Posts Tagged ‘girl’

Interbike: A First Look at Specialized Women’s Bikes

September 29, 2010

The Specialized Women’s 2011 bicycle line is very impressive indeed.

Specialized has rethought bike design for women in a three dimensional way; this makes their mountain bikes particularly easy to handle in all types of terrain.  The Specialized MTB bikes I tested are light enough to Manipulate and maneuver,  but  have a weight distribution that made it easy to keep  “tires to the ground”.

For Women’s road bikes, the Amira will be the bike to look out for. This is their premium bike for women. There are a lot of details that make the Amira stand out (it has all the earmarks of a really fast bike). One look at the geometry and you can see how nothing compares. It’s also sexy as anything.

If you are a fan of Specialized already, you need to try one of their 2011 bikes.  But if you’ve had questionable results with their Women’s geometry bikes from previous years (hey, I wasn’t always a big fan), then you really need to try the 2011 series. Specialized really went back, did their homework, and found what really works for Women’s geometry; and in this 2011 line up, it  shows.

In the coming weeks I will have separate reviews of 2011 Women’s Specialized bikes, including:

Myka – A 29er Women’s Hardtail Mountain Bike, with entry level pricing (warning, this bike could make mountain biking addictive).

Safire – Women’s All Mountain Bike (a dream to ride in 2010, with some interesting changes for 2011)

Era – Women’s Cross Country Performance Mountain Bike (2011 line adds a budget conscious carbon fiber level).

Amira – Women’s Premium Road Bike, redesigned again ( the delight is in the details).

Advertisements

Have Things Changed for Women in Bike Shops? (Updated 9/27)

September 17, 2010

Update: Sept 27th 2010

So far, about half the women surveyed said they recognize these, shall we say, regrettable sales tactics. But the other half say they have no problem in their local bike shop, or that their shop has improved. It makes me think that things are changing, but we have yet to reach the tipping point when it comes to the female cycling consumer. There are truly great cycling products available for women nowadays. So why are they not making it on the the floor the of local bike shop?  Why are these bike shops still not connecting with their female clientele?

Could it be that they need a lesson on “Selling to Women?”

This was the title of a seminar I attended at Interbike, put on the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition. It was a wonderful seminar and panel discussion; I personally walked away with new ways to help women feel more comfortable and confident about cycling purchases, and the whole shopping experience while in their local bike shop.

However I couldn’t help but notice that most of the audience were female. I have to say, it felt a bit like preaching to the choir. Why didn’t male dealers/buyers/ local bike shops owners jump at this chance to learn about how to easily increase their customer base?

Guys, if you were at Interbike,why didn’t you check out this seminar? What would get you to go to a seminar like this?

Members of the press who attended, what did you think? (By all means, post a link to your site in the comments).

(coming soon: Women’s Products at Interbike: A First Look)

Have Things Changed for Women in Bike Shops?

About a year ago, I made this cartoon series called “Jane Meets Bike Shop”. I’ve reposted two of them here.
Would it surprise you if I said that this was actually more than just a joke?

These were based on a compilation of real experiences of many women. OK, perhaps with a bit a humor and sarcasm, but my question today is:

Have things changed over the past year?
Is it any easier for a woman to “through a leg over” a bike in her size, at the bike shop? Are women getting treated with more respect as a consumer, at the bike shop?

Take a look, then take the quick poll at the bottom. (please leave a comment, if you like).

Jane Meets Bike Shop

Some women of a town would like to enjoy riding their bike. However, the one “good” shop in town just isn’t very good when it comes to understanding the female cyclist.



How to size up a Mountain Bike – girl’s quick and dirty version

December 16, 2009

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.

Weight Matters

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.

Geometry Matters

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.

Girl meets bike shop Now open: SALE!!!

October 26, 2009

girl meets bike shop is now open.

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.

girl meets bike meets guitar hero = Girl Hero: the bike

December 13, 2008

Honestly, I like to have fun with my bike builds. I’ve been working on “the look” of my commuter fixie, and I finally came up with it. The Wheel stickers are Wheetags skullz. I couldn’t find anyone selling these in the city yet, so order them online directly, if you want them.

The bar pad is from the most awesome bike shop in the Los Angeles Zone. In West LA, a little fixie shop has just spread it’s wings and blossomed into the bike shop YOU would want to own if you ever opened a bike shop. It’s perfect it’s beautiful it’s friendly it’s LA BRAKELESS. More about them soon (I feel a bike shop review coming on, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it). But for now, back to me and the bike that they inspired.

Coincidentally, I’ve just been introduced to the game Guiter Hero.

So I had these stickers.

Well, here’s the result.

I know it’s a bit, well you know, but I love it! Somehow, I need to make these stickers permanant. I don’t often “show” my bikes, but I thought this might be fun to share. And now, I’m going to play some Guitar Hero while thinking about a bike shop review. B-bwna-naa!

How to choose a good saddle for yourself – girl’s version

December 11, 2008

Finding the perfect saddle for yourself can be a daunting task, particularly for those of us who are sensitive in the nether regions, aka, girls. I don’t know how boys feel in the saddle, because I don’t have those parts. I have girly bits with double the nerve endings, pointing in exactly the wrong direction when it comes to a bicycle saddle. BUT, thank our lucky stars, technology has caught up with our bits. The shapes and varieties that are available for women were great in 2008, but will be even better in 2009. Oh no, more variety, more choices; how the heck do you choose?

Well, here ya’ go. This is all the information I can muster, along with a few recommendations for brands and models.

If you are sitting on a saddle that fits, you should feel the majority of your weight on your sit bones, and you should feel supported around the sit bones and through the labia. There should be no weight at all on the clitoris or urethra. So you should feel weight on the sit bones and only support everywhere else on the saddle.sits-bones

1. Find some way of measuring distance between your ischial tuberosities.

Your Ischial Tuberosities are your Sit Bones. This is the place where you want the majority of your weight. The more upright you are on your bike, the more weight is on your saddle, therefore sit bones. So start your perfect saddle search by answering these three questions:

  • How upright is your spine on this bike?
Specialized Jett Saddle

Specialized Jett – Best Saddle Redesign

  • What kind of riding will you do with this bike?
  • Will you be wearing some kind of chamois on this bike (or what kind of clothes will you wear)?

The more weight you have on your sit bones, the more padding you need at that point on the saddle. Not a lot more, just enough. A good example of getting this design right for women, is the Specialized Jett (pictured). They’ve redesigned the Jett this year, to include more padding directly under the sit bones, and have also taken away excess volume on the side to reduce thigh rub. They also got rid of the annoying seams that used to encircle the sit bone pads, which used to rub and wear out clothing, and felt quite uncomfortable without chamois. This is an excellent update for this particular saddle, and shows that Specialized is willing to listen when they find out something is wrong with a part of their design. For such a large company, I’m well impressed. This saddle is excellent for road riding, mountain biking, track, and touring. It comes in three sizes, so get your sit bone width measured at a Specialized dealer, to find out your size. For commuting, which is very upright, choose something with a bit more cush, all around.

2. If you’re a girl, admit that you are a girl and get yourself a split saddle.

I’ve had a survey up for a while, and it is clear from the answers that those who lean on their clitoris because they do not have a split in their saddle WILL in some way experience discomfort. Maybe not for a while, but eventually your body will shift sitting position off of the clitoris to avoid leaning on nerve endings. This subtle shift in bike position can cause a HUGE host of problems that seem to have nothing to do with your saddle, such as numbness in the toes and fingers, pain in the front of the shoulders, and lower back issues. Of course saddle related problems also occur, like thigh rub, sit bone pain, pain or aching in the labia and surrounding tissues. For these reasons, (and because I’ve fit enough women successfully), I’ve become convinced that a split saddle is the way to go for women.  The exception to the rule is commuters, who might be so upright and in such inappropriate clothes that the split in the saddle would not make a difference. For such women, my premier choice is a Brooks saddle, from England. These saddles also come in varying widths (do NOT assume you will fit a women’s saddle) so you can definitely find the saddle for you. The thing that distinguishes the Brooks saddle is it’s fine leather, which you can think of as forming a hammock for your buttocks. The leather can be tensioned to be more or less supportive, and after a while the leather breaks in and comforms to you buttocks, giving you an extremely comfortable ride. Just keep in mind that these saddle don’t work as well if you lean forward while riding (as that will put pressure on the clitoris). If you sometimes lean forward, but like the idea and comfort of leather you might try a Selle Anatomica (pictured).

Selle Anatomica
Selle Anatomica

3. Make sure that the cut out and shape of the saddle fits you.

Saddle brands have different shapes to their cut outs, so you’ll just have to look around to find what really suits you. Most saddle companies and bike shops these days have saddle demo programs, so that you can try their shape and style. An example of an unusual cut out is the 2009 Selle Italia Lady. Pictured below, it’s easy to see the differences in the cutout, between the 2008 model, pictured first, followed by the redesigned 2009 model.

Old Selle Italia Lady
Old 2008 Selle Italia Lady

2009 Selle Italia Lady Redesigned
2009 Selle Italia Lady Redesigned

As you can see, the back of the cutout is more open, which will lead to better airflow. Less volume in the center is probably more comfortable, but I’d be interested to hear how ladies who have been dedicated to the old shape will feel about the new cutout. By the way the shape of the old 2008 Selle Italia Lady, is very similar to the Classic Terry Butterfly. That is, the old SI Lady has a Y shape, like the Butterfly, while the new one has more of a T shape, so like the Specialized Jett, trimmed for less thigh rub. One non-plus thing I noticed about the 2009 model; it has stitching in the thigh area that may prove to be a problem. It may not, but the stitching was definitely raised enough to annoy a “Princess and the Pea” like moi. Ladies, if you get this saddle, please tell us how it is! Kudos to Selle Italia for trying such an innovative and different design.

4. If you love your saddle, don’t change it. But always be open to better design.

I admit that I have a personal preference for the Terry Damselfly, which is a classic performance  saddle for slim sit bone widths. I love it for road, track, and cyclocross (though the nose is a bit long for cross) . For my commuter bike, I use the slightly fluffier men’s Terry Fly Carbon, because the carbon rails make for a dreamy comfortable ride when I’m not wearing chamois. For my mountain bike, I use the Specialized Jett 130, which has a very similar shape to the Damselfly.

Terry Damselfly
Terry Damselfly

Bike of the Month – Xtracycle

November 7, 2008

What’s an Xtracycle?

The ultimate commuter/ hauling bike (but can also be used for bike surfing…tee hee).

SuperGirl on Bike of the Month

Read about a how this Super-Eco girl on bike is helping to save our oceans from deadly plastics.

Now at girl meet bike – The magazine

Brand New: “girl meets bike club”, The Private Social Network

October 23, 2008

What is “girl meets bike club” Private Social Network, Anyway?

Think of it as Facebook, but with a big bouncer at the door; above him the sign reads “This is a private club: all girls (over 16) on all bikes.”

It is your virtual club house. Come in, chat, bring friends to hang out with. upload pictures or video and share them. Meet women who ride all kinds of bikes. The more you put into your membership, the more fun you have.

  • Post pictures of your bikes
  • post reviews of stuff you like (and don’t)
  • Do a blog of a great ride you just had.
  • Come to Virtual Women’s Bike Summit’s (a scheduled chat event, which will be Multi-Media)
  • Chat live with friends from all over the world
  • Find riding partners as you’re passing through town.
  • Post a question in the forums
  • Add features and widgets to your personal club webpage
  • Find advice about commuting, fixing your bike, tips on riding and safety, etc.
  • Download pics and videos directly from Flickr, Youtube, & your iphone!

Why over 16? Because, (in the US) at 16 you become an adult on your bike; you make the choice to wear your helmet or not. Before that the law says that you must wear a helmet. It also seems an appropriate age for some of the possible adult topics that might come up with reference to women’s anatomy while bike riding.

Local Groups:
There are Local Groups, which are repository for advice about Local Bike Shops, rides and routes for women. For instance, starting in November, twice a month I’ll go into a different local bike shop, looking for things that women need for their bikes and riding (clothes, components, bikes, advice, service). While my public magazine will have the glossy version, the most “real” stuff will be here. Bitching, and solutions, best bang for your buck, as well as which bike shop staff to avoid, and who are THE go-to people, locally. Remember, as a “large group of organized consumers, we wield far more power than one individual.

Hey, I’m a woman on a bike. How do I join?

For now, invitations are sent to women who I’m sure are women; women that I know and women that I’ve followed virtually (bloggers and twitterers). Within the next week I’ll work out other ways to filter membership requests.

Why only women? Well, if you’ve read the rest of my blog here, then you know that I see a lot of differences between men and women while bike riding. I’ve found that in most virtual cycling forums that are popular, men dominate the conversations, even in the “women’s designated areas”. I wanted to form a virtual space that felt a little different. A safe, comfortable, testosterone free environment. Thus the idea of “girl meets bike, the virtual club” was born. There’s no charge to join. It’s all about the fun of it.

If you are a woman on a bike, and would like to join, please contact join@girlmeetsbike.com, and I will be happy to review your request. Expect to show me proof that:

1. You are a girl over 16.

2. You ride a bike.

Column: How to Shop for bike-ish things: girl’s version

October 17, 2008

This is a preview of a new column. Article and photos to come in the November issue of Girl on Bike Online Magazine.

Lesson One: Clothing

Say What?!

I know, some of you girls are saying to yourself, “Please, I KNOW how to shop for clothes. I don’t need any help in that department.” But times have changed in the cycling industry; new technology has developed in fabrics, stitching, and construction. Seriously folks, it’s a whole new ballgame. So unless you’re a “clothing technology fanatic” like me, you don’t spend much time reading and testing. Let’s face it; testing can be fun, but constantly reading about tech stuff is not everyone’s cup of tea. Fortunately for you, I’ve read all the dry technical stuff with all the details, and I’ll be constructing a regularly featured column of things you’ll need to know about cycling clothing, plus stuff you’ll want to know (like when you can get a good bang for your buck, and what looks and feels fabulous). Plus for those who want to, you can remain lycra-free.

Here are a few hints about how to shop for bike clothing, for girls shopping around in a store or bike shop:

  • Is the fabric soft?

A lot of us don’t think about this, but it’s true; women have softer skin, so we need softer fabrics. Plus we don’t have an extra layer of protection in the form of hair all over our bodies, the way that men do (generally speaking). So the bottom line is that we need softer fabrics, and even closures should be softer (I avoid scratchy Velcro).

  • Turn the garment inside out. How is the stitching?

Be careful for overlock stitching in sensitive places. The longer the trip, the more important stitching becomes. A three-point junction of stitching shouldn’t feel like an annoying knob.

  • How is it constructed? If it is a technical garment, is it constructed in 3-dimensional “bike position”?

While the garment is still inside out, lay it down on a flat surface. Is it hard to figure out how you’d fold this thing? That’s 3D clothing. While commuter clothing can have a two dimensional construction (it lays flat), road, track, and some mountain biking clothes (rule of thumb, anything with chamois), is better off with a 3D cut.

  • Try on the garment, but don’t just try on the one garment. Take the time to pick out the full outfit: top, bottom, and jacket).

Trying on a full outfit will give you the true feeling of how it will ride. Don’t look in the mirror first. Rather, sit down, or squat down into bike position. If you mountain bike, shift around a lot, and feel for seams that rub you. Roadies should imitate “the drops position”; the garment should fit best in this position and it should not ride up.

  • OK, now look in the mirror

Seriously, cool or dork, whatever you feel comfortable with, own it. C’mon now, we’re still women. If we don’t feel great about the clothes we’re wearing, chances are we won’t wear them. So pick out “the look” for you but pay attention, to the fabric, stitching and construction first, so that you can get girlie in front of the mirror. And have fun with it; it’s shopping, after all!

Preview: Spend Fifty Miles in MY saddle…

October 16, 2008

As a “girl on bike” for over twenty years, this piece of Equipment, the humble saddle, has changed my entire relationship with my bikes, and will always continue to do so…

I started road cycling when there was no such thing as a women’s saddle, or even a split saddle (I mean, this was before the invention of Lycra), I remember VIVIDLY, the pain of the saddle. My solution back then was to get a man’s saddle , tilt it all the way down, have aerobars, and lean heavily on my arms, or sprint out of the saddle. There was no resting place for the weary, on this set up. Even though it helped, for me it was the split saddle that changed everything. The design finally relieved my number one complaint about riding a bike, that is, that it’s hard to train for long hours in the saddle if you have to lean on 8000 nerve endings and your urethra. Those were painful days with lots of swelling, chaffing, saddle sores, Urethral Syndrome, and UTIs. ALL of those things interfered with my training schedule, as an athlete.

So when the split saddle came along, I was thrilled because (yippy-yi-o-ka-ya…) It solved most of the crushing “girly bits” problems. Unfortunately, it made thigh irritation worse, because the nose was wider than on non-split saddles. For some unknown reason, this wide nose design was much worse on the new-fangled “women’s saddle” . I still don’t understand why it took most saddle companies until 2009 to figure out that MOST women (yes, even the skinny ones) have fat pads on our inner thighs. But enough complaining, because (YEAH!!), they finally did fixed that as well. Over the past five years, I’ve gotten closer and closer to finding “the one”. I look forward to trying some major designs changes, such as making the saddle more T-shaped and less Y-shaped (thus giving our inner thighs some space). There are some interesting shapes coming up, and I look forward to hearing about as well as feeling some actual design improvements…

This is a preview to an Article I want to complete for the December issue of “girl on bike”. Ladies, if you have a saddle that you want to RAVE about please put it in the comments here, or write to lisa@girlmeetsbike.com.
Thanks.


%d bloggers like this: