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Women Make Great Mechanics, Specialized is Helping the Cause with Training

36 Women Bike Mechanics

A great article by Kath Bicknell was posted on Flow Mountain Bike. The article made some key points about how women make great mechanics and how better training could specifically make the void disappear of highly skilled women in the bike industry.

Taking it a step further, I believe that if we take the time to single out women to pave the path a little bit more for more advanced training it will open up and encourage more women to work in the industry. Think about this, if every shop had a couple women on the floor and behind the bench, and every shop bike ride had a women as one of the group leaders… how much more inviting would this be to women and men alike?

As a woman working in a bike store, you’re definitely an anomaly. Last time I worked at a bike shop, every now and then, a customer would ask to speak to one of the ‘guys’. ‘Ask me your question, and if I can’t answer it I’ll go and get some help,’ I’d say.

Things usually went pretty well from there. If help was needed, I’d call on our female mechanic, just to make a point.

In a sport that still attracts a lot more men than women, it follows that female staff in the bike retail sector aren’t as common either. This can sometimes lead to the unfortunate assumption that women aren’t as skilled as their male counterparts, or can’t provide the same level of customer service and advice.

Read the full article here.

Photo credit: Kath Bicknell

Tech Tuesday: Keeping Your Bike Out of the Shop

0 Ridley Orion Chain

This is the time of year that all you want to do is ride your bike, not take it in for maintenance. One of my favorite things I would tell good clients was to ride the bike to the shop for a quick check over. Make it part of a monthly or quarterly event. As long as there isn’t anything rattling or falling off you’ll be able to ride there, tell them exactly what might be acting different since you JUST rode it, example “the rear is shifting slow going to easier gears” or “my crank clicks going up hill.” It also makes it so the shop understands you don’t want to leave your bike there. *Normally calling a head and making sure your favorite mechanic is okay with this would be recommended, along with bringing their favorite 6 pack.*

Fastest wearing items on a bike:

  • Chain
  • Cassette
  • Tires
  • Bar tape/grips
  • Chainrings
  • Seals on suspension (fork and shock)

Using Strava for Bike Maintenace

Strava Bike Details

While I am a data geek, and spend too much time on Strava I have found that it is also an easy way for you to keep track of your equipment. Depending on your riding style you are normally able to start gauging how quickly you wear your equipment. It is also a good reminder of getting check overs. I’m able to look back since the first of the year and figure out what bikes have the most milage, do a mental check of which bikes have gotten love and which haven’t. Even if it is as simple as checking chain lube, tire wear and chain stretch. It will help save you money and headache as the season rolls on.

 

Tech Tuesday: Why Would a Hydraulic Brake Lock Up?

0 2012 RockShox SID 29er

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

Question of the week from Facebook: Why would my rear hydraulic brake be locked up after sitting for a month?

In my many years of riding I’ve never had a hydraulic brake lock up on a personal bike, but have seen it happen on a few customers bikes that they drag in with the wheel stuck and not rolling!

The above can happen for many reasons, all of them are prevented with proper cleaning and servicing your brakes just like you would your car!

  • A blown seal can cause your fluid to not stay in the chamber it belongs in, and pushing the pistons to the “on position”
  • Dirt or surface rust can make your pistons also get stuck. This happens the least, but cleaning your bike every once in a while can prevent this
  • Dramatic change in temperature. If you have any air in your hose lines it can expand in heat, this can cause your pistons to also get stuck to the “on position.” This can be prevented with proper bleeding of the brakes.

Tech Tuesday

Tech Tuesday: Difference in Square Taper Bottom Brackets

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Tech Tuesday

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

Here at Bike Shop Girl I want women (and guys) to feel empowered and to have a good grasp of what they are talking about when it comes to tech, mechanics and goofy bicycling slang. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

Do you know the difference in ISO and JIS bottom brackets?

Tech Tuesday: How to Adjust a Threadless Headset

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Tech Tuesday

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

Today’s Tech Tuesday is based around adjusting your threadless headset. Threadless headsets are what 99% of new bikes come with these days, thanks to Cane Creek, and works with the bearings are pulled together by a nut placed inside of your fork steerer, then the stem is tightened down to hold everything in place.

Steps to Adjust your Threadless Headset

Step 1: Make sure that it is your headset that is loose. Often a loose headset is misdiagnosed by a loose quick release, brake caliper or front hub. We check the headset by grabbing the front brake only, rocking the bike front to back, if you feel movement you then turn the handlebars to the side and again rock the bike front to back.

Step 2: Once you are sure that it is your headset that is loose, or perhaps you have installed a new stem, loosen your stem steerer bolts so the stem can be moved side to side. You do not need to take the bolts out. Now tighten the top (stem) cap, you do not need to wrench down on it, but it should be snug. Rock the bike front to back to make sure the movement is gone.

Step 3: Tighten your stem down, making sure it is lined up with your wheel properly.

Step 4: Loosen the top cap a hair so not to cause the bearings to bind

Step 5: Move your handlebars side to side to make sure the headset is not too tight. If you feel binding repeat steps 2-4 but don’t tighten the top (stem) cap as much.

Step 6: Check over all the bolts and go enjoy and properly steering bike.

Tech Tuesday: Check Your Suspension

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While riding around in circles tonight at a local 3.5 mile mountain trail I realized something was off more than normal. My pedals were hitting things that I normal don’t and my turning felt slow. As I slowed to a stop I watched my fork spring back to life after I unweighted the front end. This meant only one thing, my air suspension fork didn’t have enough air in it or the air was equal between the top and the bottom chambers.

I finished out my lap and thankfully had thrown a shock pump in my car a few weeks prior, always forgetting to check my fork’s pressure before the ride!

Tech Tuesday

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

With technology progressing it is easy to forget the bicycles we are riding today are very advanced and need some thought in maintaining them at the level they belong. It is often that people come in to the bike shop with 10% of the air they need in their suspension, wondering why their bike feels like they are riding a flat tire. Or even better is when they ride their bike for 2-3 years and never take the time to get it serviced, when the estimate of replacing that rear shock comes in they are sticker shocked. What they don’t know is that your suspension (especially air shocks) needs serviced based on hours of ride time. Your bushings between your shock and fork wear out, your fork needs new oil and so on. Technology brings more things to pay attention at and keep up with maintenance.

Our friends over at London Cyclist recently posted a great how to for checking sag in on a mountain bike fork.

Suspension on a mountain bike reduces rider fatigue and improves the bike wheels contact on rough terrain. When adjusting, your aim is to balance between a soft and a hard setup. Too soft will result in your bike wheels not travelling far enough in a dip and too hard will cause your bike to bounce off rough terrain.

The sag determines the amount that the mountain bike suspension compresses.

Andreas did a great job, so instead of rewriting what he has already covered please check him out. In the mean while I have a friend coming over where I will be putting together a video of the exact how to for a full suspension bike!