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Riding Tips : More Than Zero

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Our first guest post from another Bike Shop Girl, Sarah Matchett.  Sarah is a USA Cycling coach based out of my shop, Cool Breeze Cyclery in North Carolina.  Sarah recently competed in the UCI World Duathlon Championships, placing 10th overall in women (non-elite.)

Sarah Matchett
I’m often asked how I keep doing what I do.  5 a.m. mornings, endless miles on the trainer, in the pool.  Worn out running shoes… worn out dog.  Folks think I have some secret knowledge, or extra gear that keeps me uninjured, motivated, strong and healthy.  The truth is, there is no secret gear.  No magic pill, no religious practice, no expensive bike part that will bring you the results you want.  There is simply, moving your body, more than zero, every day.

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Batavus BUB on the Way

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A very well talked about bike at Interbike in the upright, euro style, bikes was the Batavus BUB, or Batavus Utility Bike.  The bike has a “paper clip” look to it but holds all the function and design that we know of Batavus.

From Bespoke :
The Batavus BUB is the classic omafiets-meets-Rem Koolhaus. Expressively modern, the Batavus BUB (Batavus Utility Bike) deconstructs the classic Batavus omafiets while constructing a more cosmopolitan – yet equally iconic – iteration of the classic Batavus bike.  True to the essence of the original, classic Batavus bike, the BUB keeps clothing clean, the rider comfortable, and maintenance to an absolute minimum while eschewing nostalgia. The Batavus BUB design presupposes the currents present in Dutch architecture, urbanism, and contemporary design and establishes itself as a new icon.

At a mere $550 the BUB is pure Dutch quality. Everything is present. The chain is completely covered. The gears and brakes are completely internal. The riding position is straight-up, allowing for clear safety sightlines and less visits to the chiropractor. The frame is light enough to take indoors, but durable enough to be stored outside all year in a tough Northeast winter. Like an Eames chair, the design is thoroughly urbane, recalling the clever tricks of Dutch architects and a measure of frivolity admist stern Calvinist practicality. A smashing success in previews throughout Europe, the BUB challenges North American designers to innovate function into form while pushing the native Dutch bike industry to challenge its inbred insularity.

Shortly, Bike Shop Girl will have a BUB for our reviewing pleasure.  Be bopping downtown, the daily commute and the daily life is what the review will be about.  If you have request, questions or any thing else you would like out of the review please let us know!

Links for your reading/research pleasure:

Los Angelos Cycle Chic
Bespoke
Joe Bike

Smartwool PhD Sock Review : Intro

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In the South East of the US it is becoming time to pull out your base layer long underwear and find your wool socks. Personally, I enjoy wearing my wool socks year round but not many others around my bike shop feel the same way.

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Rain Gear for Women

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Men have it easy, across the board it seems, with cycling.  Clothing fits them easier, they don’t need specially designed bikes normally and most men don’t care what rain gear looks like or how it fits on them.

I’m different and it seems like, in the few emails I received, you are to!  I’ve scored many places trying to find a suitable rain gear outfit for women and I still haven’t nailed down the colors but sizing seems to be getting better.

Suggestions for rain gear :

Showers Pass Elite 2.0 JacketShowers Pass Elite Women's Jacket

$230.00

Not very cheap, but good waterproof and breathable rain gear isn’t.  This jacket has tons of ventilation through out, including zippers under your arms and a vent on your back side. With a catching blue color this may change your idea of how a rain jacket should look.

Gore Power Lady Jacket

$199.99

A jacket made by the company that brought us Gore-Tex.  Could you not ask for more?  This jacket is in the Paclite family so it can be packed in a jersey pocket.  A flip down tail will also add extra protection from road or dirt spray on your behind.  With the slim fit, it is true, you need to be pretty slim to wear this jacket.

Gore Solid Lady PantsGore Solid Lady Pants

$189.99

I still have not been able to find a women’s cut, non-black, pair of decent rain pants. The closest I have found are these from Gore. Unfortunately no other colors but I guess that’s how it is for now.

Which Hybrid or Comfort Bike is for You?

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One of the most popular types of bicycles right now is that recreational style.  Either one to ride with the family around your community, take for errands or maybe do a Rail To Trails with your local church group.  Below I have outlined a good amount of the various lifestyle bikes out there, depending on which brand you try the options may vary but I can do my best to help you along the way.

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Women’s Cycling Magazine Covers Bike Shop Girl

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A little while ago I was interviewed by a freelance writer for a new startup magazine dedicated to women, Women’s Cycling Magazine.  The writer wasn’t sure the article would be snagged but she loved Bike Shop Girl and wanted to try to put it under the editors eyes. Yesterday I noticed a tweet that I was featured on Women’s Cycling Magazine online!

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How to : Weekly Safety Check

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We’ve hit upon the preventative maintenance and how to lube your chain so now is a weekly safety check that all riders should know how to do.

A Safe, Clean, Bike

A Safe, Clean, Bike

Wipe frame and wheels down : This is a pretty important step to make sure structurally your frame and wheels aren’t developing any cracks or chips in the paint or metal.  I use a watered down Simple Green in a spray bottle to do this.

Clean in tight areas : Make sure to wipe down in tight areas, between pivot points or where your cables may wear.  Built up dirt can actually wear into your frame.

Pivot Bolts

Pivot Bolts

Tighten pivot bolts : This applies to mostly full suspension bikes but any part of your bike that moves, like the full suspension linkage, needs to be checked more often.

Check over all bolts : This is pretty self explanatory. My biggest word of advice is to not OVER tighten the bolts.

Go through shifting and braking : Make sure the brakes hit the wheels or rotor evenly and there isn’t any excessively odd wear on the brake pads. The shifting should be crisp and not over shift any cogs or chain rings.

This process, though sounding lengthy, can take only about 5 minutes once you get the hang of it and also if your bike isn’t so dirty.  Soon I’ll go over the proper way to clean off that mucky bike but you are well on your way of a happy bike that will live a long life as your taking good care of it.

They Say We Need More Women Bicycle Commuters

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BikeShopGirl CommuteAcross the internet there is a buzz on an article that was originally posted on Scientific American. The article titled “How to Get More Bicyclist on the Road” hits again and again that aiming the cycling infrastructure around women that you will have not only more women on bicycles but more families and men.  Citing many reports and research done across the world Scientific American makes it seem that if you have off road bike paths that have more direct routes to and from places, than scenic routes, than you would have a stronger cycling infrastructure.

I agree, but only to a point.  Yes, I think women control a lot of household events and happenings.  If it was easier for me to get to the grocery store on a bike than my whole family would be doing it and taking my children to football practice or school.  All of these are right on the target with what researchers have said.  The point that I disagree is what happens if your errands are small, maybe you are a single woman or live more than 3.5 miles from the stores and work?

Most U.S women will not be going by bicycle for utility reasons if it is more than 3.5 miles and here is why :

1. It is very hard for a woman to stay presentable over 3.5 miles, especially if the terrain is not flat.
2. We do not want to be sweaty, to re-apply make up or to fix our hair for the second time that day.  Nor do we feel like it is okay to do that in the bathroom at work (normally.)
3. It isn’t socially acceptable to go by bike in most U.S cities.  I would argue that the culture and city life has to change, not only the way you ride a bike.  In Portland, OR or Boulder, CO it is the cool thing to ride your bicycle everywhere.  It has been taken in by the city with open arms.  If you move to one of those cities and you don’t ride you will be ready for a wide awakening.

Follow the buzz across the internet and add your own below in comments.

EcoVelo – An Indicator Species
TreeHugger – How Can You If Tell Your City is Bikeable?
VeloMuse – Recent Findings That Give Pause

I Spy : Hoo Ha Ride Glide Review

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There are tons of different types of chamois butter, from various companies that are special for different reasons. First you have “natural” ingredients, others have a cooling sensation, and some a numbing.

Hoo Ha GlideNow Hoo Ha Ride Glide is the first chamois butter created by women for women, because guys we are built different down there.

Some of you might be asking what chamois butter is.  Most roadies swear by chamois butter as it is a lube that goes on your skin in various “under” areas to help with chafing and saddle sores.  Some women can’t even ride with out it as their soft tissues down there are so sensitive.

I’ll be reviewing some Hoo Ha and seeing what I think.  I’ve used many different chamois butters over the years and I haven’t noticed too much of a difference, maybe Hoo Ha will really help!