Empowering women in cycling

Preview: Garmin Edge 200 Cycling Computer for Budgets

0 Garmin 200 Bicycle Computer

A Garmin for those on a shoe string budget but wanting the GPS functions and advantages, meet the Garmin Edge 200. MSRP of $149.99 and the function list reminds me that of the old Edge 205 but with a cleaner and smaller look. Add to it 14 hours of run time with a rechargeable battery, I’ll be putting this on my Christmas list instead of the 800!

“The Edge 200 was designed for those budget conscious cyclists looking for the basics — speed, distance, time and calories,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “With no set-up or sensors required, simply switch on, press start and go. The Edge 200 adds so much to your ride that no ride will ever be the same again.”

Monday..Tuesday..WEDNESDAY

0 Scouting Out CX Course

When I wake up my feeling of getting out of bed is hit or miss. Either I am really excited about the day and inspired, or I want to cuddle up, staying nice and tucked away for the day. As my family members can vouch, I could sleep a day away and believe me I have! I think it is a trait that I learned from my mother many years ago.

It seems when I go to bed, if I am overly motivated (yes, how can you be overly motivated?) I think too much. My brain starts wondering, thinking about the weights I need to lift, the course I need to ride, the things I need to fix, etc etc. While if I look at riding or “working out” on a daily routine as something that I’m “just doing” my brain doesn’t go in hyper drive at night and I wake up feeling more motivated to get ‘er done.

This week has been one of those weeks that I turn off the alarm and sleep a little bit longer. Monday started off well with core in the morning and running at night, Tuesday well.. Tuesday I fell off the wagon. Shifting my week around I took it as a rest day, leading me up to today for cyclocross practice.

Still, I am feeling motivated. Today’s practice went well. Feeling more confident with the dismount, but still lacking the energy needed to “hurl” myself back on the bike for the remount.

The point of this all? None, I just wanted to do a recap of the week thus far for myself.. not really any other reason.

 

 

Tech Tuesday: Tools of the Trade

0 Tech Tuesday

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

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 few emails have come through since I started this series that interest of what tools I recommend to start their tool collection. While I have a large collection that is only missing a couple (very expensive and very unique) tools. Sometimes it is best to buy as you need, but if you find a good deal on a tool kit or a shop closing – jump on it!!! While most of the links below are affiliate links that I gain a very small commission, they are all products I use daily and recommend to all. If your local bike shop carries them, order it there!

Starter Kit

These are the tools and accessories I recommend to anyone that owns a bike.


Testing Out the Waters

You are learning how to work on your own bike, the multi-tool isn’t cutting it and you want tools with more leverage and use.
Feedback Sports Repair Stand
  • A Repair Stand - The first thing that will make you feel like you are working on a bike like placing your bike in a repair stand. Get up off the garage floor.
  • Full size allen wrenches – Don’t use the ball end to tighten as you’ll strip out the wrench or the bolt, but you won’t ever go back to using multi-tools for major servicing.
  • Gear Brush - Maintenance starts with keeping that drivetrain clean!
  • Lube - Make sure to lube your chain after cleaning it
  • Grease - Grease and lube are very different. This goes on bolts (that don’t screw in to titanium or around carbon)

The Kitchen Sink


Simply put go buy the Professional Kit from Park Tools.

Motivational Monday: Why Do YOU Ride?

12 Motivational Monday

A couple of my friends are currently riding their bicycles across the great United States. Starting in Oregon and slowly making their way back to Charlotte, NC. You can track their progress online and they give Facebook updates with photos every few days.

All summer long I can say I have been jealous of this movement. To remove myself from the plugged in life. To not wake up to go to the gym, or to work or to some other tasks I need to complete. To be able to live by bike, to wake up to simply ride my bike a little further down an asphalt ribbon on the large map of the United States.

This act that my friends are taking on stirs up feelings of being a kid and the bike being the reason I felt freedom for the first time in my life, or felt that I could conquer a tasks that none of my peers could fathom.

Why Do You Ride?

The question above is asked often for online interviews, surveys or by friends that don’t ride their bikes.  The answer, depending on the day, changes with me. A year ago, I would say I bike to feel free everyday on my commute. These days I bike to find myself for a few moments. In order to remove myself from the constant thought that goes along in my head.

There are days that I ride my bike for the adventure. How far can I go today? Is the path I chose too long, will I make it home before dark, am I lost? All these questions are so different than the everyday questions we deal with, and it is a very refreshing feeling!

Where am I going with this? I want to know why you ride. Who do you ride for, what motivates you, what is the feeling you think of when you think of sitting your butt on that saddle for a few hours at a time.

Cyclocross Training and Technique Videos

3 women's cyclocross

As I sit watching Big Brother and drinking an Acme beer (today is a recovery day) I decided it would be a great time to soak in as many “how to” videos on cyclocross as possible. What are your favorites? Add them in the comments and I’ll add to the post!

Review: Bontrager RXL Mountain WSD Shoes

1 Bontrager RXL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes

If you can recall I have been using a pair of Bontrager RL shoes for a couple years, I wrote a review about them a couple months ago. After using and abusing my RL’s for a couple years I have taken a step up to the RXL shoes. Hopefully the carbon isn’t too stiff and I’ll be able to rock the gold and black.

What Bontrager has to say

Updated for 2011 with Bontrager’s new proprietary Micro-Fit buckle, the RXL MTB WSD gives hardcore cross country racers a distinct performance advantage. Using top-notch materials to cradle the foot in comfort and an efficient Silver-series carbon outsole to transfer power to the pedals, the lightweight and durable RXL WSD stands ready for all-out efforts on the most rugged World Cup circuits.

MSRP: $229.99

Details: Silver Series Carbon, Micro-fit buckle, women’s specific fit, eSoles insole system.

Initial Thoughts of the RXL Shoes

A few key things (other than the price) of the RXL to the RL that were quickly apparent to me.
#1 The buckle upgrade from 2010
#2 The insole was a lower arch support than the one that came in the 2010 RL
#3 the shoes were the same size (42 euro) but feel smaller than the RL. This could because my RL’s are so worn out they have “flattened” and “stretched.”
#4 The RXL and my 2010 RL shoes are within 3 grams of each other

Details that Matter

 

Bontrager RXL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes

The bottom lugs of the soles are much softer and gummier than the RL.

Bontrager RXL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes
Micro-fit buckle clicks at 1.5 increments

Bontrager RXL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes
The shoes have decent airflow but the “anti slip” fabric on the back of the shoe can rub when you don’t have socks on.

After Two Months Review of the RXL Shoes

These shoes are everything I wanted them to be. Stiff, breathable outer, amazing colors and can do well on the road and longer distance mtb rides. I’m not convinced these will be my goto cyclocross shoes because they are so stiff but I can certainly tell my power to the pedals with these shoes.

After a couple more months I’ll check in with these shoes, give you feedback about cyclocross and how the outer of the shoes last.

 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.

How To: Properly Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 Brakes

13 Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes

Tech TuesdayOne 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!

As you know I have beenrocking the Airborne Delta CX bike for this summer going into cyclocross season. Originally I was struggling to adjust the Avid BB5 road calipers that come stock on the cyclocross bike. (Yes, it is a disc brake cyclocross bike.) After several tries at adjusting the brakes as Avid outlines on their website I finally started from scratch using good ole common sense! Once I sorted out my disc brake issues I was getting messaged and questioned about what I did to get them to stop well and not rub!

There are tons of great resources out there showing you the basic ways to adjust the brakes, but they left out key details. Let’s forget about those other instruction and start from the top.

Tools You’ll Need

Tools for Brake Adjustment

Torx wrench, 5mm allen, business card and a computer to read this how to on.

Setup and Adjusting Avid BB5 MTB Brakes

Avid BB5 Brake Diagram

Click to Enlarge

Check brake pads for wear. If your brakes are used at all there is a great chance the pads were worn incorrectly and will never align right. Remedy by sanding or replacing the pads, normally sanding with a fine grit will fix this problem.

Loosen the mounting bolts for the caliper, some bikes have the caliper mount directly to the fork, loosen those bolts. This will allow the caliper to move side to side. Check if your washers are worn or if you can see any grooves out of the normal. If you do, file/sand down or replace.

Adjust Avid BB5 Brakes

Loosen brake cable fixing bolt, this will allow the fixed pad to pull all the way out.

Turn the adjustable brake pad (red knob with Torx in middle) counter clockwise to turn out.

Business card in Disc brakes

Place a business card between a the fixed pad and rotor. Fixed pad is on the outside (look at diagram above)

Adjust BB5 Torx Brake

Turn the adjustable brade pad (red knob with Torx in middle) clockwise, use a Torx wrench if need be to tighten down as tight as you can with out breaking it!

Tighten the mounting bolts to the caliper.

Pull the brake cable tight to the fixing bolt, make sure the barrel adjuster on the caliper and the barrel on the brake lever both are turned in all the way, then backed out a full turn and a half. Tighten down the fixing bolt on the brake cable.

Back out the adjustable brake pad one or two turns, counter clockwise so  it isn’t touching the rotor. On the back of the Delta I had to back out an extra 1/4 of a turn for out of the saddle movement of the rear end.

Pull out the business card.

Use the adjustable brake pad to change the feel of the brake lever, use the barrel adjusters to adjust cable tension as well.

Check over all bolts and proceed to ride beautiful riding Avid brakes.