Last Days to Win a Bike Light
We are in the last day of the June Light & Motion Motivational Monday light contest!
This month’s Motivational Monday posts are brought to you by one of my personal favorites, Light & Motion. Light & Motion wants to know who or what in the cycling community motivates you. All you have to do us leave a comment here or on Light & Motions’ Facebook page. In the next few days we’ll be choosing one lucky winner to score a brand new VIS 360 commuter light!
Motivational Monday with Marla Streb
Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!
What’s your name and location?
Marla Streb, Baltimore, MD
Where in Baltimore are you living?
We are currently in Fells Point- loving it!
What type of cycling do you enjoy?
Mountain biking of every type, but I can be talked into a road ride now and then
What is your first cycling memory?
at 4 years old, I learned to ride 2 wheels on a little blue Schwinn. Of course one of the most liberating moments of my life!
Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?
Mountain bike legend and Hall of Famer Jacquie Phelancontinues to inspire me because she is one of a kind. She’s articulate, intelligent, zany, hilarious, outspoken, inventive, and still very fast on a bike!
What was your best moment on a bike in 2010?
Teaching my four year old how to ride a bicycle for her first time. It was an after-dinner, spontaneous moment, and the two of us ending up riding together past dark. She was happy, I was ecstatic
In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2011?
I’ve only raced once this year, but I’d like to beat my old downhill record at Downieville Classicin CA, and possibly race the La Ruta in Costa Rica again.
Wanna Know About my Bikes?
At the moment, all Orbeas!
What are the struggles of opening a shop, and the daily worries a shop owner has?
Funny, I haven’t even opened my shop yet and it’s been a major struggle! For the last 4 months, I’ve been trying to buy a 6,000 sq/ft commercial property (with liquor license- woo hoo!) to create Baltimore’s first “Bike Cafe”. We hope to close the deal within a month… The “HandleBar” will be a full cafe with fresh roasted coffee, light fare, beer/wine/liquor, and unlimited, free indoor bike parking. Also, we will retail new and used bikes and accessories.
Be a Girl Today Valentine’s Discount
Our friends on Twitter, BeAGirl_Today, mentioned they are having a sale in honor of Valentine’s Day. Now they don’t make cycling specific gear yet, but supposedly it is in the works. They have some pretty cool graphic tshirts announcing that you are going to “Play Like A Girl.”
BeAGirl_Today : Pick a shirt any shirt (bag or sticker!!) … enter the code “BeMine” for a 20% discount
Celebrate being a girl today and save 20% off through the Feb 28th, 2011. Visit BeAGirlBlog.com
Today was foretasted as a beautiful days, at its peak it was meant to hit 55º and be the gorgeous Carolina Blue skies that I love dearly! When I left my house this morning at 8am, it wasn’t close to 55º and I would bet it was closer to 20º in the shade.
Why am I telling you all this?
Never Under Dress on Your Bicycle
My upper body was warm, I decided to wear a long sleeve jersey and my team thermal wind-stop jacket. I didn’t wear long pants, nor warm gloves figuring that knee warmers and tall wool socks plus long fingered gloves would cut it.
It didn’t. 3/4 through the ride my right foot was numb and my legs had the burn of the cold. I didn’t complain, I did go slower but I didn’t complain to my riding partners.
As I entered the shower, I didn’t realize how cold I really was. I looked down at my bare naked legs and could see exactly the areas that my knee warmers or socks didn’t cover. There was a 3″ line between my socks and knee warmers and again around my hip area that looked like a sunburn, and god did it hurt when the warm water hit it. I quickly shout out for a camera from my girlfriend to take a picture of my legs. I didn’t need to hurry her as the lines are still there 6 hours later.
Windburned Cycling Legs
I’ve never done this one before, and I can promise you I never will again.
Women in the Bike Industry, Who is to Blame?
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.
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.
Podcast Episode #2 : Q&A with Team Vera Bradley Foundation
This past Wednesday, I made my way to Uptown Charlotte, NC to visit Uptown Cycles where the shop was hosting Team Vera Bradley Foundation Pro Cycling Team. The three members from the team, Alison Powers and Kristin Sanders, were in town for wind tunnel testing and the owner of Uptown Cycles, as well as pro cyclist and team member, Robin Farina, decided to host a Question and Answer panel with a few of the ladies.
Alison Powers holding the new team skinsuit
Now sit back, and learn what these amazing women are doing for the cycling arena. If you are so inclined after the podcast to make a donation to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer research please visit VeraBradley.org
Due to the large room and semi circle of women, the audio isn’t the best but I’ve tried to level out audio and add comments here and there.
Find our podcast on iTunes.
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Alison Powers holding the new team skinsuit