Empowering women in cycling

Bike Share All Over the US

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Last summer I was fortunate enough to witness Charlotte’s B-Cycle program launch and most recently I live in the town of Denver that embraces bike share with stations all over Denver proper, and Boulder having another large program 30 minutes up the road. While I haven’t been an avid user as I have too many bikes of my own (maybe I should start my own bike share?!) I know many people that have started bike commuting, or given up their car thanks to bike share.

People for Bikes have a great info-graphic worth sharing about the power of bike sharing in the U.S. this year.

US Bike Share Infographic

Driving Retail Success: Staff Apparel

2 Pearl Izumi Driving Retail

Presented by: Bruce Schofield, Retail Services Lead, Pearl iZUMi

Store owners that use printed custom shop shirts for the staff to wear, can also promote your brand. Custom shop apparel helps you to run a more organized business. Custom shop shirts not only further promotes your brand, it tells your customer here is a member of my staff that can help them. My vote is (as a customer) I would prefer to locate someone that clearly wears a shop shirt. Make sure you bring in a comfortable shirt so it stays on the staff member, and also make sure it’s available in a women’s specific design. Women prefer their own genders apparel.

Sign up for these weekly tips by sending Bruce an email at: brsignup at pearlizumi.com for Pearl iZUMi’s DRS Tip of the week and receive merchandising tips to help you improve your retail presentation and sell more.

Your Feedback Wanted: What Makes a Great Women’s Cycling Team?

8 Team Cycleton

Over the years I have been lucky enough to be embraced, grow with and learn from some great women’s groups. The first that comes to mind is Artemis Racing out of the Mid-Atlantic and then there are the Dirt Diva’s in Charlotte, NC.

As I mentioned earlier this week, one of my goals over the next year is to help my Team Cycleton build and grow a women’s team. As I build the groundwork and before I put out a call for applicants for the team I want to hear from you.

What Makes a Great Women’s Cycling Team?

The specific word I want to point out in the above question is TEAM. While there will be some club aspect, social events and rides, it is also a large goal of mine to help develop female racing. This includes having like minded goals, training rides or events and education on all aspects of bike riding/racing.

So sound off, what have you seen work in making a successful women’s cycling team that helps develop women into strong riders and racers?

The Fine Line of Not Getting Dropped, and the Guys Being Chicked

19 Chicked

Thanks to Facebook I stumbled across a great summary of a girls chicking the guys. As a female cyclist I often feel the double edged sword of riding with guys.

Recently I’ve been fortunate to find a couple groups of good guys to ride with.

One based out of our home community is a team based out of Cycleton. I’m the first girl invited to the team and I feel like I have a lot to prove. Not only for myself, but to create an opening for more women to join. If I’m needy, whining or slow I’m killing the chances or possibly setting the impression of women.

The second group are my coworkers. I’ve had the chance to do a handful of lunch rides since starting at Pearl Izumi. Some are chill, and some I’m popped off the back but always dragged back by a couple willing teammates.

In the end, the only time I want to be the girl that chicks guys could be racing or maybe when those group rides get a bit too “testy” and they need to be reminded we are all human.

How about you? Do you enjoy beating up on the guys just because you are a girl, or do you prefer to be part of the group instead of making a point that you are a girl that chicks guys?

Safety to Another Level: Chrome Reflective Camo Bags

5 Chrome Camo Bag Header

Being seen at night is a big concern for most cyclist (yet reflectors are the first thing that come off new bikes.) Chrome is launching a limited run of Reflective Camo Bags that are made in the USA. What looks normal in the day, lights up when a car light shines on the fabric to make it easier to spot.

Limited run, available at select shops – find one near you or hit up Chrome.


Motivational Monday with Janette

6 Motivational Monday with Janette

What is your name and location?

Janette Sherman, Camarillo, CA

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

I have to say that my first love is and will always be mountain biking. Regardless, I also ride road and own a cruiser and a cross bike.

What is your first cycling memory?

Well, this one is a dozy. I was 5 years old when I got my first bike. It was white and purple with a huge white banana seat. When my parents gave it to me, I burst into tears and ran up the staircase to sob on the landing. I don’t recall if it was one of my siblings or parents who came up to talk to me, but everyone was baffled.

“Why are you crying, Net Net?” (Yeah, now you have one on me because you know my childhood nickname)

Between muffled, horrid sobs, I replied – “I don’t know how to ride a bike.”

“We will teach you. I promise.”

And just like that, I stopped crying. I guess I bring up this story because I think sometimes we can feel like this when we are adults and we face really challenging situations on the bike. Once we realize all the amazing people who are out there and can help us be better riders and human beings, well viola, problem solved.

No I don’t sob when I am scared of a feature on my mountain bike, but I am so grateful to all those people who have helped me through some really challenging times on my bike and made me so much better.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

So many people. The funny part is that my mom doesn’t know how to ride a bike (so now I know for sure it wasn’t my mom who offered to help me to learn to ride, but she taught me a ton of other stuff. So that is okay). Here I work for a bicycle company for a living and my mom doesn’t ride. Don’t worry it is on my list of things to change.

Ironically, my mom inspires me to ride because she wasn’t really given that opportunity as a child and I think of all the women in the world who don’t have the time, freedom or maybe means to ride a bike and I am so lucky that I get to do this each and every day, if I wish.

I am also so inspired by all the women and men around me who ride and push me to new limits every day. Regardless of ability level, I learn something from every person I ride with whether it is to be more patient or a better way to corner or how to not take ourselves too seriously. What we can learn from each other is truly infinite.

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

So many. It is so hard to choose, so I guess I will choose my most recent. A few days ago, I rode from the Liv/giant and Giant headquarters in Newbury Park mostly on single track to the ocean and back with some co-workers. Having moved to the Southern California region recently from living in Oregon, Alaska and Montana for the past 16 years has been a tough adjustment for me. Our ride was so great, filled with great terrain and tons of laughter. When we capped it off with an amazing destination, sitting on a rock outcropping overlooking the Pacific Ocean my perspective changed. Right there and then, I realized again how lucky I am to be here, now, working in the bike industry and that I needed to embrace being present. Boom! And now I can’t wait to make a million more memories like this in here in Southern California. Sometimes surrendering to all the awesomeness that is right in front of us is all we need to do.

Tell us what you ride

I LOVE MY BIKES! Here at Liv/giant and Giant we name all our demo bikes as our means of an inventory system. As a former demo driver I did the same with my own bikes. Coincidentally enough I happened to name my road and mountain bike after drag queens so I decided to continue the theme. Here is a quick run down of my “fleet” -

Trance X1 W (mountain bike)- Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Avail Advanced 1 (road bike) – Lady Chablis
TCX W (X-bike) – RuPaul
Via 1 W (cruiser)- Agador Spartacus

*    *    *    *    *    *

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! 

Review: Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

4 Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

Above is a great example of what I normally carried in the frame bag. A random piece of fruit or a small, light-weight, rain jacket are missing from the photo.

Roughly a month ago I did a quick preview of the Banjo Brothers Frame Bag, which you can read over here. The bag has around 700 commuting miles and a couple accidental tumbles while gravel grinding.

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag $32.99-34.99

Size on test: Medium
Size and type of bike tested on: 56cm carbon cross bike, 55cm carbon road bike, 17″ mountain bike

Use and Abuse

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

The main testing ground of this bag over the past few weeks was on my cross bike during my August commuter assault. 60 miles a day for 2-4 days a week during the month of August. Only once during this assault did  I not used the frame bag and used a backpack instead to see if my opinion of this frame bag could be swayed.

The bag looks pretty brand-new even with the daily use. The only thing showing wear is some mud on the bottom down tube strap. The velcro and straps aren’t fraying and they never scratched any of my frames due to a nice piece of padding between the velcro strap and frame.

The zippers have a nice weather resistant cover to them and in the handful of rainstorms I caught myself in, the fabric nor zippers let in water. This is also in part of the front “pocket” that you can pull the zippers into.


There are a few things I really like about this bag.

  • Reflective piping around the rim of both sides make this bag a great extra piece of safety when riding at night.

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

  • The smaller and larger pocket compartments are a nice touch. Allowing me to put smaller things like multi-tool, money and keys in one pocket and then food/jacket and tubes in the other pocket.
  • Double zippers allow you to access gear easily from either end of the bag. Pretty crucial in the dark when you are looking for your arm warmers that you buried thinking that you weren’t going to need them.
  • The padded piece between the velcro and frame are pretty killer.


Some of these downfalls will depend on your frame size and usage

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag Review

  • My front bottle was pretty hard to get out when using the frame bag. If you are using this frame bag for bike camping or long rides get in the habit of drinking out of your seat tube mounted bottle and then rotating when you empty that one. They do advertise you can run a 70oz hydration bladder in the bag.
  • Take care when trimming the velcro. If you plan on moving it between bikes it may be long on some frames and rub your leg. There is no way around this, but if you keep it on one bike you can trim the velcro straps perfect and never run into a problem.

Overall Thoughts and Review Conclusion

I used this mostly during the testing for review while bike commuting. This bag may not be ideal if you have to lock up outside or leave your bike parked somewhere that the bag could be lifted. If you are doing some longer rides, want to test out bike camping without breaking the bank or just want a different way to carry some essentials with ease – give this bag a try. You can’t beat the price, quality or company standing behind the product.

To give you an idea of how much I enjoyed using this bike, when we plan out some overnight bike camping this fall I plan on picking up another one for my gf’s cross bike. Pairing a Banjo Brothers Frame Bag with one of their Handlebar Bags and Waterproof Trunk Bags, I believe she’ll be set as I’ll be carrying the tent.

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review purposes

Fort Follies’ Women’s Grand Prix & Ride with the Stars

4 FFGPpg1

The US Pro Challenge hits Fort Collins this Saturday, and so does the Fort Follies’ Women’s Grand Prix with many other women’s events.


Ride with the Stars





8am : Event starts at 8am. Enjoy a leisurely ride with some of the professional ladies! Will ride to Crankenstein’s in Old Town for $1 coffee drinks (there will be ample bike parking). Highlighting ladies, but guys are welcome as well. All levels and ages welcome! Let’s celebrate ladies of all levels on bikes. Linkage


Fort Follies’ Women’s Grand Prix


12pm : This fast, flat .93 mile course is centered in the heart of the action in Old Town, Fort Collins on the same day as the USA Men’s Pro Challenge Stage 6, also ending in Fort Collins. With a major $9,000 prize purse, $1000 awards, plus primes, sprinter points, and a most-aggressive rider jersey, you can expect incredible action among some of the highest-level women professionals in the U.S.! Linkage


Launch of Women’s Cycling Association


6:30pm at Rio Grande Mexican. The party is the official launching of the Women’s Cycling Association, an organization of professional women cyclists striving for equality in women’s cycling. Schultz, Miller and Wilcoxson helped form the WCA this June. Linkage

Mailbox Question: Larger Sized Cycling Shorts

15 Mailbox Cycling shorts

Daily I receive a good amount of email questions from the Ask a Question form. As I find frequently asked or interesting questions I will be answering them from the Mailbox.

Mailbox Question

I have decided to begin to ride a bike to lose weight and get fit. I am currently a size 18/20.

I want some gel bike shorts but not only can I not find any big enough but also none that are big enough for my chunky thighs. I don’t want saddle soreness to put me off so can you suggest any answers? The bike gel seats that you can buy to go over the saddle seem to be made for small mountain bike saddles and mine is a normal wide sprung saddle.

My Opinion

There are two parts I want to address, the first is finding a pair of shorts that fit.

Many manufactures have women’s XX-Large shorts that fit much like an 18/20. Also, I’ve had great success with women over size 14 wearing men’s shorts or bibs. I highly suggest trying a bib short on (it will feel weird in the dressing room but amazing on your bike) as the spandex is removed from your waist and pulls everything together under your jersey.

You mentioned gel short and saddle. I try to push folks away from gel under your rear as much as possible. The first reason is that gel compresses after some saddle time and causes more pressure in areas you don’t want. The second reason is that it wears out/moves and breaks down rather quickly. If your handlebar and saddle are in proper height you shouldn’t feel any extra pressure that you wouldn’t when seated on a wooden chair.


Pearl Izumi has a good Select In-R-Cool short that goes up to 2x if a shop doesn’t have anything near you. If there’s a good shop near you try on things, don’t be scared of the guys. When you are trying on, use underwear but no after you buy them!

Disclaimer: I work for Pearl Izumi but those are awesome shorts.