I love wool. That is a great way to start an article about wool products, right? I love wool, the thought of wool reminds me of skiing trips, bundled up at the bus stop and all things winter. It does not remind me of 90º weather on the bike.
This review took longer than I would like. Normally after a couple rides, a few washings and time on the saddle you’ll know if clothing is going to last or work for you. Personally, I didn’t if the pieces from Icebreaker would work for me but overtime these bike clothing pieces won me over.
Icebreaker SS Halo Jersey $130
Last year I was able to try one of Icebreakers first bike jerseys for women. I loved the material, but the jersey fit my body (and several friends bodies) like crap. Fast forward almost a year exactly, this past March, when I was approached with trying another round of clothing from Icebreaker. Right away the jersey fit amazing, it was tailored for a woman. After many washings (per directions) the fit didn’t stretch out, or did the color fade. The pockets were proportional to the jersey, and there is even a smaller pocket inside of one for your pump to fit in and not flop out!
Other than the collar on your neck, the jersey feels naked on you. The breeze flows through easily, yet on early morning rides this jersey was perfect with arm warmers.
Icebreakers Halo Jersey website->
The GT200 fabric is amazing. Warm, soft, cooling, wicking and best of all – it doesn’t stink! I learned the importance of wool during a 5 day bike tour in western North Carolina. It rained for most of the day and you were left trying to dry out your clothing. I brought enough clothes for the week, but sweaty clothes aren’t good in your bag – even if you wrap them in multiple plastic bags. All the clothing I had brought that was wool from Smartwool, Icebreaker and Defeet, did NOT stink and was easier to care for it seemed.
Icebreaker Halo Bike Shorts $160
These wool cycling shorts are where my hang up for this review was. When you wear these shorts on the bike they could be the most comfortable fitting shorts I’ve ever tried. They remind me of boy boxers, with the tight cotton feel around your hamstrings and upper quads. What surprised me was that attaching the chamois to the shorts was spandex. Right in the crotch area. Why is this weird? Wool wicks and doesn’t stink – wouldn’t that make sense to have in that area? I know, not right on it but around it?
The chamois was comfortable on long rides. It has much more mass than I am used to, so when standing around off the bike it defiantly felt like a diaper. This feeling disappeared once I was back on the bike, and I never had any chaffing issues so I can’t complain.
These shorts I have an absolutely love/hate relationship with. I love them, they fit amazing and I mean AMAZING. I want to order boy boxer briefs from Icebreaker to wear to bed because of it. I feel that the benefits of wool, especially at this level, would benefit a rider closer to the crotch. Then you have the issue that thin wool is rather see-through and I’m sure you can’t attach a chamois to wool for long term use without it ripping the material. I’m sure someone in product design with more knowledge than I has thought of all these things but they still perplexed me on the long rides. Enough not to write a review until the love outweighed the bad and I could put my name behind it.
At the end, when I was finally ready to weigh the pro’s and con’s I realized this clothing has inspired me. Sometimes you get something (a bike, clothes, computer, etc.) that make you want to try something new. I think these pieces of clothing from Icebreaker would be the ultimate unsupported bike tour clothing. Pair it with a nice set of cycling knickers for colder weather or night times by the fire, and a pair of wool socks – you would have a perfect, quick drying, and non-stinking set of cycling clothing!
Icebreaker Halo Shorts website->
Chrome has been rolling out some great bags this season! The Sherman, the Salvage series, and now a SLR camera bag!
Pulling from their messenger bag shoulder strap and seat belt buckle setup, the new camera bag is stealth and very Chrome. A large main compartment that mirrors many “pro” camera slings with the side entry. Top “compartment” holds your Moleskin, keys, wallet and memory card holder. Stability strap to help with those that want to ride with a camera on their back.
Now, I wish they were made in the USA (these were manufactured in China) and available in colors other than black. Chrome normally listens to their consumers, if they sell a decent amount I would love to see a custom option!! (Black and pink, white and pink or blue and white, please.)
As a known bag whore, and camera freak – I’ll be ordering one of my own for testing. (That’s what I tell my bank account anyways.)
Pretend we are listening to the Superman jingle in the background… “Is it a hybrid? Is it a mountain bike? No! It is a Dual Sport bike!”
Joking aside, the Trek Dual Sport lineup, when it was under the Gary Fisher brand originally, was a huge favorite of stocking bikes when in my shop. It has 29er size wheels, strong enough to take light off roading, but efficient enough for rocking on the road or commuting. For the average person it is the true DO ALL bike. Think of it in line with a cyclocross bike, but for folks on a budget or not wanting drop bars and a leaned over position.
Starting in 2011 Trek brought the Dual Sport to the women’s line. Welcome the 2012 Trek Neko Dual Sport lineup.
2012 Trek Neko $529.99
21 speeds, double wall (stronger) wheels, and 700x38mm tires. A perfect starter bike. Room for racks, fenders and with a slightly “dropped” top tube, this bike is a great alternative to a hybrid.
2012 Trek Neko S $599.99
The same frame as the base model but an extra gear in the back (7 gears to 8), nicer tires, grips, handlebar and most importantly a lock out on the fork. The lock out makes it so you aren’t bouncing up and down on the suspension on the road, and the nicer tires will avoid more flats. The nicer gear system (8 speeds) will last a longer, and the shifters alone are worth the upgrade.
2012 Trek Neko SL $839.99
Still the same frame but they’ve upgraded everything else. 9 gears in the back, pretty industry standard and easy to find if you need replaced. DISC brakes (great for commuting and longevity), much better wheels and an all white saddle. The saddle alone will make you faster, I can guarantee and prove it!
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!
Proper basic maintenance on your bike can prevent major road or trail side catastrophe’s, keep your bike running smoother and save you money in the long run.
Before Every Ride
These are things I check over before every ride. The below takes less than 5 minutes once you get a hang of the routine.
- Wipe off lube I applied after my last ride
- Tires pumped up properly
- A quick brake and gear check prior to starting down the road or trail
- Make sure you put your front wheel’s quick release on tightly
After Every Ride
The below should take no more than 10 minutes.
- Spin the tires to make sure there is no glass or cuts you didn’t notice before. While doing so quickly make sure the wheels are true (not wobbling side to side).
- Wipe down frame, checking for anything odd especially if you crashed on your ride.
- Wipe off chain and lube, if needed. Normally I leave the lube on until I ride again, wiping off before I leave. (Gives the lube time to soak in.)
This list is more labor intensive but will keep your wheels and drivetrain last longer!
- Clean your entire bike, including rims (use a degreaser on the wheels) and drivetrain
- Make sure wheels are true
- Check tires for wear and cuts
- Check brake pads for wear
- Put a tool on every bolt on your bike. This doesn’t take as long as it sounds.
- Check drivetrain wear with a chain checker.
- Lube SPD style pedals (mountain bike)
- Check over your bike for bent or worn break pads
- Check for bent chainrings and rear cassette/freewheel teeth
6 Months or Annually
Take your bike to a bike shop or qualified mechanic to get an overhaul. This is when they take the entire bike apart, re-grease, re-cable and your bike as good as new without replacing all the parts.
The timing above is all based on how often you ride. If you ride daily, the scale may need to be sped up, if you ride once a month, the scale may need to move back. Some things such as pumping up tires, lubing your chain and a safety check are all important, being handled often.
Going forward I’ll work on some basic video’s on how to do the above!
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 is your name and location?
My name is Millie Tanner and my nickname is Milliegoat because I am good at climbing hills, mountains, overpasses, you name it! I live in warm Southern California.
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
I race road and cyclocross and I absolutely love both. Road is fun and tactical and cyclocross you get to race in the mud.
What is your first cycling memory?
That is a tough question! I think my first cycling memory is actually of crashing. I came around a u-turn and hit a curb when I was about 7 or 8 and on my road bike. I then proceeded to yell “ It jumped up and bit me!!” Ahh, good times!
Who in the cycling community inspires you and why?
I am inspired by many people in the cycling community. One person is Pam Sayler because she is always happy and you always will see a smile on her face! Chris Horner is another person who inspires me, because even at the age of 39 he won the Amgen Tour of California, and always seems to put his best foot forward. Another person is Jens Voigt, he has such a great work ethic and he is super funny too. The whole women’s peloton inspires me because they put their best foot foward, kick butt and have a good time. And last but certainly not least, my parents inspire me too. They always are helping out , working hard and being the best parents ever.
What has been your best moment on a bike in 2011?
I think my best moment on a bike in 2011 was placing second at the USACycling National Championships. I rode a really great time trial and I wanted to win so bad. As I came across the line I had the fastest time. I had the national championship for the next 29 seconds and then another girl came across the line beating my by 1 second.
In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2012?
In the next year I really want to win a national championship and all the state championships. I have won state championships before so I think it is finally time to go and win that national championship.
About my bikes
I have a Fuji Supreme 1.0, a Specialized Langster track bike for the trainer and a Fuji concept frame for a TT bike.
Check out Milliegoats latest at her blog Milliegoat.wordpress.com/
We have already been lucky to see the 2012 Specialized Women’s 29er carbon hardtail, the Fate, but there is another new high end from Specialized this year for women.
The Specialized Amira
Specialized has tagged this as a true women’s race bike. Using years of development from the Allez Dolce in 2003, and Specialized sponsored elite women’s road bike teams through the years they now have a new model, the 2012 Amira.
Click to enlarge
High End Technology for Women
Finally, a ground up HIGH END women’s designed bike that doesn’t borrow everything from the guys model with a shorter top tube. This includes shorter chainstays, and completely differently geometry.
- Frame Module Weight = 1970g, more than 100g lighter than the 2011 Amira (I’m assuming this is the weight for the smallest size available)
- Stiffness to weight = The stiffest women’s frame on the market
- Women’s performance geometry teamed with FACT IS 11R carbon
Is there a Need?
I am interested to see how many Amira’s Specialized sold in 2011. Apparently it was enough to justify more engineering time on the 2012. My hopes with high end bikes like this one, it will give women another reason to compete, be inspired and have their own toys designed around their body type. Not every woman needs a womens bike, but having high end bikes makes it easier for a woman to grow in the sport without being intimidated or feeling “boxed in” by bike company marketing. How many women are watching the Tour de France this year and thinking, “God that is amazing” now they have a pretty package, designed around them, to answer that calling.
From our dear friends at People for Bikes :
Federal funding for bicycling and walking is in jeopardy. We need you to send a short email today to your members of Congress.
Today, Congressman John Mica of Florida, Chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, outlined his plans for the new transportation bill and called for the elimination of dedicated funding for biking and walking programs, which he suggested, “do not serve a federal purpose.”
In the Senate, James Inhofe of Oklahoma is leading a similar attack. Inhofe, a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said that one of his top-three priorities for the next multi-year federal transportation bill is to eliminate “frivolous spending for bike trails.”
If Representative Mica and Senator Inhofe get their way, dedicated funding for three crucial programs — Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, and Recreational Trails — will be eliminated. The cost-effective federal investment in bicycling that is making our nation better will shrink dramatically. We can’t allow this to happen.
That’s why we are asking you to reach out to the two U.S. Senators and the U.S. Representative who represent you in Congress. Ask them to support ongoing, dedicated funding for biking and walking in the next transportation bill. (You can find your representatives and send your note directly from our website. Click here to review clear, basic, suggested text for your email. Feel free to customize it and/or add a personal story.)
Your simple messages will make a difference. You can help refute Representative Mica’s and Senator Inhofe’s unreasonable, counterproductive cuts. You can help assure that progress will continue in all 50 states to make bicycling safer and better for people of all ages.
Did you see how much fun we were having on the EM:PWR Cycling Club and want to be part of the cool kids?
Did you miss the original EM:PWR Cycling kit order? Did you purchase a jersey and realized you wanted 10 more? Did you crave a long sleeve jersey for the early morning rides?
Back for a limited time you can order your kit for mid-season delivery!
It seemed like a good idea the night before, going for a mountain bike ride on the Fourth of July. Our plans were a bit foiled when we slept in, and then believed it rained over night (our trails don’t allow for mountain biking 24 hours after rain showers.) We putzed around the house a bit, drank some coffee and finally loaded the bikes on the car around 1:15pm. Did I mention it is about 94º out?
An Ego and Mental Check
As riders and cyclist, we like to push ourselves. With that you become very competitive and sometimes put the blinders on when you are on the bike. The “fun blinders.” For the past 3 months I’ve had these blinders on strong. Getting annoyed if my ride is cut short, or crappy.
When you take a beginner or kids for a bike ride you’re blinders come off, you see the trail and riding as something completely different. Heart rate monitors, speeds, expensive suspension and all those “do-dad’s” are thrown to the wind. Taking photos of smiles, “extreme” drops, and trying new things are all that matters.
Take a Step Back
No matter if you are a cyclist in a hardcore cycling season, or someone that recently picked up a bike, do yourself a favor. Do yourself and the bicycling culture a favor. Join a group ride, lead the beginners, start a kids mountain bike ride, start a coffee ride, or do something like a tech clinic to teach basic bike repair.
We are all here for the right reasons, we love bikes. Try to promote that more, even if you are already – I thank you and encourage you to keep going!
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. Do you know someone that motivates and inspires you? Send us your answers and photo to Girly@BikeShopGirl.com
Robin Farina is a local bike shop owner, cycling coach and a women’s professional road cyclist. I’ve had the honor to know her for many years, and even to be coached by her a few years ago. Her personality and drive is exactly what the professional circuit needs, to add to this last weekend she won the USA National Road Race in Augusta, GA!
What’s your name and location?
Robin Farina Charlotte, NC
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
All kinds of cycling. Mainly race on the road but I love a good mtn bike ride and cyclocross ride
What is your first cycling memory?
Crashing on wet pavement on my bright shiny Schwinn when I was about 10 years old. It ripped off my fingernail.
Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?
Right now I am pretty inspired by women racers that have balance going on in their lives. Obviously you can not get rich making it as a racer so it’s vital to continue on a career path or an education. Specifically right NOW, I am inspired by Louise Keoghan. She and her husband Phil Keoghan started the new professional Women’s Cycling Team, Now and Novartis for MS. Louise is passionate about cycling and a driven professional. She is an example of what women in our sport should aspire to be. It’s fantastic that racers have a competitive edge that needs to be fulfilled but it’s more important that we take the steps to keep the sport growing and support other women in cycling. She is leading by example with their Now and Novartis for MS team project.
What was your best moment on a bike in 2011?
Winning the USA National Road Race Championships last Sunday. It’s the biggest honor you can win for your country. I am still in shock about it.
In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward?
Before I can look to next year, I am pretty focused on the rest of my season and now I get to go to the World Championships in Denmark in Sept so that will be a big focus for the latter part of the season for me.
Wanna Know About my Bikes?
I have one of every kind. Road bike – Specialized Amira, TT bike – Specialized Transition and a Cannondale Slice, Cross bike – Blue, Mountain bike – Giant 29′er, Cruiser – Electra Tocina: Each have a purpose and ridden often!