Saturday, May 29, 2010

Women's bikes

None of the hundreds of bikes in the newly renovated space at Revolution Cycle was built for me.

That’s because Revolution partnered with bike builder Specialized Canada to create the world’s first women’s concept store. Almost half their space is dedicated to women riders, which reflects the consumer base, says manager Ben Fedoruk.

Most have researched on the Internet or in magazines before they come in for a test ride, he says — and they know what they need.

“Girls aren’t the same. When they get on a bike that’s not built for them, they’re not happy; they’re not comfortable.

“This is women designing bikes for women.”

These are not just unisex frames painted in pretty colours. They’re designed from the wheels up with input from riders like Darcy Turenne. The Norco Bikes team rider was in Edmonton recently to sign autographs at United Cycle and show off the Vixa, the latest freeride unit she helped design.

A native of Comox, B.C., and former member of the national downhill mountain bike team, Turenne, 26, also hosted the television program The Ride Guide on the Outdoor Life Network. As an ambassador for Norco Bikes, she now spends almost 300 days a year on the road and in the saddle, so bike fit is really important.

“I wanted a bike that would suit my riding style. I basically just told them (Norco) what I wanted to use it for and what I wanted it to feel like, and the engineers came up with a mock draft of the geometry.”

According to Turenne, the Vixa has a shorter cockpit, with less reach from the seat to the handlebars, so it’s more comfortable. It’s also shorter in height and lighter than a unisex model, so it’s more nimble.

This is an exciting time for female cyclists, Turenne says. They’re attracting more media attention and corporate sponsorships, and all of the big bike companies are introducing women-specific lines.

“I think the support women are getting in the cycling industry is definitely attracting more female cyclists because there is product out there for them; they don’t feel excluded.

“Girls like to ride with other girls; it’s less intimidating. And having that product out there for us to use is really great, really good for the sport.”

Back at Revolution Cycle, Fedoruk says he’s seeing a lot of women who want to upgrade their wheels to more expensive models.

“They start out with maybe an $800 bike, but within two years, all of a sudden they’re bike junkies, and they read magazines all the time and they’re buying $4,000 bikes.”

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sable googles

Swimming is has many benefits we all know about, but it's cheap to boot.
Just some trunks, maybe a cap and googles. So why would I spend triple the amount of most googles for a pair of Sables. Mostly because they claim to be anti-fog and great fitting. much for that sales pitch. On the third day, I wore these in a lake swim tri and although they weren't rinsed until I crossed the line, the googles were pretty much done.
The salesperson, and the included instructions are adamant about handling the lenses on either side to maintain the integrity of the coating. I still have these googles, use them occasionally, but they are on par with much less expensive earwear. The fit is just ok, and their claim about distortion elimination is not really noticeable. All said and done they are just average and definitely not worth the extra money


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crank and File

I am producing a summer bike series for the Edmonton Journal on bike culture in this city.
The title above links you there but here is a sampling video on single speeds.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rapha Pocket T

This is a high performance sleeper of a T-shirt. At first glance it looks like a overpriced T with an afterthought of a pocket slapped on the back quarter. But slip it on, cruise to the cafe and you'll be convinced this is no ordinary cotton garb. Because it's a blend it wicks, and stretches and looks casual but functions at a high level. I have a medium and it's form fitting, but the give and cut won't let it ride up in the rear when you're in the saddle. It's not race-day, but it's ride ready for casual pedaling or summer cruising.
True to Rapha attention to detail the pocket contains text of cycling lore.
PRICE about $85 CDN.