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Women Bike

Women Bike Shops “Pop-Up” at the National Women’s Bicycling Forum

As a welcome addition to this year’s expanded Women’s Bicycling Forum, the League of American Bicyclists “put out a call for applications [to women leaders in the bike industry] and were absolutely inspired by the diverse array of vendors who responded and delighted to announce the lineup for our Women Bike Pop-up Shop.”

The idea to include vendors stemmed from the theme of this year’s Forum — Women Mean Business, and the vendors who participated in this pop-up shop served to showcase several of these female leaders in the bike industry.

Nearly 20 women-owned bike shops (and causes) decorated the lobby spaces of the National Women’s Bicycling Forum and provided a welcome opportunity for attendees to meet these talented vendors, learn more about their businesses and products, and snag some great deals on awesome bike accessories.

Forum attendees wander the women’s shops showcasing their unique bike accessories.

Cleverhood displayed their rain cape – with reflective accents woven into the fabric for evening visibility:

the reflective grid pattern in the light


And in normal light:

Cleverhood under normal lighting condition

Bird Industries offered stickers saying “Friends don’t let friends wear spandex”:

For keeping a skirt in place, Bird Industries sells a skirt garter, along with other bike accessories


More bike accessories from Bird Industries

Bling from GiveLoveCycle:

Jewelry bling from GLC

Elly Blue and Ellee Thalheimer each had their publications and stickers available:

Elly Blue alongside author Ellee Thalheimer


Ellee Thalheimer’s books


Elly Blue’s publications

Vespertine‘s eco-chic reflective gear:

Vespertine from NYC – chic reflective vest, jackets, belts and pins

Bicyclette‘s bike-inspired accessories for bike, self and home:

Bicyclette’s bike-inspired items

I was especially happy and proud to see Maria from PoCampo (from Chicago!) at this event:

Chicago-based PoCampo’s bike bags and purses

Bikie Girl Bloomers offered a clever way to bike in a skirt (with a skirt hitch- the “skitch”) and fun spandex for wearing under the skirt:

Bikie Girl Bloomers

Nuu-Muu dresses:

Nuu-Muu dresses make biking in sportswear fashionable and easy

Bandbox Bicycle Helmets with their own helmet covers:

This line of bike helmets offers its own bike covers, so you can cycle in your own “hat” style.

Vaya Bags use recycled canvas and recycled bicycle tubes to make bags, purses, belts, wallets, etc.:

Vaya Bags offer items from recycled canvas and bike tubes… I bought myself a cool belt.


In fact, I may be reviewing the Vaya Bags pannier hybrid bag :

Pannier Hybrid Bag complete with backpack shoulder straps, plus clips to attach to a rear bike rack – so you can carry it multiple ways.

Jacquie Phelan of the Women’s Mountain Bike and Tea Society (WOMBATS) also graced the pop-up show with her tunes:

As listed on the League of American Bicyclists’ site, the complete list of Women Bike Pop-up Shop vendors included:

Bandbox LLC
Bicyclette
Taliah Lempert, Bicycle Paintings
Bikie Girl Bloomers
Bird Industries
Elly Blue, Taking the Lane Media
Cleverhood
Cyclofemme
Georgena Terry, Heart of Steel bicycles
Georgia in Dublin
GiveLoveCycle
Iva Jean
Nutcase
Nuu-Muu
Po Campo
Recycle-A-Bicycle
Eleanor Thalheimer, Cycling Sojourner
Vaya Bags
Verspertine

It took all my restraint to not buy something from every vendor. I did buy myself a few items – that were easily packable in my suitcase – but I admired everything I saw and every woman I met. These women have the creativity to meet the needs of fellow female cyclists.

With all this talent in the bike industry, there truly is something for everyone and women need not feel that the bike world is male-dominated. Just demand that your local bike shop stocks these items.

Women in Cycling return to the pre- National Bike Summit lineup

My first full day in D.C. in early March (following an evening bike ride and Women & Bicycles party) ushered in the 2nd annual National Women’s Bicycling Forum held just before the National Bike Summit. The National Women’s Bicycling Forum brought more than 350 attendees rallying around the theme “Women Mean Business”.

As summarized on the League of American Bicyclist’s site

“this all-day event showcased women leaders and entrepreneurs in the bicycle industry and highlighted the economic impact and rising influence of women in the bicycle movement.

The Forum included keynote addresses from industry pioneer Georgena Terry, Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, as well as break-out sessions, a Women Bike Pop-up Shop and plenty of networking.”

Elizabeth with NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (JSK)

For the fun of it – following the keynote addresses – the New York Bike Dancers graced the luncheon audience with a lively performance:

A year ago, the first ever National Women Cycling Forum in 2012 was simply a 2-hour panel discussion the afternoon before the start of the National Bike Summit. For 2013, it has become a full-day of speakers and break-out sessions… overwhelming in such a good way. So many inspiring female leaders in the bike industry and who work in their communities shared their ideas for how to inspire more women to bike, and the day marked a celebration of the unique (and enhanced) perspective females give to cycling.

A breakout session panel. All sessions were full of attendees.

Add to that the pop-up shops featuring female vendors in the bike industry – each showcasing their wares with distinctive flare.

follow the Women Bike movement

In the spirit of the day – there was even an impromptu photo booth to express bike love:

accessories for the bike photo booth

[Note: this forum was not a repeat of the National Women’s Bicycling Summit (which was held last September in Long Beach).]

The result of this Forum?
“As a take-away for Forum participants and folks around the country, the group created a hand-out with 11 tips to engage more women in your cycling events.”

Nationwide women’s events are already forming and growing, such as the Venus de Miles Ride and CycloFemme.

CycloFemme Pledge:

Take the CycloFemme Pledge

Here in Chicago, our very own grassroots Women Bike Chicago has already formed… and hosted its very first Women Bike Chicago Forum (more to come in a separate post). More fun events to engage women biking in Chicago are in the works… along with planning already underway for a bigger and better Women Bike Chicago Forum in 2014. I was privileged to bring back ideas and energy from D.C. to Chicago; I hope all the people who in attended this National Women’s Bicycling Forum returned to their respective communities with energy to inspire women and all cyclists where they live.

For all you females (and males) now inspired to get more women on bikes in your community – the League may be able to help fund your ideas. Find out more about applying for a mini-grant.

Next up… the Women Bike Pop-Up Shops

From Chicago to D.C. for a kick-off of Women & Bicycles and the National Bike Summit

This past March I ventured (for the second year) to Washington, D.C. for the National Bike Summit.

For those of you unable to attend the event “in-person” I hope that the insights of these next few posts about the National Bike Summit may inspire you to go in future years or to at least check out the presentations now available online for your viewing pleasure.

This year “more than 750 attendees from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces participated in the 2013 National Bike Summit!”

Let’s start from the beginning…

Upon my arrival in D.C. (much chillier this year and not a cherry blossom in bloom!), I perked up at sight of the bright red Capital Bikeshare bikes.
capital bikeshare bikes

I, however, passed by the bikeshare bikes; instead I borrowed a bike from Miriam’s friend (who graciously lent me her bike “Cherry” last year and this year – thank you!).
Cherry

Once on bike, I was equipped to join an evening bike ride organized by the group Black Women Bike. Bundled up, we cycled past several D.C. monuments before circling back to a launch party for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)’s Women & Bicycles campaign – an outreach and education program geared to get more women on bike.

The event was full of bike love:

Plus books and such from Elly Blue and WABA:

My initial day in D.C. would set the pace for a jam-packed week of everything bike advocacy and meeting awesome bikey folks… especially meeting these other fine ladies named “Elizabeth”:

Ladies named Elizabeth

Review: Lululemon – Pedal Power Commuter Threads!

Alright, Cycle Ladies, after a brief stint of testing, here’s the Mir.I.Am ASAP review on Lululemon’s Fall Commuter “Pedal Power” threads!  As previously mentioned, the collection is only available for purchase online for a limited time – so I tried my best to make this review a quickie!  I posted as-soon-as-I-could-cajole-others-to-take-photos-of-me-in-the-clothes, essentially translates to a week or so.  Here’s a quickie overview of each of the pieces I was tasked to scrutinize:

Lululemon Pedal Power Wind Shirt in Dense Purple

Pedal Power Wind Shirt (in dense purple) - $128.00

Pedal Power Wind Shirt

why we made this

This shirt is as easy to throw (on) as Jennifer Grey, only it’s better suited for commuting as opposed to dance routines. The lightweight shell is made of Cire fabric to repel wind and rain and the back gathers so we can make adjustments for a perfect fit. Reflective details mean that even in low light we feel comfortable pedaling with gusto.

key features

  • wind and water-resistant finish helps us battle the elements
  • not one but two continuous drawcords make fine-tuning the fit a cinch
  • be bright – reflective details help with low light visibility
  • stow your phone in the secure zipper pocket
  • mesh panels let your arms breathe
  • long in back to keep your rear covered
Lululemon Pedal Power Pant in Black

Pedal Power Pant (in black) - $128.00

Pedal Power Pant

why we made this

We created these lightweight cycling pants to give us room when we’re busting a move during and after our commute. Transformable reflective details help keep us bright when we need it and inconspicuous when we don’t.

key features

  • button the pocket flaps open and switch over the ankle tab for added reflectivity
  • durable Commuter Stretch Woven fabric is treated with DWR to help keep you dry on the fly
  • stretchy denim luon side panels allow you the freedom to move
  • the articulated rise keeps you covered
  • store your stuff in the secure back pockets

*

Lululemon Pedal Power Longsleeve in Currant

Pedal Power Longsleeve (in Currant) - $108.00

Pedal Power Longsleeve

why we made this

Leisurely rides call for comfy gear. When we’re pedalling at our own pace, we want a layer that keeps us warm and lets us breathe. This long sleeve is the perfect fit – it’s cut long to keep us covered and has mesh paneling for us to let off steam. Let’s ride!

key features

  • the loose cut of this shirt gives you the freedom to move
  • thoughtfully placed Circle Mesh panels in high sweat areas help to keep you dry
  • reflective details help with visibility in low light
  • the drop hem with drawcord keeps you covered so you can tuck and ride
  • just say, “no,” to chafing with flat seams
  • thumbholes help keep your hands warm and makelayering easy

First Glance vs. In The Pants Impressions

Back to my first glance/first impressions/internal brain vomologue (vomit+monologue):

Whoa, these materials are slinky and sexual.  How the crap do they make this stuff… spin the golden saliva of Aphrodite!?  Maybe I should have ordered a size down, they seem flowy and scarfy.  Wait, is this a SCARF?  Must make extra efforts not to choke myself with scarf while cycling… Need scarf guard for rear wheel.

And in the pants/shirt/longsleeve impressions:

Finally! It’s actually cold enough to wear frickin PANTS!  Oh yeah, these Pedal Power Pants could use a little more snugness in the butt for my taste, but they are comf-tastic on the ride.  Correction: threads are spun from the Lorax’s truffula trees – silky smooth and still breathable and stretchy.  Oooh, I like adjustability of the wind shirt at the bust and waist…  Successfully executed getting dressed for rides on bike without playing scarf wheel hangman.  And I like thumbholes.  And Red.  And Reflective Fabrics!

More Details and Opinions… If you must.

Enough quickie overviews and product data from the Lululemon Pedal Power website.  So let’s get serious, velodactyls! (Or not.)  The Lululemon Pedal Power line is definitely a quality product suitable for real autumn weather – I’m talking crisp mornings and falling leaves, windy winds, and maybe a touch of rain.  This stuff may be pricy, but I would for sure put it on my back-to-school (grown-ups get those too, right?) wish list, since I’m “funemployed” at the moment.  Overall, everything looks chic, can take a bit of rain/muddy water, and is definitely passable attire in a business-casual work environment.  Me thinks some photo-narration is in order… good thing I have bikey friends with cameras and smahtphones!  Ready… set… GO:

Pedal Power Wind Shirt1Pedal Power Wind Shirt2

For the Pedal Power Wind Shirt, it definitely cuts out the wind and did the trick on an overcast day, but – per usual Hawaii weather protocol – it did make me sweaty from the inside despite the lightweight material.  The shirt is a bit shiny, and does pass for a great looking “elegant” women’s commuter blouse – but not passable if your workplace is a skirt-suit and heels type of gig.  Reflective detailing on the cuffs can be unrolled during the commute for extra flare and reflective visibility!  The shirt zips up and has two pull cords – making a very flattering fit, but they can dig into the middle of your back at times.  It also comes in black or white.

Lululemon Outfit1

Lookin' comfy and snazzy!

Lululemon Outfit2

Relfective ankle bands built in!

Lululemon’s Pedal Power Pants and Longsleeve were perfect for comfy “fall/winter” cruising about town.  Here I am before taking off for a 15 minute ride to my part-time day job at the local Unicorn Petting Zoo.  The Pedal Power Longsleeve was definitely comfy, very long (no instances of people shouting “crack kills!” on this commuter) and very red. It comes in black, white, red, and purple – and the sizing was a bit large for my taste.  I followed the Lululemon Sizing guide, but it seems comfort is the keyword with this piece.  The floppy collar buttons all the way up to protect your neck for those speedy morning downhills and I loved the thumbholes!  Again, despite the breathable panels installed from elbow to armpit to ribcage, I still found myself needing to wash this shirt after one day of warmish fall commuting in Honolulu.  When I wore this shirt, guys in the office said, “You look very cozy today!”

Pedal Power Longsleeve1

Thumbholes and button sleeve details

Pedal Power Pant1

Clever disco-reflective ankle strap

Pedal Power Pant2

Highwaisted in the back, and peekaboo pocket reflectors!

Pedal Power Pant2

Yay for button pockets and butt shots!

Awww, Pants! The pants were definitely my favorite and most useful.  Even though they were loose in the butt (compare model from Lululemon site with bunchy-butt Mir) they fit in the hips and waist.  The inseam was not too short since the leg opening is tapered at the bottom, no dragging hems for Shorty McMidge Legs over here!  And I even got compliments on these threads at the office from the women and men – passable as business casual!  Some funny things about the Pedal Power Pants included a seam that runs along the middle of your knee cap allowing for a gusseted stretchy knee panel and a seam going right through the crotch like a normal pair of jeans.  Works well on a hybrid/upright type of commuter bike, but I don’t think I would last long on the seam on a road bike!  My favorite disco-bling was the reflective panels at the ankle strap and pockets – both can be buttoned into either stealth office mode or flashy night-time ride mode!  Personally, I left it bling-side out all. the. friggin’. time!

So there you have it – for the fashion-conscious commuting ladies out there, if you’ve got cash to spend on some high-quality threads, hit up the Lululemon Pedal Power line for some fall fancies.  Hope you enjoyed the review… cross your fingers for more butt shots from RL and Hermes at Interbike 2012!

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

Supermom, Portland-style

We published a link to the following article on our Facebook page, and it’s worth sharing here, too.

Biking with kids is all the rage in Portland these days, but biking with six kids between the ages of 2 and 11? That’s something I never would have thought possible before I met southeast Portland resident Emily Finch.

Finch, 34, is a powerhouse. Watching her pedal her bakfiets cargo bike with four kids in the front, another one in a child seat behind her, and another one on a bike attached to hers via the rear rack, is a sight that not only inspires — it forces you to re-think what’s possible.

Read the rest of the article and see more pics over at Bikeportland.org.

supermom
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

As the article mentions, and as we’ve talked about repeatedly here — if you have the will and the desire to incorporate two wheels into your life, it CAN be done! I’ve met too many people “on the fence” about bike commuting…many of whom get hung up in logistical concerns or questions about what to do with their kids/clothes/appearance/safety/etc. While not everyone can forgo a car and switch to a bike (we understand that and accept that, believe it or not), there are still a LOT of people out there who could do it if they only put their minds to it.