Top 5 Ways to Personalize Your Bike

Personalizing your bike can be one of most rewarding and fun you’ll have with your bike, after riding it of course.

Step One : Bike fitting

One of the most important things after you pick out your new bike is to make sure it fits you well.  Find a reputable bike fitter in your area, or make the trip to come see me.  A good bike fit takes from 30 minutes to 2 hours, going through many questions, test and movement on the bike.  You should be comfortable on the bike as well as steady when you ride.

Step Two : Saddle type

Once you get over the 5 or 10 mile breaking point, you will quickly learn that a good saddle is going to follow close behind bike fit of importance. Actually, they go pretty hand in hand but without a good bike fit, a good saddle will be useless.   Try out many saddles, and do not settle!

Step Three : Handlebar tape/ grips

The easiest and most inexpensive way to make your bike unique, and yours, is changing out the handlebar tape or grips.  It adds more comfort once your padding has worn down, but it also can spice up your ride with different color options.

Step Four : Bottle cage to match

Continuing with the color importance, pick out a couple bottle cages that match step 3.

Step Five : Tires

Tires can change your performance, bike handling and comfort.  A basic $20 can wear out quickly, and roll very slow.  While a $60 tire can be too slick or fast wearing.  Find a tire that you can trust for whatever type of riding you may be doing.

Q&A : No underwear under my bike shorts?!

Over here at Bike Shop Girl headquarters we get many emails asking common questions on how to survive being a cyclist and a woman.  In order to get more insight from other women I will often ask if I can put the email I received up on the web for others to answer.

Question : Okay – I have heard this before but it has always been from male sales people.  I rode to work 3 or 4 times a week this year until the temps dropped and the snow started flying.
I am having difficulty wraping my head around the idea of putting on the same pair of shorts I wore on my 8 mile ride in the morning, to ride the same 8 miles on the way home – without underwear.  It is easy to change my underwear a couple of times a day and pull on the same pair of shorts.

What do other commuters do?
BSG : During the hot times of year I carry two pairs of cycle liner shorts.

.  They look much like a boxer brief and are thinner than their spandex sister shorts.  The reason for two is that I can sweat on the way to work, and not have to put them back on.   If in a forgiving environment I often have rode to work, showered and hand washed my cycling shorts.  Leaving them to dry during the day.
Now readers, what are your thoughts?

Favorite Cycling Shorts

A follow up to my cycling short basic, here is a selection of my favorite cycling shorts and why.  Be prepared to hold your wallet, as these are on the higher end of shorts.

Giordana Giordana Body Clone $150

No elastic waist band, comfortable compression all around and cut to bend with your leg.  One of the more comfortable shorts I’ve used in awhile but after a season and a half they need replacement.

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The Perfect Bike Fit

A benefit of my job is being able to work with many different people and customers on various types of bikes.  The shop I manage is a big player in bike fitting and making sure if you purchase a bike, or your body changes, you will be happy, safe and comfortable on that bike.

This leads me to my thought for the day.  Regardless of what type of bike you ride, there is a perfect fit for that bike and yourself.  This fit can also change with time and be open to that idea.  The reason for that is day to day your body changes, you stretch more or less, you sit more or less, you eat more or less (and so on.)

It is Subjective

The perfect bike fit is subjective to yourself and the bike fit technician you are working with, it can also be subjective to the day you walk into the shop to be fit.   As I’ve mentioned before I slowly plan on picking a part a bike fit and highlighting the key things you should pay attention to to find that “perfect bike fit.”

Because More Women Obey Laws, We become a Statistic

Women cyclists are far more likely to be killed by a lorry because, unlike men, they tend to obey red lights and wait at junctions in the driver’s blind spot, according to a study.

The report by Transport for London’s road safety unit was completed last July but has been kept secret. It suggests that some cyclists who break the law by jumping red lights may be safer and that cycle feeder lanes may make the problem worse.

The Times has obtained a copy of the study, which says that 86 per cent of the women cyclists killed in London between 1999 and 2004 collided with a lorry. By contrast, lorries were involved in 47 per cent of deaths of male cyclists.

Read more..

Pre-Season Part II

Spinning Legs


My initial post about Pre-Season planning turned some heads over at Team Estrogen’s forum.  Many people were excited to talk about their 2010 goals, but after 4 pages of women’s goals there were a few asking me if I was crazy.  They looked at November and December as resting times, or they may still be trying to complete 2009.

All these things are fair, but I find planning out your season prior to the holiday season makes things easier and you may eat one less serving of mash potatoes.

We didn’t get many comments on the blog about 2010 plans, so let me start off mine:

  • Training for Trans Iowa. The race is the end of April, and it will be roughly a 30 hour race across the “B” + “C” roads of Iowa.  Cyclocross and mountain bikes are much needed.
  • The rest of the year I’ll be doing what I can, when I can.  Maybe continue the local weekly mountain bike series, hit a couple longer distance mountain bike races like the 100 miler, or 12/24 hour lap type.
  • Smaller goals include stretching more, strength training and losing about 15 pounds of fat (hopefully gaining back 8 pounds of muscle.)

Now these are my goals, there are many things behind them like finding a better fit saddle for 300 miles on a cyclocross bike, the proper lighting, nutrition and preparing my mind for all of it.  I knew this task was daunting and overwhelming so I have suited myself up with proper testing and coaching.

Next time we will be talking about what type of testing, what coaching does for you and why even someone getting into cycling or trying to lose weight could benefit from all of this.

Pre-Season Planning

Off SeasonThe off-season and pre-season are two of the most important parts of your training program.  If you are a competitive cyclist or athlete, you are aware that off season is slowly ending and pre-season for 2010 is right around the corner.  You also could be like myself, my pre-season started about two weeks ago and I’m two weeks into my first 6 week leg of training.

The off-season is time to put your feet up, take in a couple beers and reflect on what you achieved in the past year, or want to achieve in the next year.  Pre-season can also be called early base, but normally starts late in the prior year before your season.  So 2010 pre-season is actually in late 2009.

Quickly I want to talk about pre-season planning and why putting it off until January/February can cause more trouble.

The holiday season is hard for everyone, and it can be even harder as you’re traveling, not bike riding and eating lots of yummy holiday meals.   That’s okay, realize you are going to do this and stop stressing.  This also means you need to ride your bike during the holidays to keep your pounds low going into the next season.

Sit down during Thanksgiving vacation and think about what you want to do next season, what are your goals and how can you obtain them.  Tell them to us, put them in writing down in comments so you aren’t only committing to yourself, but to the world wide web that this is what I’m doing for 2010.

Next, look at your holiday schedule and figure out how to fit one more stretching routine, small group class or run in, even once a week.   It will keep your stress down and weight off from all the holiday events.

The 2009 season just ended, but you now are in the seat to make 2010 even better.

Photo Credit : NBPL Teen Book