here come the ladies!

As I sit here watching the olympic mens road race, it is acutally tomorrow morning that I am most excited about....WOMEN'S CYCLING!!!  ON NBC!!!  Praise athena-I can't believe it.  I have never actually seen a women's profesional race on television!  Yes - technically this isn't a "professional" race, but it's good enough for me. I adore women's cycling.  I eat up the footage I can find on the web.  I follow the riders on STRAVA (yes - I am stalking you Clara and Ina).  And now I am just so excited to see them ride through the English countryside.  They inspire me.  They make me want to be a better rider.  And that's saying a lot.

My favorite story on the American side is Evelyn Stevens.  An investment banker in NYC - she took to cycling after riding an old beater bike in central park.  Fellow riders started noticing how fast this girl was and encouraged her to pursue her God-given talents.  She eventually quit her "real" job in order to become a professional cyclist.  And that was only 4 years ago.  No cycling background, no professional coaching and BAM she was on HTC highroad.  I can't wait to cheer her on.

So please - watch the women's road race tomorrow and then encourage your daughters to get on their bikes.  Help the junior programs at their local bike shop.  Give your old bike to a young lady you think has talent.  You never know - you might just get a thank you from an olympic podium one day.

vive le reve!!

Like many roadies (or "cycling enthusiast"s if you want to get technical) I live for the Tour de France every year.  I avoid anywhere I may see spoiler results and I never miss a stage.  But like many things in this sport - why are there no girls in the Tour? Proving that girls can, in fact, ride the very same routes that the boys can - I have been following the Reve.  The dream.  Six amateur women cyclists who are riding the stages the days before the boys.

They are on STRAVA if you want to see the details, and they have a great blog.  Please help support these lovely ladies on their journey with kudos and well wishes.

You can find their blog here

Where are the ladies?

I choose this as my first “real” blog post as this is something that has bugged me for 3 years since I started cycling: Why is it that when I am out on the road I see so few women participating in this sport? Seriously - I can ride 20 miles on PCH and literally not see another woman on a road bike. Pink cruisers with baskets for sure (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but participating in the sport of road cycling itself?This is male centric sport to be sure. It’s NOT easy. Its grueling work dragging your ass up hills, dodging traffic and getting covered in dirt that has to be scraped off at the end of a ride. But many sports are that way. Running isn’t exactly child’s play, yet you see women doing that all the time. Is it the clothes? The funny padded pants that girls are going to worry make their booties look big? The unforgiving spandex? The cycling industry has made some in-roads to encourage women to participate, but I can literally count TWO women that work in the local bike shops I frequent in my area. And neither of them wrenches (that would be code for working on the mechanical aspects of bikes). Though there are exceptions to the rule - bike shops are not always the friendliest places in the world for girls. I can not tell you how many times I have been spoken down to at a bike shop. But ladies....please - GET OUT THERE. It is glorious to ride a bike on the open road and ride it FAST. Think your booty looks big in spandex? Nobody is looking. Intimidated by the guys in the bike shop? Earn their respect! Ask questions, learn to change your own tires and grip tape. Learn which shops are girl friendly and go there. Often. Get to know them. You will be surprised when you are welcomed into the world with open arms. A couple weeks ago I got a flat tire out on PCH, I can only tell you that at least half a dozen guys stopped to ask if they could help. This was not about me being a girl, but about them helping their fellow rider. Not one of them looked at me in spandex and kept going. Or mocked me for forgetting tire irons. Instead we talked about bikes and favorite routes as they worked to help me get back on the road. If nothing else motivates you - think of this: It’s a great way to meet guys. And they look SEXY in spandex! :) Here are a few of my favorite spots for girly cycling stuff.... BUT your local bike shops!