Empowering women in cycling

Go Ride Your Bike Today

2 Raleigh Clubman Fenders

A post over at Kent’s Bike Blog reminded me of a simple thing that all of the readers will probably agree to, bike rides are awesome.   You don’t have to go for an epic ride,  or get geared up in spandex.   Often all we need in life is to get on the bike and pedal for a short while, you’ll come back nice and recharged for the day.

Did You Ride Today?

Tell us about your bike ride, take a photo of your bike, share your story with us!   If you are on Flickr add it to our group, if you are on Facebook add it to our wall, Tweet it or simply leave a comment below.

Personally, I’ll be riding at lunch today.  It will be time to de-stress and move forward into the weekend.

Sponsor em:pwr cycling and Bike Shop Girl

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em:pwr cycling
em:pwr yourself
em:pwr others

Below is our sponsorship letter we’ve been sending out.  The response has been overwhelming, and we are excited to get the feedback and interest!  If you think you, or your company would be interested in some sort of sponsorship please let us know.

empwr cycling kit

Sponsorship Rings

We’d like to welcome you to em:pwr cycling, a cycling club uniting both sponsored riders and recreational cyclists with one goal: empowering people through cycling. That’s our motto, in fact: “em:pwr cycling. em:pwr yourself. em:pwr others.”

Our mission is simple: empowering ourselves and others to get on a bicycle to ride – faster, safer, and smarter. We ring the cowbell for any and all when we race or ride. We want to expand the global community of like-minded people, and create a portal so people can find knowledge – and motivation – to go further by bicycle. em:pwr cycling supports beginners, women, men and young people, whether they’re racers, recreational riders, commuters, or fans; and all can find information and a supportive network for their needs. And, we have partnered with Bikes Belong to benefit their People for Bikes program, and our goal by the end of 2011 is to become a not-for-profit organization.

We’re a new club and team, so we’re partnering with companies and organizations that share our goals. If your company or organization is looking for ways to promote itself through passion and purpose, you’ve found a home with em:pwr cycling.

Thanks for your consideration; and be assured that we’ll be promoting the message wherever and whenever we ride! Here are sponsorship package levels from which you can choose:

Big Ring:  $750 per year (may be divided up as $250 cash and $500 in-kind donation for that total amount)
What you get:
1. Logo placement on Jersey or shorts (first come, first served, Big Ring and Middle Ring sponsors combined. Limit 5 total: 3 on jersey and 2 on shorts)
2. Logo placement on homepage of BikeShopGirl.com (average of 80k unique visitors per month, standard ad charge is $75 monthly)
3. Logo placement on the team’s website subcategory, which can also be found at empwrcycling.com

4. A ton of word-of-mouth promotion wherever we roll!

Middle Ring: $500 per year or in-kind donation for that total amount
What you get:
1. Logo placement on jersey or shorts (first come, first served, Big Ring and Middle Ring sponsors combined. Limit 5 total: 3 on jersey and 2 on shorts)
2. Logo Placement on the team’s website subcategory, which can also be found at empwrcycling.com

3. Lots of word-of-mouth promotion wherever we roll!

(Current Sponsors: Lazer Helmets; People For Bikes; Ritz Marketing)

Little Ring: $250 per year or in-kind donation for that amount
What you get:
1. Logo placement on the team’s website subcategory, which can also be found at empwrcycling.com

2. Lots of word-of-mouth promotion wherever we roll!

(Current Sponsors: Flying Pig Racing, Twin SixIndustrial Scientific)

Partnership with People for Bikes

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With our the announcement of our em:pwr cycling, we want to dive deeper into our main, and very exciting, partnership with Bikes Belong and their People for Bikes program.

People for BikesPeopleforBikes.org is a movement created by the Bikes Belong Foundation – the national nonprofit focused on bicycling safety and children’s bike programs. The goal of PeopleforBikes.org is to unite one million voices to improve bicycling in the United States by asking people to sign a pledge in support of biking. PeopleforBikes.org aims to make our country a better place to ride by sending a unified message to our elected leaders, the media, and the public that bicycling is important and should be promoted.

Nearly 200,000 people, including Lance Armstrong, Gary Fisher, and bike-friendly Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak have already signed the pledge since the campaign’s launch last spring. Please take a moment to visit the website and add
your name today. It is quick, easy, and free, and it will help the future of biking. All they need is your name!

Whatever your background, whatever your bike, and wherever you ride – everyone has a stake in building more bike lanes and trails, securing more funding, and influencing local and national policies to better support bicycling.

Please sign the pledge today, and share peopleforbikes.org with your fellow riders.

Introducing em:pwr cycling

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We mentioned a Bike Shop Girl cycling team for 2011 and with much discussion, planning and “crayon on napkin” design we are ready to reveal!

Welcome to em:pwr cycling

empwr cycling kit

Yes, this is the team for all teams. If you are a sponsored rider or a recreational cyclist we are for you.

em:pwr cycling. em:pwr yourself. em:pwr others.

Our mission is simple, empowering ourselves and others to get on a bicycle to ride or to go faster and smarter on that bicycle. We aren’t elitist (even though some of us are fast), we will ring the cowbell for any and all cyclist. Creating a global community of like minded cyclist, and creating a portal to find knowledge or motivation to go that much further by bicycle!

Are We Preaching to the Choir?

If you are reading this you love bikes or have some interest in them. We are creating a force across the land that will bridge the gaps of beginners, women, children, men or fans.

Join Us!

Leave a comment below with an email address or email us at empwr@bikeshopgirl.com to get on the list.

Encouraging Women’s Pro Cycling in the USA

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This past Monday USA Cycling introduced a new team category for the NRC (National Racing Calendar.)

Domestic Elite Squads

Unlike Continental registration, Domestic Elite squads will have no age requirements placed on their rosters, but will require80 percent of the riders to be U.S. citizens. Foreign teams can compete for the NRC teams classification, but must pay the registration fee. “One restriction we are putting on it is nationality,” said Rice. “The idea is that this is really a domestic elite roster for United States riders. If foreign teams want to come in and compete, if they’re UCI, they obviously can do that … but if it’s a foreign team they’ll have to pay the $250.” – Velonews.com

My two cents on the matter is that we are encouraging more people from the US to be on this Domestic Elite Squads, to pay the extra $250 and it seems we are trying to either discourage, or USAC is trying to make more cash from the visiting teams from other countries.

Where the Women Fit In

While riders earn paychecks, the top U.S. women’s teams, like PB & Co. and Webcor Builders, have been recognized officially as elite amateur programs by the UCI and USA Cycling. The new registration designation won’t change that, but Rice did hope it would add even more organization to women’s domestic racing.

“I think that providing more structure is better,” said Rice, who ran the Aaron’s team for three years. “If these women are getting paid even a small amount of money to travel and race their bikes, they’re a pro athlete in my mind. Whether that meets the UCI designation is another issue.”-Velonews.com

I read fluff.  That’s my humble opinion.  Most women are elite amateur’s due to the lack of funds for living the life as a pro-cyclist.   Teams such as Team Vera Bradley and PB & Co.

Riders Feedback

I’ve reached out to a few of my friends that are “domestic elite” or “elite amateur” racers.   We’ll hear first hand their feelings on this new team structure.

Original Source : Velonews.com

Recycle Your Clothing with Loeka

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Loeka women’s cycling & outdoor wear based out of Canada have started a recycling program for your used Loeka clothing, or winter items in good condition.  Turning some of your clothing into point of sale merchandising or donating the good clothes to local women.   We have an email to Loeka for an interview to get the background on the program and how it exactly will work.

Loeka Recycle is an initiative that enables customers to return their old Loeka items to be recycled into reusable materials for signage, banners, merchandising. Plus any winter items that are in good condition will be donated to women in need so they can stay warm and dry. These are just the first steps Loeka is taking towards the ultimate goal of operating a completely closed loop recycling system. Customers who participate in the program are rewarded with vouchers for their next purchase.

Loeka is the first cycling apparel company in Canada to introduce the recycling initiative into our business model. We are incredibly excited at the opportunity and thank our customers and retail partners for joining us. -Loeka’s Website

Learn more on Loeka.com

Race Report : NCCX #14 Greensboro

0 George Berger Cyclocross

George Berger, the first member of the new em:pwr cycling team,  started riding BMX as a kid in Houston, graduated to local crits and road races, then moved into mountain bikes and triathlons before finally ending up as someone who loves ‘cross more than anything else. The problem, he says, was that each major cycling ‘era’ for him was in different decades. He says that if he’d have stuck with cycling throughout his life, he could have been as good as…well, any shortish, stoutish, strongish mid-40′s Flemish ‘cross racer.  George resides in Davidson, NC with wife and daughter.

The final race of the North Carolina Cyclo-Cross Series was held last Sunday in Bur-Mil Park in Greensboro. Arleigh and I drove over there from the Lake Norman area to race–first me in the (new to me) Masters 45+ category at 10AM, and then Arleigh at 11AM in the CX4 (remember, she’s racing a single-speed against the ‘gearies,’ folks!)

It was cold out there at 9AM or so…so we were all glad that the park had its nature center open for us, with bathrooms, tables and chairs…not to mention cool live and stuffed animal exhibits…and, around the park all sorts of cool parkie stuff. I’d definitely go back there for sure.

The races themselves were a lot of fun; the course was set by Greensboro Velo and Cycles de Oro, and technical obstacles included a couple of sand volleyball pits to ride through (icy is good in sand, by the way, because it packs down), one set of double barriers, a short, sharp two-pedal-revolution climb/90′ turn that you had to hit standing up, and a cool set of stairs that popped us up from a sharp off-camber turnto the main level of the course. Lots of sharp turns that got progressively rutted as the day went on, and some pine needle sections that you had to pay close attention to in order to not spin. Lots of reasonable up- and down-hilliness, but nothing too steep. Fun!

Welcome to Masters 45+

I raced Masters 45+ for the first time. Frankly, so long as I could stay out of the way of the faster guys (and Pro/1/2/3 women, who are almost as fast as the 45+/55+ guys), that was fine with me…and those (other) old guys are damn fast. My goal was not to crash out like last week, and to finish, which I accomplished without much incident. Not much of a goal, but still. I’m a beginner at this. It was my 4th CX race, and I think I’ve learned a lot about bike prep (see my comments from last week, when I crashed over and over due to poor tire choice made before the race), bike handling, and tactics.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself, and it’s a goal to figure out before next year: when I’m actually racing, I feel like I’m working as hard as I can, while still conserving some energy (and air) for later laps of the race. I feel like I’m pushing hard, but not hyperventilating (I did that a bit in the Winston-Salem race, and don’t want to do that again). But then, after the race, I feel almost OK pretty soon after…not like I’ve REALLY worked so hard that I’m spent. Gotta figure out how to get more energy into the race, but not be dead (body or brain-) before the last lap. It’s one thing to push yourself around in the middle of a crit peloton…you can almost always sit in the group to catch some breath. But this is different–you have to negotiate obstacles and the course pretty much by yourself, even if you’re on the wheel of someone. You have to stay sharper, and have to save some energy for the later laps.

I really wish the CX season went on longer though. I’m looking forward to doing 55nine Performance’s Southern Cross down in Georgia on February 26th, so I’ll put the road wheels on the cross bike for a while and build up some fitness…hopefully, it’ll warm up a bit.

DFL #2 for the 2011 Cycling Season

0 NC Cyclocross

The second race of my 2011 season was the NCCX #12 at the Wilkesboro Speedway right here in North Carolina.  This race could be one of the coolest venue’s I’ve been to.  Most of the course was found within the infield of the speedway and the rest was right out the back gate in a grassy field.

The Word of the Race : Mud

In North Carolina our weather is fairly mild and easy going, a few years ago in January I was racing cyclocross in short sleeves and 65º weather.  The race earlier this month was the first time we had any type of weather. This race, we didn’t have any weather but instead we had thawing.  Frozen ground gave way and by the time my CX4 race came around the “tractor pull” area became a slopfest.  The pro’s made it look easier, but I walked slowly through the mud pit every time (maybe I should work on running in mud??)

Progress and Motivation

Dead last is better than not finishing or not starting, and ending last was atleast the motivation I needed for getting to the gym and active.

How’s your season going so far?

Photo credit : George Berger

Take a Moment for Carla Swart

0 Carla Swart

I didn’t know Carla Swart, though she went to college an hour from my home and many of my friends rode, races or coached her.   I’ve heard rumors about Carla.   A girl that was ripping legs off at Nationals,  a girl from North Carolina winning big time cyclocross races, a down to earth girl that was fast and genuine.

For full details on Carla’s accident and reasons for death do a quick google search.

Take a Moment

While on your ride, at the gym or while taking a walk please take a moment and say a prayer for Carla’s passing and her family.  I wish all of my readers safe travels during their rides over the weekend.  Please make sure to look all around you and take your safety over convenience everyday.

Photo Credit : USA Today