Empowering women in cycling

Airborne Bicycles: A Partnership

5 Airborne Bicycles Flight Crew

In February Airborne Bicycles put out a call for Flight Crew members.   Essentially Flight Crew members are a small group of brand ambassadors.   You get to ride a bike, for free, goto Sea Otter (to work the booth), for free, and encourage cycling.   When I heard this news I was ecstatic.  I already had my eye on on an Airborne Goblin for the 2011 season, and if I could become part of the team? Great!

“A” Stands For :  Arleigh Awesome Airborne

That was my tag line for my entry to the Flight crew.  Apparently it worked, but I think I won them over with my sweet talking on the phone.  How could three bike guys from Airborne turn down a girl on the phone that knows a crap ton about bikes?

Red Tape Around Every Corner

There were concerns along the way.  I didn’t want to muddy any water on Bike Shop Girl by having a product sponsor, but on the flip side Bike Shop Girl is a purely passionate investment of my time.   It is a personal blog and doesn’t generate enough money to buy me anything but bottom shelf beer.   Now that I work in marketing full time, the bike industry is not my job and I am going to continue to give unbiased views of bikes or product.

Other details include more guest posting for product reviews that compete with Airborne Bicycles.   Say Specialized wants a mountain bike reviewed, I’m going to ring up one of my em:pwr team members and ask them if they would be interested in reviewing a bike.   Basing it completely on their experience, riding style and needs that fit the bike the best.   Instead of having one person to review a bike, we have 38 voices and opiniongs!

I’m a Bike Rider and Racer

Airborne Goblin 29er

Cycling is an expensive sport and if someone wants to give me a bike, I’m not going to stop them.   If a company structure that I believe in (direct to consumer and brick ‘n mortar) want to sponsor me, why would I turn this down?    As long as I am upfront with my goals and what it means for my readers…why would I say no?

Officially, I am a Flight Crew Member

Thank you Airborne Bicycles for wanting me, I’m honored and flattered as I know what type of competition there was! In two weeks I’ll be flying to Monterray California to ride many Airborne Bikes,  I’ll take many photos but most importantly it will be the first time I’ll swing my leg over my race rig the 29er Goblin and the new Delta CX bike for my cyclocross season!

For now go visit Airborne Bicycles and check out their line.  The new Delta CX will be up on their site sometime this weekend.

30 Days of Biking Starts Today!

2 30 days of biking

April marks many things.  April fools, spring showers, flowers, bike racing, major league baseball and many other things.   It also marks the month of biking.  30 days of biking to be exact.

30 Days of Biking

The only rule for 30 Days of Biking, April 1–30, 2011, is that you bike every day for 30 days—around the block, 20 miles to work, whatever suits you—then share your adventures online. We believe biking enriches life, builds community, and preserves the Earth.

Registering will shoot your name onto our master participants list, setting your name in virtual stone. Interaction from here is up to you! Bike every day, then tweet (using #30daysofbiking) or blog, or Facebook, or Flickr, or Tumblr, or Daily Mile, or write a snail mail letter about it. Make videos and songs. Be pleased as punch you’re biking and fulfilling an awesome goal.

How We are Getting Involved

This is something I find very exciting and I’m glad to participate.  The guys behind 30 days of biking have an amazing idea in place, hopefully we can inspire more butts on bikes!

Some examples of how I’ll be getting on the bike… today I’ll run to the bike shop 3 miles from work on bike bike.   Tomorrow I’m racing.  Sunday I’ll do a recovery ride.  During the week if I can’t do a true ride, I’ll do my errands around work on my bike.   Even if its a bike ride down the greenway to take photos.   Do it, I promise every time you stretch your legs around those pedals turning, you’re body and soul will thank you.

Go sign up now!  30DaysofBiking.com

Chrome Mini Messenger Bag: Long Term Review

7 Chrome Mini Messenger Bag Review

In February I did a preview of the Chrome Mini Messenger that I received for review at no charge from Chrome (yes that is my mandatory disclaimer.)    For the past 6 weeks I have been riding, using for work, the gym and even used it as a warm bed for a small baby chihuahua.

Features of the Chrome Mini Messenger

A few key things that really stood out to me, it is about the small details that companies put in their product that stands out the most.

  • Extended flap on sides to keep out rain when the bag is closed
  • Reflective straps on the back buckles
  • Loop for blinky light on tail of bag
  • Bottle opener on the buckle
  • Several pockets to keep the small things from getting lost in my bag

What the Chrome Mini Messenger Bag Is

The Mini Messenger is perfect for those looking for a slimmer and trimmer messenger bag.   It isn’t as bulky or combersome as most messenger bags.   The colors I picked stand out, and often is commented about when I take it to business meetings.   It has personality without being over the top, and it helps that it is my companies branding colors.   The bag comfortable carriers 20-25 lbs with the load spread out over the very padded shoulder strap.

What Fits in the Chrome Mini Messenger Bag

Daily I use the Mini Messenger for transportation back and forth to work.   This includes two or three notebooks, a 17″ MacBook Pro, cables and a small camera shoved in a side pocket, many pens, and sometimes a hat or a rain jacket thrown in for safety.   It doesn’t carry a ton, it is not a bag to carry the kitchen sink.

Other Random Notes and Dimensions

(Pulled from ChromeBagsStore.com)

Weight: 2.3lb
Fabric: 1000 denier Cordura outer shell, 18 oz. truck tarp liner
Made In: Chica, CA, USA
Dimensions: 20″ wide, 12″ high, 7″ deep
Volume: 20.5L

Personal Downfalls of the Mini Messenger Bag

In no specific order, these are the things that I disliked.

  • The cross chest strap sucks for women with boobs.   The bag is so small though, I often didn’t use it even when I had a full load doing urban riding.
  • I wish it had a top mounted handle for carrying purposes.   Yes, I could have asked for the Buran but it didn’t have any pretty stock colors!
  • The liner system was something that took me a few days to figure out.  Essentially the interior bag is suspended over the exterior bag.   It is fully water proof because of this, but I had lost a couple documents in the bottom of the bag not knowing that it wasn’t closed off. No fears, I found them and I’m smarter for the experience.

Final Thoughts and Review of the Chrome Mini Messenger Bag

The bag was pleasantly comfortable to ride in, even with a rigid laptop on the back.   It was very water proof, even in down pour for 45 minutes I never had any wet documents or electronics (thank god.)    The colors are completely me and I’m glad I picked out the bright colors.   As I said above, I don’t use the chest strap that often due to it not fitting well with my chest, but that didn’t cause any problems during riding or transporting a full bag.

I would recommend this bag, but making sure you know it won’t fit the kitchen sink.  It is for a change of clothes OR a laptop and notebooks, not both.   It will be perfect for someone that needs to carry clothes to work and change, or goto the gym (a yoga mat was held very nicely under the flap.)   Beware during the summer heat you will get a sweaty back with this heavy duty material.

Buy your own Chrome Mini Messenger Bag at the Chrome Bag Store. Make sure they know Bike Shop Girl sent you!

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.

6 Hours of Warrior Creek Race Prep

0 Warrior Creek

I haven’t been on the bike enough during the pre-season to consider myself “in training.”  Riding and working out were a priority, but so was getting used to eating differently, lacrosse games and life!   The past couple months I am proud the direction my cycling riding and can say that I am starting to feel that cycling is back as part of my life like it was prior to my bike accident in October.

Training and prep work done for Warrior Creek wasn’t as swell as I had hoped.  The weekends I hoped to pre-ride the course, or simply ride in the mountains it was either snowing or pouring down rain.   There is no pre-ride of the course until the first lap this Saturday, there is no checking tire selection, pressure or single speed gear.   Everything I would recommend an individual to do before a race, won’t be happening this time around.  With all these negative thoughts I can tell you I am excited and glad to be part of a duo team!

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Since Saturday it has been raining in the region, today (Tuesday) will be the only sunny and dry day that we see.   The radar states that weather will be foul the rest of the week.  The day before the race will be light rain, my hopes is it is light rain in the morning with a ton of sunshine!  Race day it says to be sunny with a high of 54º but in the hills of the Appalachians this could change within 20º at any given day.

Pit Support

With a duo team the key will be cleaning off the bikes between laps and keeping our spirits high.  That is where our fabulous pit crew comes in!

Kimberlee WelsandShelley Childers

Kimberlee (the girl in green on the left photo) and Shelley (right photo) will be in charge of entertainment, freeing the bike from mud, feeding and other random needs or wants that come down the trail.

Other Needs

Come Friday I’ll be changing my front tire to a Maxxis Ignitor for mud clearance, adding a down tube fender, and finding 4-5 pairs of my long finger gloves for when they get muddy.  Nutrition will be next on the things to go over…

Motivational Monday : Pam Sayler

0 Pam Sayler Kinetic Trainers

A Monday morning tradition that we are starting to keep you motivated and to be striving for your goals 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

1. What’s your name and location?

Pam Sayler, the cold frigid Minnesota.  (Pam is the North American Sales Manager of our newest sponsor, Kinetic Trainers.)

2. What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Commuting, road and mtb

3. What is your first cycling memory?

On the farm, had a Schwinn Bantam with the convertible bar. We set the bike’s training wheels on cinder blocks, because mom would not let me ride down the dirt road. I was about 3. I rode that thing for hours every day. It was GRAND

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

Riders: Amy Xu, Ironman and RAAM, because she never gives up. Millie Tanner because she is so enthusiastic and humble. Meredith Miller because she does everything and does it amazing. Industry: Linda Jackson, because of all she does for Women’s cycling. Georgena Terry for womanizing bikes – decades ago. Elysa Walk for tackling a man’s job in a man’s world and doing it better than any one could. My husband, because he puts up with me, AND because he serves all cyclists equally with his shop Trailhead Cycling and Fitness; first time comfort riders to World Class Athletes, he treats them all with the same respect and listens. Must be why he is so successful.

5. What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

A Century with my husband and our 8 year old son

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

Commute more often, actually enter one crit and one mtb race. Complete the MN Ironman and Headwaters 100. Increase my cadence – spin circles better.

My Bikes, are you curious?

My rides: Road: Bianchi 928 D/A 10 sp Mavic Ksyrium Wheels, MTB: Bianchi Grizzly (upgrading to Dyna-sys) Commute: Bianchi Camaleonte Ultegra.

Group Riding Fears

1 MTB Group Ride

Fear is an interesting animal.  Some people lack the normal types of fears, they are the “fearless” and can be found back flipping bikes or driving fast in the rain.   Fear to me is self preservation and common sense, tied with adventure.  Which part is larger, which part is stronger and what direction will you be pulled?

First times for events in your life cause fear for most.   First date, first kiss, first time you ride a mountain bike, and so on.   Yearly, I have “first fears.”  First ride in the dark,  first group ride, first fall, first race, and so on.  Some are thoughts, and not major fears but others cause me horrid nerves and anxiety.

Last night I went for my first group ride of the season, it was a great experience and reminded me why I love riding with others.   BUT before the ride I was nervous and feeling sick.  Was I fast enough for the group I picked? Would I crash and be that person that crashed in front of everyone? All of these thoughts were running through my head as I drove to the trail.

I tried to pre-ride to shake the nerves from my legs, but it didn’t work.  I need to get in with the group and start riding!   Thankfully this group is filled with many of my friends and past customers. They knew me, they joked with me, and my nerves were washed away within a quarter of a mile.

Get Out and Conquer Those Fears

Moral of my story is if you are scared, we all have been there.  Look at me, I’ve been riding over 12 years with groups and my first of the season still makes me nervous!    Ride with friends, and loved ones.  Be strong and ride.  If you are scared, go off the front or fall off the back.  Ride with someone that knows your level and what you are capable.  Follow them, ask them questions, and if you still are worried we are here for you.  Let us know how we can help you!

New Steering Wheel on the Surly Sled

0 Ergon GC2

Tonight (Tuesday, March 21, 2011) is the first Dirt Diva’s group ride of the year.   As this is the first season I’m not working retail I was very giddy to get back in the saddle with a large group of fellow women that love cycling.   I also knew to keep my respected name in the area I would have to get my bike to stop creaking before the group ride.

Over the weekend when I was riding Fisher Farms my handlebar kept popping and my rear disc kept whining.   Now, I couldn’t have that continue as it was driving me batty!   After a long grocery shopping adventure last night I was ready to check over the bike and make needed changes.   Until both lights in my garage popped.    Did I mention it was 8:30pm and dark now outside?  Even darker in my garage… Never fail, I pulled out my contractors lights and set them up.

Contractor Bicycle Lights

Look into the light...

Next I loosened up my stem to clean out any dirt that may be causing the creaking.   Oh yeah, my handlebar was cracked.  Gotta love aluminum handlebars and Thomson stems…

Origin 8 Space Bar Cracked

Time to swap out the the carbon bar I’ve had laying in the corner and try out the Ergon GC3 grips with bar-ends I’ve been waiting to ride on a straight bar.  Everything happens for a reason…

Ergon GC2

Then it was time to cut housing before I strangled myself or a passing by squirrel… and finally tuned up my brakes with the cleaner line of housing.

Trim Bicycle Housing
It was a quick 30 minute change of parts and rearranging on the Surly Sled.  I do adore this bike, even though it is probably the most “heap” of parts bike I have ever owned but it also probably the one that has seen the most mileage, abuse and scenery.

Motivational Monday : Mary Reynolds

0 Mary Reynolds Cyclist

A Monday morning tradition that we are starting to keep you motivated and to be striving for your goals 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

What’s your name and location:

Mary Reynolds, Tucson, AZ

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

Mountain, Road, Commute

What is your first cycling memory?

5 years old, riding homemade sky blue bike built by my Grandpa

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

Jeannie Longo, she’s won everything there is to win in women’s cycling worldwide, and she’s still racing at age 52!

What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?

Riding the AZTrail 300 at sunset on the second day and seeing 20 or so deer run across the trail in front of me

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

Win my category at the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, AZ; encourage more women to mountain bike

Why Women’s Specific 29ers Don’t Work

27 Women's 29er Geometry

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to test ride on a local trail a few women’s specific 29er mountain bikes.   As I had mentioned in the past I was very excited about this new idea of women’s sizing  in 29″ technology but that is where my research ended.

The idea of fitting smaller individuals (men or women) on to the larger wheel technology has been something that I’ve had hopes for.  A few years ago when the 650b movement started I was completed behind it for that reason.  The 26″ wheel, to me, is not the solution for everyone based on how they ride and where they ride.  People deserve options, an example of this is why 3″, 5″, 7″ and 9″ suspension systems exists.

Back on topic, riding women’s specific 29ers

I didn’t have the ability to check saddle fore and aft, saddle to handlebars or any specifics other than seat height.  Now that my disclaimers out of the way….

The bike didn’t handle well.  I don’t know how else to say it….   The geometry of it all doesn’t make any sense.   Take a normal size 29er, keep the wheel base the same length and shorten the top tube.  What you get is a very slack, very flip flop, very slow handling bike thanks to changing the head tube angle to something that would mimic a 5″ travel “all mountain bike”.

Women's 29er Geometry

To a point I understand why they did this.  Shorter top tube to fit women with shorter upper bodies.

My Opinion : How to fit women on 29ers

My bike fit is 140% female.  I have a super long inseam and super short upper body, even my arms are short.   This is my take on fitting my own personal 29ers.  Longer top tube than I would ride on a 26″ bike, and an inch shorter stem. My effective length from saddle tip to handlebars hasn’t changed, but how I achieve it has.  My handling is changed to make up for the bigger (heavier and larger) front wheel and often more raked out fork.  Faster steering is achieved with the shorter stem and my front wheel isn’t tucked up under me either.

Your Bike, Your Opinion

Fitting mountain bikes is a very dynamic effort. It’s not as straight forward as fitting someone on a road bike.  You take everything that you know from fitting road bikes, tie in your own mountain bike experience and then tie in the person RIDING the mountain bikes own feedback.   Test ride, try out things, and repeat.

Depending where you ride, how aggressive you ride, and your own body type (size, shape, fitness, strength &  flexibility) every bike will fit you different.  A bike out of a box most likely won’t fit you.  How the mechanic that built the bike probably won’t be how you need it to fit.

The above feelings about how the 29er women’s specific bikes rode is my own experience, I ride aggressively, I push my bike and body every time I’m out riding.   The handling of the bike was too slow and did not excel for technical riding.   Inquire with your local bike shop, talk about bike fitting and your own needs!

Cycling Websites Worth Your Time

0

On Twitter it is called Follow Friday or #FF, where you mention your friends that you believe are worth other people’s time to follow.  Every once in a while I’ll throw up the links and websites that I am frequenting or that are motivating me to get on my bike, get on my keyboard or inspiring me to inspire others.

MomentumPlanet.com – smart living by bike

The fine folks at Momentum have been nothing but nice to me over the years.   Just a great group of people at events to spend your time with.  Also, the fact that they are some of the most cheerful people I have ever met in the bicycle industry is very helpful as well.

PavedMag.com – From the makers of Bike

This magazine put my faith back into road cycling.   Yes, I love cycing and I love bikes but every road niche magazine out thee shoves high end bikes and racing down your throat.  What about the passion of riding?  This magazine does it.

JeffKerkove.net – Mr. 24 himself

Pro endurance cyclist, and everything Ergon in the USA.

Milltown Cycles

A bike shop doing it right in Faribault, MN.

Grizzly Adam - Biker, Skier and Fabulous Photographer

I read this site and I feel like an anti-epic slacker.  The photos, the stories and the inspiration is all there.