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It hasn’t been a secret that I’ve been struggling to find my personal identity when I removed the “bike racer” from 25 hours of my week. Combine that with a new state of residence and a month old job, I have felt pretty disconnected from who I believe I am.
Over the past week I started researching (again) about Paleo eating to address some stomach problems I’ve been having. Naturally when I was training a lot my eating habits were 90% of what is outlined in a strict paleo diet. The 10% was left in greek yogurt for smoothies and thin whole wheat bread with almond butter & jelly.
Without knowing that I was looking at the Paleo diet my girlfriend emailed me Friday morning to see if I would sign up for the “Whole Life Challenge” with her. Initially I was very resistant. You want me to pay $49 to track my eating and body weight? After some reading and taking a “pride check” that my biggest goal for this challenge would be for Emily to meet her goals. I wasn’t too good for this, and by submersion into better eating as a family we will have the best results.
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I need to confess, I haven’t been riding my bike as you can probably tell from the lack of updates and Strava achievements. In the cold and dark I’ve been turning to running and exploring the trails near my home. While this isn’t ideal for a content on a cycling specific site it is ideal for my happiness. My 2014 goals include no bike races for the first time in many years but instead to explore more and become a more rounded athlete.
How are you staying motivated and moving during these cold spells that keep hitting? Are you hitting the gym or maybe braver than I and suiting up for a bike ride? Perhaps you are smart and on the trainer in your basement pushing those watts around as your sweat hits the ground.
Tell us, what are you doing?
During the past month of mad scrambles to get presents and my new routine of walking the streets of Boulder, Colorado, past boutique’s and chains I have become jaded.
I believe my feelings changed around the time American Express started pushing “Small Business Saturday” the day after Black Friday several years ago. If you really are a small business owner, there is a chance you don’t even accept American Express because of the raised fee’s the card brings. Small Business Saturday should be sponsored by the US Treasury to promote the exchange of paper bills and metal coins, not plastic that costs the small business more margin (think 3% of the maybe 30% that the merchant may be netting.)
Back to my original thoughts.
I’m a proud gold card carrying Starbucks customer. Daily, I walk past many cute little coffee shops in Boulder, Colorado, on my way to the office in the morning. I have tried three over the past month, a couple of them numerous times, and it has been a 50/50 split of leaving with happiness. Maybe I have high expectations but to me a local business should deliver me an equal, or maybe even better, experience of the chain next store. I’ll happily pay a bit more for this. The coffee should taste equal or better, the atmosphere should be welcoming.
Here have been my experiences at these local coffee shops
- My credit card was accidentally charged twice
- My drink order was forgotten
- The staff treated me like I didn’t belong (no smile, no exchange of pleasantries)
- Twice, I have walked away with an amazing cup of coffee but all other times my Keurig produces equal quality
Get to the point
This venting is not to ridicule the local coffee houses of Boulder but to prove a point that buying local does not mean that you should be settling.
There have been many comments over the years when I link to JensonUSA or any online retailer to buy a product that I’m not showing love for local bike shops. While I have the softest place in my heart saved for local bike shops with out the name “Trek” or “Giant” in their name, I also have a higher level of standards for these shops. Being a local bike shop does not mean you have arrogance about you, your mechanics are too good for hybrids and your bathrooms reek. Being a local shop means you need to be better, work longer hours, and have higher standards. If you can’t deliver that, then I will take my money elsewhere and recommend for others to go somewhere I know they will be treated well like REI or JensonUSA.
As the world of consumerism changes, I don’t believe Amazon is the devil or the end of local businesses. I believe local businesses need to step up the service, the quality and they will be happily rewarded.
This past summer Raleigh Bikes released photos and spec of their 2014 cyclocross line, including the RX 1.0 Women’s bike. The bike didn’t change too much other than paint and some small part upgrades. I was excited about the bike (mainly due to the paint job and price) for women and thought it would be a perfect do-all bike for my better half. So here we are doing a second review of the women’s RX 1.0!
This second review of the Raleigh RX 1.0, in the 2014 model, is to look at it as an all purpose bike. This is how most women are looking to purchase a cross bike in this price range as a do all, fun finder. There could be road rides, green-ways, Rail to Trails, commuting, baby hauling and maybe a cyclocross race thrown in there to say you did it.
A refresher of spec and pricing can be found here. The original review over here.
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What do you think of when you envision riding with your entire family? The dream is that you will all be in a state of family bliss, riding along together at the same pace, wind at your back, kids smiling, and lots of family bonding.
The reality is that while that can happen, you need to plan and work at it. And don’t be discouraged when the first (or two or three) rides seem overly rough. As you all fall into a routine it will get easier and it will be fun.
Assuming you are already an avid rider I’ll spare you the most basic of bike riding tips. But here are four things to consider before you set out with the entire family.
Do the Prep Work
If you are an avid cyclist you are probably good about maintaining your bike. But don’t forget the kid’s bikes or trailer. Basics include proper tire pressure, functioning brakes, and a lubed chain.
You also need to prepare snacks, possibly toys or books for a trailer ride, baby wipes, drinks, and more snacks. Don’t underestimate the power of snacks on a bike ride. And a bike ride might just be the perfect time to allow a treat if the going gets tough. I swear by energy chews like Honey Stinger or Clif Bloks for both fuel and mental incentive when my son needs extra motivation.
And check their helmet for fit and safety. Don’t be one of those parents with a $200 perfectly fit and adjusted helmet while your child has a cut up foam mess – half hanging off his head.
Alyssa, a mom, and cyclist from Salt Lake City swears by helmets with visors. “I cannot tell how many skinned chins, skinned faces, and skinned noses we have bypassed by that silly visor taking the fall.”
Take the Proper Gear
Trailer and kids bikes can (and will) break down during rides. Be prepared to fix not only your bike and theirs. If you are not 100% comfortable with emergency bike repairs, bring the gear so someone can help you. In addition, bring along some step-by-step instructions so you can walk yourself through a repair if nobody is around. Check out Hero Kits for an affordable all in one tool and instruction kit.
Tip: If you don’t have a small tube for your kid’s bike you can use your full size tube in a pinch. On a recent ride my son forgot his 24 inch tube and got a flat. I used my 29 inch tube. It got us through our ride and back to the car.
Adjust your Attitude
Nancy Sathre-Vogel biked from Alaska to Argentina with her two boys so she knows a lot about family bike rides. Her #1 tip is to never doubt your child. And it’s true that they are often capable of so much more than we think or give them credit for. I have often thought a ride was too long or too hard for my son only to have him breeze through it and want to go farther. Of course the other side is not doubting her when she says she is too tired or not in the mood. Try to leave your goals and plans on the back burner and listen to your kids. (Insert bridge.jpeg in this section)
Think about the Destination
For adults a ride may be about the journey and exercise but for kids it’s often about the destination. Tanya who writes a family blog called Family Adventures in the Canadian Rockies says, “riding for the sake of riding may work for some kids but for others, riding to a playground, a duck pond, a big bridge, or even ice-cream shop just might be the incentive they need.”
Personally, our most enjoyable and memorable rides have been to a destination. Pick somewhere they love and the ride will become part of that enjoyment.
Image Credit: Tanya Koob
So what are you waiting for? Okay, maybe for the snow to melt depending on where you live. But why not start to plan your next cycling adventure as a family.
Jen Charrette is a blogger at Velo Mom where she discusses family cycling, wellness, training and racing.
The hours are ticking down and if you are anything like me you haven’t checked off everyone on your list. Below is a list of essentials that every cyclist, or budding cyclist, needs in their arsenal. Here’s to finishing up the shopping so we can all enjoy the holidays properly!
Disclaimer: About half the links below are affiliate links, which means if you click on them and buy something I may make commission. That’s not horrible right?
Essentials for the Bike
Every cyclist needs these, just figure out what type of bike they have (road, mountain, hybrid, etc.) and then if they have a skinny valve like below, called presta, or a standard shrader like on your car.
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There are many great lubes out there, but T-9 is my go to recommendation for most cyclists out there.
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All you need to do is add a tube to this bag and it is ready to be strapped to your bike. CO2 for easy inflation, tire levers and patch kits to keep you rolling.
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Rear Blinky Light
You need a rear light, so does your loved ones.
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Soft Good Essentials
Defeet Wool Socks
It’s that time of year in Colorado that my Defeet Wool socks are being worn as often as they are clean, and sometimes even when they are dirty.
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TwinSix Tall Socks
Favorite summer socks, ever.
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Super Packable Jacket
While I would prefer you bought it in a different color other than black, this super packable jacket can go in your jersey pocket or backpack very easy.
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Do your cyclists a favor, give them a gift of fashion off the bike this year with these t-shirts (and every holiday moving forward.)
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What is your name?
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
Bike touring, randonneuring, day rides, commuting, and tooling around town
What is your first cycling memory?
My first memory is being a little kid and learning to ride without training wheels. To master two-wheeled technique, I resorted to a combination of weaving and paddling circles on a little red bike in my parents garage, hidden from any potential onlookers (or, in my case, siblings) until I finally figured out the basics of two-wheeled transport.
Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?
My parents initially inspired me to ride, and I carry that with me today. They introduced me to the idea that my bike is a vehicle for exploration and instilled in me the importance of being active. In addition, my husband and my friends also keep me motivated. We use our bikes to meet up after work and go out for dinner. Simple things like that get me out the door. My husband, friends, and I also love spending the day together touring the countryside on bikes, whether it is a randonneuring event or just a fun century ride. When I initially began riding seriously as an adult I did most of my cycling on my own. Over time I’ve found that I like solo rides on occasion, but generally I like that my cycling has a social element to it. I’ve met some really great people through commuting, touring, and randonneuring, and it helps get me out the door when I know that I’m going to see my friends on any given ride.
What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?
My husband and I rode a weeklong tandem bike tour that we planned and routed ourselves, averaging 85 miles per day over seven days. As part of that, we climbed Trail Ridge Road– the highest continuous paved road in the United States– on our first day. Trail Ridge tops out at over 12,000 feet. To me, that tour and that day riding up Trail Ridge, showed me how much I have grown in my confidence as well as my abilities as a cyclist as well as tandem rider. It really was a spectacular adventure. We were two little bike riders climbing big tall mountains and having the time of our lives. I wrote about it a fair amount on my blog, Chasing Mailboxes.
Tell us what you ride
I own primarily steel touring frames. As I mentioned, my husband and I have a custom tandem, a Co-Motion Java 29er that we use for touring and randonneuring as well as a Cannondale mountain tandem– which is aluminum– that we use for off-road riding. I own a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, which is a packable flyer and ideal for something like paved light touring. My Surly Long Haul Trucker and Rivendell Quickbeam are perfect for bike commuting and grocery shopping. I use my Rivendell Romulus and Rawland Nordavinden for century rides and brevets/randonneuring events, if I’m not on the tandem. I also own a Bike Friday TIkit, which is a fast-fold bike designed for commuting and multi-modal transport. I really enjoy trying out different bikes and using them for various purposes.
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Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!
You have less than two weeks until Christmas and you still haven’t gotten that perfect gift for the cycling loving person in your life. Here are some unique ideas that you probably won’t find on Amazon. Tomorrow I will be posting my “must-have” gift list for all of you last minute gift buying friends. You can also checkout my Pinterest Cycling Gift Guide.
A perfect bag for makeup, art supplies or small electronics. Website
If you have a cycling snob in your life, this keyring will be a treasure to them. Website
Unique designs that I hadn’t seen before. Website
Off the Map Art
My girlfriend purchased a couple of these paintings for my office when we moved. They are gorgeous and a lovely touch to any room. Website
Could it be… an outdoor women’s media event? Maybe we really are making change happen! Once I have more background on this event in June I will let you all know.
Interbike and Outdoor Retailer, two of the largest retail sports product trade shows in the world, today announced that they’ve joined forces to launch a new experiential media event highlighting women’s-specific products. The event will connect a limited number of cycling and outdoor product manufacturers with mainstream non-endemic journalists to test the latest in women’s-specific products in the environments in which they were intended.
Set to take place June 10-12, 2014 at the Crystal Springs Resort in Northern New Jersey, The Women’s Story will feature 20-25 brands showcasing the most innovative women’s-specific cycling and outdoor products.
Invited journalists will have an opportunity to truly understand the mechanics behind women’s-specific products by riding a mountain bike or testing running shoes on an off-road trail, experiencing stand up paddleboarding (SUP) on a nearby lake, trying the latest yoga gear and apparel, climbing and other outdoor and cycling activities on the Crystal Springs Resort grounds.
The Women’s Story will open to local outdoor and bicycle retailers after 2pm on the final day, allowing for product demonstrations and conversations with both manufacturers and media.
The Upstand, a kickstand for your high end bike. A great idea for the touring cyclist or in my case someone that wants to take photos of their bike on the fly!