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#30DaysofBiking Update

2 30 Days of Biking

30 Days of Biking It has been over a week since updating you about my 30 days of biking challenge, so here is a quick update.

Day 1 : A 19 mile road rideCharlotte Commuting

Day 2: A daily commute of 5 miles to Davidson, NC – take the bus from there to Charlotte and then a mile commute.  In the evening I reversed it

Charlotte Commuting
Day 3:
I only did the end of day commute, riding the bus completely stinks and makes me feel that I’m in a 14 ton coffin.  Avoided it for the past week.

em:pwr cycling group ride
Carson Street Station

Day 4: em:pwr cycling lunch time group ride and then the bus/commute home.

em:pwr clothing

Day 5: A early morning mountain bike ride before work.

Day 6: Rode my mountain bike into the weekend by knocking out 12 miles after work on the singlespeed 29er.  I also scurried home to build up the new Airborne Goblin 29er.

Airborne Goblin in the Trunk

Day 7: A shake down mountain bike ride at Lake Norman State Park.  Adjusting my cock pit, getting used to gears and suspension

Road Riding the Airborne Goblin

Day 8: A 28 mile road ride on the 29er mtb for fit and adjustment reason

Girls on Bikes

Day 9: 7 mile afterwork mountain bike ride

Day 10: Built up a friends new Airborne Goblin, tweaked his new Stevens cyclocross bike and test spun around.

Day 11: (Today)  Changing out some bits on my Goblin and beating it up around the block.

fi’zi:k Vesta Review: Initial Thoughts

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A beautiful fi’zi:k Vesta showed up at my doorstep a couple of weeks back.  Quickly, I snapped some photos and then installed the saddle on my cyclocross bike. Since then it has been on my goto bike for long road rides, and my daily commute.

Initial Feel

The very first feeling of the saddle is the firm, yet padded support.  This is a good feeling as I don’t like a saddle that I sink into. If you sink too much into a saddle your sit bones are no longer holding you up and the soft tissues are left holding you up.  This saddle hasn’t seen more than an hour and a half of consistent ride time so we can only tell how the padded feeling holds up.

The “pressure relief channel” seems to work so far.  It isn’t a cut out so if I rock into the drops I can feel pressure on my soft tissue areas but to this point there has been no numbness or pain when this pressure happens for an extended amount of time.

Look & Design

The saddle is an eye catcher.  Subtle enough, but if someone walks close enough to see the top of your saddle they will stop and ask, “WHAT?!”  This exact story has happened to me with everyone that has seen the saddle.  My only worry about the eye catching colors are they will bleed over time into my white bib shorts.

Closing Thoughts

Sitting initially on this saddle I didn’t think “this is the one,” but that never has happened before with any of my favorite saddles. There are always fine tuning with the bike fit and trying different angles and fore/aft of the saddle.  BUT I didn’t sit on this saddle and feel horrible pain, nor did I feel pain after 25 miles.  The jury is still out on this saddle but I will check back with you as the fit is modified and more miles are logged.

Ritchey WCS Curve Bar

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Ritchey Bicycle Components have released a new shallow drop road bar, Curve Bar,  available in aluminum or carbon.  With a respectable 235g (alum) and 210g (carbon) this handlebar could be found on many women’s bars in the upcoming season. Pricing will be between $95-285 dependent on alum/carbon.

Details from Ritchey

•Fixed shallow 128mm drop with a smooth transition for a comfortable hand position
•Allows rider to set up for aggressive positioning in the drops as well as the tops
•Extended center section is compatible with clip-on bars
•Sanded stem and brake lever mount sections for no-slip component grip
•Available in 40/42/44cm widths
•Drop/Reach: 128/73mm

I hope to get a pair of these in on my cyclocross bike, I think the drop and reach would compliment cantilevers very well.  Keep your eye out for those coming to the Bike Shop Girl headquarters.

Where Do You Go Now?

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A follow up from a few Friday’s ago..October 1st.  The first day of October Two Thousand Ten.  10,01,10.

TGIFThank God It’s Friday

That’s what I kept saying to myself a few Friday’s ago.     It was the first day of October, which at work meant that all the month end reports, analytics and answers for clients were needed to be finalized.

As I ended my business day, still very proud of myself for working out at lunch, I exchanged my work pants and shoes for cycling mountain bike shoes and cycling knickers.  I hopped on my bicycle to ride .5 miles to the bus station.

The weather was phenomenal – the fall in Charlotte, NC is my favorite time of the year.  70º, sunny and blue skies.

Took a left out of the parking lot. Stop at the 4 way intersection.  Straight, and then a right hand turn onto South Blvd.  Double check the rear Cateye blinky before I go under the Morehead bridge. Under the bridge there is a dark overcast shadow, and an exit ramp of an Interstate.  Double checking all angles, cruising through with ease.  I smile – it is a great day and a great way to begin the weekend.

Stop at the traffic light

At the intersection of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, I stop at a red light.  Time the next light well to roll through easily with the green.

Slowing

At the intersection of South Caldwell and 3rd Street.  This intersection always has cars pulling illegally from the parking lot on the right.  Tap the brakes once more as an oncoming car comes to a stop in the left hand lane.

Continue forward

Spot movement at my 11 o’clock.  The car that was stopped is now moving, pedal to the metal actually.

Where Do I Go?

I angle my path 45º right in hopes the cars screeching tires will stop the vehicle, in hopes I’m giving the car more room to stop.  My path was too far right.  There’s a steep curb, there is a car & a curb & I am between them.

Screeching Tires and Yells from Pedestrians

The car didn’t stop in time.  The car hit my legs and the rear of my bike.  Folding the rear end of my cyclocross bike and back wheel.  I quickly bounced from the car to the ground.

Panic and Yells from Pedestrains

Shock.
Shaking.  Multiple people kept me on the ground. Making me lay flat on my back.  “Are you okay?”…”What’s your name?”….”Call 911!!”

Shock.
Fear. I refuse to look at my body.  Extreme pain in my left back & hip from hitting the car & asphalt.  I see my bike in tangles at my feet.

Shock.
Shaking.  I’m a statistic.  I’m yet another person to be hit on a bicycle in the area just this year.  I can’t be a statistic.  How can I tell people that commuting by bike is safe?  I’m not safe. I’m hurt. I’m a statistic.

Shock.
Alone.  I repeatedly make a complete stranger call friends & family.  Please, someone answer!

Shock.
Sirens. More fear.

Shock.
Confusion. Am I broken?  Please call my mom. Where’s my bike going?  I’m on the ambulance.  Needles and poking.  Questions.

Shock.
More shaking.  The ambulance ride is hard, and rough.   The ER is responsive, there was a cyclist among the doctors.  They made me feel safe for a moment.  X-rays.  They need Cat Scans they say.  Finally, I get through to my girlfriend on the cellphone.

Shock.
Neck brace, back board and I’m waiting for a Cat Scan. All I can see is the ceiling tiles above my head.  There’s screaming.  A major car wreck and multiple people needed to get through cat scans.  Hearing screaming wasn’t helping my nerves.  I tell my nurse to let them go through first.  I could wait.  One bed pain later, and one hour later.. I’m still waiting.

Catscan. Finally two guys there that have personality that help give me the catscan.  They talk to me like I’m human.

Family and friends.  My girlfriend and boss find me soon.  The morphine drip is wearing off. Drugs, wheel chairs and finding my bicycle in the utility closet of the hospital parking lot.

Shock.
They give me more drugs.  I’m trying not to think.  The car drive makes me panicked. I no longer feel safe outside of my four walls.

Mom.
My mom arrives at what I think was 3am.

I’m a statistic yet again.  My freedom is not mine.  My legs are not my own.

Where do I go from here?

(No spell check or grammar check here.)

Bontrager RL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes Reviewed

0 Bontrager Shoe Review


Long Term Bontrager RL Mountain WSD Cycling Shoe Review

MSRP: $139.99
Sizes: 36-43 euro (including half sizes between 37.5-41.5)
Details: eSole insole, durable heal cup and toe box, two straps and a third ratchet with buckle

Shoes and saddles have always been the two most sensitive areas with me.  I’ve owned several brands over the years, previous to owning the Bontrager shoes my feet were found in pink Sidi Dominator’s for 3 years.  When I was looking at the Bontrager cycling shoes they were for back up, for rain or during endurance races when you may need an extra pair of shoes.  Quickly, the e-soles inside and the fit of the Bontrager RL WSD shoes won me over.  I went from a pair of $280 cycling shoes, to $140 shoes and they made my feet happy enough I would have paid $300 for them!

Initial Feelings of the Bontrager RL Mountain Shoe

Part of me wished the shoe came in a couple color variations. Coming from my pink and red Sidi Dominators I wanted something with character and funk!  The black and blue design grew on me, having some feminine flair but not a ton.  The moment I put the shoes on I felt like Cinderella as the shoe fit like a glove.  I was able to take out shims beneath my cleats during my first fitting with the shoes.  This is due to the eSole insole system that had variable arch support, keeping my foot from rolling in towards my crank which had been causing me knee pain for the past 6 years.  Yes, a proper fitting, arch support, shoe helped me with the knee pain I had been dealing with forever (including over 18 bike fittings!)

Bontrager RL Shoe Review

Side View

Main Features of the RL WSD Shoe

The key selling features to me were the following

  • fit
  • neutral yet fun color
  • ventaliation
  • toe box protection
  • toe spikes for cyclocross or mud
  • price

Overall Review of the Bontrager Shoes

If the shoe fits, wear it.  I have gone through so many different pairs of cycling shoes to find on my first long ride that they make my feet go to sleep.  While I may receive product for review on Bike Shop Girl, and they may end up being shoes, I will continue to purchase Bontrager shoes for my personal shoes.  Shoes, much like any piece of clothing, is based on fit and your needs.  The shoes have lasted me almost two seasons as I purchased them two years ago while an employee at a shop.  Now that I pay retail for most things, I will still be happily paying the $140 for these shoes, I’m actually weighing the option of purchasing the RXL version mainly due to the patent leather and gold look (plus much lighter/stiffer.)   I wear these shoes DAILY, for commuting, road riding, mountain biking and everything in between.   My family lives mostly on a shoe string budget and even with that I will still be happily paying for these shoes.  There are some things in your life you shouldn’t skimp on, for me it is my cycling shoes.

Bontrager RL ATB Shoe Review

Sidebar

I feel that I should add one last thing to this review. To some people $140 is a lot for cycling shoes, for others compared to Sidi or other more boutique shoes this is half of what they normally would pay.   Products to me shouldn’t be weighed by cost.  If something is going to help you be a better and happier person it should be worth you saving your pennies, OR in the case of these shoes be open minded to something cheaper than I normally would have purchased.    Also, my shoes are worn out.   The have become flexy and the back heal has started to peal apart. They still ride wonderfully but are slowly finding their way to becoming my “rain shoes.”

These shoes were purchased with money out of my own pocket. I was not paid nor bribed for this review, though it would be nice to make money on this one day.

Motivational Monday: Barb Chamberlain

2 Barb Chamberlain Motivational Monday

Barb Chamberlain Motivational Monday

What’s your name and location?

Barb Chamberlain, Spokane, WA (a Bronze Level Bike-Friendly Community striving for Silver!)

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Commuting, recreational, tooling around with friends for coffee, long rides

What is your first cycling memory?

Riding my banana bike with the streamers on the handles on the patio of our house in the country outside Lewiston, Idaho. We had a gravel driveway full of puncture weeds so it was better to ride on the pavement!

Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?

These aren’t people who necessarily consider themselves “in the industry”: Women bike bloggers. I’ve been compiling a list for several months now and have over 450 blogs to date. These women do everything from freestyle mountain bike competition to “slow cycling” to riding with kids to road racing and cyclocross. They write about fashion, frustration, and the joys of riding. They are the future of bike riding in the US and in the world.

I’ve set up accounts to let me share feeds from these blogs and am featuring a blog each day for as long as I can go. Every day brings me a new blog discovery and I already know I can keep this going for well over a year.
Facebook: www.facebook.com/WomenBikeBlogs
Twitter: @WomenBikeBlogs

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

Probably the moment I powered up the hill toward my house after riding with my husband from our home in Spokane to Coeur d’Alene and back, a round trip of 84 miles. We chose a beautiful day that wasn’t too hot, went at a pace I could manage, broke for lunch in Coeur d’Alene, and came back late in the afternoon. Having enough steam left to actually push it up the hill felt fantastic.

In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2011?

In the winter of 2009-2010 I started training with the idea of racing, but then succumbed to a really terrible case of bronchitis and missed a couple of weeks of work. That completely set me back and I haven’t been able to find that kind of time in my life for training this year, so my goals don’t have to do with that aspect of riding.

Instead I’m focused on getting great leadership lined up to take over what I have done the past three years as the founding chair for Bike to Work Spokane. We need to build robust and sustainable organizations to support all kinds of riding, and Bike to Work has been very successful. We are renaming and rebranding as SpokaneBikes because we are about all kinds of riding, not just going to and from work.

I’m also launching a new blog, BikeStyleSpokane.com, with the goal of inspiring and supporting more women who want to ride but who are put off by the idea that you have to sweat in Spandex.

I’m on a quest for the intersection of style and comfort and want to help others on the same journey. The more we can do to make riding a bike a normal and accepted part of life for people ages 8 to 88, the safer and more enjoyable it will be for all of us. Women represent the growth opportunity for the bike industry but the products have been slow to catch up to the potential demand, so we have to share what we find.

Motivational Monday with Robin Farina

0 Robin Farina National Champion

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. Do you know someone that motivates and inspires you? Send us your answers and photo to Girly@BikeShopGirl.com

Robin Farina National ChampionRobin Farina is a local bike shop owner, cycling coach and a women’s professional road cyclist. I’ve had the honor to know her for many years, and even to be coached by her a few years ago. Her personality and drive is exactly what the professional circuit needs, to add to this last weekend she won the USA National Road Race in Augusta, GA!

What’s your name and location?

Robin Farina Charlotte, NC

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

All kinds of cycling. Mainly race on the road but I love a good mtn bike ride and cyclocross ride

What is your first cycling memory?

Crashing on wet pavement on my bright shiny Schwinn when I was about 10 years old. It ripped off my fingernail.

Robin Farina National Champion

Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?

Right now I am pretty inspired by women racers that have balance going on in their lives. Obviously you can not get rich making it as a racer so it’s vital to continue on a career path or an education. Specifically right NOW, I am inspired by Louise Keoghan. She and her husband Phil Keoghan started the new professional Women’s Cycling Team, Now and Novartis for MS. Louise is passionate about cycling and a driven professional. She is an example of what women in our sport should aspire to be. It’s fantastic that racers have a competitive edge that needs to be fulfilled but it’s more important that we take the steps to keep the sport growing and support other women in cycling. She is leading by example with their Now and Novartis for MS team project.

What was your best moment on a bike in 2011?

Winning the USA National Road Race Championships last Sunday. It’s the biggest honor you can win for your country. I am still in shock about it.

In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward?

Before I can look to next year, I am pretty focused on the rest of my season and now I get to go to the World Championships in Denmark in Sept so that will be a big focus for the latter part of the season for me.

Wanna Know About my Bikes?

I have one of every kind. Road bike – Specialized Amira, TT bike – Specialized Transition and a Cannondale Slice, Cross bike – Blue, Mountain bike – Giant 29′er, Cruiser – Electra Tocina: Each have a purpose and ridden often!

Fun Day February Friday

3 Founder's Beer

Founder's Beer

As I type this I am sitting on my bed with a limited New Belgium Founder’s Ale in one hand and tissues shoved in the other. Yes, and I am still typing. As I’m battling a nasal drip head cold, the feelings of January leave me here sitting feeling rather happy with how the first month of 2012 ended.

50 Bike Shops in January 2012

Yes, I visited 50+ bike shops in January. That doesn’t include the ones that I simply “stopped by” with out a specific reason or for business reasons, or the ones I have visited multiple times in January. I’m still catching up on all the paper work for these shop visits, including notes and goals for as many as I can handle. It is a lot of ideas, goals and hopes to swallow but it was a great first month on the road. I saw many shops in SC, TN, and NC from Knoxville, TN to Charleston, SC. I’ve met many new people that I can already call friends, and looking forward to watching them grow over 2012. You’ll see many of these shops featured over the next few months here on Bike Shop Girl.

2013 SRAM Red Launch

I don’t like to cover much stuff that you get to see at every other cycling site out there. The new SRAM Red is out, it is fantastic looking and hopefully you have a group on order. I spent a good amount of Wednesday and Thursday taking orders from dealers as my mothership QBP will have some of the first groups available. It was exciting, still is, I hope to get to ride a group soon but it leaves me longing for something I can’t even purchase right now. When I do get a ride on it – I will let you all know if it is as amazing as SRAM’s marketing department was able to make it seem.

Big Plans for February

February will start off slowly this week, mostly paperwork and house keeping. Next week the “boss” comes to town and I will show him off in SC and NC. Or is it I show off NC & SC to him? Visiting between 3-5 shops a day Monday – Thursday with the hopes to get in bike rides in there as well. From there I’m in Minneapolis for Quality’s big Frostbike trade show. I hope to cover some of the event, along with featuring some seminars after the show shuts down. From Minneapolis is Georgia. Southern X cyclocross endurance event, Southeast Bike Expo, Foundry Cycles launch parties, trips with my Lazer manager and continuing to learn more shops in the Southeast area.

Things that Matter a Bunch to me and nothing to you

Shimano Centerlock Rotor

I finally got a hold of a centerlock rear rotor today at First Flight Bikes. I paid retail and I’m okay with it – I wanted to ride my bike today. I also paid retail for these amazing socks. I have a feeling I’m going to wear them out.

WTF Sock Guy Socks