Empowering women in cycling

Single Speed and Fixed Gear : What It Means for You?

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The fixed gear, urban hipster, era seems to be calming a little bit in my area.  This means I can crawl out from behind my wool rock and enjoy riding my preferred style of bikes.  You see I enjoyed single speed mountain biking before pink was the new black, and fixed gear road cycling was part of my off season training for Team Snow Valley racing.  Deeply embedded in my blood is the love for single drive machines, ease of use and less thinking while riding.

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nuun : A Hydration Review

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Nutrition is an under used term for the novice cyclist or athlete.  For the professional, it is the way of life.  They run their engine like NASCAR builds their cars, with precision.  For the past few months I’ve put my family in some sort of science experiment with various types of nutrition supplements and varieties.

nuun is a electrolyte replacement, with a little flare.  These little tablets come in 8 flavors, and are kept in plastic tube to keep them readily available on long rides.   With available flavors like Kona Cola, which tastes exactly like Coca Cola, and Lemon+Lime, tastes like Sprite, or Banananuun.  My personal favorites will always be the fruity styles like Citrus Fruit or Tri-Berry.

The flavor isn’t the only unique feature of Nuun.

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Do You Wear Sunscreen When You Ride?

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A valid question was asked over on Twitter, “Do You Wear Sunscreen When You Ride?”

My answer is yes, and well… no.  Up until this year I have always worn short sleeve jerseys when riding.  Maybe it is the roadie in me where sleeveless jerseys are banned from racing.  I often have freaky tan lines from gloves, helmet strap and short sleeve jerseys.

At the bike shop and at home I have now invested in KINeSYS sunscreen, in the spray bottle!  It is the least we can do for our skin, but in the long term it probably isn’t enough.

Next step is SPF clothing, but that will be another time.

Essentials Purchases for Your First Triathlon

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This week on Bike Shop Girl we are covering triathlons and the basics of getting started in this quickly growing sport.  We began the series with “Talk of Triathlons” and then moved on to “Basic Things to Know About Triathlons.”

Today we are covering the essential equipment or gear I feel with get you across the finish more comfortable and confident.  At the end I will also list things that aren’t essential but a good long term investment.

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Basic Things to Know about Triathlons

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Triathlons are an amazing sport to set a goal for, keep your training varied and there are several short tri’s that anyone with basic athletic or active body can complete.  Across the country women’s only triathlon events are picking up full steam.  Locally, we have the Rambling Rose Series.  This series quickly sells out and is a great attraction to those women simply trying to finish their first tri or testing out this new sport.  The distances are short : 250 yard swim, 9 mile bike and 2 mile run.

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Talk of Triathlons

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If you live in United States and bicycle, there is a high chance you know about triathlons.  Maybe you’ve participated in one, have a friend who has or have been asked to do the bike portion of the triathlon.

This week we will talk about the basics to know of triathlons, motivation to continue your training and finally what to be prepared for in your first triathlon.

Before we start our series, let us know what you would like to know and what questions you may have!

Women in the Bike Industry, Who is to Blame?

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There is a hot debate going on at Bike Hugger.  Two articles are to be mentioned : The first is “Women as Outcast’s in Cycling Industry.”  The author goes on to tell about how it was very difficult for his wife to find a bike that truly fit her, even after trying several different types of bikes and bike shops.  He ends his story with a suggestion that every shop have a key individual for fitting problems. The follow up to the above article is “It’s Women’s Fault.”  After a tweet, that mentioned that women are walking into the bike shop without knowledge.  Changing blame from the bike industry, to the shoppers themselves.

How Original

My original thought to this was, how ironic that both of these articles are wrote by a gentleman.  A well rounded, educated, cycling, gentleman – but a guy. My brain then went in full tilt as these are things I deal with daily running a bike shop, and monthly in the cycling culture surrounding the internet.  Cycling is a double edge sword when it comes to education, training, customer service and what I will call “the boys club.” Many people walk into a bike shop every day, not knowing what they want or why they want it.  Apparently, all customers can be broken down into 2 of 4 personality types.   All the sales training classes, education and personal experience I have had.. its true!  Here’s the catch, it doesn’t matter if they are male or female!! Why do companies such as the Ikea or Apple excel in a hard economy?  They know how to educate their staff, keep a store and help their customers.  Sure, it sounds great and easy but it isn’t.  The bike industry is a hard one to walk into, most employees are paid less than a comparable job in a different industry, the learning curve is steep, products change daily and that damn internet is telling customers all our secrets. (Half joking on that last one.)

Why do women notice?

Women notice how a store is kept, customer service, knowledge and experience because they tend to be shoppers.  They are sensitized to all of the above thanks to shopping with companies that have their act together.  Walk into your local Gap or Brookstone, follow by walking into three of your local bike shops and then tell me your feelings as you left each one.

Women Spend Money

Make two different fitting bikes, create a line of women’s clothing and now multiple it by 2 because you need choices for a woman to pick between.  Create a buzz, a community, a clean store with knowledgable, well kept employees and you’ll see the bikes and clothing. Why? Because women want to buy those things, they want to be better cyclist, outfit their bike and body and feel GOOD about it.  Make them feel good, give them a reason for purchasing and they will buy it.

The Boys Club

I’ve worked in the industry for a long time and have a pretty thick skin.  Still there are things that once in a blue moon will kick me off my rocker.   If you want to become your local area’s “women’s shop” I would recommend to hire 2 women that know something or another about bikes, and can learn.  Pay them $2 more per hour than their male counterpart, believe me they will earn it and will deal with more crap than $2 per hour can make up for.  If you happen to be a bike shop owner or manager, don’t let the boys club get out of hand.  A joke here or there is good thing, but comments about female customers, employees or female products should be stopped quickly.

There is No Easy Answer

Changes need to happen from both ends.  Bike manufactures need to stop painting bikes pink for floor models, and need to give more choices to women.  They also need to encourage training, merchandising and demo’s.   Bike shop managers and owners need to take large jumps forward from human resources to store design.  Create a shop you would be proud to show to your mother for a week at a time, not just for a drive by visit.

Join the conversation on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @BikeShopGirlcom.

Kids Bike Sales are Rising

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According to an industry magazine, Bicycle Retailer, the biggest increase of imported bikes, from China, were kids’ that were up by 48% over last year.  This is a great step forward, and something that I see daily in the bike shop.   More families have been buying into the hobby of the cycling instead of the adults viewing it as a sport that needs to be competed in.  Sharing their love with their family and especially their children.  I wouldn’t be surprised going into the summer if we see that number increase to an even greater number as school lets out and family trips are planned.

An on going series we have had on Bike Shop Girl has been family bike riding.  As May comes to an end we hope to expand this series to help you get your family on their bikes this summer.

Photo Credit : Specialized.com

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Keep Your Tools in Style

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If you are like me, you use various bikes for different reasons.  We’ve already talked about my obsession with my basket but I also use panniers and a messenger bag.  Because of this I am always moving my tools between bags or bikes.  Most of my daily bikes have a designated seat bag under the saddle but for my daily commuter I need something that can easily move and keep all my tools in one place.

I spy the SoulRun Tool Roll

There are many of these sort of these rolls or burrito style bags out there, but this one by far has the most style points.  Custom made for you!  Their average bag goes for around $20, and they also make larger ones or specific ones for your tubular tires.

Features:
- Larger pocket for a road or mountain tube.
- Medium pocket for tools and tire levers
- Tiny little pocket for patches.

- Cotton Duck fabric construction. Heavy material same as Carhartt.
- 1″ Tubular Webbing with a Quick Release closure.

Keep your tools from getting lost in the the bottom of your bag or stashed in your jersey pocket.

Dimensions:
-Open: 12″(w) x 10″(h)
-Closed: About the size of a wallet, depending on how much you stuff it.

I’ll have more photos and a full review once the one I am ordering arrives!

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