Empowering women in cycling

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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!

 

Front Rack Top Bag Roundup

6 Zimbale Rack Top Bag

Recently, a 2011 Salsa Casseroll showed up for review. With this comes a cute little blue front rack that needs a rack top bag. I don’t know much about this style of bags so this will be post to keep things sorted as I learn more about availability, features and pricing. Most likely will keep updating it as I find more, please comment if you have something!

Non-Custom Front Rack Top Bags

Zimbale Rack Top Bag

 Zimbale Rack Top Bag
Made to fit on a Nitto front rack…the angle of the rear of the bag matches the angle of the upright tab on the rack. Same, consistently high level of construction as all Zimbale bags. Leather used for trim, zipper pulls and attachment straps is very soft and supple. Nice size for the commuter or randonneur.

Racktime Trunkit

Racktime Trunkit Front RackTop Bag

I believe this requires a specific Ractime front rack, but very nifty clip on/off design. It comes in several colors!

Detours Black Transit Box Classic

This is designed to be a rear rack but believe it could fit some larger of the front racks.

Berthoud Frontbag Luxe

Berthoud makes this elegant frontbag of fine heavy cotton and top grade leathers. The outside pockets have leather strap-and-buckle closure. The catch? $327

Introducing Rapha’s Womens Line

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Rapha, the fine company that makes the clothing threads of many cyclist “lust list.”  You pray a pretty penny for their clothing, but it will delivery over and over again compared to some of those other main stream brands.  Their clothing is designed by cyclist, for cyclist.  The type of cyclist that will ride all day in a pair of shorts, through rain and snow to pull those same shorts on the next day with barely a washing.  This clothing is the type you dream about, that smart people save for and you can bet that it is on my “lust list.”

Let me introduce you to the Rapha “lust list” for women.  Starting with their basic classic jersey, to a good quality short and finally their Stowaway Jacket. Add these to your wish list, and be ready to click “buy now” when the time is available.

Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape Review

4 Velo Orange Bar Tape

A few months ago when I was trying to inspire myself to get back on the road bike, I changed out some parts on the Raleigh Clubman I had received for review.   I made it a bit more “women’s fit” and classed it up with Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape.   I’ve always loved the look and feel of the Brooks leather bar tape but it was a crazy price to try out a new type of bar wrap.

Details of the Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape

MSRP : $45-55 from VO (currently they have it on sale for $45!)

Colors : Honey Brown or Black

Initial Preview & Installation of the VO Leather Bar Tape

When I received the leather bar tape I was hesitant to install, to be honest it sat in my parts bin for a couple months after receiving due to be run over by a car and the lack of will to ride.  Slowly I realized the bar tape, among other things, is what I needed.  I needed to find beauty in road cycling again.

Installing the bar tape is much tougher than installing normal cork style bar tape.   There is next to no give and the bar tape in the bend of the bar wants to crease.   I had to try two or three times to get it right and have enough to end properly on my 42cm bar.  This may be due to liking more padding and overlapping half of the wrap as I went around, but I don’t know how it would wrap a 46cm bar and not be super thin.  Or, quite possibly my upper body strength isn’t what it should be to wrap leather bar wrap?

Riding with Leather Bar Wrap

The words I can put in this paragraph won’t sum up how nice the leather feels in your hands.   It reminds me of a well loved baseball glove, or settling into an expensive car with the glamorous baseball glove leather seats.   Grabbing on to the bars, and the soft feel that the bar wrap gives back is like a nice hug back from your bike.   The padding is another story.  I have to wear gloves when riding this bike, and padded gloves are not something I normally wear.

Other Notes

If you look closely at the pictures there are two where the bar wrap was stitched together half way through the roll.

White leather would be hot.

Overall Impression

If I had a carbon fiber 14lb road or cyclocross bike,  I wouldn’t use this bar wrap. For a nice classic steel ride, this will be my staple bar wrap.  No question.  And the $55  is well worth it as it will last 5x more than the cork wrap.  When installing it again, I may find one of my strapping muscle clad friends to help man handle the leather, but its good to know the bar tape will be able to take it!

Find online at Velo Orange

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

Motivational Monday with Marla Streb

1 Marla Streb Interview

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!

What’s your name and location?

Marla Streb, Baltimore, MD

Where in Baltimore are you living?

We are currently in Fells Point- loving it!

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Mountain biking of every type, but I can be talked into a road ride now and then

What is your first cycling memory?

at 4 years old, I learned to ride 2 wheels on a little blue Schwinn. Of course one of the most liberating moments of my life!

Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?

Mountain bike legend and Hall of Famer Jacquie Phelancontinues to inspire me because she is one of a kind. She’s articulate, intelligent, zany, hilarious, outspoken, inventive, and still very fast on a bike!

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

Teaching my four year old how to ride a bicycle for her first time. It was an after-dinner, spontaneous moment, and the two of us ending up riding together past dark. She was happy, I was ecstatic

In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2011?

I’ve only raced once this year, but I’d like to beat my old downhill record at Downieville Classicin CA, and possibly race the La Ruta in Costa Rica again.

Wanna Know About my Bikes?

At the moment, all Orbeas!

What are the struggles of opening a shop, and the daily worries a shop owner has?

Funny, I haven’t even opened my shop yet and it’s been a major struggle! For the last 4 months, I’ve been trying to buy a 6,000 sq/ft commercial property (with liquor license- woo hoo!) to create Baltimore’s first “Bike Cafe”. We hope to close the deal within a month… The “HandleBar” will be a full cafe with fresh roasted coffee, light fare, beer/wine/liquor, and unlimited, free indoor bike parking. Also, we will retail new and used bikes and accessories.

Brooks Leather Bar Tape in Eye Popping Colors

1 Brooks Leather Bar Tape

There is something about the classic look of a a Brooks saddle and matching Brooks leather tape. Earlier this season Brooks put a twist to it with a lot of new colors, click to view them all.

What is so special about leather tape? It last forever, it gets tacky when wet and it has a unique feel to it that can’t be matched by a man made version.

MSRP: $75

Win a Bike Light – Motivational Monday with Jill Homer

5 Interview with Jill Homer

Light & Motion Motivational MondayThis month’s Motivational Monday posts are brought to you by one of my personal favorites, Light & Motion. Between now and the end of June, Light & Motion wants to know who or what in the cycling community motivates  you. All you have to do us leave a comment here or on Light & Motions’ Facebook page. At the end of the month we’ll be choosing one lucky winner to score a brand new VIS 360 commuter light!


What’s your name and location?

Jill Homer. I currently live in Los Altos, California.

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

If I had to sum my riding up in one phrase, I would say I love “bicycle touring.” I love seeing small parts of the world from the seat of a bicycle, from the winding
singletrack in my backyard mountains to the vast frozen tundra of the Iditarod Trail. Sometimes I travel for a couple hours and sometimes for days, but always, in my mind, the emphasis is more on fun and discovery than pure training. Because of this desire to really get out there, I enjoy all types of riding — mountain biking, snow biking, and road cycling.

What is your first cycling memory?

When I was six years old I received my first “big girl” bike as a Christmas present — a yellow Huffy with a brown banana seat. It was a hand-me-down from one of my mother’s friends. I was always secretly ashamed of my yellow-and-brown bike and was jealous when, a few years later, my sister received a much prettier pink and purple Huffy. I’m not sure if not wanting to be seen on an ugly bike is solely to blame, but I didn’t ride that avidly as a child. I used my bike when I needed transportation to my friends’ houses, but didn’t often just go out for simple bike rides.

Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?

In the cycling industry, I would say the guys at Salsa Cycles inspire me — Jason Boucher, Joe Meiser, etc. Not only is their company continuously developing innovative bicycles for all types of riding, but they’re out there riding them all the time. Jason rides through the winter in Minnesota. Joe has finished the Tour Divide and Trans-Iowa. I’ve met them both — Jason is on the board at Adventure Cycling Association — and they’re just cool guys.

Interview with Jill Homer

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

My best bike moment came in the midst of a 140-mile gravel grinder on the Denali Highway in Alaska, called the Denali Classic. At the time I was contemplating
taking a job in Missoula, Montana (where I lived for 8 months before moving to California.) I was very apprehensive about leaving Alaska, and that long ponderous ride gave me time to really process it. Toward the end I was suffering quite a bit — it was a warm day, I was sunburnt and the rougher-than-expected gravel road had rattled my hands and back — but I crested a hill with a great view of the Susitna Valley bathed in golden evening light. A feeling of peace washed over
me and I knew moving to Montana was the right decision for me. It’s been a wild year of change ever since, but this single moment stands out as a definitive point of perspective.

In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2011?

In 2011, I’ve directed more of my endurance training focus to running. Right now I’m training for the Tahoe Rim Trail 100, which will be my first 100-mile trail ultramarathon (I’ve completed one 100-mile foot race, the Susitna 100 in Alaska in February.) This requires a lot of running focus, so my main goals
right now with bicycles are to commute regularly and have fun. I work from home right now and often use my bicycles to run errands and access trails, and try to drive as little as possible. I also recently moved to California and have a couple of big goals, including a day road tour of the Santa Cruz Mountains that will likely amount to a double century with a ton of climbing, and also linking up a mostly dirt mountain bike route from my home on the east side of the mountains to the Pacific coastline.

Wanna Know About my Bikes?

I am the current owner-user of five bicycles, more than I ever expected. I have a 2010 Rocky Mountain Element, a high-end racing mountain bike; a 2008 Surly Karate Monkey, my steel-framed hardtail 29er that I rode in the Tour Divide and that is currently set up as a single-speed; a 2004 Calfee carbon road bike,
which is actually my boyfriend’s bike but I’ve largely inherited it; a 2007 Surly Pugsley, my beloved snow bike; and a fixed-gear commuting bicycle.

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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