Empowering women in cycling

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Colorful Knog Lights

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Safety is a big thing for me.  Helmets, lights and brakes on those fixed gear bikes are all important things.  Any customer that comes through the shop getting into cycling or buying a new bike the two must accessories are a well fit helmet and a rear blinky light.  So that I don’t sounds like I’m pushing things at them I explain the basics, you have one head (duh) and a good light will give drivers a good warning that you are up the road.

Today I’ll be talking about Knog’s colorful line of blinky lights.

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Holiday Wish List for Bicyclist: Stocking Stuffers

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Ideas for what to put in that stocking of the cyclist you love, or me!

Lizard Skins Bar Tape or Ergon Grips

Fresh new bar tape from Lizard Skins or Ergon GP2 grips are the easiest way to freshen up a bike. I’m also a big fan of both of these for long training miles in the winter. Happy hands = Happy Arleigh

DeFeet Honey Badger Xmas Socks

Honey Badger + Socks made in North Carolina, how much more awesome could you get?

Gels, Bars and All Things Nutrition

My personal favorites for this category: Gu Chomps, Hammer Gel in large jugs, Kit Organic Bars (live on these things while traveling)

Kinetic Koffee

Ritz and his crew love bikes, support many causes and have the best hug to be found at tiring trade shows. Your local bike shop can order, or you can order direct. My personal favorite is Breakfast Buzz, Bike Shop Girl will probably have a private label of this after the holidays!

Lights and more Lights

It’s that time of the year that either it’s dreary on your road ride or you aren’t mountain biking after work because you can’t see. Help out your cyclist, keep them riding and safe!

On the road option 1: To be seen, this is for the front and back on the road when it’s getting dark. I’m a fan of the new Knog Blinder lights as they charge with a built in USB and add some personality to your bike.

On the road option 2: I’m biased, I LOVE the folks at Light & Motion. The  gift set will add some much needed visibility and you can see with the 200 lumen headlight, unless you’re rolling at 25mph. Both are charged by a USB cable, saving the planet one battery at a time.

 On the trail: Light & Motion is what I run almost exclusively. They are water proof, bomb proof, and the company (as mentioned) rocks. If your loved one doesn’t have anything to trail ride with I would recommend the Taz 800 or the Seca 800. The biggest advantage of the Seca is being able to run on your helmet (my preference) and a separate battery so you can charge others or have backups for long rides.

Strava and Garmin Geeks Rejoice

Does your loved one ride non-stop with a Garmin strapped to their bike? Class it up a bit with this K-Edge mount.

For the Single Speeder in your Life

Endless (another NC based company) is now anodizing their cogs to order!

Road ID

EVERY bicycle rider needs one of these. Or two. Or four. It won’t prevent an accident, but it could save their life and notify you faster!

Gift Card

If all else fails, a gift card to your local bike shop towards merchandise or service would make any bicyclist happy!

YMX Core Long Sleeve Top

1 YMX Core Long Sleeve Top

YMX makes clothing for the athletic woman. While many women look at the clothing line and think yoga the fit and style really fit in well across cycling. The fit is sexy, the material is soft and light. As YMX rolls out more fall and winter clothing I’ll be picking out my favorite’s to share with you.

YMX Core Long Sleeve Top

MSRP: $98

Details: This pink Tribal print long sleeve top is feminine and energetic. Perfect for workout, running, cycling, or with your favorite pair of jeans, this YMX top is sure to be a favorite. YMX tops are sized to fit close to the body, and are light, soft, and have a generous shape-holding stretch. If you prefer a relaxed fit, stepping up from your usual size is recommended.

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. 

Essential Cycling Holiday Gift Guide

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The hours are ticking down and if you are anything like me you haven’t checked off everyone on your list. Below is a list of essentials that every cyclist, or budding cyclist, needs in their arsenal. Here’s to finishing up the shopping so we can all enjoy the holidays properly!

Disclaimer: About half the links below are affiliate links, which means if you click on them and buy something I may make commission. That’s not horrible right?

Essentials for the Bike

Tubes

Every cyclist needs these, just figure out what type of bike they have (road, mountain, hybrid, etc.) and then if they have a skinny valve like below, called presta, or a standard shrader like on your car.

 

bike tubesClick to Buy

Lube

There are many great lubes out there, but T-9 is my go to recommendation for most cyclists out there.

bike lubeClick to Buy

Flat Kit

All you need to do is add a tube to this bag and it is ready to be strapped to your bike. CO2 for easy inflation, tire levers and patch kits to keep you rolling.

Flat Kit Click to Buy

Rear Blinky Light

You need a rear light, so does your loved ones.

Rear Blinky LightClick to Buy

Soft Good Essentials

 Defeet Wool Socks

It’s that time of year in Colorado that my Defeet Wool socks are being worn as often as they are clean, and sometimes even when they are dirty.

 

 

Defeet Woolie SocksClick to Buy

TwinSix Tall Socks

Favorite summer socks, ever.

 TwinSix Socks
Click to Buy

Super Packable Jacket

While I would prefer you bought it in a different color other than black, this super packable jacket can go in your jersey pocket or backpack very easy.

 

 

Pearl Izumi PRO Jacket

 Click to Buy

 

TwinSix T-Shirts

Do your cyclists a favor, give them a gift of fashion off the bike this year with these t-shirts (and every holiday moving forward.)

TwinSix TshirtsClick to Buy

Holiday Stocking Stuffer Wish List

1 Clif Bar Seasonal

I’m a cyclist, I ride year round and there are key things that I use year round, or around this time of year lust after. For all of you looking to buy something for a cyclist in your life this is my stocking stuffer list. I’ll also be writing up a larger item Holiday Wish List for the bigger ticket items.

Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle

Camelbak Podium Chill Bottle

Insulated, easy to use mouth piece and a close off valve to keep the bottle from leaking in your bag or on a shaky mountain ride.

Rear Blinky Light

Walk in to any bike shop and for $10 – 40 you can get a good rear light. Depending what type of traffic and weather your cyclist rides in you may want to spend more.

Cycling SocksDeFeet Socks

I’m a sucker for wool but maybe your cyclist is into pastel colors, crazy designs or an easy “STFU” on their cuff. Another easy to find stocking stuffer.

Tubes

Tubes for your bike is a much needed evil for when you get a flat on the side of the road. Take a look on the side of the tires of your cyclist bike, right down the sizes and note if the valve of the tire looks like a car or a skinny presta valve. (If you explain it at all to a shop they’ll understand.) Often during the holidays shops will have buy 5 for the price of 4 or something.

Clif Bar SeasonalHoliday Clif Bars

During the holidays Clif puts out limited runs of their bars in Gingerbread, Pumpkin and Peppermint. Local grocery stores and bike shops should have these in stock.

Liv/Giant Goes to Only 27.5″ for Mountain Bikes in 2014

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While I’m only half way through the review of a Liv/Giant Anthem X 29er, Liv/Giant rocks us all back on our heels with the news they will only be doing 27.5″ wheels on their mountain bikes starting in 2014. Over the next week I’ll be featuring all the new models, spec and pricing. Make sure to follow the search term “Liv/giant 2014” over the next week.

Liv/giant 27.5

Liv/giant is dedicated to providing women with the best possible off-road cycling experience. The evolution of the 27.5-inch wheel size has led Liv/giant’s engineers and athletes to one conclusion: 27.5 is the optimal wheel size for all riding styles and levels of female riders. It perfectly combines the most desirable attributes of 26 and 29-inch wheels, giving you a ride that truly delivers the best of all worlds. This year Liv/giant’s entire off-road line-up, from sport-level to elite, features bikes with 27.5-inch wheels.

  1. Lighter Weight
  2. More Efficient
  3. Better Control

In comparison to 26 and 29-inch wheel size options, our research shows that 27.5 offers the ideal combination of light weight, efficiency, and control for female riders. Here are the factors that make this wheel size especially ideal for women.
These three factors combined create the best possible ride quality and bike fit for female riders. The inherent light weight and efficiency of 27.5 gives you the energy to elevate your riding. And 27.5 allows Liv/giant to design our 3F frame geometry to better balance female riders of all heights over the bottom bracket and front wheels for unparalleled control. It is this balance that truly defines the Liv/giant riding experience.

Introducing Giant’s WheelSystems

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No lie, wheels matter. Wheels are some of the most important pieces of a well riding, quickly responding, bicycle. Giant and other bike manufactures are focusing more efforts on their own components. I’m interested to see how these ride and compare to wheel specific manufactures.

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New for 2012, Giant WheelSystems are the result of a holistic approach to creating the best-performing wheels for every type of rider in any condition. The design philosophy behind Giant WheelSystems is called System Engineered Performance. In creating them, product developers and engineers analyzed the ways the individual parts of a particular wheel affect each other. Every rim, spoke and hub is designed to optimally serve the system.

System Engineered Performance considers four key performance factors—stiffness, aerodynamics, weight and comfort—and seeks to perfectly tailor these factors to the appropriate user, bike and WheelSystem.

Currently there are four road models available: P-SLR1 Aero, P-SLR1, P-SL0 and P-SL1. These WheelSystems can be found on 2012 Giant road bikes and are also available to purchase as aftermarket components.

P-SLR1 Aero
A lightweight, deep-dish aerodynamic WheelSystem designed for high-performance riding and racing. Maximum stiffness and aerodynamics at the lowest possible weight.
• 50mm deep, 21mm wide scandium-composite tubeless-compatible rims
• Durable precision Swiss hub internals
• Aerolite bladed stainless steel spokes (16 front radial; 20 rear radial/2-cross)
• Individual wheel bags included
• 1575g

P-SLR1
Superlight high-performance race wheels engineered for a stiff, comfortable ride. Hand-built with the highest-quality components and materials.
• Tubeless Ready Scandium 21mm wide rims with CNC-machined alloy braking surface
• Asymmetric rear rim design for more uniform spoke tension and additional wheel stiffness
• Durable precision Swiss hub internals
• Aerolite bladed stainless steel spokes (16 front radial; 20 rear radial/2-cross)
• 1390g

P-SL0
A versatile performance WheelSystem for road riding and racing. Light enough to race yet tough enough for everyday training and riding.
• Tubeless Compatible rims with CNC-machined alloy braking surface
• Asymmetric rear rim design for more uniform spoke tension and additional wheel stiffness
• Durable precision Swiss hub internals
• DT Aero Competition bladed stainless steel spokes (16 front radial; 20 rear radial/2-cross)
• 1595g

P-SL1
Designed for performance road riding, aimed at enthusiasts or beginner racers seeking a stiff, durable WheelSystem.
• Light, durable 21mm deep 6061 alloy rims, sleeved joint
• Durable precision Swiss hub internals
• DT Champion stainless steel spokes (18 front radial; 24 rear 2-cross)
• 1775g