We are open for business!

Hello all! Just a quick note to let you know that The Unlikely Cyclist - the store is open for business!!!

Sorry I didn't quite get the website up and running for today, but I am working on it and it should be live in a few days.

In the meantime - the store is located at 1673 Irvine Ave Space L - Costa Mesa, 92626.  At 17th and Irvine across the street from Kean in the 7 Eleven Mini Mall.  I am tucked down at the end, but easy to find.

All our product is in - Bianchi bikes, volagi bikes.  Clothing from Giordana, Hincapie, Terry, Sugoi, Sheila Moon, Canari, Road Holland and GORE.  Shoes from Giro and Fizi:k and helmets from Giro, Uvex and Lazer.  In house service provided by Fresh Bikes for all your service needs!

We offer an extensive test saddle program......a "ride it before you buy it" program where you can bring your bike in to test out shorts in the saddle....and a "shrink to fit" program. If you buy a jersey from us and lose weight/inches and need a smaller size, bring in the jersey and we will give you 50% off a jersey of equal or lesser value.

We will have events every other Thursday at 630pm....coming up:

- November 1st is a trunk show with Active Angelz.  A fantastic line we will be carrying in the spring.

- November 15th will be a hands-on flat clinic

- November 29th is Bike Fits with Fresh Bikes.  Bike fits just $29 that night!  First come first served with reservations.  Please visit my Facebook page----events  to rsvp for a spot.  Or call the store at (949) 566-5202.

Lots of great things in store for you!  Hope you will come along for the ride!

sneak peek at what's ahead!!!

I have returned from my foray to nor cal and my annual pilgrimage to do the Levi Leiphimer Gran Fondo.  Let's just say it was not as successful as I hoped, but I am still very proud of not taking the easy road out and doing a shorter route than I signed up for. I registered for the gran with 108 miles and almost 10K of climbing.  But my training wasn't there and though I made the first timed cut off, and up two big ascents on King Ridge Road, I ran out of time and water stations were closing.  I turned back and was picked up by a sag vehicle.  The sad thing is that I wasnt tired or sore at all after 42 miles and I know that if I had just had more time I could have made it.  Even though King Ridge was like GMR and Vista Ridge had some evil baby.  Steeeep and long and it was 95 up on the mountain.  Enough said.  I still had a celebratory beer after.  No fear. Back to the task at hand....THE SHOP!  It's in the final stages and we will be opening on Friday October 12th with a grand opening celebration all weekend long.  Prizes, goodies, that sort of thing.  I am partnering with the Beach Cities Women's Cyclists and we will be holding a beginner's ride starting at the shop at 830am.  Just an easy 13mile loop around the back bay and then back to the shop for Kean coffee and a light breakfast.  This is a no drop - no pressure ride. Even if you are a more advanced rider, but want to help some new cyclists out, please, come along for the ride!   This is just the first of many shop rides and we will have intermediate and advanced rides.  Stay tuned.

A couple programs you might want to check out at the store:

- "Try it before you buy it": we all know that how cycling clothes LOOK and how they feel whilst riding are two different things.  I am setting up a trainer and encourage you to bring your bike (or use one of mine) to take your shorts/bibs/jerseys out for a little test spin.  A couple of pedal strokes will tell you whether those shorts are gonna ride up to where the sun don't shine.  Everybody is different, so take advantage.  Just don't break a sweat!

- "Shrink to fit": I cater to women of all sizes in the shop (xs-3X), but sometimes we use cycling for fitness and weight loss.  And lets be honest...we didn't pick the cheapest sport! Good clothing costs good money.  So what to do when you lose weight and need a smaller jersey?  If you buy a jersey from us, and drop down a size, you give me back that jersey and I will give 50% off a jersey of equal or lesser value in that smaller size.  Maybe we can have a "wall of fame" or donate those jerseys to new riders.

- I will be providing full service at the shop and two lines of bikes in women's sizes (44-55) in the store:  Bianchi Dama Bianca line as well as Volagi bikes.  They are GORGEOUS, fantastic bikes.  There will be a full price range of bikes, aluminum and carbon, and even a hybrid thrown in there.  I would not sell what I would not ride, and I love these bikes.

 I can't say enough good things about this Volagi Dura-Ace we will be stocking.  I rode it over the weekend.  Amazing.  It will be in the shop.  I purposefully DIDN'T order it in my size.

As far as clothing goes...xs-3X with brands such as GORE, Giordana, Sheila Moon, Terry, Road Holland, Sugoi, Canari, Hincapie. For the spring: shebeest (Heck ya!  Its coming back!), Maloja, Active Angelz.  Socks from swiftwick, shoes and helmets from Giro, Shimano and Uvex.  Nutrition from skratch labs, first endurance, Honey stinger, and clif.  The list goes on an on.

Last but not least...I am excited to share our first "special event" with you!

On November 1st at 630pm Andi Neugarten will be in the store to introduce her new line of beautiful women's specific active wear.  Cycling and tri clothing.  I saw the line at inter bike and it is beautifully made and designed clothing that is very flattering and different.  I will be stocking the line when it drops in the spring but this is your chance to take a sneak peek at it, try it on, and talk with Andi about her vision.  I am happy to support this  woman-owned business and know you will love the product.  You can see their designs here.  Adult beverages and refreshments will be provided.  Please RSVP for the event on The Unlikely Cyclist facebook page here

I want to be the source for women cyclists in this area.  No more women in men's clothing.  No more intimidation or feeling of shame to get on a bike.  All women can ride.  Are you up for the challenge?

The Unlikely Cyclist opens Friday 10/12 at 11am at 1763 Irvine Ave, Space L.  Across the street from Kean coffee in the 7 eleven mini mall.  Yes, you can ride and get your slurpee on too.

The webstore will open (hopefully) the same day as the shop.  Store hours: Tues-Friday 11-630, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 11-4.  Closed on Mondays.

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Interbike 2012!

So in case I haven't mentioned it a 1000 times - this week was Interbike - the cycling industries yearly convention.  This was my first time here and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually know a little about a lot.  The past two months have been meeting after meeting with sales reps figuring out what I want to carry in the shop.  Its a constantly evolving lineup.  Initially it was on-line only...then a brick and mortar...first a clothing boutique...then a true bike shop in all senses of the word.  I feel confident in the direction I am headed and hope that y'all like what I have picked out. Interbike afforded me the opportunity to actually see, touch and use many of the products I had been considering.  This was so invaluable as things are just NOT the same online or in a catalog.  This really drove home to me the reason that distributors basically required me to be a "brick and mortar" store.  You just can not fully appreciate these products without seeing them in your hands and trying them out.

Being here surrounded by the things (and people) that I love and admire was amazing.  And the ability to come in and support a smaller manufacturer or supplier is something that is near and dear to my heart. In many ways the biking industry still has a sense of artistry about it.

Some of my high points.....

Artcrank - just amazing to see this gallery of art.  I have followed and admired Artcrank from afar for a long time and was privileged to not only meet Charles, the man behind it, but also to purchase a piece of art for the shop.  I look forward to the upcoming show in LA.

surly - great steel bikes and eccentric employees that love them.  No pretentiousness about having to qualify to sell their stuff. You like it and want to sell it?  We have the confidence that you can and will.  Plus there was some weird fox taxidermy and a sales rep that happened to be carrying a hunting knife.  Minneapolis company of course.  I need to move there.  I wish the weather just wasn't so shitty for 5 months of the year.

twin six - I love this line of clothing - another favorite thing out of minneapolis.

shebeest - the return of one of my favorite lines of women's cycling apparel happens this spring.  The styles are much the same, the patterns and colors are great.  The clothing is classic, at great price points and accessible to all women.  This is one of the few lines that always had plus size offerings in their lines, and that is so important to me.

The shimano tech guys - I am planning on upgrading my road bike to DI2.  Now - I know how to wrench in a very basic fashion, and can follow directions well, but a tech guy basically walked me through the steps of Di2 installation on a very busy sales floor.  He gave me his time and skills and I was so appreciative.

Seeing - if not meeting - some of the people I most admire in the business and bike blogging world.  Charles from artcrank, Robin from Pedal Chic, Sarai from girlbikelove.  I never got to see bike shop girl, but hopefully next year.

This list could go on and on (George Hincapie - in person!) but I feel so much more a part of this business now.  Of course there was the usual "boy's club" from some vendors, but I will do as I always did and vote with my dollars.  If you don't have time to respect women's cycling - I have no money for you.  Even if you are one of the biggest brands in the industry.

So - after two days and a slight case of the Vegas flu, tomorrow I head home.  I have a shop to open.

custom kit frustrations...

Well the store construction is almost done and I am deep in the heart of ordering opening inventory.  In case you didn't know, I am committed to serving all segments of women roadies - and that means the plus market (Athena pride!) as well.  I have sought out those lines that carry plus sizes and even convinced one company to make them for me. Now I am moving on to getting the shop kits made.  I have found three great companies that custom kits in "plus" sizes, but I keep running into the same problems: Jerseys go up in size but shorts don't and the sizing in these kits are definitively "euro".  This means that even though they size up to 5XL in women's - in reality this is somewhere between a 1X and 2X.  What 1X women wants to wear a jersey that says 5X on it, even if it fits perfectly?  This is so frustrating.  While I am delighted I can find some that size in the range I am looking for, this leaves my 3X Athenas out in the cold.

I haven't given up!  I am still looking but the choices are getting slim.

On a personal note - my training has gone to s***t in the wake of opening this store - aside from my first and very successful trip up GMR with the clydes/athena forum group.  Never has a group ride been so much pleasure for me.  Encouraging and supportive with "my kind" of people, I never felt more accepted and comfortable on the bike as I did that day.  And it showed in my riding.  I felt like I floated up that mountain.  SO -  I have re-committed to 6 days a week riding and rode 30 miles on Sunday, took Monday off (well, it was recovery day after all lol) and will ride tomorrow.  I got into this game because I ADORE the sport.  I can't forget how to do it!  I figure if I get 4 of those 6 in, that's better than nothing.  Now if I could only figure out how to get STRAVA to record all the painting I have been doing.

nothin's gonna knock this girl down

Ugh - I just realized that it's been almost a month since my last post.  Shameful.  But I don't know where the time has gone.  It's been quite the few weeks.  In one week my cat was killed by a coyote, I had to go to the mayo clinic for my annual "Do you have cancer again" check up and....I was laid off.  From a job I have had for 17 years.  Not that I didn't know it was coming sometime soon, the company has been in decline for a couple years but still. So...this is supposed to be about cycling right?  Not a Lisa pity party?  Well my friends...it is.  Not in the riding sense because I have been so busy I haven't been doing much of that.  But..THE UNLIKELY CYCLIST is coming to life as a women's cycling boutique!

Getting laid off forced me to make some life changes and I decided to go for what had been a dream for me for a long time.  I have often wondered how I could be part of the process of getting more women on bikes.  To make them comfortable in the sport - and I have decided to take a pro-active stance.

I am not a big believer in that whole "God's plan" thing, but I have to say that all the elements fell into place for me.  I found a great little store for rent in Costa Mesa, only 10 minutes from my house, negotiated a killer lease and got to work.  Pulling up tile, painting, making it pretty.  Work that will take me until the beginning of October.  Writing business plans, contacting distributors and reps and making my way into this industry.

Its a work in progress - but I hope you come along for the ride.

The Unlikely Cyclist will open the first weekend in October at 17th and Irvine across the street from Kean coffee in Costa Mesa, CA.