Empowering women in cycling

Searching for “light”

Survey: Bike Commuters for Intelligent Bicycle Lighting

2 Intelligent Bicycle Lighting
As a bike commuter this is a pretty forward thinking idea and I believe would help in less commuter centric areas where auto drivers are not used to seeing bikes.
I am Joost van Leeuwen, a Dutch student of Industrial Design Engineering at the Delft University of Technology. This is a project I do for a big bicycle lighting company from the Netherlands (they supply bicycle lights throughout Europe, Asia and the USA). 
 
My goal is to create the next generation of bicycle lighting; a light that senses and signals in order to make the road safer for the cyclist and the people around him or her.
If you wish to stay updated on this project you can follow me on the following media:
Twitter: @jp_vanleeuwen
Tumblr: weareideas.tumblr.com

 

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At War with the Industry I Love

1 bang-head-here

It is no secret my history with the bike industry. Without coming from parents in the industry I am as close to growing up in the industry as you can. At 15 I was a shop rat, living my life in some way or another around bicycles since then. In two years when I am 30 I will have spent half my life revolving around bicycles and all things that are the culture of bikes. This is where I mention that I wouldn’t change a thing.

I have spent half of my life preaching the word. Answering the call. The call that bicycles can solve everything. It can make you happy, make you skinny, allow you to drink more beer, require less gas, give you independence, teach you adventure, become a family affair and so on.

Quietly fighting the good fight. Never taking up the arms of advocate as the word advocacy is a dirty word to me. We don’t need advocates, we need lovers. Everyone hates the politician but loves the hero’s. We need bike lanes that connect schools and grocery stores. We need to empower our children to pick up their bikes and go forward safely.

Two things came to light today that have made me struggle with the industry and culture I love

The death of an innocent freshman, riding his bicycle to school in Charlotte.

The “elephant” of the bike industry that our sales our flat for the past twenty years.

Two different stabs, two different pains, and two different fears.

I have two children that have no way to ride their bikes to school. They are lacking the freedom and the adventure that 10 & 11 year old boys should be given by the gift of bicycling away from home.

I make a living in the bike industry. I have sold bikes to first consumers and now bike dealers. Margins are tighter, and instead of expanding the bike industry and taking market share from golf, or soccer, or football. We are flat and fighting each other. From bike brands, industry standards and bike shops at war with their local community.

The elephant in the room is the bike industry is full of selfish folks lacking business sense and caring more about their piece of the pie than the pie that they are cutting from.

What do you believe in? When did you last fight for something you believe in?

I believe in bikes and if you know me – you know they are my life. I know a few other things and hopefully these all will be able to come together to make the pie bigger for the cycling industry, and for people to be able to ride their bikes safely to and from wherever they want to go.

Here I am, standing to fight a war against the industry I love. This war is why I work for the company that I love, Quality Bicycle Products. A sleeping giant, the backbone of the bike industry. This is why I love my co-workers, quietly pushing things along in Minnesota. I believe in bicycles and here I stand to fight the good fight of putting more butts on bikes. Carbon fiber doesn’t do that, fancy new bottom bracket standards or fighting over wheel sizes..sure some good marketing can help, but empowering the industry will. Empowering your local cycling community, finding a new word for advocate and allowing other people to drink from your passion.

Motivational Monday with Miranda

0 Motivational Monday Melinda

What’s your name and location?

Miranda from Dallas, y’all

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Relaxed rides on trails and around lakes, commuter biking, road biking.

What is your first cycling memory?

Oh my goodness, this is an intense one. I remember riding around the church parking lot across from my house. My papa was watching my sisters and me and I wanted to show off my sweet moves for him. As I peddled around in dizzying circles, I lost control and fell hands first into the gravel. Since Papa was already old (he was my great grandfather), it took him a bit to come over. By the time he arrived, the blood had already congealed and covered up the piece of rock buried in my hand. Papa had only one choice. As he took out his pocket knife to clean it, my four year old self screamed bloody murder. My sisters held me down while Papa used the knife to cut the rock out of my hand and the hanging skin around it. I made it home where my mom bandaged it up. Definitely not a memory I easily forgot!

Who inspires you to ride, and better yet WHY?

I don’t know exactly who inspires me. I ride because it is a time to be by myself, to think, to experience the world, to spend time with God if you will. Yes, I love to ride with my friends, but biking has usually been about getting rid of stress or finding peace in the crazy days.

What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?

Probably while I was in a small village called Santinetikan in India. There were no cars, so everyone got around by bike, foot, or motorcycle. We were able to rent out these (terrible) vintage, slightly rusted cruisers to get around. As the sun was setting and the rice workers were coming in, the twilight called all the lightning bugs out to play. I remember looking up at the dusky sky, surrounded by jungle and fireflies and all I could think of (which is cheesy I know) is that I am experiencing something magical. I wish everyone could experience that moment, stopping by the holy river, watching the villagers go about their life without knowing how special (even if poverty stricken) it is. In that moment I easily could have left everything here in the states for that rusty bicycle in that old village in the jungle.

Tell us all about your bikes

I have had many bikes over the years. My favorite, a light purple vintage Schwinn road bike with original gears named Fernando, was stolen a couple of years ago. Right now I am riding a cherry red vintage Takara that makes all the bikers in Dallas jealous for some reason. This bike is named Fabregas (I name my bikes after Barcelona futbol players) and was custom rebuilt for me by an after school program in Dallas called Mercy Street. It is awesome to still be able to go out to west Dallas and ride the levees with the kids that built this bike for me.

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!

Preview: Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Shoe Covers

0 Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier Shoe Covers

Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier Shoe CoversShoe covers are a funny thing. For me, it is the make or break temperature. If I have to put shoe covers on it normally means that most of my friends won’t ride with me because it is too cold. Recently I realized my hobbled together shoe covers that I have been putting more and more duct tape on every year have had it. They are neoprene ones that I had bought probably 8 years ago now. They’ve worked wonderfully and the duct tape I believe added more windproofing to them!

After hunting around, looking at price, material and of course colors I decided on some Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Shoe Covers. Why? #1 price at $50 MSRP. #2 wind AND water protection #3 bright ass yellow.

Details from Pearl Izumi

  • MSRP $50.00
  • P.R.O. Barrier WxB fabric provides optimal wind and water protection
  • Fleece lined
  • Waterproof, fully taped internal seams
  • Two stage hook and loop closure provides both sleek fit and easy on and off
  • Kevlar® road bottom spreads open for easy on and off while providing superior durability
  • Recommended for road shoes with external cleats
  • Reflective elements for low-light visibility
Full review coming, for now learn more or buy some at Pearl’s site.
I purchased this product on my own dime. It was not given to me for review and I was not bribed to say nice things. This is my disclaimer.

North Meck CX #2 Race Report

0 Aspercreme

This past week was my first real cyclocross race of the season. There I said it. With all of the last minute traveling, work and now working on landing a new job I simply have not put as much effort as I thought I would in to cyclocross this fall.

The race was at North Meck Park in Huntersville, NC. What is super unique about this race series (other than it is on Tuesdays) is that it is at night, the first race starting at 6pm. The way it works is the course wraps around 4 different baseball and softball fields, utilizing the lights of the fields to light up the area outside of the fence. Up and down the hills, between the fields, some run ups, some barriers and always good fun but never on the ball fields!

I lined up this week with the boys. There were no girls to play with. Very sad since I know several women that would rack the season but they never show up to ride around in circles with me for 30 minutes.

While I pushed myself harder than I thought I could, I made some ride ups I didn’t think I would make and in the end I beat a few guys, barely being passed by two younger guys right before the finish.

Success is what I call it. If I race a couple more of these before the holidays, I’ll be very happy! Aspercreme was very needed after the ride…

Wheel Lust and Love

0 Fulcrum Racing Zero

Wheels are one of those romantic parts of cycling to me. Something that can make your bike 100% better, or 200% worse. Truing wheels is the first memory I have of working in a bike shop 12 years ago. It was the first “bike mechanic” skill really taught to me. Before that it was installing kick stands and cleaning off bikes.

Wheel systems like Fulcrum, Mavic and Industry9 hold a spot in my mind, strong, reliable and a thought out system. If those hold a spot in my mind, hand built wheels with your standard j-bend spoke hold a place in my heart.

There is some feeling inside of you when you pick out the perfect hub, the right rim, spoke lacing pattern to make it stiff and strong while light weight, and final touches such as the nipples that hold it all together.

Campagnola Track Hub

I’ve always been drawn to things like Phil Wood hubs, Campagnola C-Record Sheriff Badge hubs and reliable rims like Mavic Open Pro. Then someone goes and post something like this, Enve rims laced to Chris King road hubs and I am left searching the internet planning my next wheel build.

Lezyne Micro Caddy Bag Review

2 Lezyne Micro Caddy

Saddle bags are a needed thing in my life. Something that most bike shops forget to mention when they sell you that new road or mountain bike. Riding around with out tools, tube or inflation device is like driving around in your car with out a spare tire. Yes, you can call someone if you get a flat but that isn’t the empower cycling female I hope you are! Plus, a saddle bag can hold that phone for you as well.

Most folks don’t think twice about what saddle bag to put on their bike. They look at two things. Size and color. There is more to a saddle bag than you would think.

Tech spec of the Lezyne Micro Caddy

MSRP: $24.99-19.99
Sizes: Medium (tested) and Small
Colors: Black or White

What’s Unique of the Lezyne Micro Caddy

Two things caught me as I installed the Lezyne Micro Caddy.

The first is the white color. I love all things white and so far it has stayed white which is awesome.

Lezyne Micro Caddy

The second is how the bag attached to the seat rails. It almost has wings that wrap back on itself. Making it so you don’t need a strap to secure the bag to the seat post to eliminate waggle.

Lezyne Micro Caddy

A few other cool features:
• The multi-tool holder under the bag. This allows for easy access to do quick changes on the bike.
• Reflective piping around the bag. It doesn’t replace a light but it is nice.

Overall thoughts of the Micro Caddy

The bag is nice, it holds my goods under my saddle. I like the unique features that I haven’t seen on a bag before. More and more bike shops are carrying them which is also nice so that you don’t have to buy online. Something about being able to put it on your bike to see if you like it…you can’t replace it. After about 2,000 miles on my cross bike the stitching started to blow open and the white zipper turned yellow. I haven’t tried to wash the bag in fear of the stitching getting worse, we will see if it makes it through the winter!

This product was provided to me at no charge from Lezyne. My opinion is honest and opinionated, probably why you’re still reading. I wasn’t bribed or paid for this review.



My Bikes: Foundry Cycles Auger B1

2 Foundry Cycles Auger B1

As a rep for Quality Bicycle Products I have many bikes that are ridden and driven all around the Southeast. They are *all* considered demo’s, so if you are in the southeast and want to try out one of my bikes let me know in the comments or drop me a line on the contact page.

The newest bike in my fleet is a cyclocross bike from Foundry Cycles. When looking through all the brands I rep for my next cyclocross bike for the upcoming season I was automatically drawn to the Auger. Late last season I had raced a Ridley X-Fire, while I enjoyed it immensely (and will probably end up on a disc version this year) the geometry was more race driven than I wanted to ride this summer and I also wanted to try something different. Continue reading →

Bike Profile: Ridley Helium SL

1 2013 Ridley Helium

Earlier this spring I brought in a Ridley Helium SL to show to shops and put some miles on. This is the lightest bike Ridley has ever built, and honestly a joy to ride. As stiff as most will ever need, and super light. 15 lbs out of the box with Fulcrum Racing 3′s on it! With the move to Denver I’ll be selling this bike (look in the upcoming weeks for the post for details on pricing) but I as it is such an awesome bike I wanted to feature it before it left my fleet.

Ridley Helium SL

MSRP: $6,995
Details: 60, 40, 30 ton hi-mod carbon frame. SRAM Red group, Fulcrum Racing 3 wheels, Forza cockpit (bar, stem, seatpost)

 

2013 Ridley Helium

2013 Ridley Helium

Interbike ’12: SKS Germany Frame Bags

0 SKS Germany Front Triangle Bag

Keep up to date with the Bike Shop Girl coverage of the 2012 Interbike Trade Show with coverage, previews, exclusives and interviews.

If you know me, you know my lure to bike packing and going Survivor style on a bike. SKS is bringing a few affordable options for on the frame bags. They aren’t handmade or to the detail that something like Revelate Designs but a good addition for commuters, longer distance riders and people testing the water. SKS Germany Energy Bag

ENERGY BAG

MSRP $22.99 The small bag sits within arm’s reach on the front top tube, secured with velcro attachments. Easily fuel up on energy bars while still riding. The bag lid protects the contents from the elements. Reflective details guarantee improved visibility in low light conditions. Dim 5.75” x 2” x 2.75” Volume 0.5L

SKS Germany Tool Wrap

TOOL WRAP

MSRP $22.99 A bicycle bag made of sturdy nylon with straps for frame mounting. The bag features storage compartments (e.g. for mini pump, repair kit, tire levers, mini tools, or small change). Weight 115g Dim 10.5“ x 8.5“ opened

TRIANGLE BAG – FRONT

SKS Germany Front Triangle Bag

MSRP: $29.99 Triangular frame bag made of sturdy material offers space for tools and spare inner tubes. It is safely secured to all kinds of bike frames with its three Velcro strap attachments and the flexible reinforcements. Reflective piping for improved visibility. Dim 14” x 2” x 4.8” Volume 1.35L

TRIANGLE BAG – REAR

SKS Germany Rear Triangle Bag

MSRP: $29.99 Triangular frame bag made of sturdy material offers space for tools and spare inner tubes. It is safely secured to all kinds of bike frames with its three Velcro strap attachments and the flexible reinforcements. Reflective piping for improved visibility. Dim 9.8” x 2” x 8.3” Volume 1.4 L