Friday, January 18, 2013

Women in Cycling Series: "The Bike: How It Works and How to Buy One"

Kathy Rosen of Upon a Bike presented a lively and informative introductory seminar on the bicycle's parts and choosing the right type for one's planned activities. Kathy had a bike on a stand and detailed every part so that we'd know what to tell a mechanic when there was a problem to be fixed. She then asked each person whether they currently had a bike (and told me I was too "advanced" for the class when I answered with "four", heh) and how she planned to use that bicycle. The answers ranged from commuting to exercise to playing with the kids.

I felt that the lecture part of the class focused primarily on using road bikes for activities, but that might be my own prejudice flaring up since I'm still afraid of my own road bike. A few women seemed apprehensive about that choice, but Kathy took us around the Vienna Spokes, Etc. to show us the wide variety of bikes available. She outlined the pros and cons of each and that relieved the more timid in the audience.

Because Kathy had called me a "ringer", a few women asked me more about my bikes and my opinion on what would be good for them. I pretty much echoed Kathy's suggestion that they borrow a bike from a friend and test ride lots of bikes to see what felt good to them. While I LOVE my hybrid, that doesn't mean they'd love it as well.

I wound up talking one on one with Kathy about riding for weight loss because she'd mentioned that she'd lost forty pounds thanks to cycling. My experience has been nearly completely the opposite because I get so hungry when I ride. She asked if I was riding for distance and said that I should try interval riding instead. Happily, the February seminar will focus on nutrition and weight management. I'm looking forward to that. The following classes with deal with confidence on the open road and roadside maintenance.


  1. I've been lurking on your blog (mostly to get info on your test rides and such), but this post has me curious, what to me seems, a resurgence of women that are getting back into bike riding. I have my own pet peeves about the kind of riding women are "expected" to like, versus the reality: we all like everything and some things and specific things.

    I grew up with a fostered love of bike riding as I saw it as freedom. However, I'm finding now, my outlook is not as common as I thought, (the fostered love of bike riding, not the freedom bit;)

    Anywho, thank you for posting this. It gives me some ideas about looking for these types of seminars out here on the left coast:)

    1. Hi Milly! Thanks for letting me know that you're reading. I do hope to become more active in both my postings and cycling activities as the effects of this spring peter out.

      I'm right there with the pet peeves including the dreaded "shrink it and pink it."

      I ~think~ (but could be totally wrong here) that LA, SF, Portland, and Seattle all have active women's cycling groups. Not necessarily riding clubs, but groups who meet to promote cycling as well as provide education for beginning and/or renewed riders. Aside from those metro areas, I'm not sure what's out there.

      Good luck and thanks for commenting!

    2. Hello Melanie:) "shrink it and pink it" I've never heard that before, but boy will I use it now.

      As for groups and clubs, most of what I've seen is being fostered by the local bike shops I've visited in areas where Bike advocacy is being led by the same or the cities their in already have a pretty good plan in place for cycling infrastructure: Highland Park (L.A. suburb), Long Beach, Santa Monica. I'm between the San Fernando and San Gabriel Valley (in Los Angeles County, but outside of L.A. City) and any kind of non-car infrastructure is hard to come by or badly maintained. So it's challenging at best.

      That being said, I do have some experience in cycling from my childhood, formative years, and from as early as 15 years ago when I used to commute about 3 miles each way to work (Santa Monica). But that was on a mountain bike and I'd have to change once I got there. Having ridden upright 40 miles a day in Scouts, I don't ever recall needing to do the same when I got to my destination.

      Anywho, thanks for replying to my comment. Looking forward to reading more:)