Kat and her sister getting ready for the San Tan Criterium
This post is guest written by Kat Salthouse. She has been riding bikes for about 5 years, has 5 state champions jerseys in 3 different cycling disciplines and is one fast woman. She trains at the Tucson Endurance Performance Center and occasionally fills in coaching classes. Here are her 5 basic things ever woman should know. Guys pay attention, this can apply to you as well.
"I think [the bicycle] has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. The moment she takes her seat she knows she can't get into harm unless she gets off her bicycle, and away she goes, the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood."
- Susan B. Anthony
1. Happy Hiney= Blissful biking
I’ve had this conversation countless times over the years with new cyclist, and their isn’t a non-awkward way to say this. Don’t wear underwear under your bike shorts, you can see panty lines through spandex. And since we are already on an awkward topic, get a good pair of shorts and some form of chamois cream (currently I’m LOVING Skin Strong), this will lubricate that general region and keep everything happy. It is also a good practice to get out of your bike shorts ASAP when you get off the bike, put on some loose shorts (boxers of Soffee shorts are great) and let everything breath. Good hygiene=happy hiney
2. Get a Fit
You would never dream of running in a pair of shoes that was the wrong size, so why would you ride a bike that doesn’t fit? The $0.10 bike shop fit is enough to get you out the door with a new bike, but before hitting the road for any serious amount of time invest in a good fit. Not only will it make all your time in the saddle more comfortable, it will also prevent injury down the the road, and improve your position to make your body and bike work well together. Its definetly worth the investment to pay a little extra to go to a dedicated fitter, at a bike shop often the primary job of the person doing the fit is retail, not figuring out what is best for you. Also get fits frequently, every time their is a major change in how you ride, injury, or any major parts overhaul it is time for a fit. Many fitters are also able to help you find the correct components for your body time, which is especially important when you are buying a seat. Before you buy a new saddle demo it first, most bike shops and fitter let you demo a saddle for a small fee (generally less than $30) then will apply the demo cost to the purchase of the saddle. If you go on to women’s cycling forums it’s all about saddle recommendations, that is not a good way to buy a saddle (nor is assuming it will work because its “women specific”), test it first.
3. Know your bike
A bike is a huge investment so you should put the time in to keep in running smoothly. Everyone should know the basics of how to keep things going, a bottle of chain lube is $4, a new chain is $40, if you maintain your chain properly you won’t have to change it as often. Other good skills are knowing how to stop your brakes from rubbing (and when to change them), derailleur adjustments, and how to take wheels on and off. It’s a good idea to take your bike in about once a year for a tune up, and if you hear any clicking, rattling, or something just feels funny take it in. It is so much easier to make your husband maintain your bike, I’m incredibly guilty of it, but knowing the basics can save you a headache if you have an issue on the road.
4. Learn how to change a flat tire
So many times I have heard beginner women tell me that they won’t go for a ride unless their husband is on call to rescue them if they flat. Don’t let a fear of flats limit your rides, flats are going to happen, and most of the time they are a simple puncture that can be fixed in under 5 minutes. If you don’t feel confident in your flat fixing skills practice. YouTube is a good place to get tips on changing tubes, or sign up for a bike maintenance or confidence clinic to get some hands on practice. Here is a good video to get you started http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5K-DXt9djA, and yup that is Jill.
5. Find a friend that is faster and more experienced than you
The only way to learn to ride your bike faster is to push outside of your comfort zone. I have found the easiest way to do this is to ride with someone who is faster than you. Having someone to chase is always motivation to ride a little faster. The biggest advantage to being a woman is men will always be faster than you, so chase them! Having a more experienced friend to ride with will also help you learn proper bike etiquette, new routes, and learn little tips and tricks to make riding a little better. Plus, the more time you spend in the saddle, the better of a rider you will become, and that is always better with a friend!
Retul Certified Bike Fitter
Note: If you use google chrome as your browser you must have the add-on installed in order to subscribe to this RSS feed.
Go to: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/search/rss and install RSS Subscription Extension (by google).