Empowering women in cycling

Crashing Your Bicycle into Golden Leaves

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It was a stupid idea, I knew that within 30 feet of entering the trail head.   Night riding on the most root strewn trail, the night after a huge wind storm blew threw the area which left roughly 2 inches of wet leaves to hide those evil roots.

It was a Stupid Idea Night Riding Last Night

I could feel it, my lights weren’t picking up depth with the colorful leaves thrown across the trail.  They weren’t picking up the roots I knew that were around that corner.  I had to ride.  I had to.  I needed it, my soul needed it and I needed to feel again in away that riding at night can only give.

Cautiously I rode on.  The trail is around 3 miles long and I felt confident in my navigating skills.  I had ridden in the pouring rain without site before, this would be fine.  I would be fine. I would feel again.

Pushing myself carefully around the turns.  Testing my brain and memory skills from riding the trail a few nights earlier.

Oh shit moments.  Back tire spinning in place stuck on a root that I hadn’t seen under the golden leaves.

Smile with happiness as I glide through the creek bed.  I’ve almost completely one lap on the trail, I knew I could do another.  This wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Dabbing.  Why did I second guess myself there?  I know this trail. I know how it feels, I know where the roots that grab your tires are, I know what to avoid.

With one last section left to clear, I eased up and slowed down a tick.   The night was beautiful.  It felt great to be out, in the middle of November in spandex.  Feeling at peace from a crazy day.

The rooty berm was ahead.  I picked my way threw.

My Rear Jammed and I Crashed

Laying there, I looked to see what my wheel had stopped on.  I saw nothing, I didn’t see a reason for the sudden stop of momentum.  What just happened?   Thankfully the golden pile of leaves (that probably had a golden shower from a dog or two) caught my fall.  I was fine, but I was baffled as I didn’t see anything that would have stopped my 29er wheels.

I laid, and thought, and breathed.  Silence. My helmet light shined off the trees over head.  In that moment I believed something stopped me.  Something grabbed my tire at that moment, right when I would fall on a pile of leaves.  I was meant to be laying here in this golden pile of leaves to reflect and find peace.

These are the Moments I Ride For

Going fast is fun.  Being faster than your friends is nice.  The moments when you stop and look at where you have come from, or maybe that large hill you still have to climb.  I’m happy to be on the bike, and happier to share these moments with people that care.

Attempting a Vlog for Bike Shop Girl

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I’m working out the kinks to do the weekly vlog again.   A few different goals for these:

  1. What to wear, or random tip on the go
  2. What’s on review
  3. Mail bag questions

Here’s a rough spot of an idea.  Working out audio, and on the go ability to make it a smoother job to work. Feedback and feelings please.

Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 Tire Initial Review

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Last week I finally received my new Industry Nine wheels that have been on order for about a month.   The same time as the wheels I had ordered a couple Continental tires that I’ve had my eye on for awhile that no one has used locally that I have been able to find. The Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 for the front and the Race King 2.2 tires for the rear were what I ordered.

Width of Continental Tires

There’s always been an issue, especially with mountain bike tires, with the wrong advertised spec compared to truth width. Continental seems to be worst of all companies with this. When I ordered the tires I was aware of this but hoped by going with a 2.4 for the front that it would end up around 2.25.

Continental Mountain King 2.4 Measurement from Twenty Nine Inches was originally at 52.6mm or 2.07 inches for the casing. The guys over there went on saying the tire “stretched” and of course a tire will measure out or fill out differently depending on which rim and rim width you install it on.

Personally I need to measure mine.  They’ve been installed since last Thursday night, and maybe they have “stretched” out a bit too.  Regardless, 2 inch tires aren’t what I was looking for. Especially the front which is supposed to be a 2.4, so now I have a 2″ tire for roughly 800 grams. Not very happy where the weight/width/volume for ride is.

Continental Mountain King 29x2.4 Tire

Installing Continental Mountain Bike Tires

Installation of the Mountain King 2.4 tire was a bear on the Stans Arch rim. Currently, I’m running tubed and pinched a tube when there was 3 inches of tire left to roll on and no where to go. I’m not going to be very happy if I get a flat on the side of a trail somewhere, I’ll never be able to get the tire back on unless the tire truly did stretch.

Ride Quality of the Mountain King 2.4

The tire rides well. It’s a true trail tire with well positioned deep knobs that ride over various trail conditions from roots, rocks and floats over sand. If I was riding a full suspension, riding deep in the mountains or had front suspension this tire would lay better with me.  Currently it’s on the list to be taken off after a few more rides. I can’t ride a heavy tire with no volume on a fully rigid bike. There are too may other good tires out there to waste my time on riding this. I may try it on the rear once I find a replacement for this as a front tire.
Continental Mountain King 29x2.4 Tire

Overall Opinion of the Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 Tire

I’m not impressed.  Tires, wheels, grips and saddles make or break a bike for me.  There isn’t much else left on a fully rigid 29er but still…these things matter to me. I like stiff wheels, squishy tires with strong yet subtle sidewalls and a comfortable fit. The tires will be measured, I’ll try them tubeless and we will be back for a full review.

Tomorrow is my Birthday, This is What I’m Wishing For

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November 13th is the day that I annually turn one year older, or my mother reminds me that she was in labor for four painful days with me. Either way, I’m going to be older which means I’ll be wiser.   I plan on getting up before the sun, riding my yet to be unveiled bicycle and then go golfing with my parents.

In an effort to take steps forward with my life, and in hopes that I’ll be the change I want to see in the world I am going to publish my wish list of various things.  Please add your own in the comments! Continue reading →

Review: Cutter Tech Knickerbocker

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MSRP : $149.99
Details : A very stretchy, comfortable knicker that was designed for those that pedal more than stand.

Roughly 11 months ago we were gifted with a pair of Cutter Tech Knickerbockers, which were originally reviewed for commuting purposes at Commute By Bike.  Since I’ve been rocking them lately for mountain biking and they will be going in to my “How to dress for winter mtbing” video, I pulled the review over here for all you ladies (or gents) to benefit from.

Continue reading →

The Bicycle Industry is Regressing

38 Bicycle Industry Regressing

As technology expands and new bike products, or forms of bike products,  hit the market the market grows – or so one thinks. If you look at the basic roll of the wheel in the past 10 years we’ve had full suspension to the masses, lighter carbon road and mountain bikes, 29″ and 27.5″ wheel sizes,  carbon wheels, stainless steel tubing and more tech driven clothing than I could ever talk about in a lifetime.  Lights run for days and nutrition is truly a science.

The technology that is pushing the market forward is also allowing us to regress.  One example of this is the push on 29ers in the industry. Most of the bikes offered are hard tail and there are a good number that are fully rigid single speeds. Why? To me I ride one for simplistic sake and to enjoy the ride. As a mechanic I want my bikes to work right. No squeaks, no skips and everything set up perfect. With a fully rigid single speed you put air in the tires every once in a while and lube the chain when it gets too dry or dirty.

In the coming weeks I want to touch on regressing in the industry.   Marketing, product and education. Wool and steel are a big hit.   Retro “tweed” rides seem to be monthly across the country and the lure to fixed gear riding is still on a high.   Companies such as Rapha, Vassago and all those custom small builders across the world are building momentum based on our own regression.   How do you feel?  Do you like riding your steel Serotta or the feel of merino wool?  If so, tell us why!

What are your preferences to the below?

* Clipless or platform?
* CO2 or hand pump?
* What material do you prefer? (Carbon, Aluminum, etc..)
* Gears, single speed or some type of 1×9 setup?
* Outboard bearing or axle/cup type?
* Camelbak or water bottle?
* Oversized handlebars? Drop bars, wide bars, bent bars?
* Wicking material or cotton? Better yet, wool?
* GPS or cyclometer?

Thank God for Spandex – I’ve Gotten Fat

20 Twin Six Fat Cyclist Jersey

Relatively speaking, I’ve been doing my best to not hold back lately on this blog, as well as that one.    A small part of me hopes to gain more readership from this, and not piss off too many people.  The comments have been warm and the feedback is also honest, I thank you all for that.

The Meat of the Matter

I’m fat, fat for me.  On average “heavy” for my athletic build was 160,  I strive for 135 when I was racing and was happy with 150.  Yesterday at the YMCA I weighed in at 179.  ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY NINE POUNDS?!?! 179 lbs is only 21 away from 200.

This is about when my mom chimes in and reminds me that I’m tall (5’10) and athletic, but jeesh when did all this happen?

Fine Details of Being Fat

  • I can only wear 1/4 of my wardrobe.  That is a ton of wasted clothes, and buttons being strained.
  • At a local swap meet on Sunday I picked up a FatCyclist jersey for $10.  I can wear it with honor now.
  • You feel guilty every time you eat, work out or do/don’t ride. You feel like you’re doing something wrong or not hard enough.
  • A piece of you is in hiding.  Waiting to become a human punching bag of snark comments. “You look different” or..”have you been riding?” <- that is my favorite.
  • A quick reminder, right in the gut, that you aren’t as young as you once were.
    Twin Six Fat Cyclist Jersey

The Finer Details of Not Being Fat

  • The gym isn’t doing squat for me.  Yes, I’m getting muscles and all that but I hate being on a machine for more than 20 minutes at a time.  That won’t help with much weight loss.  I plan to change my gym/riding strategy.  Ride in the mornings and evenings when possible, and hit the weights 3 times a week
  • My music is becoming harder rock. Maybe a rise in my heart rate will burn more calories.
  • Being fat only makes me fatter. I’m getting more and more frustrated with myself, so I eat worse!

What are Your Tips and Suggestions?

Feedback, please?!?!

Luna Sports Donates to High School Mountain Bike Team

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Across the country small pockets of youth in middle and high schools are creating their own cycling team. LUNA Sport recently donated $2,000 to the NorCal High School Cycling League at the annual Cyclefest Fundraiser. This money will go towards sending eight girls to the NorCal high school mountain bike series during their 2011 season.

The NorCal League continues to grow fast as more and more high school students discover this challenging and rewarding sport. Many more girls are starting to race as well, and LUNA Sport wants to help these young women get to all the races in the series, potentially fulfilling their dreams and changing their lives.

Continue reading →

Steps to Recovery After My Bicycle Accident

2 Bicycle Recovery

Bicycle Recovery

Physically, the recovery from my accident has been pretty straight forward. My mom and lady friend (wife in lesbian terms) took care of me in every way possible for the 48 hours immediately following the accident.

My legs, left hip and lower back all didn’t want to work well for me. The drugs helped curb the pain but not being able to walk or even go to the bathroom on my own was the most difficult part for those few days after.

To date, the bruises are starting to fade and granted three weeks after I still have an amazing lump on my left leg from the top tube of my bike. My lower back and hip gets sore after a long day at work or driving. But, those are my only physical complaints.

Mentally I have Been a Wreck

It would be easy to say, great I got hit by a car.. now get back on the horse and ride off in the sunset. That’s what I would have done 6 years ago (that is what I did 6 years ago) but things are different in my life, as well as internally.

  • I have a family that needs me
  • Life isn’t as easy to pass by
  • The “unbreakable” feeling I had most of my youth is gone
  • This accident has made me painfully naked
  • I have moved on from CommuteByBike.com

Leaves are Turning Over

It is fall after all, and its my favorite time of year. The leaves on the trees are beautiful colors, there is cyclocross bike races, beautiful chill mornings and my birthday is right around the corner. Keeping all those things in mind I’ve been trying to take steps forward.

  • Purchased a car. As dirty as it originally felt, I’m very excited about the daily driver (this car will have its own post) and being able to get to the MTB trail on my own time
  • The gym is my friend. I’ve been starting to go to the gym in the morning before work. It sets a great tone for work and hopefully we give me the strength and weight loss I need for further motivation. Hell, I may go again after work.
  • Forcing communication and interaction. The accident made me realize, as did the reminder from friends, I have become a lock box as of lately. A hermit within my own mind. Something inside of me, even before the the accident, has been keeping my emotions safe inside without sharing any feelings or thoughts.
  • More mountain biking. Simple as that, and as happy as it makes me.

Trying to Put the Pieces Together

I’m weeding out Facebook for all the non-friends I have added. I’m calling or writing all the friends I haven’t contacted. I’m trying to connect with my distant family again.

I’m slowly riding, but riding. All of it is off road and I am grateful for being able to return to my MTB roots. I hope to get my lady on the bike more. I hope to take more photos, and write more words. I hope to get this all out so I can start feeling again.