Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 30, 2011

links I Like -- 30 December, 2011

I find I do most of my reading online these days. You too, right? I have certain blogs I subscribe to and certain sites that I visit regularly. And then I find little tidbits here and there from my friends on Facebook + Twitter. Today's links include one bicycle industry site and two non-bike sites.

http://www.bicycleretailer.com/news/newsDetail/6316.html -- I'll admit, working in the bike industry, that this topic really hits a nerve with me and I'm thankful that Specialized Bicycle's Mike Sinyard spoke out about it publicly. We're all about "the deal" but that often hurts your locally-owned bike shop. Buy local, folks! Support the communities you live in.

http://zenhabits.net/fitguide/ Zen Habits is one of my favorite blogs and I always pick up a practical tip or two to help improve my life. This post focuses on how to start a healthy habit and grow it into a healthy lifestyle. It's okay to start small. Be patient. Invest in yourself!

http://www.grist.org/biking/2011-12-27-10-bicycling-myths-debunked -- Grist takes a humorous look at serious environmental stories. They often write about the impact of bicycles on the environment. This one's as silly as most, but contains some "real" reasons why bicycling is an awesome way to improve your life. And thanks to Grist for the infographic (below) that went viral earlier this month.


Biking And Health

Created by: Healthcare Management Degree

Thursday, December 29, 2011

beauty + balance + intimacy

As a small business owner, I find myself (like other small business owners) sometimes doing more "business" than actual coaching. Year-end is always super-busy for me in this respect -- finalizing all the details for Velo Girls (the club + the team), membership renewal, securing sponsors, publishing my Savvy Bike coaching calendar, and (this year) trying to launch two new websites. I've spent an inordinate amount of time riding my desk instead of riding my bike.

Today I spent the day in my mobile office (aka Honda Element) with meetings that took me from San Jose to Carmel Valley to Santa Cruz. Along the way, I snapped a few images, the best of which I want to share with you.

While I would have rather been riding my bike today, the miles in the car reminded me of the many things I LOVE about riding. I love the people I've met, the places I've been, and the things I've seen. Today I was awestruck with the amazing beauty that is California. I saw winter hills, redwoods, Spanish moss, mistletoe, California live oak, eucalyptus, and madrones. I saw farmers' fields, a sandy beach, and country roads. I crossed the path of cows, horses, deer, peacocks, hawks, skunks, and a wild boar (still roaming Carmel Valley Road where I last saw him 3 or 4 years ago).

We're blessed to live here and experience this beautiful state in such an intimate way -- on the saddle of a bicycle.


do you know the way to Monterey?

If you've been around the bike world long enough, then you know all about Sea Otter Classic, the fabulously fun festival of all things bike, with racing, demos, a HUGE vendor expo, and lots of fun events, held annually each spring in Monterey, CA. Some folks plan their spring calendar around Sea Otter and attend year after year. It's definitely an event to add to your calendar if you've never been.

Last year I was contracted by Sea Otter to coordinate their first-ever Ladies Day. We filled the day with free rides, clinics, a panel discussion, and a yummy wine + chocolate reception. Industry companies large and small stepped up to support the event and the cast of presenters was pretty incredible, including women from throughout the bike industry -- athletes, product managers, coaches, and designers.

This year, we'll be back with an expanded program of women's outreach activities, including group rides, brown bag lunches, hosted happy hours, and another amazing panel discussion (and, of course, a wine + chocolate reception). The schedule is set and I'm working on presenters, ride leaders, and other professionals to put together awesome events just for women!

In addition, I'll also be directing a really special women's camp in Monterey in March -- the Sea Otter Classic Women's Escape Weekend! We just broke the news about this program and registrations are already coming in. These lucky women, both mountain bikers and road cyclists, will have a weekend away in magical Monterey filled with rides, clinics, seminars and lots of "girl time."

You'll find more about the Sea Otter Classic Women's Escape Weekend here:

http://www.seaotterclassic.com/index.cfm/womens_clinic.htm

Won't you join us in March in Monterey?

Monday, December 26, 2011

munday funday -- 26 December, 2011

A holiday favorite from our friends at Specialized Bicycles. Team Velo Girls is thrilled to begin a new partnership with Specialized for 2012 Enjoy!

Friday, December 23, 2011

links I Like -- 23 December, 2011

This week's links focus on calls to action. Get involved in the women's cycling movement, support a woman-owned business in the cycling industry, or support Team Velo Girls on our AIDS/Lifecycle campaign. Pick one and you might change a life -- maybe even your own.


Women in Cycling: Why we Matter -- A thoughtful + insightful piece by Sarai of girlbikelove. If you haven't read it, you should. If you haven't shared it, you should. If you don't believe it, just look around you at all the women change-makers in your life. YOU can be a change-maker, too. You ARE a change-maker!

My Alibi Clothing Kickstarter Campaign -- For those of you who've dared to follow your dream, you know the investment it takes in emotional and sweat equity. It also takes an investment in more tangible equity, and this is where you can help! For as little as $8 you can invest in Abbie Durkee's dream.

Team Velo Girls AIDS/Lifecycle Campaign -- Join Team Velo Girls as part of our AIDS/Lifecycle team as a rider or roadie, or make a donation on behalf of the team to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation.

Monday, December 19, 2011

munday funday -- 19 December, 2011

There are a gazillion and one videos of men + boys riding bmx + fixie.  Here's Juliet Elliott, a London bike-world icon with some brilliant images and mesmerizing music.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Links I Like -- 16 December, 2011

Here are some more holiday gift ideas -- this time focusing on your favorite mountain biker.  What could be better than a gift membership to your local trail advocacy group?  They work hard to maintain trails, educate trail users, and fight to keep trails accessible to bikes.

Bicycle Trails Council of Marin

Bicycle Trails Council of the Easy Bay

Monterey Off-Road Cycling Association

Mountain Bikers of Santa Cruz

Responsible Organized Mountain Pedalers

Sonoma County Trails Council

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Gift Ideas from Velo Girls

We LOVE to support the companies who support us and we think YOU should, too.  Check out some of the great products from our fabulous sponsors.

Savvy Bike -- check out the jam-packed calendar of clinics and camps in 2012!  now there's a gift that will just keep giving every time you get on the bike.  also available are gift certificates for professional bike fit + coaching.

Tri-Flow Superior Lubricants -- their new soy line of products is THE BOMB!

eShutter Creative -- graphics, photography, and AWESOME web design.

Erik Butler Photography -- nothing tells a story as well as a photo and Erik tells some EPIC stories.

Gary Brustin -- let's hope you don't need him, but if you do, the Bicycle Lawyer will help you navigate the ins + outs of bicycle personal injury law.

Jan Medina Real Estate -- who wouldn't want to tie a ribbon on a new house in San Francisco?  Jan will help you!

Image Arts -- Teresa Callen and her lovely + talented stylists will make you look and feel beautiful.  Teresa also has a fabulous new line of products.

Silicon Valley Finance Group -- if you're still keeping your receipts in a shoe box, call Jan Reed.  she'll help your business maximize profits!

Mike's Bikes -- hands-down the BEST bike shop in Northern California.  check out their 12 Days of Deals for your holiday gift list.

KENDA -- the best tires for road or mountain.

GU Energy -- the best sports nutrition products on the market.  indulge in some of their holiday flavors (much better than giving a fruitcake).

Pactimo -- stock up on the BEST clothing in the bike industry.

Defeet -- these aren't your daddy's socks -- fun + functional socks, warmers, and base layers for the cyclist you love.

Rack + Road -- bike racks, ski racks, cargo boxes.  you've got the gear and Rack + Road will help you haul it.

Action Wipes -- there's nothing better to freshen up after a ride than Action Wipes!

Betwixt -- nothing comes between us and our chamois except Betwixt!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Favorite Day of the Year

For the past seven years, I've put together a Velo Girls team for the Turning Wheels for Kids Big Bike Build in San Jose.  I never had a new bike as a child.  I had hand-me-downs from my sisters and rummage sale bikes purchased by my grandmother.  My first brand new bike was a Specialized Hard Rock I purchased when I was 25 years old.  So, the thought of providing new bikes to underserved children resonates with me.

This year we had an awesome, co-ed team of 25 volunteer bike builders.  Some of them have participated in the build in previous years.  Some of them had never built a bike before.  But together, we helped build 2,400 bikes in about three and a half hours.

Turning Wheels for Kids is a GREAT organization and they've been expanding their reach each year since their inception in 2004.  In addition to an increasing number of bikes/children served, they're now offering bikes at other times of the year as well as bike maintenance and riding clinics.  Check out their site, click around, make a donation, get involved, get your company involved, be inspired to start a similar program!




Susan Runsvold, the founder of TWFK


Before:  2,400 bikes to be built by 800 volunteers


Team Velo Girls with some of our pretty blue cruisers


some of the 2,400 finished bikes


this pretty much sums up the experience



Do you remember your first bike?  What was your first brand new bike?  How did you receive it?

Monday, December 12, 2011

if life had a dimmer switch

I don't typically write about personal stuff on my public blog, but I want to share this for a number of reasons.  First, if you've been wondering what makes me tick, this might help you understand me a bit better.  Second, I've shared this advice many times with my clients, yet I never considered it relevant for me until now.  I'm hoping these thoughts might speak to some of you as well.  Who knows, this could save you thousands of dollars in therapy!  And lastly, I'm sharing this because I'm owning it (which is HUGE for me).

*******************************************************

I experienced an epiphany yesterday.  To those who know me well, this is probably not a surprise.  To those who know only my "public" persona, you may or may not be surprised.  To me, the realization was life-changing.

My fatal flaw is that I've lived my life in a very ALL or NOTHING way.  I trace this back to my childhood.  It's a flaw of many over-achievers.  When we swing THAT HIGH, there's a complementary LOW swing to balance it out.  Some folks experience this daily, some less frequently.

I saw this trait in my mother.  She was very ALL or NOTHING.  And when she couldn't live her life at the ALL end of the spectrum, she checked out completely.  I don't want to let that happen to me.

So this begs the question, "why can't we be moderate, balanced, mediocre?"

I've been driven throughout my life to be first, best, only.  I didn't see the point in participating if you couldn't win.  I never understood how someone was happy with a B when there was an A possible.  I was the Girl Scout who wanted every single merit badge.  I was never drawn to a career where I would be just another body, just another number in the rank + file.  I've lived my life trying to be unique and special and outstanding.

So I struggle with this -- in my personal life, my athletic life, my business-owner life, in my ENTIRE life.  I've had no consistency.  I go great guns until something, some hurdle, presents itself, and then I swing to the opposite end of the spectrum and surrender.  This hurdle might be an injury or illness, it might be a change in relationship or friendship, it might be a particularly challenging business situation.  I let it get to me -- to stop me.

I'm sure some of you can empathize.  When there are 500 emails in my inbox, it's overwhelming and I don't know where to begin.  When I'm at a low with fitness (or a high with weight) what difference does it make if I have some ice cream or don't work out for one more day?  Unless I can throw myself at a project 100% (or more) why should I even participate?  So instead of living a moderate life, I operate on hyper-drive or I participate in destructive thoughts and actions.

So as I analyze this, I always thought that what I needed was a way to manage the hurdles -- to create a support system to help me through the challenging times.  But now, I'm starting to believe what I really need is the ability to manage my energy so that I can MODERATE myself.  I don't need to swing to both ends of the spectrum -- it's tiring and counter-productive.

Because as we age, as we continue to live life, the hurdles seem to increase in frequency, intensity, and duration.  And the resultant lows are lower.

For someone who was raised to over-achieve, to "shoot for the stars," this is a HUGE paradigm shift.  I've always wondered how some people can be so content in life with mediocrity - in job, family, sport, education.  But upon further examination, I realize that what they have is not mediocrity, but consistency and balance.  I'm starting to think that's not such a bad thing.  It's freeing.  I can't express the sense of relief I feel giving myself permission to JUST BE ME.

The good news is that I think I've been turning in this direction for the past few years.  I've experienced some significant change in my life and have been heading in this direction without quite knowing the destination.  And now, it's all become quite clear.

Life isn't simply BLACK or WHITE.  GRAY is okay.

It's not ALL or NOthing.  SOMEthing is just fine, too.


Maybe I'll print that eloquent quote on magnets and share it with my friends, clients, and teammates who suffer from the same over-achieving, self-destructive tendencies.







munday funday -- 12 December, 2011

Check this out!  The mobile music machine brings musicians out onto the streets (on a bicycle-operated stage).  Various local musicians perform in major cities around the United States.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Riding Through a Winter Wonderland

Some of my favorite holiday memories of late are night rides through festive neighborhoods.  Here's one in Palo Alto.

http://www.paloaltoonline.com/news/show_story.php?id=23513&e=y

Have you ever done a holiday night ride?  Where are your favorite areas to ride?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Links I Like -- 9 December, 2011

looking for a great holiday gift this season for the cyclist you love?  how about a gift membership to one of the organizations working to make cycling better for all of us:

East Bay Bicycle Coalition

Marin County Bicycle Coalition

Napa County Bicycle Coalition

San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition

Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

when two worlds collide

Little-known fact:  I spent a good portion of the first half of my life studying music. 


Better-know fact:  I've spent the past decade of my life in the cycling world.


Enjoy!









elizabeth! is a vocalist, trombonist, and songwriter newly based in Los Angeles, CA. Originally from Vermont, she studied neuroscience at Harvard before moving to NYC to play, tour, and record with jazz musicians, indie rockers, pop stars and more. Her new album of original jazzy pop tunes was just released on Canopy Jazz!  You can join her at a CD release party at the Red Poppy Art House on December 11th.  



Monday, December 5, 2011

munday funday -- 5 December, 2011




great images of San Francisco bike culture and bike personalities -- honoring the single speed (and SSCXWC).  WARNING:  adult content.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Links I Like -- 2 December, 2011

AIDS/Lifecycle -- Join Team Velo Girls as a rider or roadie on ALC11 in June or make a donation on behalf of the team!


Paralympian Joins Pro Cycling Team After Recovery -- the inspirational story of Dutch cyclist Monique van der Vorst.


San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Winterfest -- this Sunday -- the biggest bike party of the year!  go, eat, drink, mix, mingle, bid on the auctions, and help improve biking in our fair city.


6th Annual Supermarket Street Sweep -- this Saturday -- an alleycat style race (fun) supporting the San Francisco Food Bank.



What Drivers Can Do To Be More Cyclist Aware -- from Carbuzz.UK (really, a car blog!)


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

a perfect size 9

Bike fit is tailoring.  It's the process of taking something stock, off-the-shelf, and altering it to fit your body perfectly.  A nip here, a tuck there and voila!  The new garment fits like a second skin.  You look fabulous, you feel magnificent, and all eyes are on you.

Now, we all know how it usually works.  You head to your local clothing store, pick something out, you're between sizes, it's big in the boobs and small in the waist, it's too long or too short, you debate possible weight loss, and end up with something that looks vaguely like a sack of potatoes.  Yeah, because if you're like me, you're not a size 8 and you're not a size 10, but rather, a perfect size 9 (which doesn't exist except for juniors).

So back to bike fit.  I remember my first "real" bike fit (not the stand-over-the-frame-and-it-works type of fit that was common in bike shops in 1999).  This was a two-hour session that involved tape measures, and levels, and goniometers and someone who asked questions about my history and my goals.  This was many years after I'd been riding a frame that was too big, handlebars that were too wide, and a saddle height and stem drop that didn't reflect my current flexibility.  It was like magic.  Suddenly, with some small adjustments by an experienced and educated bike fitter, I was riding "with" my bike, not "on" my bike.  My bike and I worked as one.  My bike was an extension of me and I felt good.  And suddenly, my bike handled like a dream -- cornering and descending like nobody's business.  Yeah, my cycling paradigms were shifted forever and I made it a personal goal to become the best darn bike fitter I could be.

A good bike fit is like wearing a fine, tailored suit.  And a custom frame with a good fit is like wearing a fine, custom-made tuxedo.   There's nothing quite like it.

I'm an admitted custom bike junkie.  I love having a bike that fits me just perfectly and is designed to meet my riding style, my unique weight distribution, my flexibility, and my goals.  I love having a bike that is unlike anyone else's in the entire world.  I love choosing my frame material, paint, and every single component.  I'm completely addicted and will likely never own another stock bike.

My first custom bike was a Luna cyclocross bike, designed and built by Margo Conover, back in the day when the stock options for cross bikes were pretty limited so most of the racers I knew had custom bikes.  My Luna was very pretty and even made it into Velo News (see below).  Currently, my road, touring, geared mountain bike, and single speed mountain bikes are all custom.



I've been fitting bikes for 10 years.  So it was only a matter of time before I started working with custom bike builders, like Natalie Ramsland of Sweetpea Bicycles, to fit clients for custom frames.  It's exciting to be part of the process and also feed my addiction.  After all, who doesn't want to help other folks feel (and ride) like a million bucks?

What's your favorite bike?  How do you feel when you ride it?  Do you have or have you considered a custom bike?


Monday, November 28, 2011

munday funday -- 28 November, 2011

remember those flip-books we made in childhood?  yeah, this is like that except on a bicycle wheel!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Links I Like -- 25 November, 2011

Action Wipes -- a 20% thank you from Velo Girls partner -- like a shower in a bag!  There's nothing better to refresh and recharge after a ride.

Bike Flights -- great options for flying with, or shipping, your bike!

Grease Monkey Wipes -- one of my favorite products with a HOT discount for Black Friday.  I use the canisters in my bike fit studio and carry the single packets on rides.


Pactimo Black Friday Sale -- check out our latest partner with 30% off all orders with discount code "blackfriday" and free shipping on orders over $100.  


Savvy Bike on Facebook -- go, like, get savvy!


The Holstee Manifesto: Lifecycle Video


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

bollards, oh bollocks!

bollard:  (n) a pole or structure erected to direct traffic or obstruct access to certain road users (cars).

bollocks:  (n) literal meaning:  testicles.  common use:  an expletive uttered after a misfortune.

One of my coaching clients recently crashed his bike and suffered some pretty serious injuries.  He was commuting to work on the SF Bay Trail as part of a group ride.  The route was detoured to a narrow section of trail with a bollard at the entrance.  He didn't see the bollard and hit it.

This crash has prompted heated discussion on the local bicycle advocacy email list.  The debate had focused on the illegality of the bollards and how dangerous that type of structure could be for trail users.  The debate transitioned into a discussion of the intended use of that trail with respect to large fast-paced group rides.

I don't typically participate in debate on email groups or on-line forums.  We all know how they end up.  But I felt strongly that there was another message that should be considered and perhaps some learning to be done.  Yeah, I was the person who mentioned that the speed limit at that high-use section of trail was only 5mph and that a change in rider/group behavior might have prevented the crash.  And the personal attacks flew -- good stuff.

I know that section of trail very well.  For 12 years I lived just a mile from there.  The intersection in question is very busy -- with lots of kids, joggers, older adults, and folks visiting the dog park.  The speed limit there is reduced for that very reason.  I also led a fast-paced, early-morning group ride on the SF Bail Trail for a number of years, until the numbers grew so large that I felt it was no longer safe for us to share the trail with other trail users.

For more than a year, I commuted by bicycle from San Mateo to San Francisco -- long before commuting became popular and a group activity.  I also commuted for a year from San Mateo to Los Altos Hills.  I understand commuting.  I get it.  Your goal is to get from point A to point B with as few transitions (red lights, stop signs, turns) as possible.  You might go slow or fast, flat or hilly, short or long, but in the end, your goal is to get there.

So, back to last week's crash.  While I agree that bollards create unnecessary hazards for road users and that there are other alternatives, I would also challenge riders to think about how their behavior could prevent something like this in the future.  Is a multi-use path the best place for a large, fast-paced group ride (even in the early morning hours)?  Are there alternative routes that still offer a good, solid commute but would be more appropriate for a large group?  Can we remind participants to call out hazards, leave more space between riders, and slow down a bit as the group encounters bollards, and then soft pedal to re-group after the entire group has passed through?

Many of the folks who participate in this particular ride are relatively new to cycling, commuting, and/or group riding.  They trust the de facto leaders of the group (whether it's a cycling club, an employer, or just a group of friends).  They trust that those leaders will lead them on routes that are safe and hazard-free.  They trust that other riders in the group will communicate obstacles/hazards, changes in pace, and changes in direction.  They trust that we're all in this sport together and that we'll look out for each other.  After all, isn't that one of the reasons we choose to ride with others?

Monday, November 21, 2011

munday funday -- 21 November, 2011

an oldie but goodie!  this reminds me of my first "real" mountain bike ride back in the early 90s with a couple of cute boys from the ski club in NY.  little did I know, when I said "yes," just what I was getting myself into.  have you ever had a cycling experience that was a bit over your head?


Friday, November 18, 2011

Links I Like -- 18 November, 2011

I've been thinking a lot about blogging lately.  I've had a blog for the better part of 10 years.  In the pre-Facebook days, lots of bike racers had blogs and we built our own social network of sorts by commenting on each other's blog posts.  Nowadays, when we've got a thought, a photo, or a status update, we take the quick + dirty and post to Facebook or the quicker + dirtier and post to Twitter.  That's all fine + good for an instant gratification type of bonding, but I think there's something to be said for creating a longer-term archive -- something we can see and read and refer back to.

One of the things I think about are all the fun resources I find online.  In the old days, I'd add these to a links list on my website, but with the dynamic nature of the web, that's one of the "features" I'll be eliminating from my new website.

So, I thought I'd share some of the recent links I like.  Maybe you'll even comment on this post.  And maybe I'll do it again sometime, too!

Bicycle Friendly -- a campaign to recognize businesses who are bicycle friendly

Bikesy -- a bicycle route-mapping site specific to the San Francisco area

Cycle Chic:  Female Cyclists Through The Ages -- a beautiful photo essay

Momentum Magazine's Holiday Gift Guide -- some seriously awesome bike bling here

Friday, November 4, 2011

Savvy Tips -- The Nose Knows

After 13 years of riding a bicycle, I've acquired lots of simple tips + advice to make the experience more enjoyable.

For example, who hates the smell of their gear bag?  Yeah, me too.  You know, as diligent as you are with keeping your cycling clothes + what-not clean, there's still that unpleasant odor of gloves + shoes + mysterious other stuff that then permeates everything you own.

Here's my simple solution to that stinky problem.

Take a bar of "real" soap -- you know, the kind of soap you would find at a craft fair or a farmers' market or a coast-side gift shop.  Yeah, the fancy, handmade stuff.  Then, cut it into small blocks and place those blocks in various places in your gear bag (your shoe bag, the side pockets, your helmet pod, etc).  You could even put a piece into your sock drawer or the drawer where you keep your base layers.

I'm very sensitive to scents (lots of allergies) so perfumes are no bueno with me, but the subtle fragrance from a bar of milled soap doesn't seem to bother me.

Bonus points if it's a scent that reminds you of one of your favorite cycling trips.  This weekend we rode to the coast with our Bike Touring 101 clinic and made a stop at the San Gregorio Country Store.  I've always looked around at the books and scarves and hats and other items and thought I'd love to go shopping there, but on a typical ride I don't have the capacity to carry much with me.  But this weekend I picked up a bar of fennel soap (from the River Soap Company).  The scent reminds me of riding on the coast  so it's filled with great memories for me.

Men, don't think this tip won't work for you.  There are lots of scents that are masculine (like evergreen) that would be appropriate for you, too!  And trust me, your female cycling partners would appreciate it!

What are your tips for keeping your cycling gear smelling clean + fresh?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Join Velo Girls on AIDS/LifeCycle in June 2012

Hey friends + fans!  Have you ever imagined how incredible it would be to ride your bike every single day for a whole week?  Maybe even ride all the way from San Francisco to Los Angeles (it's all downhill, don't you know)?  And, in the process, raise funds + awareness for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation?  Yeah, we have, too!

As a matter of fact, many Velo Girls members are alumni of AIDS/LifeCycle (and its predecessor event the California AIDS Ride).  I started riding my bicycle again in 1999 to participate in CAR7.  I hadn't been on a bike in over a decade.  I was woefully not fit.  I smoked and drank.  And I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it sounded like a BIG challenge, and I was all about BIG challenges at the time so I signed up.  And it was a life-changing experience.

If you're looking for a life-changing experience, if you want to do something really good for your body and your community, and do it with a supportive group of women, then join the Velo Girls team for ALC 11.   We'll train together.  We'll fundraise together.  And we'll support each other on this incredible journey.

And if you prefer a support role, you can participate as a roadie -- one of the hundreds of crew people who make the entire event happen -- from bike techs, to rest stop staff, to massage therapists and lunch crew.  It's hard work but your contribution makes it possible for the riders to ride their bikes each day.  Roadies aren't required to fundraise (but are encouraged to do so).

Sound like fun?  Learn more at a special Velo Girls AIDS/LifeCycle info meeting on Thursday, November 10th at 6:30pm at the Presidio Sports Basement.  RSVP to Lorri@velogirls.com




Wednesday, November 2, 2011

corner office with a view

This past weekend we premiered a new clinic: Bike Touring 101. The goal of this clinic is to introduce cyclists to all the opportunities available in cyclo-touring and then to support them on a short two-day excursion. The clinic included a two-hour pre-trip seminar that covered all the ins + outs of various types of touring, bikes, equipment, clothing, etc.

The weekend started Saturday morning in Woodside where we loaded all the bikes and headed out for the coast to our evening destination: Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel. Of course, this meant a trip up and over Skyline. With loaded bikes, no personal records were set on Old La Honda, but the extra weight on the bikes made for smooth sailing all the way down to San Gregorio. On Sunday, we returned to Woodside through farmlands and redwoods. In between, we feasted on local produce, specialities like Olallieberry pie, visited local highlights like the San Gregorio General Store, the Harley Goat Farm, and even had lunch at the world-famous Alice's Restaurant.

The weather was simply perfect: warm, sunny, and clear skies on both Saturday and Sunday. Sitting in the hot tub at the hostel during an amazing sunset on Saturday evening was a rare delight (no fog!). We cooked an amazing dinner on Saturday evening from local foods gathered in Pescadero and everybody slept well at the warm + cozy hostel.

This clinic is definitely a keeper, and I've already started planning more advanced options for 2012.

Here are a few of my favorite images from the weekend:

holiday decorations in La Honda

unique signage at Harley Goat Farms

Jan, happy that the climbing is over and the goat cheese is beginning!

lovely goat cheese

the historic Pigeon Point Lighthouse

post-ride zen

the perfect ending to a perfect day

*************************************************************************

Next up is a late addition to the coaching calendar:  co-ed Bike Skills 301 (pacelines + group riding) on Sunday, November 6th.  There's still time to register so come learn how to play nice with others on the bike!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Announcing the 2011/2012 Velo Girls Endurance Challenge

We want to keep you on your bike this winter!  Why?  Because you'll be that much fitter for all the great rides + events we've got planned in 2012.  So, I'm excited to announce the 2011/2012 Velo Girls Endurance Challenge!

What's that you say?  Well, it's a little contest of sorts to keep you motivated and put a bit of a competitive spin on your cycling motivation this winter.

Here's how it works:

#1 -- You must be a current (2011 or 2012) Velo Girls member.  Not a member?  Not a problem.  Join here:  2012 Velo Girls club membership

#2 -- You must record your bike rides on Plus 3 Network as part of the Velo Girls group.  Plus 3 is a super-cool website that lets you keep track of your training and earn donations on your behalf to your chosen beneficiary.  Just click on over to Plus 3 and check it out.  It's fun and it'll make you feel good too.

#3 -- Ride your bike!  Each ride earns points in the Velo Girls Endurance Challenge.  Every foot of climbing earns points, too, so log your rides with your GPS for more opportunities to win.

That's it!  Three simple steps.

At the end of each month (November, December, and January), we'll announce three lucky winners:

Winner #1 -- most road miles logged.

Winner #2 -- most mountain bike or cyclocross miles logged.

Winner #3 -- most elevation gain.

I've got some super-awesome prizes for the winners, like Velo Girls cycling jerseys and other fun gifts from our sponsors.  So, what are you waiting for?  Get ready to have your best year ever on the bike.....with Velo Girls!

Monday, October 31, 2011

munday funday -- 31 October, 2011

Just in case you missed this video when it went viral on Facebook last week, here's a cool link for you to enjoy while firing up your computer this morning. This video was shot by Jason Anderson at the Bay Area Super Prestige cyclocross race on October 23rd with a quad-copter GO-PRO video camera. Yup, a little radio-controlled helicopter with a video camera attached. Check out the video and you can see images of the quad-copter at the end. Pretty darn cool. Turn up the volume and watch it on the big screen for full effect.



doesn't this just make you want to race cyclocross?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Swept Away

I'm thrilled to again sponsor the annual Supermarket Street Sweep. Check out this year's poster! Then click over to the blog and see how you can get involved with this fun event that benefits the San Francisco Food Bank.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

unless you're riding in a bubble

YOU need this! You NEED this! You need THIS! what IS this? THIS is group riding skills and who better to teach you how to play nice with others than the expert coaches of Velo Girls Coaching Services!

Just this weekend at our Bike Skills 101 clinic, I was having a conversation with a number of participants about our upcoming co-ed Bike Skills 301 (pacelines + group riding) clinic. One of them stated that she would never ride in a paceline, even though she rides on her husband's wheel all the time. Another stated that he loves riding centuries and would love to ride them faster but doesn't like riding in close proximity to other riders. And yet another stated that he pacelines all the time but doesn't always trust the riders he rides with.

Bike Skills 301 (pacelines + group riding skills) is the PERFECT clinic for all three of these cyclists (and probably for you, too)! Why? Because whether or not you ever race your bike, you'll have the opportunity to ride with other riders at some point in your cycling career. Group riding is FUN! Group riding will help you ride longer and faster. And if you learn the skills, you'll be a safer rider and can share your knowledge with your friends and other folks with whom you ride.

First, we teach you the science behind pacelining -- draft theory. We teach you about energy savings and how to find the ideal position in relationship to other riders. We teach you how to find the wind (and how to protect yourself from it).

Then, we teach you how to be safe when pacelining -- communication skills, how to safely position yourself and how to modulate your speed without having a negative impact on other riders.

And then we take it all out on the road and work on group riding skills, starting with two-rider partner drills and progressing to various types of pacelines and echelons.

So, unless you're riding in a bubble, you'll have lots of opportunities to ride with other riders, which means lots of opportunities to ride faster, longer, and safer by utilizing group riding skills.

Our last co-ed Bike Skills 301 clinic of 2011 will be held on November 6th in Woodside. I would highly encourage you to come and add some skills to your cycling toolbox. Bring your teammates, friends, or significant other so you can learn together and reinforce your learning. Register by October 30th and save $20!

Click here for NOW: Bike Skills 301 Registration

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

cycling symphonic

Little-known fact: I was a pretty darn good musician in a former life. I attended Ithaca College on a full music scholarship. My major was the oboe, but I played all the woodwinds, French horn, mallets, keyboards, and sang. Music was my life -- my everything. I had planned to be a professional oboist with a symphony orchestra. It was a crazy-risky career choice for a girl from a poor, working-class family. But somehow, my parents were very supportive of this goal.

By an odd twist of fate, coupled with a healthy dose of performance anxiety and a case of cold feet, I changed my degree program a couple of times and graduated with a BFA in Theatre Management. That was career #1 for me and I managed professional theatres for the first 13 years of my career. That was also the career that brought me to California back in 1997.

Music is still a HUGE part of my life. I have more than 12,000 songs of all genres in my iTunes library and that doesn't include all the cassette tapes I've never converted or replaced. I listen to music from the moment I awake until the moment I go to sleep. I listen in my home, in my car, in my office, and while I'm sitting on my roof-top deck. It's the soundtrack of my life. But the one place I DON'T listen to music is while I'm riding my bicycle.

When I ride my bike, I want to connect fully with my environment. I want to see, hear, and smell the world around me. I want to unplug from the technology that pervades every waking moment of my life. I want to take myself off the grid, without distractions of phone, text, email, or facebook. I want to immerse myself into the sensory experience of riding my bicycle in the great big wide open world.

The debate of whether or not cyclists should listen to music while riding is in the same league as the Campy/Shimano debate, the Hatfields and the McCoys, or Democrat versus Republican. Cyclists get pretty emotional and passionate in their opinion about this. I'll just suffice to say that in California, the vehicle code (which also governs bicycles) states that you can wear one earbud when riding a bicycle.

When I listen to music, I listen with every part of my brain.....with every part of my being. It actually makes it challenging to focus on certain types of work (like reading and writing) so I have to be very careful how loudly I'm listening to my music and what types of music I listen to. I have a mix called "mindless music" that is comprised of jazz, classical, and other types of music that I won't find myself really listening to (or trying to sing along with). But even then, I realize that I'm easily distracted by the music in the background.

I was listening to a new download tonight -- Peter Gabriel's New Blood (Special Edition) which is superb and you should check it out. I allowed myself the luxury (and distraction) of playing it on my Apple TV through the sound bar on my television (which has phenomenal sound quality). I felt myself being transported into a place of familiarity (with lyrics I remember from 20 years ago) and emotion (with the orchestral + operatic qualities). It was an all-encompassing experience and I wasn't able to keep working.

And, in that moment, I realized that because I get so focused and involved with the music I listen to, it wouldn't be prudent of me to ride while I listen. I can lose myself in music. When I ride I need to focus 100% of my attention on my environment. I need to think about other road users, the terrain, and my own state of physical being. When listening to music, using every bit of gray matter I've got, there's nothing left to be alert and aware when I'm riding.

So yeah, I've always thought I just wanted to escape technology (and that's true), but the reality is that music is such a complete sensory experience for me that there would be nothing left to pedal my bicycle safely.

How about you? Do you listen to music while you ride?


ps -- this image has nothing to do with this blog post but I was searching for related images about music and cycling and the brain and happened upon this happy guy and wanted to share it!

Monday, October 17, 2011

if Mickey Mantle rode a bike

I went to see a movie this weekend -- Moneyball -- the story of Billy Beane, the Oakland A's, and sabermetrics. Yeah, a baseball movie. I'm not a big baseball fan and don't really know much about the sport or its history, but Moneyball received positive reviews from my friends and who doesn't want to stare at Brad Pitt for two hours?

The film opened with a quote by Mickey Mantle:

"It's unbelievable how much you don't know about the game you've been playing all your life."

Immediately, before even knowing the context of the quote in the sport of baseball, I felt the urge to share this quote with my cycling world. You see, that's how I feel about my job. I teach people how to ride a bicycle. But we all know how to ride a bicycle, right? In my opinion, no. Although most of us have ridden bikes since childhood, we don't really KNOW how to ride a bike. Of course, when I tell people that, especially cyclists who have been riding for a while, I run the risk of offending them. But by the end of a four-hour Bike Skills clinic or a two-hour one-on-one session, clients agree that they really didn't know what they thought they knew. And they agree that NOW they know how to ride a bicycle.

As children, we're very in touch with our environment and how we interact with it. We have a keen sense of proprioception. We listen to our body. When we hop on a bike, we intuitively know what to do. We don't try to fix, manage, or correct the natural physics and mechanics of the bike. We let the bike do what it was designed so well to do. We don't over-think it. We trust the technology and the science behind it. And riding a bike is easier because of this.

In the past 10 years, I've developed a career of teaching folks (mostly adults) how to ride a bike. More than 900 men + women participate in our various Bike Skills clinics each year. For some, this is their first experience riding in their entire lifetime. For others, they're returning to the bike as an adult after a hiatus. And for others, they've been riding for a long period of time but want to really learn and understand how to ride. Some folks want to learn specific skills (like descending or group riding or racing or mountain biking). Some folks find me because they've experienced fear or a serious crash or simply the frustration of not being "perfect" at this sport that was so easy for them as a child. Many feel they don't need the fundamentals. Of course, in my opinion, everyone needs the fundamentals. The fundamentals are the foundation of everything we do on the bike.

So, like Mickey Mantle and the sport of baseball, I try to enlighten cyclists about all the things they don't know that they don't know. We all know how to ride a bike. We've done it our entire lives. But it's pretty amazing how much we don't really know or understand about riding a bike.

Come, learn, understand, improve in our final clinics for the 2011 season:

Oct 22nd -- Bike Skills 101 -- Fundamental Bike Handling Skills sponsored by BicycleLawyer.com

Oct 22nd -- Bike Skills 201 -- Climbing + Descending sponsored by Teresa Callen of Image Arts Salon

Oh, and Mickey Mantle DID ride a bike. He's often discussed the importance of life-long fitness and an active lifestyle. Here's an image from a 1977 print ad by AMF.

Friday, September 23, 2011

the difference between cats + dogs

when I was a child, I assigned gender to lots of things.  spoons were girls, forks + knives were boys.  cats were girls, dogs were boys.  boats were girls, cars were boys.  salt was a girl, pepper was a boy.  mustard was a girl, ketchup was a boy.  birds were girls, squirrels were boys.  you get the idea.  some of these items were genderless, some not.  I have no idea why I did this.  was it based on appearance or behavior or utility?  I'm not sure.  but somehow, in my child's mind, there was a difference between feminine and masculine and I clearly felt the need to distinguish between the two.

flash forward to my 20s and I focused the efforts of my MBA on the study of gender.

flash forward again to my 30s and I started a business based on gender.

now in my 40s I've had the unique opportunity of spending the past decade working in a women's -focused organization (that allows men to join us from time to time, too).

while others might disagree, I definitely believe there's a significant difference in how the minds of women and men work.  we approach sport differently.  we approach learning differently.  we approach community and relationships differently.  we tick differently.  we tock differently, too.

yeah, I know that none of this is black + white.  I also know that some of this is learned behavior (not inherited behavior) and that there are generational differences.  but all in all, I still believe that there is great value in gender-specific activities from time to time in our lives.

in 2003, I developed a two-day women's cycling clinic.  in later years, at the request of our clients, we developed a series of men's clinics, too.  and eventually, as our client base shifted to 40% men, we started offering co-ed clinics.  but there's still something very special about our women's-only Girls Got Skills clinic sponsored by Jan Medina Real Estate.  so even though we've let the boys come out to play for many of our programs, Girls Got Skills will forever remain a women's-only event.


our next Girls Got Skills clinic is October 8th + 9th, right here on the San Francisco peninsula. it's two days jam-packed with women + skills + bikes + fun!  we learn fundamental cycling skills, group riding, and climbing + descending.  we share our challenges and our successes. and we have fun doing it in a safe, comfortable environment.

there's still time to register!  as a matter of fact, if you register by Sunday, September 25th, you save $20 on the registration fee (score!).  so please, join us for a fabulous, women's-only cycling weekend in October.  I guarantee it will change your world.

you'll find info on Girls Got Skills and all our clinics and programs here:

http://www.velogirls.com/coaching/main.php

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Did you see that Movie about the Great Indoors?


Yeah, probably not.  What’s so great about being indoors? 

I’ve been thinking about the great OUTDOORS a lot lately, probably because I’ve been camping in my happy place for the past two weeks – high in the mountains of Markleeville, CA.

I grew up in rural upstate New York.  The great outdoors was my everything – my playground, my athletic field, my library, my game room, my kitchen.  Recreation meant being outdoors, in the rain of spring, in the heat and humidity of summer, in the crisp, cool days of fall, and in the freezing snow of winter.  As a child, I built forts in the woods, went fishing, played games, and rode my bike.  The last place I wanted to be was indoors.  Outdoors was freedom.  Indoors was chores and family responsibilities.  Outdoors was my happy place.  Even when I was doing indoorsy things like reading books or playing board games, I preferred to do it outdoors. 

My summers were spent on a tiny little lake in the mountains of Pennsylvania.  There was no television.  There was no radio.  Instead, we fished and caught bull frogs and went for hikes and picked berries.  We cooked outdoors.  We sat around campfires telling riddles.  We paddled the canoe and swam and spent entire days in our wet bathing suits. 

There’s something special about the great outdoors that, if you’ve spent time there, you just intuitively know.  The air feels different.  You can identify the sounds of birds or bugs or squirrels or chipmunks.  You can tell the difference between the sound of the wind in the trees and the sound of a rushing creek or river.  You know what time it is by the changing light. 

And somewhere, somehow, in this phase we call adulthood, many of us lose the great outdoors. 

And, sadly enough, many of today’s youth never experience it at all.  Yeah, maybe there’s an annual family trip to the mountains or a Girl Scout hike in the woods, but many of today’s urban youth don’t have the opportunity to really get to know the great outdoors – to smell the trees and the grass and the dirt, to feel the crunch of leaves or pine needles under our feet, to hear the birds and the bugs and the animals.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to volunteer with a great organization here in Northern CA – Trips for Kids.  I’ve been trying to remember when I first learned about TFK and their great programs – probably about 10 years ago now.  TFK provides inner-city youth with the opportunity to get out into the great outdoors, even for just one day.  They take kids, many of whom have never seen the ocean or the mountains, out on day-long mountain biking trips.  Trips for Kids provides the bikes, helmets, and all equipment needed (thanks to great industry, corporate, and individual sponsorship) and even teaches the kids the basic skills needed to successfully complete a short ride. 

I remember my first ride with Trips for Kids, back in 2003.  Velo Girls was putting on a special Girls Day in the Dirt for them.  We met the TFK volunteers and the girls at China Camp, played some bike games (to teach them skills) and then went on a short ride.  Although these girls lived within spitting distance of the ocean, most had never seen it.  Most also didn’t have a bicycle of their own (something my generation took for granted).  And most had never ventured more than a few miles from where they lived.

The response was overwhelming.  These girls experienced every emotion you can imagine:  joy at being somewhere so beautiful, fear of trying something new, and gratitude that there was an organization like TFK and it’s volunteers who wanted to provide them with a very special opportunity.

So, as we watch childhood (and adult) obesity statistics skyrocket, I have to wonder how we could change that if we simply re-introduced the youth of today to the great outdoors.  What would happen if we reduced our time with the television, computer, and WII, and increased our time playing hopscotch, kickball, jump rope, and riding bikes?  What would happen if we put down the computer and picked up a compass?  What would happen if we took our children on a hike instead of to the movies? 

Is it na├»ve to think that we could change the world one child at a time?  I don’t think so, and neither does Marilyn Price, founder of Trips for Kids.  So, next time you have the opportunity to spend time with a child (your own or someone else’s), think about the impact of the decision you’re about to make.  Will you share the great outdoors with them?  Will you encourage them to explore their world?  To be active and healthy?  Is there really any other logical choice?




Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I am Mike



Check out Team Velo Girls member Tammy Won, featured on one of Mike's Bikes new bus ads.  We LOVE Mike's Bikes and are honored to represent them.  The awesome photo was shot by our official team photographer, Erik Butler.  Erik is teaching a live-action photo workshop in the bay area on June 11th -- check it out and learn how to shoot bike races (and other action sports) from a seasoned pro.

Monday, February 7, 2011

munday funday -- 7 february, 2011

although this graphic has been viral in the bike world on facebook, twitter, and various forums, I think it's incredibly clever and visually stunning so I wanted to share it with my hub of friends and readers.



the print was created Aaron Kuehn, a Los Angeles artist and cyclist, and appeared as a 2-page insert in a recent publication by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition.  Aaron has now screened two limited-edition runs of this print -- sadly I missed ordering one for my bike fit studio so I hope he'll print another.

enjoy!  and click the links to learn more about Aaron.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

psst! hey you! over there! yeah, you.

I know you've been thinking about it. you see everybody else doing it and they're smiling and sweating and glowing with success. and you wonder if maybe you could do it, too.

guess what? you COULD do it!

it?

bike racing.

since 2002, Velo Girls has been developing women bike racers. we teach them skills. we help them improve their fitness. we create a team-oriented environment. and we support them like the rock-stars they are.

in 2006, we introduced the Women's Development Racing Program sponsored by Tri-Flow Lubricants aka the Tri-Flow Program. there had never been a program quite like this in the bike racing world. we won some awards for our innovative program. and since that time almost 80 women have learned to race their bikes and have continued to race their bikes as Elite and Masters-level athletes locally, regionally, and nationally.

so quit thinking about it and start doing it. yeah, you!

our first Tri-Flow Women's Development Racing Program of 2011 begins in just a couple of weeks. we'll train together twice a week, culminating in participation in the Bariani Road Race in beautiful Yolo, CA. we'll learn lots of skills. we'll do some high-intensity workouts to transform ourselves into road racing warriors. and we'll learn about race preparation and tactics. and we'll have fun. yeah, you!

and if you like racing, you'll have the opportunity to continue with Team Velo Girls. if you find that bike racing isn't your cup of tea, that's okay, too -- you can check this one off your bucket list and move onto swimming the English Channel, climbing Mt. Everest, or competing in an Ironman triathlon.

the first program of the 2011 season starts on February 16th. we've got a great group of women already registered and space for two more team members. yeah, you!

email coaching@velogirls.com for more information. yeah, YOU!





Wednesday, February 2, 2011

musings on girls + women in sport

while a plump groundhog in Punsxutawney, PA is making news by seeing or not seeing his shadow today, there's another February 2nd milestone that's just as worthy of media attention. today is National Girls + Women in Sports Day. woo hoo, says me!

of course, just the fact that we need a national day to recognize something like the privilege (and right) of girls and women to participate equally in any activity starts the wheels in my head turning.

many of the athletes I work with are too young to remember Title IX. oh yeah, it's a hip women's activewear company, right? um, no, it's federal law that was enacted in 1972 that prohibited discrimination in education (at least in federally-funded institutions). best known for it's impact on athletics, by providing supposedly equal opportunities for men and women in scholastic sports, it also applied to other educational programs (such as vocational education). and while critics complained that Title IX reduced opportunities for male athletes, women applauded the fact that they were now considered equal in the eyes of the federal government.

yeah, I was only 7, so what do I know? what I do remember about the date (June 23rd, 1972) is that my sister Susan was supposed to graduate high school. graduation was cancelled due to the devastating flood caused by Hurricane Agnes. our house was spared (by about 1/2 mile of Chemung River flooding to the north and 1/2 mile of Seeley Creek flooding to the south). we were ready to evacuate. my father helped sandbag the river. and I vividly remember walking around in the days post-flood, seeing half washed away homes (that looked like doll houses), inches of stinky mud and muck on all the streets and in the stores, and houses (and cows) floating down the river. the five bridges that separated one half of my hometown of Elmira from the other half were washed out. my father couldn't get to work (on the other side of the bridges). and high school graduation was cancelled. Hurricane Agnes proved to be a blessing in disguise, because my poor little town of Elmira, NY underwent a HUGE transformation due to the economic recovery.

so I guess I missed the news about Title IX.

a few years later I signed up for my first softball team. I was younger than all the other girls and we had a winning team, so the coach never let me play. I guess he hadn't heard about Title IX either. ball sports weren't really my thing anyways, so there! I will admit, however, that I was a pretty darn good bowler, but I never really considered bowling a sport.

I was a tall girl -- 5' 10" since 4th grade. yeah, I was tall. tall and skinny and gawky. not graceful at all, even though I'd been studying dance since I was five and twirling baton since I was 2. I was not an athlete. then again, were any girls my age considered athletes? they were tomboys. we didn't click. I climbed trees and built forts and rode bikes, but the girls who played sports with balls were just weird.

in junior high school, the basketball coach tried to recruit me to play for the school team, but I was involved with CCD after school. by high school, I'd missed my opportunity. it was too late. all the girls who had been playing for the past two years were athletes. I was not an athlete. so I stuck to what I knew -- books and music.

I finally gave in and joined the track team my senior year because I thought it would be good for my college applications -- you know, make me look well-rounded or something. it took me a month of daily training before I could run a whole mile without stopping. the coach declared me a sprinter. I ran a half marathon to defy him (he said I couldn't do it). I couldn't walk for days afterward. in the spring, I was recruited for high jump and long jump (because I was tall). I earned a couple of varsity letters, won a few trophies and some award for being outstanding in field events. but I was not an athlete -- I was simply doing it for my college applications (and the boys on the track bus were a nice bonus).

I missed my opportunity with sports. I went away to college, did college things, thought about rowing crew, changed my mind about rowing crew when I found out the team had to run to the boathouse (in Ithaca winters) down the big hill at 5:00am. yeah, I was definitely not an athlete.

post-college I dabbled with step aerobics and bought a bike but I was too focused on advancing my career to really spend any time being healthy. it wasn't until my late 20s that I quit smoking, started inline skating, skiing, and playing volleyball. but I still wasn't an athlete -- I was simply doing these sports for the social aspect (meeting boys in the ski club).

before I knew it, I was 30 years old and moved to sunny California, where everyone was an athlete. what was I doing here? I sure didn't fit in. I wasn't an athlete. but then something happened. I started riding a bicycle again, after more than a decade of not riding a bike. I liked it. it stuck. I was an athlete!

in many ways I regret the fact that if I had any athletic potential at all, I missed my opportunities as a child and young adult. I wish that I'd been one of those sporty girls from the sporty families that did sporty things. that was not my family. and our schools, at the time, didn't encourage female athletes.

I look at the difference between my youth and that of my nieces -- now all in their 20s. they grew up playing soccer and softball and basketball. they swam and dove. they could basically play any sport they wanted to play. the opportunities were there for them in their schools and in their communities. they were athletes, thanks to Title IX. they had the opportunity to participate in sports that weren't part of school sport programs when I was a girl. they could compete. and excel. and grow as individuals because of their experience in team and individual sports. they learned life lessons. they learned how to be competitors. they learned how to be team players. they learned how to win and how to lose. and they are healthier, well-rounded individuals because of these opportunities.

so, if you've followed along with my ramblings all the way down here, I'll ask you to celebrate the opportunities provided by Title IX. encourage a girl (or woman) to be fit and active and participate in sport. volunteer with a program for youth. mentor that young cyclist. give a shout out to the youth sailing in the lagoon. nudge your wife or girlfriend to join in that group ride or run or dance class. be thankful that the youth of today have the opportunity to develop as athletes, and more importantly, as individuals because of Title IX.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

waiting with bated breath

wait no more! without further adieu, I'm thrilled to announce the Velo Girls Coaching Services 2011 clinic and camps schedule. registration has already opened for all events through June and many are close to selling out, so if you're interested in participating, I would encourage you to do so soon. a $20 early bird discount is applied to all registrations processed more than 2 weeks prior to a clinic. All clinics are co-ed with the exception of our two-day Girls Got Skills clinic which is for women + girls only.

Just click on the date and you'll be whisked away to our fancy-dancy registration page for that specific clinic session:

Bike Skills 101 – Fundamental Bike Handling Skills – sponsored by BicycleLawyer.com
Feb 12th, March 20th, May 1st, June 18th, July 24th, Sept 10th

This 4-hour co-ed clinic is the foundation of everything else you’ll learn on the bike. This is the clinic where we teach the old dogs new tricks and the newbies the fundamentals. You’ll learn about balance and weight distribution and how that affects your ability to ride your bike safely and confidently. We’ll learn skills like riding with no hands, emergency stops, and how to look behind you while holding your line, how to steer, and counter-steer. After just four hours, we guarantee you’ll be a better bike handler and have much more fun on the bike.


Bike Skills 102 – Fundamental Mountain Bike Skills – March 26th

It's time for a little dirty fun! We'll teach you the basics (and not-so-basics) of balance, weight distribution, and how to use the terrain to your advantage. Learn to rock, roll, hop, and jump. Master the art of steep climbs. Learn to descend with confidence and skill. After just four hours, we guarantee you’ll be a better bike handler and have much more fun on the bike.


Bike Skills 103 – Fundamental Cyclocross Skills + Tactics – TBA summer 2011
Have you been wondering what's all the buzz about cyclocross? It's a fun but challenging sport that's beginner-friendly and appropriate for the entire family. And best of all, it's happening at a park near you! In this four-hour clinic, you'll learn all the skills needed to get started in this incredible sport, including mounts, dismounts, and how to shoulder and carry your bike. We'll also share information about bikes & equipment, the local cyclocross racing scene, and how to train for a successful season. We’ll finish off the day with a simulated race and de-brief. You'll need a mountain bike or a cyclocross bike for this clinic.


Bike Skills 201 – Climbing + Descending Skills sponsored by Teresa Callen of Image Arts Salon
March 20th, May 1st, June 18th, July 24th, Sept 10th
What goes up must come down, right? In this 4-hour co-ed clinic, we’ll teach you how to climb like a pro – seated climbs, standing climbs, short climbs, steep climbs, extended climbs. And then, we’ll teach you how to come back down again, focusing on a fast straight descent, and then a technical switchbacky descent. Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 101 or equivalent experience.


Bike Skills 301 – Pacelines + Group Riding Skills – April 10th, June 4th
Wheelsucking is an art! Whether you’re a racer or a recreational rider, group riding skills will help you ride longer, faster, and farther. We’ll learn draft theory and basic pacelines, beginning with partner work and progressing to more complex group riding skills and introductory racing techniques. Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 101 or equivalent experience.


Bike Skills 302 – Racing Skills + Tactics – May 7th
This four-hour clinic will teach you all the individual bike-handling and group riding skills you'll need to race your first (or your 10th) criterium or road race. In addition to skills & drills, you'll receive expert coaching on race preparation and logistics, and an introduction to tactics. We'll finish the day with a training race followed by a de-brief. Pre-requisite: Bike Skills 101 or equivalent experience.


Alpine Altitude Adventure (aka Death Ride Training Camp) – June 24th – 26th
Join us for a fun, co-ed training weekend in Markleeville, CA, home of the Death Ride. This co-ed weekend camp is designed to help prepare participants for the rigors of endurance riding at high altitude. Based in Markleeville, CA, this camp is appropriate for Death Ride participants and others who wish to gain high altitude experience. Daily mileage options range from 25 - 75 miles. Registration fee includes camping (Friday + Saturday), SAG on rides, cycling nutrition, Saturday breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Sunday breakfast, and lots of fun with cool folks. Thursday and Sunday night camping options available for a small fee. You are responsible for transportation to/from Markleeville, however participants will be encouraged to carpool.


Girls Got Skills sponsored by Jan Medina Real EstateJune 11th + 12th

This is our corner-stone clinic, and includes 16 hours of “you” time in the company of other cycling women. This clinic is a must-do for recreational cyclists and racers alike! We cover individual bike handling skills, group riding skills, climbing and descending, and training principles (including a time trial to determine heart rate training zones). Since 2003, women from all over the US and Canada have participated in this clinic. You’ll walk away from this weekend with a renewed love for the bike and the cycling community!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

say "hello" to the new Melo Velo


after a short hiatus, the Melo Velo is back! this ride is a staple in the Velo Girls calendar and a great introduction to group riding and to Velo Girls.

the Melo Velo is a beginner ride (or a ride for those of you just starting out again). led by experienced cyclists and Team Velo Girls members, we'll help you get started on the road to longer and more challenging rides. all riders are welcome for socializing and support, but this is an easy, beginner, getting-used-to-road-biking ride. you'll learn shifting, group riding (don't worry, we stay way behind each other), the rules of the road, and how to drink from your water bottle while riding -- all in a very friendly and welcoming environment. all types of bikes are welcome (but gears are definitely a plus on the rolling terrain).

meet at Woodside Town Hall in Woodside at 9:00am on Sundays, beginning February 6th. We'll ride north on Canada Road and return -- 15 miles, mostly flat with little rollers. RSVP to melovelo@velogirls.com