Empowering women in cycling

Archives › how to

Bicycle Suspension Service

0

As more and more folks are realizing the benefit of a well set up full suspension you see less hardtails on the trail and more full squish. What I see a lot in the shop is people completely ignoring their suspension until it is to the point of needing a costly replacement. Remember the happier your bike is the better it will ride.

Continue reading →

Top 5 Online Resources for Women

3

When I created Bike Shop Girl a few months back it was mainly out of frustration for the lack of information that is readily available for women.   The basics are out there, but you have to be a Google Jedi Master to find the right answers, and often you are left with half-assed ones that only confuse you more.  My goal for this site has always been to be a resource, and maybe a place I have a rant or two but that isn’t the point.

Though limited, here are some of my favorite online resources.  Some of these resources are targeted towards women, others are targeted towards cyclist in general but have great knowledge within their .com walls.

Forums

  • Team Estrogen – A full range of forums for women.  The forums aren’t very strict so often guys will be able to search/post if they need.  Keep private information just that, private.
  • Bike Forums - The moderators will keep tabs on you, and after a few months of them knowing you are “female” they will allow you in their private “women only” section of the site.  This is my used forum online for resources, I used to post often but now use it mainly for its search function.
  • RideMonkey - A mountain bike oriented forum and online community.  This is another forum that you’ll have to request to become part of their “women only” section.

How To Advice

  • Blue Collar MTB – One of the original sites I wrote for online.  It is no longer active, but a great resource for how to do things on the cheap.  Long term if there is interest in this type of maintenance I maybe persuaded to start writing for it again.
  • Park Tool - The leader in bike specific tools, this company also has invested in teaching others.  Check out their how to’s broken down by bike part.

Your Turn

What sites do you frequent or recommend?  Turn us on to other blogs or sites that have helped you become a stronger cyclist.  Better yet, how can Bike Shop Girl become a better resource for you

Top 5 Ways to Personalize Your Bike

0

Personalizing your bike can be one of most rewarding and fun you’ll have with your bike, after riding it of course.

Step One : Bike fitting

One of the most important things after you pick out your new bike is to make sure it fits you well.  Find a reputable bike fitter in your area, or make the trip to come see me.  A good bike fit takes from 30 minutes to 2 hours, going through many questions, test and movement on the bike.  You should be comfortable on the bike as well as steady when you ride.

Step Two : Saddle type

Once you get over the 5 or 10 mile breaking point, you will quickly learn that a good saddle is going to follow close behind bike fit of importance. Actually, they go pretty hand in hand but without a good bike fit, a good saddle will be useless.   Try out many saddles, and do not settle!

Step Three : Handlebar tape/ grips

The easiest and most inexpensive way to make your bike unique, and yours, is changing out the handlebar tape or grips.  It adds more comfort once your padding has worn down, but it also can spice up your ride with different color options.

Step Four : Bottle cage to match

Continuing with the color importance, pick out a couple bottle cages that match step 3.

Step Five : Tires

Tires can change your performance, bike handling and comfort.  A basic $20 can wear out quickly, and roll very slow.  While a $60 tire can be too slick or fast wearing.  Find a tire that you can trust for whatever type of riding you may be doing.

Open Forum : DIY Projects

1

Originally, I posed this question over at CommuteByBike.com, with amazing feedback, but want to include all the ladies that may not read a commuting targeted blog.

Every so often I’ll be coming to you, the readers, to learn what exactly you want to covered.   Hopefully this will keep you all engaged and excited about the Commute By Bike content.  If you see the words “Open Forum” in the title, stop in and give your feedback!

The Open Forum this week is what type of do it yourself (DIY) projects you would like to see covered.   It could be as basic as changing a flat, setting up your in home mechanic stand or making your bike reflective.

The microphone is on and let us know what you want to learn!

How to : Weekly Safety Check

3

We’ve hit upon the preventative maintenance and how to lube your chain so now is a weekly safety check that all riders should know how to do.

A Safe, Clean, Bike

A Safe, Clean, Bike

Wipe frame and wheels down : This is a pretty important step to make sure structurally your frame and wheels aren’t developing any cracks or chips in the paint or metal.  I use a watered down Simple Green in a spray bottle to do this.

Clean in tight areas : Make sure to wipe down in tight areas, between pivot points or where your cables may wear.  Built up dirt can actually wear into your frame.

Pivot Bolts

Pivot Bolts

Tighten pivot bolts : This applies to mostly full suspension bikes but any part of your bike that moves, like the full suspension linkage, needs to be checked more often.

Check over all bolts : This is pretty self explanatory. My biggest word of advice is to not OVER tighten the bolts.

Go through shifting and braking : Make sure the brakes hit the wheels or rotor evenly and there isn’t any excessively odd wear on the brake pads. The shifting should be crisp and not over shift any cogs or chain rings.

This process, though sounding lengthy, can take only about 5 minutes once you get the hang of it and also if your bike isn’t so dirty.  Soon I’ll go over the proper way to clean off that mucky bike but you are well on your way of a happy bike that will live a long life as your taking good care of it.

What is a Scrader Valve or Presta Valve?

1

When you ride a bicycle it will come to a point that you’ll need to inflate your tires.  Soon, I’ll be going over how to change a flat, different types of pumps and what makes a tire tubeless, tubular or standard.  For today we will be starting very basic and figuring out which valve you have and why you need to know.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

A schrader valve is the commonly used valve in the U.S for automotive tires and most bikes under $1,000.  The valve has a spring inside of it that opens and closes the valve core.  The valve core is what keeps air from leaking out of your tire.   On a schrader valve it is very important to have a valve cap (plastic top) to cover the valve to keep dirt out, if not the valve could stay open or jam shut.Schrader Valve GIFA presta valve is found on higher pressure bicycle tires or higher end wheels.  This valve is much smaller in diameter and has a top nut that controls the valve core.  You need to screw open this nut to let air into and then screw close to shut off the valve.  Due to the fact the valve does not use a spring to control the valve core it is able to hold higher pressure in the tubes, leak less and also not need a valve cap.

Photo from Wikipedia

Photo from Wikipedia

Depending on your application both valves work great and are easy to use.  The presta valve involves a softer touch to open and close that valve so you don’t damage the valve core but I have faith in you!   We will go over pumping up the tires more in depth next week.

A video on differences between valves with Carlton Reid

Valve Stem’s on Wikipedia

Basics : Your First MTB Ride

1
Photo from http://www.getmountainbiking.co.uk/

Photo from GetMountainBiking.co.uk/

When you mention mountain biking to a lady that hasn’t tried it before.. you will most likely get a look of horror and confusion.  The sport, growing but not quick enough, is quickly growing for the ladies in the sport.  Across the US there are ladies only mountain bike clubs popping up, allowing you to learn and experience the trails with skill clinics, and other women who will allow you to go as slow as you would like. Mountain biking can sound daunting, trees flying by you, dirt and mud.  Add the technical features and rocks, it would scare any self preserving woman!

Continue reading →