Empowering women in cycling

Motivational with Cathi from Charlotte

3 Motivational with Cathi

What is your name and location?

Cathi from Charlotte

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Mostly Cross Country MTB

What is your first cycling memory?

Riding with my husband on an old, heavy Trek not “grasping” that it would be “easier” if I shifted.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

Patty Smith. She is, and continues to be, an inspiration to so many (all levels).

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

Yet to come? A couple of casual/traning rides were I was feeling really good, really strong and skills were “on”. :)

Tell us what you ride

I have 4; a Salsa Dos Niner soft tail for XC riding/racing, a FS Santa Cruz Superlight for all mtn, a Niner One 9 SS for fun, and a Trek Madone carbon road bike.

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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! 

The Value of Nothing

31 Arleigh and Emily

Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing. – Lord Henry Wotton (Oscar Wilde)

It seems lately people are full of stuff. Often, when you ask them what they are saving for it is an object. It is not a destination or milestone but a new car, a new bike, and a new “thing.” Everything has price tags and I know first hand what an addiction that can become. You want the best gear, you want the newest gear, and you want to be the trend setter that has it before everyone.

I do a lot of gear reviews here on Bike Shop Girl. As my site ranks pretty darn high on this thing called “Google” and women’s gear isn’t too widely reviewed so I receive a good amount of “things” to review. At any given time there is a pile of objects to test out, photo, review and tell all of you what I thought about it. Over the past 10 years I have been given the chance to ride a lot of cool stuff from high end bikes to the latest gadgets and expensive stretchy spandex. Yet, over the past few weeks of moving to Denver and really putting an emphasis of LIVING my life with my girlfriend in this new state of Colorado a few things have become crystal clear.

Gear does not make the adventure, you do

You don’t need the fancy, crazy expensive, gear to have an amazing time. It may not be as safe and you may come out of it with a few blisters, you can hike that hike with sneakers and go camping with a tent 100 grams heavier than the one you saw in a catalog. The newest Garmin may tell you the weather as you’re riding, but so will the weather channel before you are leaving.

We often get so wrapped up in what we don’t have that we don’t enjoy the adventure of everyday living

You’re saving for that new commuter bike, and you have in your head that you can’t do your commute until you have it. Well, have you tried? Can you really not do that big mountain route until you have the new wheels?

Life is not about the stuff, it’s about living

The above statement lead me to turning some focus into a new website and new vision for living. Empower Adventure was started a couple weekends back when Emily and I went for a hike up St. Mary’s Glacier. We had our great gear and I carried my fancy camera up with a tripod to make sure to capture a moment together. Other than the amazing company with breathtaking views, I was left in awe of the families really enjoying themselves (and the mini-adventure) in their street clothes walking up the boulders. They were using what they had and not stressed about pressing start or stop on their Garmin.

I’m going to continue reviewing bike product on Bike Shop Girl, and start reviewing more “outdoor product” on Empower Adventure, BUT putting more emphasis on the adventure the gear helps you experience. Empowering and inspiring you to get out and to live.

Remember in the end of all of this, the price of everything is nothing and the value of your life is everything.

Driving Retail Success: Keeping your soft goods areas looking new

2 Pearl Izumi Driving Retail

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

Summer is the best selling time for most of the country, and the last thing you want to do is change things around. However if don’t keep your store looking new the customers who frequently visit won’t see your inventory, because they think it looks the same as always. Here are a few things you can do to keep your soft goods areas looking new.

• Rotate your floor fixtures 180 degrees.
• Flip your color stories around.
• Change your mannequins apparel.
• Add some variety to your anchor wall by adding shelves and hangrails.
• Switch out your props on the floor fixtures and anchor wall.
• If you double display some items rotate those displays.
• Change the foliage to reflect the season.

Example of basic anchor wall with variety added

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.

Intro: Bern Allston Helmet

8 Bern Allston Helmet

Bern Helmets are a pretty standard helmet line these days that you’ll find urban shops, as well as snowboard shops! This proven helmet brand brought their snowboard molds to the bike market a few years ago and have been selling pretty hot in the shops that stock them well (and in the right commuting/urban market!) The biggest complaint in the original models was the lack of ventilation.  This made sense as they were originally designed for snowboarding, having huge vents to let in snow and cold air wasn’t really ideal.

Meet the Bern Allston

The Allston has 16 vents, weighs in at a claimed 13 ounces and comes in 4 colors. With the classic Bern visor style, lighter weight and a decent amount of ventilation this is going to turn some fixie riding heads!

Key Details

MSRP: $89.99
Colors: Matte Black, Matte Grey, Matte Neon Green, Satin White
Features: 16 vents, 13 ounces, Available in 3 sizes (M, L, XL), Snap in liners to make this an all season helmet

Looking for a Bern helmet? Check out JensonUSA as they have some deals going on!


Review: Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

14 Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Bags seem to be an addiction for cyclist. You need something for your commute, your mountain riding, your city dwelling and grocery shopping. Finding a bag that can do a little bit of everything and not weigh 40 pounds at the end of the day is pretty important to me.

A few years ago I reviewed the Banjo Brothers Commuter bag. For everyday life the bag was just a bit too big for me. I loved the white color and functions but it was just too bulky for my back. A few weeks back Banjo Brothers sent a care package of review items, one of the bags inside was their newer Metro Backpack, in white of course. As the box was being unpacked my girlfriend quickly put her claim on the Metro Backpack for her daily commute to the hospital. As she is commuting 10 miles a day, 6 days a week, with an extra set of clothes, iPad, overnight “essentials”, lunch and books, I figured she’s a good candidate for testing out the Metro Backpack.

Metro Backpack Essential Details

  • MSRP: $74.99
  • Available in Black or White
  • 18 oz vinyl tarp material (for easier cleaning) with hanging liner for excellent water resistance
  • Full width wicking back pad
  • 12 interior and exterior pockets
  • Padded laptop pocket fits up to 10″ x 15″ notebooks
  • Cell phone holster included
  • Front and rear reflective tape and webbing tab for safety light
  • 16″H x 11″L x 6.5″W / 1100 cubic inches

Details that Mattered to Emily

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Not too big, not too small. The bag isn’t so big that you can overload and have too much gear on your back. You can stuff it, carry tons of stuff or whatever else you may but it’s right at 1100 cubic inches of space.

It’s white and has a large reflective strips. The added safety of a white bag with a large reflective strip across the back flap, a couple reflective strips on the shoulder straps and light holder is pretty thoughtful for when she is commuting at 5am.

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

12 interior and exterior pockets. Each side of the bag has an outside pocket, perfect for a small u-lock, keys or waterbottles. The main flap has a pocket for items you need quickly but want under the protection of a zipper. Inside you have a large compartment with a padded laptop sleeve. Pen pockets, phone pockets and other smaller compartments to keep things organized.

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Phone pocket on shoulder strap that fits a Lifeproof iPhone.

Waterproof. The fabric is waterproof, the flap would keep out water in most rain storms and the most water we deal with normally in Denver are sprinklers. I wouldn’t submerge the thing but it will be more than enough for most commuters.

Removable waist belt. She didn’t ever use it, so we simply unclipped it!

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Compression straps on the sides. Keeps things snug, and when the bags not full you can make it a lot smaller.

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

What’s In Your Bag?

This is a blow out of what is normally in Emily’s bag for her daily commute.

What's In your Bag

Overall Feedback and Thoughts

The bag does not have the classic Banjo Brothers removable liner, which I am thankful for. This is a trimmer, and realistic bag for the everyday commuter (or smaller frame person.) It does still create a sweaty back on commutes over 15 minutes, but that’s really the only downfall of this bag.

There are a few things I would change if I had my way… The material they use is waterproof but that also makes it not stretch or flex very well. The interior and side pockets could be made out of a material that had a little give in it to allow things to get in and out easier. The material also has a lot of friction so sliding things like phones/pens/etc in and out the tight pockets can require two hands. (Note from Banjo Brothers: Truck tarp is stiffer than the ballistic nylon – white is truck tarp, and black and red are in standard ballistic nylon, which is a little more forgiving.)

For $75 I would be surprised if you found a bag comparable for everyday use and easy to use features with out too many thrills to over complicate the bag.

20% Discount with Banjo Brothers Through July

That’s right, Banjo Brothers wants to know if folks that read my reviews actually purchase stuff. They are offering a 20% off discount off anything if use BIKESHOPGIRL at time of checkout (case sensitive.) http://bit.ly/12SPsAu

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

Motivational Monday with Meagen

1 Motivational Monday with Meagen

What is your name and location?

Meagen Johnson

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Century rides, triathlons and 70.3 Ironmans

What is your first cycling memory?

Did my first century ride with my girlfriends. I had no idea what I was doing. A friend told me to keep my computer at 80 and I’d be fine. He was referring to the cadence. I kept that cadence at 80 the whole time afraid to do anything else. hahaha!!

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

I ride because it makes me happy. I always have a smile on my face when I ride. I giggle and laugh too. It’s so much fun!

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

70.3 Ironman on May 4 this year. I was climbing Snow Canyon, a 4 mile very difficult hill climb. I had trained for 3 months for that ride and climb. I was laughing, smiling and excited to do the climb. Everyone around me was complaining and hating it. I was LOVING every minute of it.

Tell us what you ride

I ride a 5 year old Specialized Ruby Comp Road bike and love it. It works for me. I’ll upgrade one day! :)

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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! 

Laying my Cards on the Table

41 St. Mary's Glacier

I’ve been known to pour my heart out on various blogs. If it’s falling in love, falling out of love, or even the moments after my car/bike accident a few years ago. I dealt by writing and wearing my heart on my sleeve. Here’s to having feelings, grabbing a beer and putting it all out there for my own reference but also for my readers to know where things sit these days.

About a month ago I moved to Denver, Colorado. There was a lot of excitement of this new chapter in my life, with an amazing girl, but also a lot of fear. I’ve always lived on the east coast, I had a strong tribe in the southeast and I was finally finding my way racing again. The move was rather sudden (less than 60 days to prep) so things were a bit shaky as we landed.

When we moved I started working pretty quickly at a bike shop, Salvagetti. Within a couple weeks I knew this wasn’t where I belonged. Working retail hours, retail wages, trying to get in time to ride and time to live life with the girl I moved for…well it simply wasn’t doable. Bowing out gracefully, I still hope to spend time with the shop helping with events and on bike fun things.

A new page in this new chapter

This past week I started in a new job at Pearl Izumi. I’ll be working within the custom department in sales and customer service. This department is growing with leaps and bounds, leaving me very excited to be apart of the growth and excitement!

The new job has shifted many things for me. First off, I have off weekends again which allows for adventures with Emily and friends. Empower Adventure is my blog documenting this (and every day adventures too!) Second, I hope to get base miles back in over the next few weeks by commuting 2x per week (60 miles a day) to hopefully get my legs back in order by mid August to start cyclocross prep! Finally, this change to working for a powerhouse in the biking apparel world, and that Pearl Izumi is owned by Shimano… well things on Bike Shop Girl will be shifted a bit. The content I review won’t be too much around apparel, unless I get something from work that I really like and want to share with you. The stock pile of review apparel I’ve been testing out will be reviewed with the honest opinion I have always given but once the pile is gone, I won’t be accepting anything new.

Where Life Leads

While I still am finding my footing in a new Monday to Friday job, I’m excited to finding myself on the bike more often, meeting new friends and documenting new adventures. Is it cyclocross season yet?

Motivational Monday with Laura in Philadelphia

8 Motivational Monday with Laura

What is your name and location?

Laura – Philadelphia suburbs

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

The kind with friends and a food or coffee stop – and bike commuting

What is your first cycling memory?

When I was about 7 or 8 I picked up a blue bike from the town dump and spending the rest of the evening learning to ride it in the driveway. I was having issues balancing and kept crashing into the sandbox but I finally got the hang of it.

Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?

My mom. She bugged me for decades to ride for fun and I completely ignored her. I was a bikes-are-for-transportation girl for a long time!

My bike commuting friends. Some ride every day year round, some drive part-way and then ride in. They inspire me to find more ways to integrate bike commuting into my busy-working-mom life.

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

Setting out early on February 24 with a friend from his house, our destination: Atlantic City. I wasn’t sure I could do it – but with the support of my friend, we did! An early-season century that ended up being an amazing ride through pastoral New Jersey, arriving at the train station to get a ride back to Philly with only 10 minutes to spare.

Tell us what you ride

Dangerous question! I have four right now:
Felt ZW5 “Electric Dream Machine” – my Nice Bike, the one I take to events and on weekend rides.

Peugeot Versailles “Lady Rainicorn” – my Commuter Bike, with a killer rainbow paint job. I’m slowly fixing her up and replacing worn parts.

Schwinn FreeSpirit Greenbriar – my Around Town Bike. She doesn’t have a name yet and needs some work but she’s great for tooling around town in style.

Specialized Crossroads Sport “The Beast” – the bike that I purchased when I was being laid off and needed to find a new outlet for my anxiety. A solid comfort-hybrid bike but I don’t love her as much as the others and am contemplating selling her to fund repairs to the other older bikes or pick up either an entry-level mountain bike or flat-bar fitness hybrid for heading out with my kids.

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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! 

Strider (Balance Bike) Racing

23 Strider Balance Bike

The popular balance bikes from Strider have received some updates. When I was over on Strider.com reading about the updates I also stumbled upon the Strider U.S. Championships!

Strider U.S. Championship Details

Save the Dates of July 13th and 14th for the 1st ever STRIDER U.S. Championship in STRIDERville (aka Rapid City, SD)!

Perfect timing for a family vacation to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. Thirty minutes from Mt. Rushmore with lakes, single tracks, and loads of family fun abound. This race also qualifies you for the 3rd Annual STRIDER World Championship in Sarasota, Florida  this October 11th-13th!

Registration will be $15 and will include a medal for all racers, a Strider shirt and other cool Strider items.

STRIDER World Cup Races will take place on 7/13/2013:

2 and under –     10am
3 year olds –      11am
4 year olds –      1pm
5 year olds –      2pm

Updated Strider ST-4 Details

Strider ST-4

Strider’s are my favorite thing to sell in a bike shop. Helping kids skip the training wheels (or lose the training wheels) and enjoy the freedom that two wheels gives you. Strider is on it’s 4th version, each one getting better and better. The latest ST-4 has many updates, a few of them I think will rock kids and parents.

• Holds the MSRP of $110
• Sealed bearings
• Powder coated finish
• Softer Grips
More details

Looking for a Strider? JensonUSA has the ST-3 on sale!