Category: Women Bike


Welcome back fellow bike commuters, today’s post does not have anything to do with bike commuting, trains nor cyclecross bikes; today’s post is all about my Bianchi Impulso road bike that received quite a few likes on Facebook.


Although I have ridden Giant bicycles for most of my roadie life, the Bianchi brand and its Celeste color has always captivated me. Yes, the color can be a love it or hate it thing, but that Celeste green is quite iconic and anyone who knows about the Tour de France knows that the great Pantani was a Bianchi rider.


So back in March I got a hair up my butt and I decided that I wanted a Bianchi bicycle to celebrate losing 30 lbs, so that meant that I had to let go of my Giant TCR SLR 2. I found a buyer and my quest to get the Bianchi began. I must have visited 6 different shops looking for the Bianchi with the right fit and the right components, and yes, it had to be in Celeste color. Believe it or not, the Celeste color is quite desirable and most of the bikes that I wanted were sold out for the year, yes, the year.


Here is our little secret: My Bianchi Impulso is a chick’s bike. Yes, you read that right, I ride a Dama model. Here’s Bianchi’s little secret: other than the Dama sticker, a women specific saddle and subtle differences on the sticker scheme, this bike is EXACTLY the same as the men’s model. Look it up if you don’t believe me, the geometry specs are the same.


The bike shop where I got it from were really forthcoming about this bike and even though I kind of hesitated at the beginning, a $100 discount helped me made up my mind. So unless you really know your Bianchi models, you would never guess that I ride a girls bike.

Hey Cycle Ladies. Last fall, I received a Bikie Girl Bloomers Trio Set: a hitchable flounce skirt, a pair of wild ride bloomers, and a skitch to review. However, due to crappy weather conditions, only just recently was I able to take full advantage of this fantastic product and take the women-specific bike commuter gear for a ride.


Bikie Girl Bloomers Wild Ride shorts colors are extra visible and attention-grabbing!

Now, I must say, upon first impression, I was taken aback by the bold pattern and color choice of almost all the Bikie Girl Bloomers “Wild Ride” options – not my first choice. However, over time, and as the weather brightened in the Pacific NorthWet, I found myself conjuring up any excuse to wear those lacy, purple, green, and teal, leopard print spandex bloomers! Definitely a cycle ladies brightest moment of a summer day: pulling on a pair of these hot pants!

photo 1

Mir rockin’ the leopard spandies with no shame.

Product Specs:

Bikie Girl Bloomers Skirt, Shorts & Skitch Trio

Be comfortable, both on & off the bike, in a lightweight, unpadded bike short and a flowing, soft knit skirt.
Bike gorgeous in a smoothly draping skirt while your underside is covered with a colorful print.
With our Skitch, you can hitch up the skirt while riding, and let it down upon arrival.
You are ready for the bike ride, ready to twirl on the dance floor, and ready for whatever blows your skirt up!


  • Flouncy and light skirt with smooth drape (no pockets or zippers)
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Hitch up the skirt with removable Skitch
  • Shorts feature comfortable stretch lace waistband and hem
  • Lined crotch is unpadded for all-day comfort
  • Great for cycling around town, or whatever blows your skirt up!


  • Skirt: 67% Modal/28% Polyester/5% Spandex; 19-1/2″ length
  • 1-1/2″ elastic waistband can be worn high or low on waist
  • Dry clean recommended (may be hand washed) Shorts: Polyester or nylon (varies with print) and Spandex
  • Hand wash, line dry recommended
  • 9″ inseam on M size
  • Made in USA

Additional Information:

No need to choose between a skirt that works for cycling and a skirt that looks nice at the office or out on the dance floor.  The Hitchable Flounce Skirt flutters just above the knees with a smooth drape and a flouncy bit of spunk.  When paired with the Wild Ride Bike Shorts, no slip is required.  Use the included Skitch to hike up the hem when you can’t resist the urge to allow a peek at what lies beneath.  Let the skirt down when you arrive and want to keep your wild side hidden.  The skirt features a decorative coconut button on the waistband for securing the Skitch.

2013-10-14 13.44.08

Mir peacin’ out with the skirt & bloomers combo – in fall weather.

My impressions: It took awhile for me to mentally break myself in to the idea of the Bloomers & Skirt combo, however, it is all about the weather! Now that it is warm and sunny out, the Bikie Girl Bloomers & skirt trio set is really a go-to for a comfy, easy, breezy ride. They are now my favorite shorts to pull on any day that you want to wear a skirt to work and naked legs.

The spandex is comfy and is paneled nicely, so that there isn’t a seam right in down the crotch. Also, the lace keeps it from sliding around. Surprisingly, the lace doesn’t rub or itch, either. I wasn’t a huge fan of the skitch, and just preferred to ride with the skirt down. I’d even wear the whole outfit to the office, then bike to yoga after, and strip off the skirt to reveal some sweet leopard print at the yoga studio!


Someone even said to me, as I was getting dressed after yoga class: “Please don’t put that skirt back on, those shorts are amazing!”

So, bike ladies, if you are feeling like a bold commute is in your future, I’d highly recommend you invest in a soft skirt and bloomers for your summer rides. You won’t be disappointed. The high waistline and flattering flouncy skirt looks great with a tank top or fitted dress shirt. If your office is a little on the casual side (read: no skirt suits required) you could pull this off for your 9-5. The price is pricey, but the quality is handmade and handsome for $125 for the set. If that is beyond your price point, try the shorts only for $55.

From the Bikie Girl Bloomers website – the Hitchable Flounce Skirt, Skitch, and Wild Ride Bloomers.

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Here’s a press release we got the other day — it may be of interest to Minnesota residents and others who are looking for ways to celebrate National Bike Month:

‘Bike Mom’ Project to Encourage Women, Kids to get on Bikes in Minnesota
Eight-week initiative includes a content series, events, and a major bike gear giveaway

ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 13, 2014) – Pedal Minnesota, in partnership with Minneapolis-based Monopoint Media, have launched a project to encourage women, moms, and kids to ride bikes. It launched on Mother’s Day, May 11. Focused on a Minnesota audience, the “Bike Mom” project runs for eight weeks. It includes a series of articles published on, social media contests, event appearances, and a major grand prize gear giveaway. The project has a goal to inform and motivate women and moms to bike in Minnesota. In addition to serving as an information resource, the project will feature 5 to 7 “ambassadors.” The ambassador moms will document their experience biking with kids on social media and on the PedalMN blog. A major component of the project is a promotion called “The Mother Of All Bike Gear Giveaways.” More than 10 companies have donated gear, including bike seats, kid trailers, scoot bikes, apparel, helmets, and a mom-oriented bike model for the winners.

Minnesota is widely recognized as a top place to ride a bike. Bike trails, on-road bike lanes, and other infrastructure abounds in the Twin Cities as well as out-state.

All “Bike Mom” content and the giveaway contests will be hosted on the Pedal Minnesota site. Go to for more information on the initiative.


Pedal Minnesota is an unprecedented collaboration of state agencies and private organizations to encourage more people to get on bikes more often, in Minnesota. The partnership includes Explore Minnesota, the Minnesota departments of Health, Transportation and Natural Resources, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota, and the National Park Service. Pedal Minnesota encourages all types of biking, from leisure to commuting. serves as a go-to resource for information on bicycling, including mapping tools, lists of biking events, personal tips and trip ideas from bicyclists across the state.

Monopoint Media LLC, founded in 2006, is a creative agency focused on outdoor, sports, and active lifestyle brands. The company ( is based in Minneapolis and works with brands to build video, stories, micro-sites, social-media projects, and custom events. Monopoint Media owns and operates, a widely-read blog covering gear, the outdoors, and active lifestyle topics.

Holla Bike Commuters: break out your cardigan sweaters and flat-heeled boots, cycle ladies, and for you DC cycle gents, maybe your oxfords and V-neck sweaters! It’s Capital bike time… For those of you in the DC area, come check out the National Bike Summit and the National Women’s Bicycling Forum March 3-5, 2014. I’ll be there, lurking, casually… and attending related free-events as much as possible!

Don’t be turned off by the storm, see you there!

Registration is closed online, but still available on site.

I’ll be weaseling my way into the 4pm event this afternoon. If you’re in the hood and looking for a last minute excuse to pedal power before the storm hits, join us!


Capital Bikeshare bikes at DuPont Circle



National Bike Summit 2014
March 3-5, 2014

Printable Agenda Available Here 


Online registration is now closed. You can register on-site at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C., on March 3.

Sunday, March 2

4 – 7 p.m.

Media Training For Bicycle Advocates
Renaissance Hotel: Congressional B
Whether you’re showing off a new bike lane, drumming up support for federal bike funding, or calling attention to a safety hazard on your corner, you’ve got a story to tell about biking. Reporters want to help you tell that story — but you need to know how to work with them. Or, you can tell that story yourself! Join us for the first-ever National Bike Summit media training — hosted by the League of American Bicyclists, Streetsblog and Streetfilms — on Sunday, March 2, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Renaissance DC (999 9th St NW). Read more and register.

7 – 9 p.m.

Streetsblog party! 
We love meeting our readers and bringing together our online community in real life. We’ll be hanging out post-media training at RFD (Regional Food & Drink) in the back bar. We’ll provide some yummy appetizers, and RFD’s full menu of entrees is available if you’ve worked up a serious appetite. RSVP hereRFD back bar, 810 7th St. NW (two blocks from the Summit hotel). $10 at the door gets you a free drink.

Over the summer Vaya Bags sent me one of their most recent bag designs — a Pannier Hybrid Bag — to review. The bag they sent me to review can be both a backpack and a pannier (hence the name “hybrid”) – in turquoise and orange material, with accents of recycled bike tubes.

Vaya Bags Pannier Hybrid Bag

I first met the women behind Vaya Bags in March at the Women Bike Pop-Up Shop at the Women Mean Business Bike Forum in Washington, D.C.

Over the past couple months riding with this backpack/pannier, I’ve gotten plenty of positive feedback from friends and fellow cyclists. And I must say that hearing others sing the praises of the bag certainly added to my impression of Vaya Bags.

Vaya Bags describes its Pannier Hybrid Bag as…

A nifty little design that combines the load carrying ability of the pannier with the carry-with-you convenience of a backpack. This bag easily clips onto your bike rack to carry those loads you don’t want on your back. When not on your bike the pannier converts into a backpack for a comfortable way to carry your belongings with you. Even more, we’ve added mega cool new features such as U-lock holder, reflective tape and expandable front pocket.

The quality of this handmade in NY product is evident. The exterior material is durable and water repellent — all Vaya bags are made with canvas that is “recycled and scrap Sunbrella® Fabric from local sailboat factories;” the interior is lined to make this pack fully waterproof.

Vaya pannier/backpack waterproof interior lining – also quite vibrant!

It has a rolltop closure, with velcro and a clip to keep the bag securely closed – whether packed to the max or just minimally packed, ensuring no water seeps into the bag during a downpour. Fortunately I didn’t have to endure many downpour bike commuting conditions during my time with this bag; but I did put it through the paces.

rolltop closure secures with both velcro and clip

An interior laptop pocket or other such divider could have been a nice bonus, but not necessary. On the couple occasions I decided to travel with my laptop or work iPad, I just used a padded sleeve and slipped it right in the bag.

The bag also boasts a small exterior front pocket with velcro closure. That pocket was great for stashing keys and other small items that I might need to access on the fly, but I did find that small items could escape from that pocket if not secured well. I wished that pocket had a zipper or other means of keeping the contents safe. It would have also been nice to have a key strap to secure keys for easy reach.

For a daily commuting bag, this pack is about the right size — small enough to not be too voluminous but large enough to expand to carry those extra groceries you decide to pick up on the way home. It was also a good size for me; as a petite female, I often find that most unisex backpacks are just too big for me and cater to folks with larger/longer torsos. This Vaya bag did not have that issue of being oversized…. could it be that woman’s touch on the design?

I altered between carrying the bag like a backpack and letting my bike haul it as a pannier. I must say that I wished the conversion from backpack to pannier and vice versa was quicker, but I soon got the hang of it. Just a bit of tucking in and clipping straps before mounting the pannier and then untucking and reclipping the backpack straps to use as a backpack. As a backpack, it took me a bit of time to get used to the unpadded seatbelt-material straps; these unpadded straps, however, did allow for ease of tucking the straps away to use the bag as a pannier. I did appreciate the chest strap to keep the shoulder straps in place and the bag more stable on my back.

Seatbelt-like backpack straps tuck away into pocket when used as a pannier

as a backpack

Riding with a backpack

The reinforced bottom allows this bag to stand on its own when set down on the ground.

reinforced bottom

When I first started using this bag as a backpack, the bottom of the bag hit my lower back at a weird angle when just walking around, but it was fine on the bike; I don’t notice it anymore but just the other day I did wish the back offered a bit of padding.

For use as a pannier, the bag connects to any rear rack with the use of d-rings and small carabiner style clips.

Vaya pannier hybrid on the bike

I was impressed how the bag remained anchored on my bike with just those two attachment points.

carabiner clips and d-rings mount the pannier to the bike’s rack

I fretted that the back of the bag would get dirty when used as a pannier and that it would put a damper on my wanting to use it as a backpack, but I never had that problem (I also didn’t use it as a pannier in much foul weather when crud could have gotten kicked up onto it).

This Vaya pannier-backpack hybrid comes with reflective tape on each side of the bag for great visibility when in use as a pannier hanging off the side of the bike.

Backpack – side view (photo taken with flash to show how the reflective tape adds visibility)

But I wished it had some reflective tape on the front of the bag that would be visible when in use as a backpack (similar to how the Vaya backpacks have reflective tape on the back) and a loop for a rear blinky light.

On the side of this pannier/backpack are a few loops — one velcro and one hanging loop for a u-lock. The velcro strap is just one more way of securing the bag to the bike – which I rarely used (and only figured that feature out after viewing some of Vaya’s product photos online). The hanging loop for a u-lock did not fit my Kryptonite lock. But I usually just clip my lock to my rear rack for transport, so that wasn’t much of an issue…. except on the odd day that I rode a different bike with a rack and found myself searching for the best method to haul the hefty lock.

Overall, I give this bag two thumbs up – especially for design and aesthetics. With a new and improved model on the way, I look forward to seeing just how much niftier this dual bag becomes. I noticed that some of the features I was looking for when I used this bag as a backpack already come standard on the regular Vaya Backpacks; the nice thing about this bag is its ability to morph into a pannier, too.

In a recent correspondence with Vaya Bags, we confirmed that a few improvements (which may also address a few of my concerns) are in the works on the revamped design of this Pannier-Backpack hybrid, including:

– We did update the U lock holder so that it is adjustable and put velcro on it to help stabilize the U lock
– We added reinforcement to the back of the bag to prevent rubbing
– We changed the clip system to a strap system to make it easier to put on and off the bike!

We look forward to the new product, which we will get our hands on within a few weeks. It will be interesting to see how the updates to the bag work in comparison to this model.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.