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Southern Spokes Bicycle Festival

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Sorry for lack of posting over the past couple days. I’ve been a bit busy…
WebsiteSouthernSpokes.com RegistrationSouthernSpokes.Eventbrite.com $35 for full weekend of camping and awesomeness $15 for Saturday only

This is the first festival of its type in the Southeast. The goal is to create a weekend around southern cycling. One of the last weekends before school hits, and a great weekend to spend the weekend in a gorgeous park with some of your best cycling buddies. Location: Lake Norman State Park, Troutman, NC Demo’s from Salsa Cycles and Surly Bikes  Exclusive first look for consumers and most bike dealers for the 2013 Salsa Cycles, we will also have some Surly Bikes on hand. Group Camping at LKN State Park – Friday & Saturday Nights  Friday Night:  Open house and food at Museum of Mountain Bike Art & Technology (MOMBAT) in Statesville. Roughly 10 minutes north of the park. Saturday & Sunday : Salsa & Surly demos, southeast cycling vendors on hand to show off their goods there is no SALES of any sort allowed on the state park property. Saturday events:  Specific ride times leaving out of the parking lot, including mountain bike beginner, intermediate, advanced and kids, and a couple road rides. Suspension Experts on hand to help people properly setup their own bikes and the demo bikes Saturday evening a movie showing at either the group campsite on a big projector screen or at the community building. • food wherever the movie is • raffle wherever the movie & food is Sunday:  Scavenger hunt around the LKN area, a kid friendly version in the park and a longer version that will take cyclist outside the park. Other notes:  Weekend passes are limited to 110 people. All proceeds will be going to our local SORBA chapter who has built the trails, Tarheel Trailblazers and the local Trips for Kids Charlotte. WebsiteSouthernSpokes.com RegistrationSouthernSpokes.Eventbrite.com $35 for full weekend of camping and awesomeness $15 for Saturday

Fat Tires and Full Suspension Prototypes

1 Salsa Fat Bike Prototype

Surly Bike Fat BIke TireNext week Tech Tuesday we will touch on fat tire bikes and why they are awesome. For now imagine your mountain bike tire to be 4″ wide. Yes 4″. They’ve been around for several years. The Surly Pugsley in purple was my first experience with fat bikes, this was in 2005. It was single speed, I was in North Carolina. It was awesome for bombing through woods, making my own line on the trail and really not giving a crap what I ran into. Think monster truck with a bike. (You do need forward momentum for it to work!)

Salsa Cycles recently released photos of a full suspension fat tire bike

For those that live in North Carolina or on the West Coast won’t get this. What are fat bikes and why does this matter? The answer for the first question comes Tuesday. The answer for the second question is simple.

Because they can.

Monster truck with front and rear suspension to make your own path, hit the sand, hit the snow and be fine when you hit those logs or rocks in the way.

From Salsa’s blog:

The inspiration for this project came from numerous people within our team (in a strangely timely convergence actually) and from the fact that fatbikes are being ridden all year long as opposed to being strictly thought of as snow or winter bikes….

These are prototypes. We expect to learn a lot from them. They may or may not eventually become an actual product. That is undecided at this time.

Tech Tuesday: What the Heck is a Fat Bike

2 Surly Pugsley Fat Bike

Here at Bike Shop Girl I want women (and guys) to feel empowered and to have a good grasp of what they are talking about when it comes to tech, mechanics and goofy bicycling slang. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

Tech Tuesday

One of the latest bikes to enter my fold as a demo bike for my outside sales position with QBP is a Surly Pugsley. As I bring the bike to more and more events or am seen on the side of the trails with this fine steed I’m often asked “WHAT THE HECK IS THAT??” If you can’t tell from the photos, the tires are freaking huge. 3.8 inches to be exact.  Compare that to a normal mountain bike tire which is on average is 2.1.

Fat tire photo

Why Do You Need Tires So Big?

Think of a truck that goes through mud, rocks or dirt. Or think about any 4×4 vehicle. They have larger tires with more volume, right? The low pressure, high volume tires give you a great flotation across all types of loose terrain. You get better traction, can forget about worrying about that “perfect line” and pave new trails through the woods. Think of it as the true all terrain bicycle.

What the Downfalls?

The biggest downfall is the weight. While I know of some folks that have decked out their rides to be around 25-26 lbs for a fully geared bike. That is still pretty heavy if you need to hike a bike.

The selection is a bit limited. I personally know of only four manufactures that make bikes to fit this size of tires. Salsa, Surly, FatBack and 9:Zero:7. The only tires I know of are made by Surly or just released 45NRTH.

Finally, you won’t find this at most local shops. If you end up purchasing one I recommend to order a few extra tubes and maybe a tire or full spare wheel as most local bike shops won’t keep this type of stuff in stock.

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

I work for Quality Bicycle Products, and have a deep association with Salsa, Surly and 45NRTH. That doesn’t mean I don’t give my complete and true thoughts on the product. If anything I’m going to be harder on the product because of these facts. This is my disclaimer. Love, Bike Shop Girl

Bicycle Building with Friends

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Before my El Mariachi was even an idea, my friend Shelley was looking for a 29er. We went through all the various options and her needs. As I’m still biased to many of Salsa’s products, and the Mamasita was a big hit, we kept eye out for a size small Mamasita or El Mariachi for her. After a month or so, the 2011 Salsa El Mariachi frames became available through the distributor and she ordered one up. Over several email correspondents we sourced all the parts from various websites and bike shops.

This past Thursday and Saturday I spent time helping her build up her new bike, mainly for the karma and that she wanted my special touch on her bike. Oh yes, and I have all the fancy Park Tools to do so.

Salsa El Mariachi Bike Build
The build was very painless, other than the lack of compressor and attempted tubeless conversion. Don’t worry, a compressor is now on my Birthday/Christmas list! And having to install/bleed the Dicky-tastic Jagwire white hose. The Cane Creek headset and Straitline brake levers, with additional white hose, look super fancy on the Mariachi that has no name. Matchy, but not too matchy to be confused with a racer.

Salsa El Mariachi Bike Build
The owner finished up some minor details on the bike build, forgetting the bar end/gut plugs. Shame, shame on them! Come on people, bar end plugs save lives!! Overall, I believe the she is very happy with her new 29er and hopefully had a positive bike building experience.

Salsa El Mariachi Bike Build

Her bike and all its beautiful bits, made me jealous and that is were the El Mariachi for myself came into play. Now, Industry Nine – where are my wheels?!?!

Motivational Monday with JJ

0 Motivational Monday with JJ

WHAT’S YOUR NAME AND LOCATION?

JJ, south MPLS

WHAT TYPE OF CYCLING DO YOU ENJOY?

I enjoy commuting, touring, alley cats, and I would like to try mountain biking!

WHAT IS YOUR FIRST CYCLING MEMORY?

I grew up on a farm. I was the oldest child, and we had a Schwinn Stingray out in one of the machine sheds. I got it out and asked if we had training wheels. “Nope,” was the answer. I was 5 years old. I decide by the end of the day, I would have learned to ride that bike, and that’s just what I did. We only had gravel and dirt roads to ride on, and I spent most waking hours on that beautiful bike. I tried to fly like Evel Knievel out of a livestock loading chute, rode it off the roofs of small buildings, through pastures and along creeks. I had a few skinned knees, but I was hooked! I have loved that feeling ever since.

WHO INSPIRES YOU TO RIDE, AND BETTER YET WHY?

I’m not sure who… I don’t know if I have any one person I look up to for biking inspiration. The WHY is much easier–I love the freedom of getting almost anywhere I need to on my own power. I love the way I am fully awake as I pedal along the Greenway silently in the morning, and how I’ve had time to think ahead about my day. I ride because lots of 50-year-old women DON’T ride, and I think I’m pretty cool to do that. I ride because it feels amazing. I ride because it’s the right thing to do.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BEST MOMENT ON THE BIKE SO FAR THIS YEAR?

I think pulling into Peacock Groove at the end of the Babes in Bikeland all women/trans alleycat race, with my team, the Old Souls, was probably the best! We were exhilarated to have found all of our stops and made it back before the official end of the race. The beers tasted so good, and everyone was jubilant! I was really happy to have ridden with such awesome WTFs and we finished! YAY!

TELL US ALL ABOUT YOUR BIKES

I started my re-engagement in biking by fulfilling my dream of rebuilding an old bike, from the frame up. I rebuilt a ’79 Fuji steel framed bike at Grease Rag. So, I have that beautiful old girl, a KHS hybrid that I ride in the winter, and two Salsas; a Vaya and a Casseroll. I confess I look at Craigslist CONSTANTLY and I’m always drooling over the next possible bike!

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!

Foundry Cycles Broadaxe: Singleatored

1 Foundry Cycles Broadaxe Single Speed

For the 2013 season I’m really focusing on a handful of endurance mountain bike races and then a slew of cross country mountain bike series (SERC, Southern Classic and the Georgia State MTB.) Then in the fall of course will be cyclocross domination (it will be domination and not just participation!)

Looking at my schedule and thinking of bikes for work/demo and brand representation I had a lot to chose from. My rock steady go to bike for the past year has been the Salsa Spearfish. Made to crush endurance with 29er wheels, 100mm front, 80mm rear and a very stable handling platform. As a rep I have many brands to represent and having ridden a Spearfish non-stop for the past year most of my stores have seen that bike, or at least listened to stories of how killer the bike is.

Enter the Foundry Cycles Broadaxe

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Frostbike–A bicycle non-professional at a bicycle industry trade show

1 Fat tire wheelie courtesy of Chris

A guest post by Laura Colbert of Loose Nuts Cycles in Atlanta, GA

So, I know my byline up there says that I represent Loose Nuts Cycles when I write.  The truth is that I am by no means a bicycle industry professional.  I ride my bike to work and around town, love a mountain bike ride, help out at the local velodrome and am marrying a bike shop owner, but I have never been paid to ride or work on bikes or to be knowledgeable about bicycle-related things.  I am a bicycle non-professional.

This weekend, my partner (owner of Loose Nuts Cycles) and I flew to Minneapolis so that he could attend Frostbike 2013–QBP’s annual conference and trade show.  I originally signed up because I have some family in the city and wanted to visit with them, but I was also curious about what went on at bicycle industry gatherings.  I’m in public health, so I’m used to peer-reviewed abstracts, break out sessions, suits, and networking events when I go to a conference.

Before we even left Atlanta for the frigid northern lands of Minnesota,  I knew I was in for something different than the expert-packed, abstract-ridden, brain-overwhelming days of public health conferences.  Chris forwarded an email to me with the subject line “2013 Frostbike Beer Hunt”, which described a scavenger hunt-type activity that you could complete at the vendor expo in order to earn “a 22oz. bottle of limited-edition Frostbike beer that was brewed and bottled by the QBP Vendor Sales Team”.  It’s not that we public health folks don’t have fun at our conferences, but we’ve certainly never hosted a Beer Hunt.  I could tell that Chris’s “professional” trip was going to be a very different kind of professional than I was used to.

Essentially, our schedule was this:

Friday–arrive in Minneapolis and find hotel.  Go to All City Bikes party (via a party bus called the Night Rider) and have beer- and bike-related fun.

Saturday–Go to QBP headquarters.  Check out the vendor expo for the morning.  Eat delicious lunch provided by Thompson and QBP.  Ride Surly fat bikes in the snow.  Back to expo.  Return to hotel for dinner.

Sunday–More expo. Take tour of QBP headquarters.  Eat more delicious lunch.  Ride more fat bikes (Salsa this time).  Win stuff at a raffle.  Back to hotel.

Monday–Sit on butt.  Fly back to Atlanta.

After4 bicycle packed days, these are the things that stuck with me:

  1. Fat tire bikes are awesome, especially when used for their intended purpose–snow.

    fat tires

    fat tires

  2. QBP likes girls.  My name tag said “Dealer” which probably helped, but all of the brands and bike professionals with whom I spoke treated me very equitably, like I knew as much as Chris did.  They made sure to look at both of us when talking about products.  I liked the feeling of not being talked down to and treated knowledgeably, even if I wasn’t actually knowledgeable.  I hope that Frostbike 2014 includes seminars for bike shop owners about how to make women cyclists feel like that in their shops.  It seems pretty rare in the bike world.
  3. The bicycle apparel industry apparently hates women–I’ll rant more about this in a later post, but women’s bicycle clothing continues to be made to look exactly like men’s cycling apparel but with an added flower or ruffle.  I saw not one piece of clothing at the entire show that I would be excited about wearing.
  4. POC Helmets look awesome–awesome enough to reduce how dorky I normally feel when wearing a helmet.
  5. Brooks still makes beautiful, drool-worthy leather products–I fell in love with this Brooks bag.  Oh yeah, and this bag is pretty amazing in the grape color.
  6. The Surly display.  They had obviously put a lot of thought and design into their space, even though it was just temporary.  Plus, the new Big Dummy cargo system premiered, which was exciting.
    Custom painted Moonlander just outside the Surly display area

    Custom painted Moonlander just outside the Surly display area

    New Surly Big Dummy bag and top plate

    New Surly Big Dummy bag and top plate

     

  7. There is a common sense of purpose between the Frostbike attendees.  Even though people didn’t know each other, they shared a priority and experience that connected them.  It sounds like hippy talk, but it made Frostbike feel welcoming and warm.  The feeling helped to re-energize a lot of attendees (including myself) about riding, even in the middle of winter.
  8. Kenda’s new tube vending machine–this is being tested in several pilot areas before it will be available to the mass market.  Pretty fun product.

    For all those times when you need a tube and your local bike shop isn't open to help you

    For all those times when you need a tube and your local bike shop isn’t open to help you

I was prepared to come back and report that professional bike trade shows are just an excuse to have a good party and talk about bikes all weekend.  While partying and talking about riding bikes and actually riding bikes was essentially all that we did for 3 days, I was surprised at how much actual business got done.  Vendors with whom I spoke were really excited and helpful when talking about their new products.  Bike shop owners were stoked that these new products met the needs of their customers (with the exception of women’s cycling clothing–ugh! Still unreasonably pissed about this).  Everyone wanted to ride bikes and generally the atmosphere at Frostbike fueled that fire.  It was fun to come home and be stoked to get on my bike and know that thousands of other people were doing the same thing as they returned home from Frostbike too.

Eating Paleo: Food Staples in Our House

15 Sweet Potatoes

The biggest change and challenge from moving to the Paleo style of eating is being prepared and having foods ready to eat.

There is some food preparation required and forethought when you go to the grocery store, but it all became much easier for our household once we nailed down the staple foods that make 65% of our diet. Grocery trips are faster (and cheaper) and sticking to the Paleo plan is pretty thoughtless once you find your groove.

Below are the Paleo food staples in our house, these are things that we always have available and make in large batches on the weekends. Find your staples and you will find success in daily healthy eating!

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Shop Photo Roll: First Flight Bicycles

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Been working today on program/settings/lighting with a new camera I picked up for Interbike. (My Canon 7D decided last minute to need servicing.) One of the places I visited today was First Flight Bicycles… the Charlotte area Salsa dealer.