Laying my Cards on the Table
I’ve been known to pour my heart out on various blogs. If it’s falling in love, falling out of love, or even the moments after my car/bike accident a few years ago. I dealt by writing and wearing my heart on my sleeve. Here’s to having feelings, grabbing a beer and putting it all out there for my own reference but also for my readers to know where things sit these days.
About a month ago I moved to Denver, Colorado. There was a lot of excitement of this new chapter in my life, with an amazing girl, but also a lot of fear. I’ve always lived on the east coast, I had a strong tribe in the southeast and I was finally finding my way racing again. The move was rather sudden (less than 60 days to prep) so things were a bit shaky as we landed.
When we moved I started working pretty quickly at a bike shop, Salvagetti. Within a couple weeks I knew this wasn’t where I belonged. Working retail hours, retail wages, trying to get in time to ride and time to live life with the girl I moved for…well it simply wasn’t doable. Bowing out gracefully, I still hope to spend time with the shop helping with events and on bike fun things.
A new page in this new chapter
This past week I started in a new job at Pearl Izumi. I’ll be working within the custom department in sales and customer service. This department is growing with leaps and bounds, leaving me very excited to be apart of the growth and excitement!
The new job has shifted many things for me. First off, I have off weekends again which allows for adventures with Emily and friends. Empower Adventure is my blog documenting this (and every day adventures too!) Second, I hope to get base miles back in over the next few weeks by commuting 2x per week (60 miles a day) to hopefully get my legs back in order by mid August to start cyclocross prep! Finally, this change to working for a powerhouse in the biking apparel world, and that Pearl Izumi is owned by Shimano… well things on Bike Shop Girl will be shifted a bit. The content I review won’t be too much around apparel, unless I get something from work that I really like and want to share with you. The stock pile of review apparel I’ve been testing out will be reviewed with the honest opinion I have always given but once the pile is gone, I won’t be accepting anything new.
Where Life Leads
While I still am finding my footing in a new Monday to Friday job, I’m excited to finding myself on the bike more often, meeting new friends and documenting new adventures. Is it cyclocross season yet?
Commuting Basics: If You Arrive on Time, You’re Late
Bike commuting is a passion of mine. The joy of swinging a leg over my bike to get to my next destination is freeing and can make any day feel complete. One thing I realize as more friends and readers are getting into bike commuting is that there can be a hugee lack of preparation for going by bike and the stress that involves. There are many topics on this subject, but today’s point is this.
Just because you rode your bike does not mean you should walk in sweaty and rushed.
Too many times in my experience bike commuters are running behind because they didn’t give themselves enough time. For those showing up early they are sweaty and need time to “cool off.” Selfishly, I want bike commuting to be looked at as a viable alternative to many people’s car commute. Helping give it a good image and taking a bit of time to be presentable and ready to go when your day starts will go a long way!
Suggestions for looking like you didn’t commute
- Time can be your friend. Give yourself built in time incase of a flat tire, mechanical or to try a new route to work. I’ll often wait to drink a cup of coffee for when I get to work, that way I have time to stop sweating before I wipe off and change.
- It’s not a race. Enjoy the ride and don’t rush it. If you want to rush off somewhere on your commute, let it be the ride home where you can be sweaty in the comfort of your own couch.
- Wear wicking clothing and have spares. I wear a running t-shirt in the wicking material, or an Ice Breaker light weight wool t-shirt. Unless it’s under 70 I come prepared with a different shirt. The same goes for the bottom, except I bring extra unders! Working in a bike shop I’ll wear the same pair of jeans 3 or so days straight, leaving them at the shop but bringing in clean underwear every day with me.
- Action Wipes. It’s like a shower in towel, disposable and all natural. Start from your face going down, it will leave you feeling clean and you won’t be salty the rest of the day.
Bike Commuting in Denver: Part III
An on going series of riding and commuting in my new city of Denver Colorado. See more about my Denver Cycling experience here.
With my move successful complete (there are still boxes to find and empty if you would like to help,) I started testing out the commute from my house to the bike shop this past Monday. While I’ve only done the round trip commute a couple times it is great to explore a new city and perfect the streets to ride on or avoid completely.
Below is a Strava map of my ride into the shop. Pretty mellow and down hill until the last 2.5 miles which are constant climb to the front door of Salvagetti. This isn’t a horrible thing, but I’ve been testing out riding a single speed cyclocross bike with flat pedals for commuting and daily errands. I’m interested to see how fast the ride goes with gears so that I can push the pedals a bit more on the downhills.
My goals for the next few days are to get Emily’s new commuter rig built up (photos and bike profile coming soon) and to finish the unpacking of essentials like my 4 tubs of clothes. This will allow me to be less stressed and able to get out of the house next Tuesday/Wednesday when I have off.
Bicycle Shopping: The Three Common Styles of Bicycles
So you are in the market for a new bike, but you don’t know where to start? You aren’t alone!
When customers walk in to my bike shop starting their hunt for a new bike one of the most important things I ask is this: “where do you want your bike to take you?” In upcoming articles I will help you answer that question and continue to empower you in cycling. Today’s article is focused on breaking down the three most common styles of bikes and what their most broad use is. These styles or categories are: Road, Mountain, and Hybrid.
When I quickly count on my fingers the different styles of bikes that most good bike shops carry, I come up with 14 (I promise I only have 12 fingers). 14 categories of bicycles to confuse you, overwhelm you and lead you down different avenues, maybe even putting you on the wrong category so that you never ride that new bike hanging in your garage. These 14 categories don’t even include the different kinds of mountain bike wheel sizes, fat bikes, or thoughts of road bikes.
Today, we’ll be using wide strokes to paint a picture of bicycle types that can be helpful as you start your hunt for a new bike.
These bikes have round, drop, handlebars. If you haven’t been on or near a bicycle in a while then you may refer to these as a “10-speed.” They are efficient, fast, and tend to have a more leaned over and “aggressive” feel (but not uncomfortable.) They are meant to be comfortable for the long ride, and have many different sub-categories for different uses. Triathlons, gravel races, bike touring, and so many more things can be under this category. A solid road bike that doesn’t have parts you will be replacing within the first season of heavy riding normally starts around the $1000 range.
These are widely popular as they are the all terrain vehicle of bikes. Knobby, fat, tires that allow you to roll over things and go on various terrain. Most kids start off on these, and they can be found in many department stores so they are often the “gateway drug” to bikes. Your everyday bicycle shop mountain bike is between $350-650. Anything under $500-650 is probably not meant to go truly mountain biking, but instead plays the part for when you go down dirt paths, gravel and off pavement. A sturdy “single track worthy” mountain bike normally starts around $800.
Though I’m a pretty performance oriented cyclist, the hybrid is my favorite category of bikes. This category is what will get folks out of the gym, off the treadmill or better yet, off the couch! The hybrid is decently efficient on the road, but normally has an inverted tread to allow for some sand and hard packed gravel riding. The fit is a bit more upright, feeling more comfortable to the rider going <2 hours. While there are extreme hybrids costing $2k with disc brakes, carbon forks and features similar to a road bike, rather these bikes normally start around $350-500 for a nice sturdy, comfortable bike with parts that will last. The hybrid is a bike that any cyclist should have in their garage for grocery getting, bar hopping and greenway cruising. There is a chance you’ll grow out of this bike when you decide you want to go further on the road, or hit more aggressive mountain bike trails. That is okay, the hybrid will always have a place in your collection.
Bike Commuting in Denver: Part II
An on going series of riding and commuting in my new city of Denver Colorado. See more about my Denver Cycling experienced here.
Over the past couple weeks I have been reminded about some key things for commuting and riding in a major city like Denver, CO.
- Maps aren’t always perfect, but it adds to the adventure.
- Cable locks are useless and shouldn’t be sold to keep your bike safe
- Thorn resistant tires are required in the west. I’ve seen tires with 10-30 “goat heads” after riding through a city park, on the greenway.
- Finding new routes on greenways, make shift single track through parks, sharrowed bike lanes and back alleys are never ending. Thank you BikeDenver and everyone else involved.
- No matter how “bike friendly” a city is, there are still jacks in cars, on bikes and walking the streets. Put yourself and your safety first.
This Little Light of Mine, Using Lights at All Times
This is a drum I have beat a decent amount in the past, but I need to beat it again as the summer days get longer and people are riding their bikes more and more. There are many reasons I believe you should have a front and rear light on blinking at all times on the bike, at the end it is safety and keeping you intact on your bike.
Reasons to Use Front and Rear Blinky Lights All The Time
- I have been left hooked in a major intersection and fully believe a front light would have made the old man see me
- Make yourself easier to spot
- It makes cars more aware of you, and the space around you. In my experience with a rear blinky light it seems cars give you more space as they pass
- Habit to turn on your lights
- Why not??
My favorite light set is the Light & Motion Urban 200 Combo Kit (support BSG and buy through that link!)
Question: What Wheel Size is Your Next MTB?
Hypothetically ladies, if you were to buy a bike this weekend what would it be? Please answer the questions below!
- Brand and Model
- Your height
- Your riding style
Thank you for your input!
Bike Commuting in Denver: Part I
As I’m getting used to the world of Denver, CO I’ve been able to start bike commuting to the shop I’m at, Salvagetti. This is amazing for me as I haven’t had the luxury of being able to bike commute for roughly 3 years. (If you remember, I used to ride daily and didn’t even own a car for a while.)
This week I’ve been able to ride into work on the Cherry Creek Greenway, cut over on a bike lane and arrive at the bike shop with little contact with true street traffic. The full ride is roughly 12-14 miles depending how I get to the greenway and I can easily say I’m in cycling heaven.
A few key things that have helped me navigate:
BikeDenver Bike Map
Google Maps “Bicycle” Function
A patient girlfriend that has been able to ride in with me two of the days for entertainment and quality time
Over the next few months I plan on documenting in better detail my commute, different areas/bike paths and greenways. I even hope to do some bike camping sooner than later. If you are in the area, let me know! I would love to explore with folks.
Favorite Photos of the Week
I snap a lot of photos each week and you can find me on Flickr and Instagram.
Musings on Active & Recovery Nutrition
There are many schools of thoughts in the athletic world about what you should or shouldn’t eat. Many of my friends have gone with the Paleo eating habits, personally I try to look at the ingredients, make an educated “Yes or No” thought in my head and then try it on training rides. These days it takes a scientist to breakdown and to be able to explain what all the moving parts are doing in many “sports food”. For ease of use I’ve always been a fan of the “systems” that have a during and an after just so I don’t have to think too heavy.
These musings are due to a press release from Osmo Nutrition that Cannondale Pro team picked Osmo for their Pre, Active and Recovery hydration.
After the brutally hot first two stages of ATOC, Cannondale Pro Cycling turned to Osmo’s leading science and proven performance, with Sagan and the team used Osmo PreLoad Hydration before stages, Osmo Active Hydration during the racing, and Osmo Acute Recovery after stages. The results have been immediate, with Sagan winning stage 3 and the final stage of the week-long race, bring his total stage count to ten.
At the end of a spectacular stage that began in San Francisco, crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and headed north along the legendary California coast, Cannondale Pro Cycling wound up their Pro-Tour leadout train, delivery Sagan to a sprint finish. “The team got me in position and I went from 300 meters,” said Sagan immediately following his win in Santa Rosa. “I felt very strong. I hit 1,750 watts, more than I’m used to seeing. Osmo helped for sure.”
“Having Peter and Cannondale Pro Cycling win the final stage in Santa Rosa is truly special for Osmo,” said co-founder and chief scientist Stacy Sims. “Just one year ago we launched Osmo at the Amgen Tour
of California and today we gave the rider with the most stage wins in ATOC history the hydration and recovery edge he needed to take his 10th career victory at the race. This just speaks to the rapid
acceptance of Osmo’s products, all developed with peer-reviewed science.
While I realize a decent amount of this is media hype, it reminds me of the times I have used those gels at the perfect time for a last kick or how when I forget my recovery drink I wake up feeling hung over.
Nutrition is a very personal thing, depending on the level of your sports you would probably benefit working with a nutritionist to learn what you burn, what your body responds to and proper timing of it all.
Last night’s ride for ice cream and two quarts of strawberries reminded me that we can all be strict about eating, especially when we have a pair of jeans to fit in or upcoming race. We also need to enjoy the living and experience the joy that a simple (hilly) bike ride for an ice cream cone can give you!
I also have to mention one of my friends that has completed (strongly) many Ironman distance races is known for going to McDonald’s the night before for a large order of chicken nuggets. And good ole chocolate milk has always been my goto recovery drink.
What do you use and what have you learned over the years?