Video of Sullivan Canyon, going down.
This is what it feels like to be a girl on a bike. Even though they’ve plowed Sullivan Canyon, It is still a gorgeous ride, and still has plenty of places to jump. As you’ll see, and hopefully feel, I took full advantage.
My inspiration is quite obvious for those who know the work of Michel Gondry. I’m a big fan of his work, and “Star Guitar” is, I think, a video masterpiece. I apologize for the occasional “Blair Witch Project” effect; I’m on a single speed so sometimes I really had to pump to keep things moving.
Music: Star Guitar by the Chemical Brothers
Video of Sullivan Canyon, going down.
Here’s a video going up Sullivan Canyon, since the bulldozers have trimmed it down to a gravel superhighway. My husband was kind enough to speed up trail in the featureless sections, so that I could show what they’ve done to the formerly fun riding features. I know that it will make sense to people that have ridden up Sullivan Canyon, but I hope it’s entertaining enough for the general populace.
Music: Clocks by Coldplay/ Buena Vista Social Club, remix on Rhythms del Mundo: Cuba
I have fond memories of Sullivan Canyon. It was the first trail I ever lived through hell on, and laughed all through it. I remember passing my bike down a ten foot cliff, because the rains of 2005 washed everything away. There was still water up to your hubs. I point to it at 4:07 in the video.
I remember when this became my favorite trail. The constant changes in the trail from both rain and “first rider” ingenuity, made it fun and challenging (if not a bit risky). Though I am saddened by Sully’s lack of immediate challenge, I look forward to the new obstacles that water and earth will surely form in this beautiful place.
Just A Girl On a Single Speed
This is in Big Sycamore Canyon, on Guadalasca and Two Foxes trail. It had been a while since I’d been on my single speed mountain bike, so I had a few difficulties.
Just A Guad
Music: Just A Girl by No Doubt
Who would ever think that you would hear those words put together: Women’s Geometry Mountain Bike. It is sweet music to the ears of women who have been riding their ill-fitting mountain bikes for years, and enjoying mountain biking in spite of problems like endo-ing off a bike that’s too big. But it seems as if all of a sudden, for 2010 many manufacturers have created real, “made for a woman’s three dimensional body” proportioned bikes. There are many to speak of, but how do you figure out your size?
First, you should ask yourself
What are you using this bike for?
What kind of terrain is in your area?
Here are a few things to think about:
If you live in an area with a lot of quick up and downs, consider rapid rise shifters.
If your live in an area with roots, and rocks, and flowy singletrack, full suspension can be a godsend.
If you plan to shuttle, and/or live in a very steep area, consider a bike with a bit more travel (4-5 inches of suspension), and a more slack geometry.
If you have sustained sometimes never ending hill climbs, mostly smooth trail or fire road, or if budget is a big concern, then consider a hardtail.
Tips for Light Riders (150-120 lbs) and Very Light Riders (under 120 lbs)
Don’t let anyone tell you that the weight of the bike is not the most important thing to you; you on average, weigh two thirds to one half of the guy standing next to you. For controlling the front end, you only have (again, on average), about one third of his upper body strength. That front end has to be lighter for you, otherwise your shoulders will ache unreasonably, (and in a group you’ll probably be the first to tire). Steer clear of bikes that are over 30 lbs., unless it is a downhill bike.
If you are 120 lbs. or less,
Be sure to research which forks and rear-end suspension systems allow fine adjustments for your weight. This is VERY important, as there are still many that do not cater to the 120-90 lb. range.
Unless you have unbelievable strong shoulders, try to stay under the 25 lb mark. Yes, do ask for it to be weighed in front of you. Or better yet, bring your own scale. (Yes it’s true; bike shops guys love me.)
Size Matters (or not)
The labels are at best confusing, and at worst, deceiving. For instance, most men who are 5’10” have no problem finding a bike: since they are average height for a guy, they pick out a medium. OK, that makes sense.
But if you are a woman of average height (5’4″), EVEN IF IT IS A WOMAN’S bike, you will most probably fit a small or XS. But it’s possible that even the women’s small will be far too large for you. I can think of at least two women’s mtb bikes that cannot sell to 53% of the women’s market because they don’t make their women’s bikes small enough to fit women average height or shorter.
So how can I tell if it’s my size? The best and easiest way that I have found, is with a secret weapon: with my imaginary friend, the Effective Top Tube (or EFF).
Effective Top Tube is the horizontal distance between the center of the head tube, and the center of the seat tube. Much like fitting a backpack, If you measure your torso from C7 down to the Sacrum (which is a few inches longer than the backpack measurement), you’ll have a wonderful guide to which bike will likely fit you well.
So this Woman’s Specialized Era fits a woman of average height in a Small; in fact, this size would statistically fit the majority of women. Do the buyers in local bike shops take note of this when ordering? One would hope so.
Have a friend measure your back with a cloth measuring tape, so that the measurement hugs the contours of your back. They can locate your C7 vertebra, because it is the big lump at the base of you neck, when you tilt your head forward. Then have them contour straight down to the bottom of the spine (there should be a little protuberance at the bottom, that’s the Sacrum). Cut a piece of non-stretchable string exactly this length. and take it with you when going to the bike shop. If you see a bike that you think will fit you, use the string to make sure it is the same size as the effective top tube. The Effective Top Tube measurement of each bike is also available under the “geometry” section of the bike information, and most brands list them online, usually in centimeters. Using this as a simple measuring tool can keep you clear of bikes that are not your size.
A Few Choice Words About Standover Height
Unless you ride your bike with both feet on the ground, it’s really not that important, and much less important than spine measurement. Just make sure you can stand over your bike.
This is the easy part. Your geometry depends upon where you live, or the terrain where you will ride. Not sure? Check out what bikes other women ride in your area. Or go to http://forums.mtbr.com, and look up your state or country. If you search around, you’re bound to find out some information about what bikes (i.e., light cross country, single speed, downhill bikes, etc.) people are riding in your area.
This Friday is your chance to save an EXTRA 20% off of already discounted prices. For 24 hours Girl Meets Bike Shop will take 20% off all items, INCLUDING those on sale. Details for discounts here http://girlmeetsbikeshop.com/pages/security.
Coupon Code: GMBS8HLFRJV4
Sale is BLACK FRIDAY SALE is on Friday, November 27th,valid until Sunday November 29th at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time.
Oh, it took me so much longer to get the store open and properly Googlefied, but now it’s all hooked up and ready to go!
To kick off the store I have almost everything on sale for 15-55% off (with most savings around 30%). For an EXTRAORDINARY deal, follow me on twitter:
http://twitter.com/girlmeetsbike . I have a Black Friday coupon coming up that will saving you even more money off ALREADY DISCOUNTED items.
It’s a good idea; sometimes big companies have them. Sanyo has entered the North American electric bike market, with one sweet little bike:
They call it a Synergetic Hybrid Bike. The idea is that the feel of the electric motor shouldn’t be jerky at all; on the contrary it should feel completely seamless and unnoticeable. Yup, it’s true, the feeling is seamless and fluid, and easy. Plus it’s lots of fun. Did you know that one in seven bikes, is battery operated (worldwide)? Surprising, isn’t it? I could see these bikes being a big hit, if Sanyo works it properly.
The Eneloop has the lightest e-bike battery, weighing a little over 3 pounds. For reference, most electric bike batteries are about 6-10 pounds. But the bike overall, is still a bit heavy for most women to lift (upstairs, into a car, etc.), at fifty pounds. It’s not something I’d like to lug around if the battery runs dry. However, that seems unlikely, as the battery can go up to 40 miles per charge (on auto-mode, or 17-20 miiles on standard mode). The battery charges whenever you coast downhill, and whenever you brake. I really wish this technology was hooked up to something a bit lighter, as I could easily imagine loading the Eneloop with bags, and using it like the sherpa of shopping.
The look of the bike itself is pleasing. It is a step through bike, so you don’t have to swing your leg over the bike to get on. Sanyo presented models complete with fenders, racks, and wicker baskets up front. I loved the one I tried, which was an white color, with pink flowers a bow. Sweet, but what was really sweet, was the ride itself. It was fluid, fast and felt light on the pedals. It was easy to make it go fast, easy to control in general. With a three speed internal hub, I can imagine that this would get you up and down most anything.
But Sanyo isn’t just thinking about the normal bike buyer. No, their plan is much bigger, and far better. They plan to have fleets of rental bikes (with all the bells and whistles like these), at convenient stations around cites and towns. Sanyo’s bike recharging station is revolutionary, in that it is fully Solar. That means the electricity to run these bikes will be off the grid. Can I get a Wow!
An extra tip’o’the’hat goes to both Sanyo and Panasonic, for working in cooperation to bring you the best of both worlds for the motor. You guys had me at “Double Torque Start-up motor.” The “double torque start up” is for when you have a heavy load, or you’re starting out on an uphill. It will allow an easier start, with less strain on the motor.
I’ve often said that if we get the women of a community on their bikes, then the rest will follow. So how will women react to the idea of a “bike sharing program?” I don’t know, yet. I can only tell you the things that would get me involved in a “bike sharing”program:
- I’d need to make sure that the routes from station to station were safe, both from traffic, and nefarious characters.
- I would want to know that the bike I was borrowing was in good shape, i.e. no flats, saddle is in good shape, lights work everything safe and on tight.
- I would want an inspection sheet at the station, in case I forgot how to inspect a bike to make sure it’s safe.
- I would want at least one of the fleet with a “baby carrier” option.
- I would want a bike that was ALREADY adjusted down to my size. Did you know that over 53% of American women are under 5’4″? Personally, if I’m in city clothes, then I don’t want to spend my time, and break a nail, adjusting the stem, the seat height, etc. This would be solved by a simple, two-size option; sm/med and lg/xl.
So, make it safe and easy and fun for me to get from point A to point B, while looking fabulous, and I will ride it. And share it.
Girls, would you participate in bike sharing? What would your perfect bike sharing program look like?
Engadget wished for an Eneloop bike, back in 2008.
All the Specs for the Eneloop bike are HERE.
Article from Scientific American: How to Get More Bicyclists on the Road: To boost urban bicycling, figure out what women want
You should know Rebecca
Rebecca Rusch is an incredible mountain biker. Yes, she is a crazy adventure racer, but she’s also dominated Women’s Endurance Mountain Biking for a while. Recently, she won the 24 Hour Solo World Mountain Bike Championship (for the 3rd year in a row) then just three weeks later, won the Leadville 100. This is the signature of a true champion: the ability to extend their peak season and win. And her wins over the past eight years have been staggeringly good. So my number one question isn’t for Rebecca Rusch. It is for sports news and cycling news outlets. My core question is:
Why isn’t Rebecca Rusch more well known? Why isn’t the media making a HUGE fuss about her? Isn’t this a great role model for your girls?
Girl Meets Bike Meets Rebecca
I have to wonder if my questions showed Rebecca how much I’m NOT a “reporter”. Each one seem to take her slightly off guard, and at first I wondered if she understood why I was asking such “different” questions. But after a few, she got it. It’s because, when talking to women riders who aren’t necessarily racers, they have VERY different questions from those being asked of her, in Pro journalism. As we sat down outside of Interbike’s Specialized booth she welcomed the more fancy free questions of a “girl meets bike” interview. What I found in Rebecca was a warm and approachable woman, with a passion for sharing the biking experience with other women. Truly, she is a valuable role model for getting girls on bikes.
Girl Meets Bike: How many bikes do you have? Do they have names?
Rebecca Rusch: “Ha, just like shoes, you can never have too many.” Counting for a sec, then “Eight. I think…some have names, others haven’t earned one yet.”
GMB: Which is your favorite?
Rebecca Rusch: I’m favoring the 29er at the moment, that’s the one I rode in the Leadville 100.
GMB: Oh (that’s a rather tall person’s bike, so I asked) How tall are you?
Rebecca Rusch: 5’7″
GMB: Ah, so you can fit a 29er without much problem.
Rebecca Rusch: Yeah, it fits me fine.
GMB: How does it ride?
Rebecca Rusch: Smoother, faster on doubletrack; good for a course like the Leadville 100. But I also love my Era, Specialized’s Women specific model.
GMB: I noticed that your bike has a Bike Pure Spacer on it. Why did you join Bike Pure?
Rebecca Rusch: They approached me, and I liked what they represent. That is, that they concentrate on praising the clean riders of the sport. It’s a very positive message.
GMB: Is doping a particular problem for women’s mountain biking given that upper body strength plays an important role in mtbing?
Rebecca Rusch: I haven’t really seen that, but the prize money is so low for women, that it just wouldn’t be a consideration.
GMB: Is doping likely to become an issue as Women’s Mountain Biking becomes popular?
Rebecca Rusch: I hope not, but I don’t think it’s likely.
GMB: Why Not?
Rebecca Rusch: Because [both monetarily and health-wise], it’s expensive, and it’s not worth the payout.
GMB: What would you say to a U23, or teen that is considering using EPO, CERA, or other kinds of drugs to enhance their performance?
Rebecca Rusch: NOTHING, absolutely nothing, is worth your health.
GMB: What about the issues of Pay Equity? Many of us have heard the argument that women’s racing doesn’t attract enough women, and so the purses should be comparatively lower than the men…
Rebecca Rusch: I do understand the dilemma that promoters are in, but lower payouts for women is not the answer. An example (of pay inequity) is The 24 Hours of Moab race. The first place woman came in well before the second place man. But second place man got $2600 while the first place woman got only $600. The fact is, it is just as expensive for women to train for a race as men, and the fees to enter aren’t lower. The solution is, have the same payout for first second and third place women, and less payout or no payout beyond that. Women don’t need payouts for tenth place.
GMB: That makes a lot of sense.
GMB: Now, moving on to things more personal:
what’s your favorite saddle, chamois, chamois cream combination?
(She laughs, at first. I realize how I’ve just asked a question completely out of left field, and something a normal journalist would NEVER ask.)
Rebecca Rusch: Well, the saddle has got to be the Toupe, which is a Specialized men’s saddle. Chamois is the BG chamois in the higher quality Specialized women’s shorts. And for Chamois Cream, I use Beljum Budder with a little Noxema (yes, like in Grandma’s medicine cabinet) mixed together.
GMB: What’s your favorite outfit off the bike?
Rebecca Rusch: Flip flops, definitely ; with Bermuda shorts.
GMB: What’s your favorite outfit, on the bike?
Rebecca Rusch: My Team kit (her specialized uniform). I’m proud to wear that.
GMB: So Specialized has been good to you, as a sponsor…
Rebecca Rusch: Yes, they’re very supportive of their women riders. They’ve done a lot for women’s fit with BG (Body Geometry) , in both bikes and clothing. I’m very picky about who I choose to sponsor me. I have to believe in the products I use. Specialized has been a good match for me.
GMB: Do you think women ride differently than men, given that our size, proportions and strengths are different?
Rebecca Rusch: I certainly see a difference in the attitudes of riding between men and women. Men have a more gung-ho ride-it attitude. For me there are some things that are easier and faster to walk, particularly in a race.
But yeah, women ride differently than men. Women ride with more grace and finesse…
GMB: As opposed to “brute forcing” through it?
Rebecca Rusch: Yes.
GMB: Do you think it’s helpful and important for women to ride mountain together, so that they can get visual cues of how to ride certain obstacles and trails?
Rebecca Rusch: Yes, If I’m out riding with other women, we like to stop and figure out how to ride the obstacle. Sometimes just seeing another woman do an obstacle makes you think, maybe I can do that too. How did she do that? Then you figure it out together.
GMB: So you really appreciate your rides with other women.
Rebecca Rusch: It’s different. It can be more fun. Guys can be competitive, like trying to get me to “race” on a casual ride. But when I’m out riding with the girls, it’s about fun and connecting with my friends. Some of my best rides have been on my Cruiser with friends.
GMB: What’s your favorite trail and what do you do to maintain it?
Rebecca Rusch: I would say the Perimeter trail on Mt. Baldy (Sun Valley ski resort mountain) is my favorite, because I can do the ride from my house, climb 3300 ft of single track to the top on one side of the mountain, then ride down 3300 ft on sweet, rolling single track down. Takes less than 3 hours and is a killer climbing workout and great descending skills.
I help maintain my local trails through the Wood River Bicycle Coalition. Wood River Bicycle Coalition is our local cycling organization that works on everything from safe routes to school to mtb trail development. I recently helped put on two short track races that raised money for them to build two pump parks in the valley. Local sponsors and companies such as Smith Sport Optics as well as a ton of local athletes are involved.
Many thanks to Rebecca Rusch for this interview.
More About Rebecca Rusch
Recently, Rebecca signed with KT Tape, that excellent Kinesiology Tape I reviewed a while back. KT Tape is sponsoring a promotional ride in Central Park, so if you live in New York City, YOU have the chance to ride with Rebecca Rusch!!! Lucky dog! Details about this event are on blog at http://rebeccarusch.wordpress.com/. Her blog is a good read, and maintains the same approachable experience that I had with her.
More about Rebecca Rusch’s career, articles with “REAL” cycling questions, video and other stuff here:
Rebbeca Rusch at I am Specialized
Best At-A-Glance stats: BikePure.org
She talks to VeloNews about Cape Epic HERE
Cool Specialized Video about Cape Epic, an amazing opportunity, in the form of a race, HERE
Two great video interviews of Rebecca Rusch:
OCT 25th at Castaic Lake, CA Be there!!!!
Attending the show?
Why not sign up on Facebook HERE
Exciting things are happening at Intebike this year!
Biggest Bike TweetUp Ever…
The wonderful thing about Social Media is that it only takes a few good people to create a great social phenomenon. This is what happened to the Interbike “Bike TweetUp”. What began as a few Twitter folk meeting up (known as a TweetUp) has quickly become THE Interbike Social Main Event. As far as I can tell, EVERYONE that is ANYONE from the cycling industry is taking note of this party.
Beyond just the normal TweetUp, this event is now a charity benefit for two superb charities: both Aids LifeCycle and BIKE MS will benefit from the raffle that will occur throughout the evening. Bike Biz has the latest on the absolute plethora of companies ready to support these two worthy charities. Girl Meets Bike has joined that list, by donating some fine women’s cycling apparel by Etxe Ondo, and Castelli. I’m so happy to be able to contribute!
As with all great memes, Interbike’s Bike TweetUp is taking on a life of its own. It now has a Twitter account, a Blog, and (this is sofa king cool) a live broadcast of the party. So if you can’t actually be in Vegas at the party, you’ll still be able to experience it LIVE on Ustream.Starts on Tuesday Sept 22nd at 7:00pm.
Bike TweetUp is the brainchild of:
(via Bike Biz)
Martha VanInwegen – Action Wipes
David Bernstein – The Fredcast
Jeff Helfand – Veloreviews.com
Brian Hodes – VeloImages
Carlton Reid – BikeBiz.Com
Markus Neuert – Cyclefilm
More on Bike TweetUp to come…
Girl Meets E Bike
You know Sanyo; it’s a name we all know well, and associate with electronic products. So who better then Sanyo to become a part of the “Electric bicycle” revolution. They will be unveiling their first iteration of an electric bike, along with a Solar Charging Station, and I’ll be there for my first, Girl Meets Electric Bike encounter. It ‘s called the Eneloop. More about Sanyo’s Eneloop Bike, and Solar Charging Station from Design Boom. Press event will be on Wednesday. Are these public E-Bike Stations practical from a woman’s POV? We’ll seee…