Posts Tagged ‘Interbike’

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.



Is It Time for INTERBIKE Already?

September 1, 2009

In the spirit of getting back to business

It’s that time of year again. Just like in the fashion world, September is January for those in the bike industry. All year long, companies that work for and with all things bike, have been battling it out for what will be the next coolest thing. Every year,the next coolest thing is revealed to a captive audience of bike geeks at Interbike. In a few weeks, the amazement and wonder of Interbike(1) begins.

Yep, I am a Bike Geek, and I impatiently await the marvels that will be set before me. What wonders will they reveal this year? Will the trend of recognizing women riders continue? It would be wonderful if it did. Only a few short years ago, the business of Interbike was, well, a bit sleazy IMHO. Set in Las Vegas, it was easy to ignore the call for “real” women riders products, in lieu of the easy out for most of the bike industry, which was that, if you want to call something a women’s product, just “shrink it, and pink it”. Gone is that ABHORRENT practice! These days, the bike industry is finally realizing that if you want to make money, you NEED to cater to the other (nearly) half of the cycling population(2). NO ONE has recognized this better than Rich Kelly, marketing manager for Interbike. In the couple of years since he took over Interbike, he has helped change, not just the mood of the convention, but indeed the biking world itself, from an “old man business” community, to a fresh young hip, and girl-friendly place to be. It’s amazing and wonderful how much the industry has grown (up), and Interbike (via Rich Kelly) has been a wonderful contributor. Nearly gone are the “booth babes” of the convention (those are girls who are usually Vegas showgirls, and have NOTHING to do with bikes the rest of the year). In their place, is a far more palatable type of pulchritude: actual women riders, and venders, buying and selling things to and for women. There’s even a little sorority of sorts that has form by way of the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition luncheon. I always seem to get grounded and have clearer, more set goals after meeting with these dynamic women.

Plus, once again this year, we will have an amazing “urban cycling” fashion show put on by Momentum Magazine. Here’s what it looked like last year:

Grafton 3/4 Sleeve Jersey- You had me at Wool/ Silk Blend

Grafton 3/4 Sleeve Jersey- You had me at Wool/ Silk Blend

Luna's Merino Wool Pro Sweater

Luna's Merino Wool Pro Sweater

So what am I looking forward to seeing? Well, the first thing that to comes to mind is LUNA cycling clothing; yes, the yummy Luna Bar company has now launched their own clothing line for women. And who better, really. They’ve been paying good attention to women’s physiology for a long time, and have built up a great reputation, by way of their awesome, some years unbeatable racing team, the LUNACHIX. These women know how to ride, and I have no doubt that the LUNA gets plenty of chamois/cycling clothing opinions from their often winning roster. No doubt, they’ve come up with something interesting. (HINT- I got a glimpse of the wool/silk blend gear at Sporteve early this year, so I KNOW it’s gonna be good).

Road tires, and Wheels: There have been leaps and bounds in the technology of them round things. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for lightweight riders (those under 150lbs). And when I say “they” I mean that I want to see everyone’s gear. I have no loyalty to any brand right now, save my Michelin tires. So Wheelbuilders and tire companies better bring it ’cause I wanna see, and I’m listening.

More to come as Interbike nears…

(1) Interbike is the annual international conference for the bike industry.

(2) Women now make up ~47% of all cyclists. That’s up from ~44% two years ago. From Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) June 1, 2009 issue, P 26.

Endtroducing… Lisa

September 30, 2008

I should have done this a long time ago. Hi, I’m Lisa.
girl meets bike
I’ve been on a bike since forever.

girl meets 1st bike

girl meets 1st bike

OK, so it’s a trike, but you get the point.
Riding a bike always meant freedom; that freedom manifests itself in new and amazing ways with each style of bike, each type of bike riding. Because I took dance class as a child (like many women) I’ve learned good balance, so cycling came easy to me.

Collage of girl on bike

Collage of girl on bike


I’ve dabbled in many areas from racing, to charity riding, coaching to fittings, wrenching, to clothing sales. I’ve loved it all, even through injury. I’ve loved road and tri, mtb and SS mtb, fixed gear commuting and track (and even BMX, though I suck at it).
I currently own seven bikes. That is B = (n – 1), where B is the number of bikes that I have, and n is the number of bikes that “I think I need”.
Yes, I ride them all, except for the one I want to sell, and the BMX.
I live in the mountains, but that’s OK, because I like climbing, AND going fast.
I’m naturally shy, but I’m from NYC and worked my way through college as a bartender, so I’ve learned to compensate intelligently, and in a friendly way, to get my point across.
I was a double major in Physics and Geology, and in Grad school I specialized in “Planetary Physics”, or, “the physical and mechanical study, and analysis of other planets”.
I also have a background in the fashion industry, and comic book industry (though that’s about a million years ago).

I have a high IQ; I no longer apologize for being smart, even though smart women don’t seem to be very popular right now (OK, political snarkiness alert). I still speak like a New Yawker, which sometimes embarrasses me, because I think it sounds less intelligent than my mother-in-law’s London accent. I realize that this my own brand of warped perception and stereotype, but there it is. That’s why my “new york tourette’s” sometimes offends, and my use of GRE words sometimes confuses, but I am who I am. I have no problem with curbing either language when asked.

I believe that these qualities and qualifications, allow me to take a look at the relationship between women and bikes in an empathetic, but scientific way. The results have been my articles and reviews on this blog, which will soon be in magazine format, with other contributors.

Since I’m shy and paranoid (paranoia is an endearing NY trait), that’s as much as you get about me, as a person.
Endtroducing, Lisa. girl on bike

Better, Updated Prints and Colors

September 29, 2008

Demand for updated looks forces fierce competition amongst girl brands; the Result is Great New looks for Every Woman

I admit that previously I’ve shied away from Terry and Shiela Moon prints, often finding the them one to several seasons out of date, in comparison to regular ready to wear fashion. But in these days of “Style.com on your iphone”, and “Tevo’d Project Runway”, gone is the lag in Style that Main St had with Fashion Ave., NYC; middle America is catching up and and has its own set of fashionistas, and they DO ride bikes. It goes without saying that they have the same style/color demands for their bike fashion as any other girl, “off-bike”. So where do we find good technical clothes, that look and feel so fierce, that you look forward to wearing it as much as your favorite dress? Yet because it is afterall, active wear, this clothing is special, in that it must have wicking capability while not “storing” smell, and the fabric and stitching must be soft next to the skin, even for us girls. In looking at these women built bike clothing companies, I’m just sure these ladies are listening to the masses.

For those who haven’t caught up yet, Blacks, greys, browns and whites, with splashes of bold, vivid Spring colors will be very popular next Spring. It would be very easy to translate this kind of palette into bike clothing, as it’s easy to make it pop, or stand out quickly, without being garish.

Two companies took full advantage of this, and you should know about them. You will not believe that that some of this clothing is bike clothing. I hope you are as delighted by these collections as I.

TERRY

Armed with her favorite Haute Couture prints and colors, forward thinking Olga of Terry Bicycles helped convince her designers to try something bolder, yet more mature; the result is a magnificent collection of prints, rivaled only by Shiela Moon, this year. Terry still has the same pink and vivid pink for their own kit, but they have stopped “mainlining” pink and we are happy to see the recovery process from this years-long addiction. The permanent pink palette has been replaced by by the Spring 2009 RTW palette, including interesting choices in brown and grey.
Favorites are the updated schraeder tank in black/grey, and the “tri like a girl” shimmel in cappuccino brown; both well constructed, sleeveless pieces. The Euro Tank will be available in the new “bike love” print.
Since last year’s tunic was a success, they’ve added in other colors and styles, including the “rotations” (a black with white design), and the “treads” print, pictured here from the Urban Trends Fashion Show. (This picture is used with permission from the blog “The Debut Effect” by Cassondra. Please visit her website for Interbike report).

Terry treads print over Capris

Terry treads print over Capris

Terry tri shimmel in cappuccino

Terry tri shimmel in cappuccino

Euro halter in the new "Bike Love" Print
Eurohalter print follows the Haute Couture trend on pattern and color selection

Eurohalter

SHIELA MOON

It looks like Shiela Moon has pushed Pedal Power into a bright new era, with bright bold new prints that are more risky and fun than EVER, but reminiscent of the POP ART of the 1960’s, with hints of “laugh-in” prints from the groovy stylings of old Peter Max.
Wasting no time with RTW colors, the solids far more on trend from the Haute Couture collections of Spring 2009. Dark brown, black, grey, and (yes the timely) ballet pink are the main staples for colors, with pop colors for accent.

At this time I must rave about her Fall/Spring commuter collection, with enough shorts Jackets, dresses, and Capris to create an entire “Stealth Commuter” wardrobe. That is, once you step off the bike, no one would ever know you took a bike to work. Her Britches are both cute, and very well made and comes in a herringbone wool blend that I just adore,. They are a classic enough style, so they’ll last through the trends of the next few seasons. I’m considering selling my car to try to live a greener life, and this is just the collection to make me feel good about that lifestyle choice. The added “lingerie” liner is a downright brilliant idea (I’ll try to find a pic).

Best prints yet, I particularly like the one on the far right called "Goldie"

Goldie mesh top with britches shorts

Goldie mesh top with britches shorts

Barb is wearing the Petticoat dress and jacket

Barb & friend: Barb is wearing the Petticoat dress and jacket

The Stitch Bitch of Cycling

September 18, 2008

Stitch Bitch.
That’s what what one gal called me. We laughed.
Hmmm, umm, yeah, I own that.
It refers to my insistence that every garment made for women in cycling be comfortable against the skin. My venders should pay attention, here: this makes the simple overlock stitch a Clothing Technology Crime or CTC. Why?
Designers, of cycling clothing, gather ’round (in my best Tim Gunn voice). Women, in general, have softer skin; we also have less natural protection (hair) covering our bodies. That makes us more vulnerable to chaffing and skin irritation from a rubbing seam. The Flatlock stitch, along with good design solves these irritation problems.
Honestly, I can’t take rotten quality in stitching, and I simply don’t tolerate in my store. I must admit that I was not entirely pleased with quality control from some of the cycling brands I chose for my store. The more time I spend in the saddle, the more I realize that my sacred inner mantra was ignored, as I chose some items last year by emotion first, instead of quality. There’s only one brand that never wavered on quality, and that was Etxe Ondo. Everything was flawless, and all customers were happy. I delight in wearing it, myself (as you’ve probably guessed).
I’ll be switching up some of my brands, because the ONE thing I learned about women’s cycling retail, is that “Women Want Quality” (OOOMMM), Marc Jacobs is an easy sell, payless, not so much…

I’m going to add a private section to the “girl on bike” website, called The Stitch Bitch. This section will require a password to get in, but it will reveal why I’m dropping some brands, and picking up others, and what I REALLY thought about being behind the scenes in the Bike Industry. Yes I’ll say what companies shined this year, but I’m going to start talking (a bit) more publicly, where, exactly, some of the bike industry is truly fucking up in getting women on bikes, and how others are being more progressive and finally getting it; women “hold the balls” of the cycling business in three ways:
1. For MOST American households, women make the financial decisions.
2. Women make up a large part of “commuter cyclists”; it’s where we shine, because for many of us, we just like the freedom of being a girl on a bike, and see cycling as a way to multi-task travel, fun and exercise.
3. Now that women’s bikes, clothing, parts and tools have been totally dialed by some companies, women are flocking to the companies who got it right. Big frickin’ hint, guys, it’s not always pink. Conversely, women generally did not tolerate things that did not fit, or were not of the premium quality. They returned that which was sub-par.
So, this year I may seem like a harmless kitty at Interbike, but look out (grrr) here comes The Stitch Bitch!
Next week, I use my Super Powers for good, or evil…
Ya got dat?!!!

QUICK UPDATE: Just got back from Interbike; girls, let’s just say that we have LOTS to look forward to, if the buyers do their job right. Solid colors are more on trend, and can be matched to the Spring Haute Couture colors, and the prints are reminiscent of Pucci, Versace, and Miu Miu. Fabric technology, and garment construction is DEFINITELY improving. Will post pics as soon as I can.

Gearing up for Interbike extravaganza!

September 17, 2008

I’m REALLY excited about Interbike this year.

There’s going to be a lot of change for the good towards women, much more available, much more options, and I think, all around much more appealing to women. I’m going to update this website and others as much as possible, because there will be a TONNE to report on for what’s new for women on bikes. If you can think of something you’d like to hear about, let me know.

you can follw me on twitter at www.twitter.com/girlmeetsbike

for up to the second reports and pics.

So far, I know I’ll be spinning out a gentle ride on the Tour de Lake Mead for Demo Days, on a 2009 Cannondale six13 Feminine / with new DuraAce! If my ankle holds up, I’d like to test out a few more road bikes, then head to the Giant for Women Tent for their “Bike set up clinic”. Tuesday night I’ll blog and share pics as much as I can. I’m going to start reporting on the new site, Girl On Bike as well, and hope the new format is to your like.

The store, Kallisti Bikes will come down at the end of this week, and it will be replaced in a month or so with “girl meets bike”. For this year, it will be a very narraw selection of my “IT” picks: the clothes you’ll where in any bike situation, and feel on trend, off the bike.

The two new websites,

girl meets bike store and services

and

girl on bike magazine

Will launch on Monday September 22, 2008. I’l keep this site up for a while, and may keep CycleMaven.wordpress as a personal bike journal.


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