The shopping experience is getting better in the cycling industry for women. For the past few years it has been drilled in to retailers heads by manufacturers and industry representatives. Women do make up the majority of buying decision in the average household and women do like to shop. Seeing that most bike shops are male driven we don’t have to wonder why it is intimidating to go in and talk about spandex, bike shorts or colors of bikes with the guys. Most of them can’t get it, because they aren’t a girl!
Searching for “women's29er”
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
I love steel bicycles, I know that isn’t a way you should start off a review of an aluminum bike but there is a reason…
In no particular order these are things I have said over the years to friends, customers and myself. If you have more advice to add please join the conversation in the comments at the bottom of this page.
Research, learn and learn some more
You may find a great local shop, but unless there is an experience girl there, they won’t be able to tell you from their own experience. Boys are made differently, even their thinking is different, which makes for some things not to be comparable. (Saddles, shorts, clothing, etc.) Try to learn from as many people as possible, test ride, and ask a ton of questions. Don’t stop learning or asking!
Invest in a a good bike seat and bike fitting
You should not have any numbness or pain when you ride your bike normally. If you start training for Ride Across America or something like that, it may be different. A two hour ride should be fun and enjoyable, make it so.
Also, make sure your favorite bike shorts aren’t causing problems. With a seam or stitching in the wrong place, it can cause a ton of problems.
The wonderful woman behind Lovely Bicycles posted a great article that I could never do justice. Go read over there about bike saddles and the female anatomy.
Be careful shaving down there, especially the first few times before you ride
When you first start riding, purchase a new saddle or change your bike fit, it is very important to take note of these changes when you are shaving or trimming your crotch area. This goes for any area that is touching the bike saddle. In grown hairs, shaving burns and all those things can be heightened by cycling shorts and saddles rubbing up and down for many revolutions of your pedals.
Try some sort of butt and “cooter” lube
You may not realize you are chaffing or rubbing areas. Also, many have an anti-bacteria add in. My favorite is DZ Nuts “Bliss”.
Women’s Cycling Shorts, saddles and handle bar tape/grip wear out
The same as you look at your drive train and tires, keep a good look on these things before they cause you problems.
Find other women to ride with
Even if it is once a month and you have to drive, do it. This spring I made a vow to do my best to ride with a local women’s ladies mountain bike group the Dirt Divas or atlas ride with some of them when time allows. The social aspect, the motivating factor, the “belonging” feeling and finally to motivate OTHERS, are all reasons to do it.
Women cyclist should ride with the boys
It will make you stronger and faster.
Become self reliant
Learn how to change your tire, clean your chain and the basic lingo so you can maintain your bike with your local bike shops help. You don’t need anyone else for those basic things, plus you’ll be safer when riding if you know these things.
“There’s a place in Hell reserved for women who don’t help other women.” – Madeleine Albright
Try to remember the first time you went bike riding with a group, tried clipless pedals or entered your first race. Make sure to smile at the start line and encourage. Competition is healthy but women will be the back bone of making this sport a success, I can promise you that one.
You are a woman, you are an athlete and you should be proud of all these things together.
The press release I received last night from Liv/giant was a long one (two pages long without photos.) As I started reading it, every paragraph was making me more giddy than the last. Why?
Liv/giant is about to rock the women’s cyclocross world
Meet the Liv/giant Brava SLR women’s cyclocross line! Two models, the Brava SLR O and Brava SLR 2 both equally stunning in their own category. Light weight, disc brakes, women’s geometry and colors that I personally find attractive.
Liv/giant Brava SLR 2 MSRP: $1600
The lightest women’s-specific cyclocross bike—and the only one with disc brakes—is all about performance and versatility. You can race it during cyclocross season, commute with it in all kinds of conditions, or use it for long rides on mixed terrain. The lightweight, responsive ALUXX SLR alloy frame features an OverDrive 2 steerer tube for stiff, responsive steering and a toptube that’s shaped for shouldering comfort. A D-Fuse SL composite seatpost provides compliance over rough terrain. Additional performance-minded features include disc brakes, a 15mm thru-axle for enhanced handling precision, and smooth, clean internal cable routing. – Liv/Giant
Liv/giant Brava SLR 0 MSRP: $4800
The lightest women’s-specific cyclocross bike—and the only one with disc brakes—is all about performance and versatility. The lightweight, responsive ALUXX SLR alloy frame features an OverDrive 2 steerer tube for stiff, responsive steering and a toptube that’s shaped for shouldering comfort. A D-Fuse SL composite seatpost provides compliance over rough terrain. Additional performance-minded features include disc brakes, a 15mm thru-axle for enhanced handling precision, and smooth, clean internal cable routing. -Liv/giant
Sizing/Geometry of the Brava SLR Women’s Cyclocross Bikes
I suggest to be familiar with the geometry of these bikes before test riding. Traditionally I ride a 55/56cm which normally equals a Large in women’s bikes, but looking at top tube lengths I will fit a medium. Everything else in the geometry looks straight forward, and should fit many short torso’d women very well. This part (other than pricing and spec) was one of the main reasons I was so giddy reading the press release! Hopefully I’ll be able to swing a leg over one of these bikes to give you a full report on handling and sizing.
Photo Credit: Yeti Beti
Colorado is home to fabulous cycling events like the US Pro Challenge and the Triple By Pass. Our lovely state is also home to several amazing women’s only bike events and races.
Here’s a list of ladies-only cycling events in Colorado!
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to test ride on a local trail a few women’s specific 29er mountain bikes. As I had mentioned in the past I was very excited about this new idea of women’s sizing in 29″ technology but that is where my research ended.
The idea of fitting smaller individuals (men or women) on to the larger wheel technology has been something that I’ve had hopes for. A few years ago when the 650b movement started I was completed behind it for that reason. The 26″ wheel, to me, is not the solution for everyone based on how they ride and where they ride. People deserve options, an example of this is why 3″, 5″, 7″ and 9″ suspension systems exists.
Back on topic, riding women’s specific 29ers
I didn’t have the ability to check saddle fore and aft, saddle to handlebars or any specifics other than seat height. Now that my disclaimers out of the way….
The bike didn’t handle well. I don’t know how else to say it…. The geometry of it all doesn’t make any sense. Take a normal size 29er, keep the wheel base the same length and shorten the top tube. What you get is a very slack, very flip flop, very slow handling bike thanks to changing the head tube angle to something that would mimic a 5″ travel “all mountain bike”.
To a point I understand why they did this. Shorter top tube to fit women with shorter upper bodies.
My Opinion : How to fit women on 29ers
My bike fit is 140% female. I have a super long inseam and super short upper body, even my arms are short. This is my take on fitting my own personal 29ers. Longer top tube than I would ride on a 26″ bike, and an inch shorter stem. My effective length from saddle tip to handlebars hasn’t changed, but how I achieve it has. My handling is changed to make up for the bigger (heavier and larger) front wheel and often more raked out fork. Faster steering is achieved with the shorter stem and my front wheel isn’t tucked up under me either.
Your Bike, Your Opinion
Fitting mountain bikes is a very dynamic effort. It’s not as straight forward as fitting someone on a road bike. You take everything that you know from fitting road bikes, tie in your own mountain bike experience and then tie in the person RIDING the mountain bikes own feedback. Test ride, try out things, and repeat.
Depending where you ride, how aggressive you ride, and your own body type (size, shape, fitness, strength & flexibility) every bike will fit you different. A bike out of a box most likely won’t fit you. How the mechanic that built the bike probably won’t be how you need it to fit.
The above feelings about how the 29er women’s specific bikes rode is my own experience, I ride aggressively, I push my bike and body every time I’m out riding. The handling of the bike was too slow and did not excel for technical riding. Inquire with your local bike shop, talk about bike fitting and your own needs!
For the past month I have been cruising around on the 2012 Raleigh RX 1.0 Women’s cyclocross bike. A good amount of people emailed and tweeted about the bike, so there must be an interest in women’s cyclocross! You can read the preview over yonder.
Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to watch the company of ZOIC Clothing transform and become a more popular choice for women’s clothing. Stylish and functional clothes for mountain and lifestyle bicycling, their clothing is a great fit for my move to the mountains!
Out of the 4 pieces that were sent from ZOIC this is easily my favorite. $50 for a tech t-shirt may sound a lot, but it has functions like vents near your shoulder blades and a pocket for an iPod or key. It also fits like a your favorite workout shirt but long enough on me for when I bend over riding. Time will tell how this wears, but for now it is a go-to when commuting or wearing a hydration backpack.
This stylish short pairs well with the Starburst V-Neck Tech Tee above. The liner is a pretty basic chamois, but good for someone’s first mtb short and liner combo. When mountain biking and needing a padded short I will personally use a short or bib that I already own. (I use fancy chamois remember?)
I plan on trying this short as a commuter too, maybe with a higher end wool underwear to act as that bacteria liner.
It’s summertime and we all care about our tan lines, right ladies? This tank, with built in shelf to hold your girls in place, is pretty dang comfortable. I have yet to test the shelf on a mountain bike ride, but I would assume if you are more than a large “B cup” you will want to wear a sports bra under. One of the best features of this tank are the two pockets (one zipper and one elastic) on the small of your back.
The Aura short feels like a mountain bike short to me. Elastic across the backside, on the inner and outer (medial and lateral the Dr. E has to add) leg and adjustable velcro closure on the hips for a secure fit. These shorts will stay in place on your next uphill climb or downhill adrenaline rush. Time will only tell how the rear will hold up against dirt and sand on the saddle. As mentioned in the Posh short, I won’t be using the liner for long rides but it will work for a commute or your first mountain bike rides.
Overall, most of these pieces have had one or two rides on them so I’m not prepared to talk too much about the fit or long term wear. I can say that they all look better in person than on ZOIC’s website. The materials feel nice on your skin and the attention to detail on stitching, accents and functional placement of things like zippers/mesh airflow pockets and such are pretty darn good for the price tags!
Look for a full review in a month or so, until then check out ZOIC’s women’s collection online.
Disclaimer: These products were provided at no charge for review. I wasn’t paid or bribed for my opinion.
Since posting the first photos back in July the 2012 Trek Lush has been a buzz around Bike Shop Girl. The Twitter stream gets many comments, Facebook gets many questions and my email has its own little folder of women waiting to hear more on first test rides and availability. As I mentioned a few weeks back I was fortunate enough to be loaned a 2012 Trek Lush Carbon for review and demo purposes from the East Coast Women’s Trek Demo rep.