines of half naked women? If you have one bathroom for men and women, ask your male staff to put the seat down every time they use it. Better yet, make it mandatory. If your staff has to clean the bathroom daily, they will keep their pee in the toilet and not leave greasy chains soaking in the bathroom sink. I understand some staff’s need to use the bathroom sink for this use, but let the chain soak in a water bottle and wash it off in the sink. Don’t leave it in there. I also don’t think anyone will be offended if the kit you rode into work was in there, I will be offended if it is hanging chamois side out right next to the toilet (where my face has to be!)
Think before you buy
Never write a pre-season order when your rep is still sitting there. Ask feedback from staff, compare numbers from the last 2 years and purchase wisely. Pre-seasons, discounts, and bulk buying is great a great thing that many companies offer, remember that it is ONLY great if you can sell it before the bill is due. Too many shops get sucked into saving 5% on their order and at the end of the season they are left with SKU’s they were required to purchase to make minimums. It doesn’t matter if you save $800 on an order, if you have a pair of $3,000 cost wheels sitting on your shelf for 2 years after you have payed the bill. Those wheels have COST you money by sitting there after you have paid the bill. Depending on margin, there is a change you needed to sell 2x, or had 2 cycle turns on that wheel set to make money when you factor in paying the invoice, losing floor space, and how the cost of the wheels tied up money from being spent on better turning product.
Never buy something that you or your staff wouldn’t use
There is a reason special ordering is around, promote it. If there is something you think is great, bring in one to test out. Let someone try it out, purchase more based on that review. Your staff will sell more of something they believe in, help them do this. Teach your staff how to properly special order a product, require money down, require a time period to pick up and if it isn’t convenient ask the customer if you could drop it off or ship it to them (based on weight, shipping cost and the ability to ship!) If special ordering is treated properly most customers will be happy to wait. You can get me the EXACT bike I want, built and in my hands before the weekend? I’ll be the first person to test ride it? – Direct quote from a customer I had. One season I proved my shop owner wrong, that special ordering is possible and most customers won’t mind a bit! Special ordering over a 1/4 of the bikes sold in the store.
Pick and train your employees as if you could do the same of your children
Teach them manners (customer service), morals (trustworthy and dependable), cleanliness (pick up after themselves and their customers) and a healthy attitude (give them a chance to ride their bike.) You aren’t their parents, and it isn’t your job but to have a stronger company you need to make your employees stronger. They are more valuable than your low margin inventory.
If you have experience running a bike store, or any other retail establishment please add your advice and tips in the comments below!
During my stay at Sea Otter something happened to my mentally and emotionally that I can’t explain. It’s a bit more deep than I want to get into on this post but one of the after affects was wanting, no yearning, to take more bike racing photos. Saturday afternoon before we packed up for the day, Neal and I hiked up the dual slalom hill to watch the final heats of the races. While I had no experience of this type of racing, besides what I have seen in the magazines, it was thrilling. It took a BMX track and pulled it downhill. In fact it looked SUPER fun. Everything I love, downhill, speed, berms and a short sprint!
Here are some of my favorite photos I took during the 20 minutes on the course. Feedback and criticism are encouraged!
One of the things I am very excited about for the 2011 Sea Otter Classic is all the “ladies” focused events! On Sunday there is a full day of events scheduled to get women more active in the cycling lifestyle.
Sea Otter Ladies Lounge Sponsored by SRAM
Rebecca Rusch, pro athlete, endurance racer, and all around great person, has put together the SRAM Gold Rusch Tour for 2011. The first stop is the Sea Otter Classic where she is hosting the Sea Otter Ladies Lounge.
April 14-16th, 2011 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) from 2-4pm Meet and mingle with pro-women cyclist like Rebecca Rusch, Team TIBCO, and the list goes on. Mini-tech clinics, that’s where Bike Shop Girl comes in! I’ll be there everyday to help with maintenance, 2×10 MTB technology, trail side repair and so on.
Have questions or ideas of what we should talk about? Comment away!
In February Airborne Bicycles put out a call for Flight Crew members. Essentially Flight Crew members are a small group of brand ambassadors. You get to ride a bike, for free, goto Sea Otter (to work the booth), for free, and encourage cycling. When I heard this news I was ecstatic. I already had my eye on on an Airborne Goblin for the 2011 season, and if I could become part of the team? Great!
“A” Stands For : Arleigh Awesome Airborne
That was my tag line for my entry to the Flight crew. Apparently it worked, but I think I won them over with my sweet talking on the phone. How could three bike guys from Airborne turn down a girl on the phone that knows a crap ton about bikes?
Red Tape Around Every Corner
There were concerns along the way. I didn’t want to muddy any water on Bike Shop Girl by having a product sponsor, but on the flip side Bike Shop Girl is a purely passionate investment of my time. It is a personal blog and doesn’t generate enough money to buy me anything but bottom shelf beer. Now that I work in marketing full time, the bike industry is not my job and I am going to continue to give unbiased views of bikes or product.
Other details include more guest posting for product reviews that compete with Airborne Bicycles. Say Specialized wants a mountain bike reviewed, I’m going to ring up one of my em:pwr team members and ask them if they would be interested in reviewing a bike. Basing it completely on their experience, riding style and needs that fit the bike the best. Instead of having one person to review a bike, we have 38 voices and opiniongs!
I’m a Bike Rider and Racer
Cycling is an expensive sport and if someone wants to give me a bike, I’m not going to stop them. If a company structure that I believe in (direct to consumer and brick ‘n mortar) want to sponsor me, why would I turn this down? As long as I am upfront with my goals and what it means for my readers…why would I say no?
Officially, I am a Flight Crew Member
Thank you Airborne Bicycles for wanting me, I’m honored and flattered as I know what type of competition there was! In two weeks I’ll be flying to Monterray California to ride many Airborne Bikes, I’ll take many photos but most importantly it will be the first time I’ll swing my leg over my race rig the 29er Goblin and the new Delta CX bike for my cyclocross season!
For now go visit Airborne Bicycles and check out their line. The new Delta CX will be up on their site sometime this weekend.
April marks many things. April fools, spring showers, flowers, bike racing, major league baseball and many other things. It also marks the month of biking. 30 days of biking to be exact.
30 Days of Biking
The only rule for 30 Days of Biking, April 1–30, 2011, is that you bike every day for 30 days—around the block, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you—then share your adventures online. We believe biking enriches life, builds community, and preserves the Earth.
Registering will shoot your name onto our master participants list, setting your name in virtual stone. Interaction from here is up to you! Bike every day, then tweet (using #30daysofbiking) or blog, or Facebook, or Flickr, or Tumblr, or Daily Mile, or write a snail mail letter about it. Make videos and songs. Be pleased as punch you’re biking and fulfilling an awesome goal.
How We are Getting Involved
This is something I find very exciting and I’m glad to participate. The guys behind 30 days of biking have an amazing idea in place, hopefully we can inspire more butts on bikes!
Some examples of how I’ll be getting on the bike… today I’ll run to the bike shop 3 miles from work on bike bike. Tomorrow I’m racing. Sunday I’ll do a recovery ride. During the week if I can’t do a true ride, I’ll do my errands around work on my bike. Even if its a bike ride down the greenway to take photos. Do it, I promise every time you stretch your legs around those pedals turning, you’re body and soul will thank you.
In February I did a preview of the Chrome Mini Messenger that I received for review at no charge from Chrome (yes that is my mandatory disclaimer.) For the past 6 weeks I have been riding, using for work, the gym and even used it as a warm bed for a small baby chihuahua.
Features of the Chrome Mini Messenger
A few key things that really stood out to me, it is about the small details that companies put in their product that stands out the most.
Extended flap on sides to keep out rain when the bag is closed
Reflective straps on the back buckles
Loop for blinky light on tail of bag
Bottle opener on the buckle
Several pockets to keep the small things from getting lost in my bag
What the Chrome Mini Messenger Bag Is
The Mini Messenger is perfect for those looking for a slimmer and trimmer messenger bag. It isn’t as bulky or combersome as most messenger bags. The colors I picked stand out, and often is commented about when I take it to business meetings. It has personality without being over the top, and it helps that it is my companies branding colors. The bag comfortable carriers 20-25 lbs with the load spread out over the very padded shoulder strap.
What Fits in the Chrome Mini Messenger Bag
Daily I use the Mini Messenger for transportation back and forth to work. This includes two or three notebooks, a 17″ MacBook Pro, cables and a small camera shoved in a side pocket, many pens, and sometimes a hat or a rain jacket thrown in for safety. It doesn’t carry a ton, it is not a bag to carry the kitchen sink.
Other Random Notes and Dimensions
(Pulled from ChromeBagsStore.com)
Weight: 2.3lb Fabric: 1000 denier Cordura outer shell, 18 oz. truck tarp liner Made In: Chica, CA, USA Dimensions: 20″ wide, 12″ high, 7″ deep Volume: 20.5L
Personal Downfalls of the Mini Messenger Bag
In no specific order, these are the things that I disliked.
The cross chest strap sucks for women with boobs. The bag is so small though, I often didn’t use it even when I had a full load doing urban riding.
I wish it had a top mounted handle for carrying purposes. Yes, I could have asked for the Buran but it didn’t have any pretty stock colors!
The liner system was something that took me a few days to figure out. Essentially the interior bag is suspended over the exterior bag. It is fully water proof because of this, but I had lost a couple documents in the bottom of the bag not knowing that it wasn’t closed off. No fears, I found them and I’m smarter for the experience.
Final Thoughts and Review of the Chrome Mini Messenger Bag
The bag was pleasantly comfortable to ride in, even with a rigid laptop on the back. It was very water proof, even in down pour for 45 minutes I never had any wet documents or electronics (thank god.) The colors are completely me and I’m glad I picked out the bright colors. As I said above, I don’t use the chest strap that often due to it not fitting well with my chest, but that didn’t cause any problems during riding or transporting a full bag.
I would recommend this bag, but making sure you know it won’t fit the kitchen sink. It is for a change of clothes OR a laptop and notebooks, not both. It will be perfect for someone that needs to carry clothes to work and change, or goto the gym (a yoga mat was held very nicely under the flap.) Beware during the summer heat you will get a sweaty back with this heavy duty material.
Buy your own Chrome Mini Messenger Bag at the Chrome Bag Store. Make sure they know Bike Shop Girl sent you!
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.
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to test ride on a local trail a few women’s specific 29er mountain bikes. As I had mentioned in the past I was very excited about this new idea of women’s sizing in 29″ technology but that is where my research ended.
The idea of fitting smaller individuals (men or women) on to the larger wheel technology has been something that I’ve had hopes for. A few years ago when the 650b movement started I was completed behind it for that reason. The 26″ wheel, to me, is not the solution for everyone based on how they ride and where they ride. People deserve options, an example of this is why 3″, 5″, 7″ and 9″ suspension systems exists.
Back on topic, riding women’s specific 29ers
I didn’t have the ability to check saddle fore and aft, saddle to handlebars or any specifics other than seat height. Now that my disclaimers out of the way….
The bike didn’t handle well. I don’t know how else to say it…. The geometry of it all doesn’t make any sense. Take a normal size 29er, keep the wheel base the same length and shorten the top tube. What you get is a very slack, very flip flop, very slow handling bike thanks to changing the head tube angle to something that would mimic a 5″ travel “all mountain bike”.
To a point I understand why they did this. Shorter top tube to fit women with shorter upper bodies.
My Opinion : How to fit women on 29ers
My bike fit is 140% female. I have a super long inseam and super short upper body, even my arms are short. This is my take on fitting my own personal 29ers. Longer top tube than I would ride on a 26″ bike, and an inch shorter stem. My effective length from saddle tip to handlebars hasn’t changed, but how I achieve it has. My handling is changed to make up for the bigger (heavier and larger) front wheel and often more raked out fork. Faster steering is achieved with the shorter stem and my front wheel isn’t tucked up under me either.
Your Bike, Your Opinion
Fitting mountain bikes is a very dynamic effort. It’s not as straight forward as fitting someone on a road bike. You take everything that you know from fitting road bikes, tie in your own mountain bike experience and then tie in the person RIDING the mountain bikes own feedback. Test ride, try out things, and repeat.
Depending where you ride, how aggressive you ride, and your own body type (size, shape, fitness, strength & flexibility) every bike will fit you different. A bike out of a box most likely won’t fit you. How the mechanic that built the bike probably won’t be how you need it to fit.
The above feelings about how the 29er women’s specific bikes rode is my own experience, I ride aggressively, I push my bike and body every time I’m out riding. The handling of the bike was too slow and did not excel for technical riding. Inquire with your local bike shop, talk about bike fitting and your own needs!
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 email@example.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.)
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!)
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: