I have many bones to pick with the industry I love, I’m calling it a war- a war to get more butts on bikes, to get kids safer to adventure and for the industry to get their head out of the ground. First step was bike shops, the front line of the bicycle industry. Now to put more of a blanket across the complete industry, to everyone that calls themselves cyclist.
Here’s what I ask of you, as you are most likely a cyclist to read this blog…I ask you to take a moment and reflect on the thoughts I am bringing you.
How many sports interrupt everyone’s daily life?
Other than running, to a point, who’s “sport” stops the lives of the non-cycling population?
We talk about going after golf as a target audience of potential cyclist – golf has beautiful couses and ranges to practice our strokes
Runners can run on sidewalks
Baseball, soccer, lacrosse and football have fields with bleachers wrapped around
The Sport We Love Causes Chaos
We fight to share the road, should we be fighting to have our own roads, greenways and trails instead? Is sharing roads with 4,000 lb cars the smartest thing to do? Do bike lanes, only inches, from 55 mph roads make sense? Do we belong on roads over 35 mph as road cyclist or commuters?
I sit here writing this while watching the latest stage of the Tour de France. Beautiful, romantic and exciting. I also watch thousands of miles of roads shut down. The closest I can think of this that is non-cycling is that of the Boston Marathon at 26.2 miles.
What is Our Hope?
The bike industry “is flat” they say. Of course it is. My family worry about me when I go for a ride on the road. I’m not able to ride my mountain bike locally when it rains, and it has been raining on and off all week. The local velodrome is 45 minutes away. The closest greenway, 8 miles away, is 3 miles long.
When you look for our hope, look to your neighborhood. Look at all the bikes with flat tires in your neighbors garage. What would inspire them to ride? What does the venue look like?
Our hope is not for the next Lance Armstrong.
My hope is for organizations like Streetsblog, a blog about sustainable transportation and livable communities. Side neighborhood streets, planned development and creating safe ways to move around communities. That is how to get more people on bikes, out of the gym and out of their car.
Think About It
Next time you are out on the road, think about what is going on around you. Wave to that person that stopped for you or went AROUND you. You are interrupting their flow and their day. Just because you are able to be on the road, share the lane or take the lane, doesn’t mean you aren’t creating chaos out there. When we are riding 10 deep of 2 or 3 a breast, who is sitting patiently behind you in their car? Where did we go so wrong that we feel entitled to interrupting someones day because “we ride a bike”?
If your kids were in the middle of the street playing catch or kicking a soccer ball and a car comes down the road do you expect your kids to get out of the way or the car to stop?
As I am figuring out the balance of being an outside rep in the large territory of the Southeast, doing a shop I am absolutely in love with and trying to get back on my bike I am left with the daily struggle of finding a balance.
Anytime a new swing of events or change happens you often rise to the occasion of finding the best ways to do things. Learning new habits, breaking old ones and finding your place in life – that is what life is about right?
Finding Bike Rides and Making Money
I’m a rep now. A traveling, selling, building, growing, creating relationship, rep. My territory is NC, SC, GA, TN and AL. It means a lot of time on the road behind a steering wheel, a lot of time learning about different bicycle cultures in so many different cities and helping a great amount of bike shops get more people on bikes. The more people I can see, the more places I go, the more opportunities I have.
What I am balancing now is the right bikes to take, the right time to ride, getting shops to show me the area and witnessing their cycling culture first hand. Every day is different, every town is a new challenge and I’m embracing it but I haven’t been on the bike nearly as much as I would like. (That’s true for most!)
What is Your Story?
Do you have 5 kids and go riding at 5am? Are you an investment banker that travels all over the world and has a folder bike they utilize during the week? Tell me your story and how you find time to get on your two wheel friend.
One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!
A common inquiry I receive is whether a certain component is worth the upgrade. To begin I’m going to simply touch on mountain bike parts, next week touching on road. I’m going to do my best to spell out the two main component brands, SRAM and Shimano, and their levels of parts. There are several other component manufactures out there and if you have specific questions please comment below.
SRAM Corporation is a privately held bicycle component manufacturer based in Chicago, Illinois, founded in 1987. SRAM is an acronym comprising the names of its founders, Scott, Ray, and Sam, (where Ray is the middle name of company head Stan Day).
In 2008, the company received a strategic investment from Trilantic Capital Partners, formerly known as Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking, the buyout arm of Lehman Brothers. The firm invested $234.8 million in SRAM in a deal that closed Sept. 30, 2008. On May 12, 2011, the company announced in a filing that it intended to raise up to $300 million in an IPO.
SRAM was first known for grip shifters, which are still used to date and are normally featured on internally geared hubs, children’s and hybrid bikes. Grip shifters can be found on the higher end bikes, but are not available in the new 10 speed components.
SRAM also owns RochShox, Zipp, Avid and Truvativ that make up a complete component line of shocks, wheels, brakes, handlebars, seatposts, pedals, cranks, etc.
SRAM Mountain Components
SRAM was the first to bring 10 speed drivetrains to the masses with XX, or 2×10. The 10 speeds in the rear is now available from both SRAM and Shimano. For me SRAM and Shimano don’t have even playing fields in mountain since the XX technology is far lighter than the XTR from Shimano.
Heirarchy of 2011 SRAM Mountain Components
XX - the best. If you have the money, or must have the lightest parts. This is the level X0 – Traditional the best from SRAM, but was trumped by XX. 2×10 technology (Comparable to XTR) X9 – Shifts amazing, a bit heavier and no carbon! Go with if you are worried about weight, but don’t want to break the bank. 2×10 technology (Comparable to XT) X7 – The most affordable of the 2×10 technology, will last and give you the advantage. Not the lightest, but won’t break your wallet (Comparable to SLX) X5 – Found on mid level, what I would consider the lowest end for off road worthy parts. 9 speed(Comparable to Deore) X4 – An entry level, found normally on hybrids or mountain bikes not intended to be ridden off road. Perfectly fine if not abused or ridden off road. X3 – Normally found on kids bikes or very entry level bikes. Will need more maintenance and parts will wear out more quickly.
Shimano, Inc. (TYO: 7309) is a Japanese multinational manufacturer of cycling components, fishing tackle, and rowing equipment. Shimano product sales constitute 50% of the of the global bicycle component market. Its products include drivetrain, brake, wheel and pedal components for road, mountain, and hybrid bikes.
Shimano is the best known name within bicycle parts. The first to introduce mountain bike specific groups (Deore XT) and continue to push the envelope with electronic shifting to the masses, and innovation technology.
Shimano Mountain Components
XTR has been known over a decade as the bee’s knees of mountain bike parts. Still to this day, the clean and etched look of “XTR” on your rear derailleur or cranks will show folks you know your parts.
XTR [M980] – Top of the range for XC mountain bikes. 10 speed, comparable to SRAM X9 Deore XT [M770] – The longest running of a mtb component line. Amazing shifting, with a bit more weight than XTR. 9 and 10 speed, between SRAM X9 and X7 SLX [M660] – The best bang for the buck in the mtb line, still great shifting but more weight and won’t last as long as XT. 9 and 10 speed, comparable to SRAM X7 Deore [M590] - Entry level, good place to start but will wear out after a couple years of hard use. 9 speed, comparable to SRAM X5
Deore XT Deore LX Deore
Saint [M810] – Top of the range for downhill and freeride bikes, and many components are based on the XT groupset but more durable.
Recreational mountain bikes component
Alivio [M410 and M430] 8 and 9 speed Acera [M360] 8 speed Altus [M310] 8 speed Tourney 6, 7, 8 speed – Includes several different levels of quality, and can be found on department-store bicycles
July through September is an exciting time of the year for the bike industry. July is one of the busiest months across the US for retailers, and right around the corner the next seasons product is budding to be released.
One of the first releases out on the wire are the new Trek Bikes line of women’s road bikes called Lexa.
Trek Lexa $689.99
Compared to the Trek 1.1 unisex bike, this bike is all aluminum (including the fork) with 8 speed drivetrain and compact cranks.
Trek Lexa S $899.99
Compared to the Trek 1.2, carbon fork and 9 speed drivetrain.
Trek Lexa SL $1099.99
Compared to the Trek 1.5 with 9 speed Tiagra and carbon fork. Available in compact or triple.
Trek Lexa SLX $1319.99
10 speed shifting, hydro-formed frame and a higher end aluminum bike.
Across the country the use of cellphones while driving is being cracked down on. Depending on your area it could be as simple as “no texting” or as strict as no cell phone use, unless on work duty.
The statistics for accidents and deaths due to use of cellphones are very high, to be honest it is one of the biggest fears I have as a cyclist on the road.
What are your local governments doing and how does it make you feel?
Locally, we have a ban on texting while driving. I don’t think it has changed much of anything and it doesn’t make me feel better. After the first few times friends of mine get tickets for using their iPhones or Blackberry’s while driving, then I will feel like change is happening.
Until then, I will keep my children on side roads with a good shoulder or dirt paths.
During April there was a little event called 30 Days of Biking. The goal was to get your butt on a bike during the 30 days of April. A wrench was thrown into my gears during April quickly and I didn’t get nearly all the 30 days (or half of it.) I’m making my own version of 30 Days of Biking in May, everyday a bike ride, everyday a new adventure.
Starting the 30 days of biking off with an easy spin. 19.93 miles, a normal loop from my house that I’ve enjoyed over the past few years. Given the fact I hadn’t been on the road bike in a couple weeks, I felt great and was excited to feel that good!!! I mentally was trying to get back in the feel of things as the next day, Monday, my goal was to try commuting by bike again.
Aluminum hydroframed with carbon fork, change the spec and you have three different levels of Raleigh’s new womens road line. There are some thoughts I walk away with after looking through the line. First off, I don’t understand the geometry and will look more into it with Raleigh. I wish they would bring the smaller 45cm through the whole sizes, especially since it has a 495mm top tube! Until I have more answers, here’s the 2011 Raleigh Capri womens line up…
I’m sure if I go way back I can remember things earlier, but one of the things I do remember is my brother, who’s three years younger than I, picking up my bike and riding it around sans-training wheels. I remember being pissed that he could ride it better than I could.
Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?
A good friend of mine is owner of Beverly Cycles in MA, and just exudes a passion for cycling. He was one of the ones that unknowingly got my head back into cycling after giving up for a time.
What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?
I’ve done a fair amount of races this year, more than the last couple of years, but I think the best moment was the other day. We’ve recently moved to Malaysia from the Boston area, and the other day was my first bike ride here. While it was a whopping 3 miles and was only for getting around to run errands and meet up with folks, it broke the ice of cycling here. I’m much less worried about going out for rides, and I can’t wait to go out again.
Tell us what you ride
I have many bikes. My theory is the usual N + 1 where N is the number of current bikes, and I have enough parts and frames in the basement of our hours in the States to build several bikes.
That said, my road bike is a 2009 Fuji RC frame with Ultegra 6700 parts and Mavic Krysrium wheels.
My CX bike (the only one I have with me until October) is a mix of various parts I’ve bought in shops, online or salvaged from other bikes. It’s a 1×9 with BB7 disc brakes, carbon fork and Mud2 tires. I’m planning on putting road tires on soon until my road bike is shipped over.
I have two bikes that I left in the States for when I visit, one is a 1976 Raleigh Grand Prix with Sora crank, fenders and 700c wheels. The other is the first new bike I’ve ever owned, a 2002 Trek 1000 road bike, which will be my primary bike when I’m back home, in case I want to jump into a race.
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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!