A great article by Kath Bicknell was posted on Flow Mountain Bike. The article made some key points about how women make great mechanics and how better training could specifically make the void disappear of highly skilled women in the bike industry.
Taking it a step further, I believe that if we take the time to single out women to pave the path a little bit more for more advanced training it will open up and encourage more women to work in the industry. Think about this, if every shop had a couple women on the floor and behind the bench, and every shop bike ride had a women as one of the group leaders… how much more inviting would this be to women and men alike?
As a woman working in a bike store, you’re definitely an anomaly. Last time I worked at a bike shop, every now and then, a customer would ask to speak to one of the ‘guys’. ‘Ask me your question, and if I can’t answer it I’ll go and get some help,’ I’d say.
Things usually went pretty well from there. If help was needed, I’d call on our female mechanic, just to make a point.
In a sport that still attracts a lot more men than women, it follows that female staff in the bike retail sector aren’t as common either. This can sometimes lead to the unfortunate assumption that women aren’t as skilled as their male counterparts, or can’t provide the same level of customer service and advice.
Here at Bike Shop Girl I want women (and guys) to feel empowered and to have a good grasp of what they are talking about when it comes to tech, mechanics and goofy bicycling slang. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!
Do you know the difference in ISO and JIS bottom brackets?
One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!
Today’s Tech Tuesday is based around adjusting your threadless headset. Threadless headsets are what 99% of new bikes come with these days, thanks to Cane Creek, and works with the bearings are pulled together by a nut placed inside of your fork steerer, then the stem is tightened down to hold everything in place.
Steps to Adjust your Threadless Headset
Step 1: Make sure that it is your headset that is loose. Often a loose headset is misdiagnosed by a loose quick release, brake caliper or front hub. We check the headset by grabbing the front brake only, rocking the bike front to back, if you feel movement you then turn the handlebars to the side and again rock the bike front to back.
Step 2: Once you are sure that it is your headset that is loose, or perhaps you have installed a new stem, loosen your stem steerer bolts so the stem can be moved side to side. You do not need to take the bolts out. Now tighten the top (stem) cap, you do not need to wrench down on it, but it should be snug. Rock the bike front to back to make sure the movement is gone.
Step 3: Tighten your stem down, making sure it is lined up with your wheel properly.
Step 4: Loosen the top cap a hair so not to cause the bearings to bind
Step 5: Move your handlebars side to side to make sure the headset is not too tight. If you feel binding repeat steps 2-4 but don’t tighten the top (stem) cap as much.
Step 6: Check over all the bolts and go enjoy and properly steering bike.