Commuting Basics: If You Arrive on Time, You’re Late
Bike commuting is a passion of mine. The joy of swinging a leg over my bike to get to my next destination is freeing and can make any day feel complete. One thing I realize as more friends and readers are getting into bike commuting is that there can be a hugee lack of preparation for going by bike and the stress that involves. There are many topics on this subject, but today’s point is this.
Just because you rode your bike does not mean you should walk in sweaty and rushed.
Too many times in my experience bike commuters are running behind because they didn’t give themselves enough time. For those showing up early they are sweaty and need time to “cool off.” Selfishly, I want bike commuting to be looked at as a viable alternative to many people’s car commute. Helping give it a good image and taking a bit of time to be presentable and ready to go when your day starts will go a long way!
Suggestions for looking like you didn’t commute
- Time can be your friend. Give yourself built in time incase of a flat tire, mechanical or to try a new route to work. I’ll often wait to drink a cup of coffee for when I get to work, that way I have time to stop sweating before I wipe off and change.
- It’s not a race. Enjoy the ride and don’t rush it. If you want to rush off somewhere on your commute, let it be the ride home where you can be sweaty in the comfort of your own couch.
- Wear wicking clothing and have spares. I wear a running t-shirt in the wicking material, or an Ice Breaker light weight wool t-shirt. Unless it’s under 70 I come prepared with a different shirt. The same goes for the bottom, except I bring extra unders! Working in a bike shop I’ll wear the same pair of jeans 3 or so days straight, leaving them at the shop but bringing in clean underwear every day with me.
- Action Wipes. It’s like a shower in towel, disposable and all natural. Start from your face going down, it will leave you feeling clean and you won’t be salty the rest of the day.
Review: Road Holland The Delft Long Sleeve Jersey
Details: 100% poly mesh that is wicked breathable, fast drying, and non-conforming. 2 pocket design, 1 with a zipper to hold your smartphone
This jersey looks great and feels even better. The poly mesh was warm enough with a wind vest on a 50′ day. Personally, I would classify this as a long sleeve light weight “spring” jersey. It also wears well with a pair of jeans.
Motivational Monday with Mary
What is your name?
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
Bike touring, randonneuring, day rides, commuting, and tooling around town
What is your first cycling memory?
My first memory is being a little kid and learning to ride without training wheels. To master two-wheeled technique, I resorted to a combination of weaving and paddling circles on a little red bike in my parents garage, hidden from any potential onlookers (or, in my case, siblings) until I finally figured out the basics of two-wheeled transport.
Who inspires you to ride? Better yet, why?
My parents initially inspired me to ride, and I carry that with me today. They introduced me to the idea that my bike is a vehicle for exploration and instilled in me the importance of being active. In addition, my husband and my friends also keep me motivated. We use our bikes to meet up after work and go out for dinner. Simple things like that get me out the door. My husband, friends, and I also love spending the day together touring the countryside on bikes, whether it is a randonneuring event or just a fun century ride. When I initially began riding seriously as an adult I did most of my cycling on my own. Over time I’ve found that I like solo rides on occasion, but generally I like that my cycling has a social element to it. I’ve met some really great people through commuting, touring, and randonneuring, and it helps get me out the door when I know that I’m going to see my friends on any given ride.
What has been your best moment on the bike so far this year?
My husband and I rode a weeklong tandem bike tour that we planned and routed ourselves, averaging 85 miles per day over seven days. As part of that, we climbed Trail Ridge Road– the highest continuous paved road in the United States– on our first day. Trail Ridge tops out at over 12,000 feet. To me, that tour and that day riding up Trail Ridge, showed me how much I have grown in my confidence as well as my abilities as a cyclist as well as tandem rider. It really was a spectacular adventure. We were two little bike riders climbing big tall mountains and having the time of our lives. I wrote about it a fair amount on my blog, Chasing Mailboxes.
Tell us what you ride
I own primarily steel touring frames. As I mentioned, my husband and I have a custom tandem, a Co-Motion Java 29er that we use for touring and randonneuring as well as a Cannondale mountain tandem– which is aluminum– that we use for off-road riding. I own a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket, which is a packable flyer and ideal for something like paved light touring. My Surly Long Haul Trucker and Rivendell Quickbeam are perfect for bike commuting and grocery shopping. I use my Rivendell Romulus and Rawland Nordavinden for century rides and brevets/randonneuring events, if I’m not on the tandem. I also own a Bike Friday TIkit, which is a fast-fold bike designed for commuting and multi-modal transport. I really enjoy trying out different bikes and using them for various purposes.
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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!
Bike Build: Surly Pugsley Banana Cracker Commuter
If you have been keeping tabs on me lately you know that I am moving to Denver, CO where my lady is going into her intern year as a doctor in pediatrics. When we recently went to Denver to look at houses one of our top priorities was that she could ride easily to her main hospital of Children’s Hospital Colorado. We found a home in the Stapleton area, about 3.5 miles by neighborhood streets to the hospital. Her other hospital, Denver Health, is about 7 miles by bike paths and dedicated bike lanes.
As a graduation present for her from medical school I scooped up a 16″ Surly Pugsley for my lady to commute on. I went with the complete Surly build as it has a solid parts spec and I was only going to need to switch out a few things to make it “Doctor Approved.”
Meet the Surly Pugsley Banana Cracker
You know you are dating a pediatrician when they call their bike “Banana Cracker”
Added white rim strips to the Marge Lite rims
Switched out front brake cable to purple
Purple seat collar
Batcage waterbottle cage
Purple cow horn (not pictured, but awesome)
Bigger Additions and Reasoning:
Purple Thermalite BMX pedals- These are pretty thin with a solid base for pedaling in snow boots if needed. They have replaceable pins to keep a grasp of the bottom of her sneakers/clogs or whatever she wears
Abus Bordo XL Lock – this lock is extra long to get around that fat front wheel and frame for locking. White of course.
Women’s seat- in white (going to find a purple Fizik when possible)
Surly Nice Rack- Not pictured, but a rear rack with Ortlieb panniers (in white of course)
Knog Blinder USB light- front/rear. Will be upgraded to brighter lights in the fall
Surly Black Floyd Tires- Not pictured as we won’t switch these out until she actually starts the commute. Smooth, balloon like tires for easy rolling.
First Impressions: 2011 Specialized Myka Expert Women’s 29er
For the past month the women behind Bike Shop Girl have been test riding the 2011 Specialized Myka Expert 29er. Getting our own first hand impressions of how Specialized does women’s 29ers. Along the way this has also allowed us to try out the Specialized 29er tires, Specialized Riva saddle and Rock Shox “Specialized Womens Tuned” fork.
Lake Norman Bike Route Ribbon Cutting This Weekend
If you are a local to me (Charlotte/Lake Norman, NC) then you should know about the dedication event of the Lake Norman Bicycle Route. The route is planned to circle Lake Norman on marked roads, greenways, and showing points of interest. The route is 3/4 of the way marked and mapped! Read more about it or view the map here.
This Saturday is the event to kick things off, including a bike ride!
Saturday, October 15, 2011 at the Troutman Depot
137 South Main Street, Troutman, NC
Starts at 10am
Description of the Troutman Loop to be ridden after the ceremony Saturday
Begin at Downtown Troutman’s landmark Old Depot at US 21/NC 115 (Main St.) and Wagner Rd. Careful crossing US 21 to start your ride south on Wagner. After 1.5 miles, veer right onto State Park Rd. The scenery becomes more rural and wooded approaching Lake Norman State Park. Past the first bridge, see a parking area at Park Lake. Boats can be rented here during summer. The building provides restrooms and drinking fountain (mid-March to November). A Porta-John is located at the north entrance of the parking lot by the Itusi Mountain Bike Trail entrance. A mile further on State Park Rd., turn right after the Park’s west gate. St. John’s Rd. ends at E. Monbo Rd. Turn right, and in a ¼-mile, veer right to stay on E. Monbo and the Loop. E. Monbo stretches another 4 miles through hilly, rural horse country before reaching Old Mountain Rd. (To visit Daveste’ Vineyards, divert right onto Talley St., past Hicks Creek Rd., and another right onto Lytton Farm.) Continue to Troutman, turning right on Old Mountain Rd. to reach US 21/NC 115. At the light, turn right. After a ¼ mile, turn left at Old Murdock, then right onto Eastway. Notice the “Richardson Greenway” path across from Town Hall. In ¾-mile return to the Depot. If you’re hungry, enjoy one of the several restaurants you just passed along Main St.
2012 Trek Lexa Women’s Road Bikes
Looking for a review of the Trek Lexa? Check it out here.
The 2011 Trek Lexa bikes were an amazing hit for Trek Bikes corporation.
It’s one of the top selling women’s road bikes. Many women asked for Lexa by name at demos, and dealers also told us they had many women coming in asking about them. Women love the comfortable fit, race-inspired performance, and the fact that we have so many color and graphics options. It was fantastic to see so many of them at the many triathlons that we sponsored this year. - Trek Women Brand Manager
A Cyclocross Race for Last Place
When someone asks how your race went, traditionally you want to tell them your place 1st or 5th out of 10, something to that tune. When you are in last place you want to list out all the other positives of the race, this was my race this past Sunday. My first race of any discipline in Colorado, my first cyclocross race of the season, and my first race as a Category 3.
Sure, I’m looking at most of this early season’s racing as practice and learning, but it was still a pretty brutal showing on my part.
The Course at Cross of the North
I strongly believe that my carbon 29er hardtail would be been better suited for tearing up the 95% sand course that made up the Cross of the North. Up and down you went, a lot of sweeping turns that let me learn with 4 laps of racing practice, how to turn in sand (you don’t “turn”) and how to gracefully place your front wheel to force you to tumble off the bike.
I’m sure with the proper training in my legs the sand would have been easier to spin through and the necessary dismounts on two sandy hairpins would have been unnecessary, but for this race they were necessary and my legs were toast.
Cyclocross in Colorado
To be honest my biggest reason for nerves going into the race was the people, or lack there of knowing the people. Cyclocross is about the community to me. Shelling out and racing for 45 minutes is just the icing on the cake. Driving to races in the heat, cold, snow and rain is my own version of being a fan of football. Instead of being crowded around a TV or a grill at a tailgate, I’m at a cyclocross race surrounded by some of the best people I could ask for. This to me is cyclocross and I could only hope that Colorado would deliver like Maryland and North Carolina have.
Most of my teammates of Team Cycleton don’t start racing until October, so there isn’t that instant family to find when showing up in the morning but there was faces that I recognized and was greeted with warm smiles. There was the chatter before the whistle at the line and friendly talks in the parking lot with faces you don’t recognize but saw you racing and find the light in the wreckage of your failed race.
Results are in the Smiles and Miles
The race was hot, dusty and a bit shattering for me. I was happy with last place in SW3, which would have been top 10 in the SW4. I am happy that I didn’t submit a downgrade request when moving and I’m happy I showed up to race. One more step closer to making Colorado my home and to create the community I miss so badly from North Carolina.
I need to thank the handful of fast dudes from Boulder Cycle Sport that were all super friendly and eased my nerves when the talked it up in the parking lot at 8am.
Thank you to Megan Hottman of The Cyclist – Lawyer as she encouraged me when passing (after flatting, getting fixed and catching me)
Safety to Another Level: Chrome Reflective Camo Bags
Being seen at night is a big concern for most cyclist (yet reflectors are the first thing that come off new bikes.) Chrome is launching a limited run of Reflective Camo Bags that are made in the USA. What looks normal in the day, lights up when a car light shines on the fabric to make it easier to spot.
Limited run, available at select shops – find one near you or hit up Chrome.
New Product from Banjo Brothers
While I realize the below product may not be that new from Banjo Brothers, it is awesome product that I haven’t talked about yet. Look for many of the mentioned products in Bike Shop Girl reviews over the coming weeks as a box of bag goodness showed up earlier this week from Banjo Brothers!
Metro BackPack $74.99
- Available in Black, White and Red
- 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
- Click for Product Page
Canvas Waterproof Commuter Backpack $99.99
- Fully-waterproof replaceable liner
- 20-oz heavy-duty canvas construction
- Water repellent dry-wax finish
- 1500 cu in.
- Click for Product Page
Frame Packs $32.99-34.99
- Efficient gear carrying frame bag
- Ballistic nylon
- Waterproof Zippers
- Zipper-pull Garage
- Two Pockets – one full size and one flat pocket for smaller items
- Med Size fits 70-oz hydration bladder
- 01064 (medium) is 15.5″L x 5.75″ H x 2″W and 01063 (small) 14.75″ L x 4.25″ H 1.75″W
- Click for Product Page
Top Tube Bag $14.99
- 41 cubic inches (6.25″ L x 2″ W x 3.25″ H)
- 840 denier nylon fabric with padded and lined interior
- Rubber-backed frame straps are secure and gentle on bike’s finish
- Interior key clip and reflective piping
- Clear flap helps keep your stuff dry and allows full view of contents
- Plenty of room for race tools/food, or camera, phone, etc.
- Click for Product Page
Jersey Pocket Cycling Wallet $5.99