Empowering women in cycling

The Ass Backwards Ways of the Bicycle Industry

9 Fixing the Bike Industry

If you are a common visitor to BikeShopGirl.com (thank you) than you may have noticed that the tag line and description have changed.  Originally this site was targeted to specifically women and our niche.  We aren’t leaving that niche, and I’m a woman so I’ll continue to concentrate on helping women in the cycling industry.   As comments and emails stream in on a daily basis, I realized that almost everyone other than the bike snob elitist related to the words I have been typing.   Many people are scared to walk into bike shops, they are scared to try on spandex for the first hundred times and they feel like they are trying to be sold to instead of educated.   This is the nature of retail and consumerism thanks to used car and Xerox sales guys.

Recent Observations

Here are some recent musings while talking to friends and cyclist of all types

  • My impression is most people that ride bikes, do not refer to themselves as cyclist
  • They fear shopping for bikes, due to sticker shock and lack of knowledge
  • They relate to their friends and family, wanting to include them as much as possible in their experience
  • Due to lack of knowledge, they will shop based on friends recommendations or sources they trust (this is where I come in)

My Goals are Not to Crush

Making a bike shop profitable in a saturated market is getting more and more impossible.  Margin’s are getting skinnier, there is more knowledge needed by their staff which means higher salaries and more training, more product by more vendors means more room to store it which adds to overhead, and the online retailer (unfortunately for local bike shops) are doing it right.  Call them, ask them tons of questions, price shop, and repeat.

Today, across all industry’s, it is the time for the consumer.  Consumer’s want you to save them money, to be treated like your long lost first love and for it to be all about them.  Because after all, they are giving you their money and they want you to earn it.  They will be needy, helpless and walked through many things.  But, hey, that’s okay!!! Treat them right and they will be your loyal customer referring you to friends for years.

We’ll talk about what bike shops could do, and hopefully get more feedback from end users.  But in reality, my goal is to help the consumer.  EMPOWER the consumer to shop smarter and have a better experience riding their bike.

Soul Run Tool Roll and Wallet Review

1 Soul Run Review

Last summer I mentioned Soul Run products and carrying your tools in style.  Now that I’ve had some time under my belt with their tool roll and jersey pocket wallet I’m ready to reveal my feelings and emotions around their products.

Soul Run Tool Roll

The Tool Roll is a great concept.   It is somewhat like a seatbag, but it unrolls to display all your tools, tubes or bits without having to dump your goods on the ground to find that tube patch or tire levers.    You can keep it in your messenger bag, under your seat or in your pocket.

Soul Run Tool Roll Review

Overall this roll has been a great addition to my daily riding, especially when commuting or changing bikes/bags.   I can easily take the tool roll from one bag into another, or throw it under my seat with a toe strap.   It won’t ever replace a seat bag as it is impossible to attach a light to it, but again for someone with several bags I use to commute with – this was a lifesaver.  I no longer had to make sure I had everything I needed every time I set off on a different bike or with a different bag.

One of the coolest features to this tool roll was the custom colors, I was able to pick anything I wanted for no additional charge!

The only con I found of this roll is due to the pockets and limited space I couldn’t fit too much in the roll.  I routinely kept a CO2, adapter, tube, tube patch and tire levers.   That’s all that fit and even with that it was very bulky and looked “over stuffed.”

Soul Run Pocket Wallet

Soul Run Review

This wallet was the lifesaver that I never knew I needed.   I carry an Android smart phone and a small digital camera on every ride.  As the summer is hot and humid in Charlotte, NC, I would often put these electronic devices in a plastic bag to keep the moisture of my sweat out.  This wallet saved me from looking like a fool, and I started to use it daily for other uses.  On the one side I put my phone with license and credit card, the other either my camera or cash.   It kept everything dry and stink free!  It also kept everything easy to find in a huge messenger bag, or backpack with out stash pockets.

Other Mentions of Soul Run

Back in October when I was run over by a car, Soul Run sent me a “get well card” to my house due to them having my address from sending me their product for review.  It was one of the sweetest things and motivating factors to my healing process.

Check out Soul Run on Etsy to check out their latest colors and products.  Personally I’m eyeballing the pro bike tool roll!

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.

A Mental Mountain Bike Ride

1 Lake Norman Mountain Biking

Yesterday was a glorious day to get out on your bike.   Sitting around 60º at 2pm I hit one of our local trail systems to Charlotte, NC.  The trails are located in Lake Norman State Park and normally referred to as “Lake Norman.”   There are three different loops that require next to no technical skills in order to ride.  All three loops add up to 17.5 miles so it makes for a decent day on the bike if you do one or two circuits of the trails.    Yesterday, my goal was to hit two of the loops for 11 easy miles.

My Riding is Off

There are some days that things don’t align for you on the bike, sometimes its your health and sometimes its your nerves.   Half way due to having the flu last week, and half way due to not trusting my natural reflects I was fighting myself for the first 5 miles.   My pedals would turn over well, I didn’t trust my tire pressure, I went too slow through rooty areas that require speed.   I walked away with a great ride and glad I went, but wondering how long it will be until I find my legs and head again.

Riding Plan for the Week

Today, recover from the weekend and stretch a good amount.  Oh yes, it is Valentine’s Day!  Tomorrow and Wednesday, most likely mountain bike ride after work.  Thursday and Friday, 1 hour road ride during lunch.

What are your plans for the week?

Be a Girl Today Valentine’s Discount

1 Be A Girl Today

Our friends on Twitter, BeAGirl_Today, mentioned they are having a sale in honor of Valentine’s Day.  Now they don’t make cycling specific gear yet, but supposedly it is in the works.   They have some pretty cool graphic tshirts announcing that you are going to “Play Like A Girl.”

BeAGirl_Today : Pick a shirt any shirt (bag or sticker!!) … enter the code “BeMine” for a 20% discount

Celebrate being a girl today and save 20% off through the Feb 28th, 2011.  Visit BeAGirlBlog.com

Windburned Legs

2 Windburned Cycling Legs

Today was foretasted as a beautiful days, at its peak it was meant to hit 55º and be the gorgeous Carolina Blue skies that I love dearly!  When I left my house this morning at 8am, it wasn’t close to 55º and I would bet it was closer to 20º in the shade.

Why am I telling you all this?

Never Under Dress on Your Bicycle

My upper body was warm, I decided to wear a long sleeve jersey and my team thermal wind-stop jacket.   I didn’t wear long pants, nor warm gloves figuring that knee warmers and tall wool socks plus long fingered gloves would cut it.

It didn’t. 3/4 through the ride my right foot was numb and my legs had the burn of the cold.  I didn’t complain, I did go slower but I didn’t complain to my riding partners.

As I entered the shower, I didn’t realize how cold I really was.  I looked down at my bare naked legs and could see exactly the areas that my knee warmers or socks didn’t cover.   There was a 3″ line between my socks and knee warmers and again around my hip area that looked like a sunburn, and god did it hurt when the warm water hit it.  I quickly shout out for a camera from my girlfriend to take a picture of my legs.    I didn’t need to hurry her as the lines are still there 6 hours later.

Windburned Cycling LegsWindburned Cycling Legs

I’ve never done this one before, and I can promise you I never will again.

Budget Minded Airborne Delta Cyclocross Bike

1 Airborne Delta Cyclocross

When friend and follower Rick Vosper sent along spy photos of a new cyclocross bike he had up his Airborne Bicycles sleeve, I was impressed and excited.  I was sworn to secrecy until they finished testing it.

Here’s the low down.  $1099 for a SRAM Apex equipped, custom carbon fork, disc brake cyclocross bike.  Yes, you read $1099.  Do you know how rare it is to find a cyclocross bike around $1000?   Meet the Airborne Delta CX.

Now Airborne Bicycles is a unique company as it is everything that local bike shops hate.  You can only purchase them online, and because they take out the middle man their bikes are cheaper.   There’s going to be a specific customer for their niche, one that knows what they are looking for, and either knows how to put their unbox their bike, or is okay to take it to the bike shop.   Personally, I’m a fan of this concept.   Buy your bike online, as long as you know what you are doing, bring it to the shop for them to properly build it and then pay them again to fit you.   No low margin bikes for the shop, and only money making profit on the labor of the services.  This is a completely different rant, but for now I’ll save you.


The Airborne Delta CX One Part CX, One Part Commuter

This bike will be ready to rock well before the cyclocross season comes back around.   It is also equipped with bosses for your rack, as a disc brake cyclocross would be a perfect commuter.   That’s the great thing about a good cyclocross bike.  The ample tire clearance gives you room for fenders, rack and all those goodies plus a slightly more upright position than a road bike.  While living in DC, Boston or major cities cyclocross bikes were my go to bikes for 80% of people wanting to “tool around”, commute and go for a fun road ride.

View more photos on Airborne’s Facebook Page.

Charlotte Winter Short Track Finale

0 Winter Short Track

This Sunday is the last day of racing for the 5 race short track series in Charlotte, NC.   This series is a local favorite due to the weather proof trail and great spectator friendly course.   The trail has everything from a good climb, berms, table top and “rock garden.”

If you are in the area come check it out! You can learn more at CharlotteMTNBike.com

2011 Winter Short Track Mountain Bike Series
Renaissance Park Short Track Charlotte, NC
Sunday -  February 13 – FINAL RACE OF THE SEASON

The final race of the series is set for this Sunday.  The weather looks to be awesome for our double points race. This will be a double points race for both the individual and team competition. Ties in the series points is determined by the highest placing at the last race.

The course continues to be in great shape.  Last week, most all race participants were amazed how great the course was for race #4.

Race Day registration opens at 9:00AM
NO pre-reg needed and NO LATE FEES.

POST RACE AWARDS PARTY – 4PM
Post race awards party will be held at East Blvd Bar and Grill.  Please park in the Queen City Bicycles parking lot at the corner of Scott Ave and East Blvd, between BRIX Pizza and the bike shop.   Do not park in the grass parking area directly across from the restaurant…you will be towed. Olde Mecklenburg Brewery has provided has a great deal on beer for the race party.  Come on out.  We will be raffling off the Scott Scale kids bike, compliments of Live it Extreme Sports and the American Classic wheels, compliments of American Classic Racing Team.

Address and directions to East Blvd Bar and Grill…. http://ebbandg.com/

Turn That Light On, Even in the Day

8 Cateye Light

There are reasons that daytime running lights have become standard on many cars, they add safety.   It would be obvious to cyclist to add this extra level of safety to their daily bike rides, even during the daylight.

A Customer’s Story

Two years ago a good customer of the bike shop I was managing was literally run over by a car.  She was on a quiet road during the mid day, with 4 open lanes around her.  The customer is now healthy and able to bike again, but it was a touch and go case.  The owner of the bike shop kept the fork off her run over bike in reminder of the actions we take when riding our bike.  The driver of the car had a pretty standard reply,  “I didn’t even see the person!”  The cyclist was in a very shady part of the road and even though it was sunny out, she was camouflaged by her surroundings.

“I didn’t even see the person!”

As a cyclist and a driver I know this can sometimes be the case.  When lighting is bad, clothing is dark and the cyclist blends into the scenery.  With so many other distractions for drivers to checking in on, phone, radio or the screaming baby in the back, I push everyone to give them better time to see you.

Brighter clothing and not riding in the gutter can help this. My big push to every person I’ve ever sold a bike to that is going to be ridden on the road is a light.  Buying batteries once a month is much cheaper than your life, and with most lights viewable 2,000+ feet behind I’ll take it.Cateye Light

From Facebook and Twitter

Several people chimed in on our Facebook and Twitter accounts to answer the question about riding with their blinky light on during the day.

Tawny Yambrovich I see other cyclists do it in daylight and it is virtually invisible; therefore it is a waste of batteries, and a waste of resources (reducing your use of batteries means fewer in landfills or needing recycling).

Tawny, I agree with you that normally a light isn’t viewable but in that one low light situation I would rather be wasting a bit more than wasting my life.

Josh Lipton Something really bright like the Planet Bike SuperFlash on flash mode is bright enough to easily catch people’s eyes even in broad daylight. I figure the sooner other road users see you, the better.

Amen.   Give motorist a heads up that you are riding, most people aren’t used to riding around cyclist and they need prepared.

Chrome Mini-Messenger : Preview

6 Chrome Mini-Messenger Bag

Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to have some great conversations with the marketing gal over at Chrome about their womens clothing line and their different models of bags.   The clothing line details will be another day but let’s talk about the bag I selected for review.

Chrome Mini- Messenger Bag

There’s no hiding it, I’m a bag whore.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be reviewing a great amount of bags for you guys and you’ll see what I mean about being a bag whore.  As my daily needs for a cycling bag have changed, I decided to scale down on the size of bag I would normally pick.  I wanted something to hold the needs of my daily work, including laptop, book and needed cords.  When commuting, I need the basics of shoes and clothing, sometimes a lock.

This directed me to the Mini-Messenger Bag from Chrome.

Initial Preview of the Chrome Mini-Messenger Bag

The limited edition colors are awesome.   The size is perfect for my 17″ laptop and all my needs.  I haven’t begun to use it on a daily basis but I think it seems to have enough spunk yet, hopefully, be able to pull off a semi-professional look to roll into work.

Check out Chrome online and we’ll be back with a full review in a few weeks!

Your True Cost of Driving a Car

1 Cost of Driving

5 months ago I started driving on a daily basis, not commuting and having my head stuck in a tailpipe.  There are reasons, which we don’t need to deep dive, but as the winter comes to an end I look forward to riding my bicycle.  Especially as I take a moment to dive into this “driving cost calculator.”

Cost of Driving