Women’s Cycling

The Best of the Best : Bike Trainers

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

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 #4 : Interview with Marla Streb

Mountain biker extraordinaire, Marla Streb, took some time from managing Team Luna Chix to tell us more about what she and the team are up to.  The extra bonus was information about the new Luna Sport Clothing, a clothing line designed by women, for women.

Read More

Podcast Episode #3 : Interview with Joan Hanscom of USGP

[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

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]

Find our podcast on iTunes.
Follow us on Twitter @BikeShopGirlcom

Bike Shop Girl on Versus.com

Commute By Bike, and Bike Shop Girl is now syndicated at Versus.com to help lead the cycling community with commuting tips, stories and how to.  Much like we do on Commute By Bike already but to a bigger community!  I will be writing for Versus on commuter needs as well as showing highlights from events such as the upcoming National Handmade Bicycle Show.

Please go over to Versus.com, create a login and join my community! Also, make sure to keep up with the blog over there but I hope to have some sort of widget on the sidebar of Commute By Bike to keep you up to date with what’s going on over there.

Go on already…

On the Burner : Upcoming on Bike Shop Girl

There are many things going on at Bike Shop Girl and Commute By Bike.  A quick run down for all of the readers, and potential readers so you can look forward to many things.

  • Versus.com – Yours truly will be covering various cycling events for Versus.com, targeting the Commuting and Utility Cycling market.
  • Podcast, videos/audio – Working out the kinks to have some reviews and thoughts via video and audio podcast.
  • Interviews – we have several influential women I am working with for interviews to inspire and motivate you.
  • Road trips - I’ll be going to the Handmade Bicycle Show the end of February and many races this spring.
  • Product Reviews - Continuing to cover the latest and greatest product out there for you

Thank you all for a great first few months and we will continue to be your resource for getting women on their bike.

Why I Ride with an iPod, and Don’t Think I’m Stupid

For many years I’ve been riding on the road with music. Originally it was one of those crazy Mini-Disc players that my mom thought would take over the music scene.  Little did she know, it fueled my cycling passion.  One of those little Mini-Disc players could hold hours of music, and run off AA rechargeable batteries.  It had the ability to record on various disc and dub out/delete.  I could ride, ride and ride without listening to the same song twice.

For many reasons music was needed for my riding style

  1. Boredom – normally kicking in around 45 minutes to an hour and a half
  2. Riding alone – see above
  3. Motivation – Certain songs would kick me in 6th gear and I would be able to push it, be it for time or watts.. the music moved me.
  4. That Go to Track – On days I would put a song on repeat for my 3 hour ride, it allowed me to focus and tune out the day of crap
  5. Wind whistling pisses me off – the noise that the wind makes when it hits your helmet straps, or hair.
  6. Feeling “PRO” – All the pro’s were wearing radios in their ears back to the team car, I’m sure their managers played some sort of music for them.  If they didn’t, they should start now.

At first I rode with one earphone in, leaving the left one that was closest to the road out.  Actually, I had a couple headphones that I cut off the left earphone so not to get in the way.  Time went by and I had theories, if the music was low enough I felt I could hear just as well as I did with the wind whistling in my ears.  I tested my theory for several rides and feeling confident enough, yes my hearing isn’t paired as long as the volume is kept low.

Mirrors are your friends

Often mirrors are even better than your ears.  You can SEE, you don’t have to turn your head and you are prepared.  By the time I hear a car coming up behind me, it might be too late to react.

iPod is not iDeath

one of the main issues of the headphones is not so much its removal of the individual’s ability to hear
it is more the combination of the inability to hear and the lack of focus
instead of being in tune to the surroundings the individual is focused on the music
letting the focus drift away from the variables around them
the same goes for mountainbiking… snowboarding… rollerbladding… whatever…
- Gwadzilla

Unfortunately, I’m going to have to disagree with my buddy, Gwadzilla. The main issue within congestion or lack of senses, are the bicycle riders and not the iPod.  As a cyclist for many years, all my senses are tuned in more than the average rider.

Now, I do find it hard to ride mountain bikes with both ears plugged in.  The hearing that Gwadz mentions above is very necessary while mountain biking.  Hearing how the bikes handing, the tires gripping and the gears shifting are all very important.

One Last Thing

Out of the few times there has been a run in with a car, my bicycle, and myself.. there was never ANY music playing in my ears.

Photo Credit : Gwadzilla

Top 5 Online Resources for Women

When I created Bike Shop Girl a few months back it was mainly out of frustration for the lack of information that is readily available for women.   The basics are out there, but you have to be a Google Jedi Master to find the right answers, and often you are left with half-assed ones that only confuse you more.  My goal for this site has always been to be a resource, and maybe a place I have a rant or two but that isn’t the point.

Though limited, here are some of my favorite online resources.  Some of these resources are targeted towards women, others are targeted towards cyclist in general but have great knowledge within their .com walls.

Forums

  • Team Estrogen – A full range of forums for women.  The forums aren’t very strict so often guys will be able to search/post if they need.  Keep private information just that, private.
  • Bike Forums - The moderators will keep tabs on you, and after a few months of them knowing you are “female” they will allow you in their private “women only” section of the site.  This is my used forum online for resources, I used to post often but now use it mainly for its search function.
  • RideMonkey - A mountain bike oriented forum and online community.  This is another forum that you’ll have to request to become part of their “women only” section.

How To Advice

  • Blue Collar MTB – One of the original sites I wrote for online.  It is no longer active, but a great resource for how to do things on the cheap.  Long term if there is interest in this type of maintenance I maybe persuaded to start writing for it again.
  • Park Tool - The leader in bike specific tools, this company also has invested in teaching others.  Check out their how to’s broken down by bike part.

Your Turn

What sites do you frequent or recommend?  Turn us on to other blogs or sites that have helped you become a stronger cyclist.  Better yet, how can Bike Shop Girl become a better resource for you

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