Archive for the ‘getting started cycling’ Category

July 2, 2013 3

 There comes a time in every new female cyclist’s life where you can’t help the feeling that after a lovely ride on your new trusty bike, the nether regions are feeling a little delicate! The worst part about this issue is you may not have anyone to ask about it. Well never fear, BikeGal.com is […]

 There comes a time in every new female cyclist’s life where you can’t help the feeling that after a lovely ride on your new trusty bike, the nether regions are feeling a little delicate!

The worst part about this issue is you may not have anyone to ask about it. Well never fear, BikeGal.com is here to help you. (Be grateful, BikeGal had to ask her older brother which was quite embarrassing.)

There are a few things to consider if you are a bit sore downstairs….

Do you have the right saddle (bike seat)? This is crucially important, so that you are riding on your sit bones and not the soft tissue between the sit bones. Read more here  about how to get the right saddle for you.

At Jet Cycles they can measure your sit bones and make sure you have the right sized saddle for you

Is your bike set up correctly for you? If you are getting pain, take a trip to the bike store and get some adjustments. Some stores also offer comprehensive bike fits that take several hours and can cost several hundred dollars. Sometime to consider if you are doing a lot of riding.

Get the gear – buy yourself a good quality pair of padded bike pants (or knicks as they are sometimes referred to). These provide a bit more padding for your sensitive lady bits! Note you don’t wear undies underneath these. I have some perl izumi ones which I just love. I’ve tried cheaper brands but found they weren’t all that comfy and they died in the washing machine. If you buy some good quality ones they should last.

Get yourself some good quality knicks.

Harden up princess! In some cases, it’s just a matter of getting a bit tougher with yourself. As you ride more frequently and a bit longer everything should settle down. But if it doesn’t you really need to consider adjusting your bike or saddle as in points 1 and 2 above

Have you had sore ….um ….bits? What’s your secret to fixing this issue?

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

 

June 30, 2013 00

Following on from my last post about road rules, this week we are looking at all the cycling rules when cycling in bike lanes, cycleways, shared paths etc and what do all those signs mean? Bike lanes These are separated, marked spaces on the road especially for cyclists. And if there is one of these, by […]

Following on from my last post about road rules, this week we are looking at all the cycling rules when cycling in bike lanes, cycleways, shared paths etc and what do all those signs mean?

Bike lanes

bike lane sign

These are separated, marked spaces on the road especially for cyclists. And if there is one of these, by law you must use it if it’s practical to do so, i.e. if there is a truck parked over it, it may not be practical to do so. Just use your common sense. Watch for pedestrians and car doors opening. They look like the photo below –

bike lane image

Separated cycleways

separated cycleway sign

These are dedicated lanes for bike riders, separated from other vehicles and pedestrians by a kerb. You have priority on a cycleway but be careful as drivers and pedestrians are still about and may not see you. Make sure you give way where a give way sign or logo is displayed and give way to pedestrians on crossings.

Separated cycleways look like this:

separated cycleway

When the cycleway ends or changes, you may have to merge with other traffic and share the road with vehicles. Be aware of the change and take care.

Shared paths

shared path sign

These are often in parks and on some footpaths, shared paths are for cyclists and people walking. Pedestrians have priority here and you must give way to them.

shared path image

Bike only contra-flow lanes

This enables cyclists to travel on roads that are marked one way for other vehicles – i.e. you can ride along it in the opposite direction. You do not have to use this lane, and may instead use the traffic lane and travel in the same direction as traffic. They look like this:

contra flow bike lane

Look out for part 3 of road rules where we will explore what you can get fined for – yes you can get fined on a bike!

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

June 20, 2013 2

On a cold and wet Sydney afternoon I took a trip to Marrickville to visit the store who won our recent survey  to find Sydney’s best bicycle store for female cyclists. I can confess, I had never heard of them.  And what or who is Omafiets??! ‘Omafiets’ is a Dutch word that literally means ‘grandma […]

On a cold and wet Sydney afternoon I took a trip to Marrickville to visit the store who won our recent survey  to find Sydney’s best bicycle store for female cyclists.

Chris accepts the certificate from Rachael from BikeGal.com

I can confess, I had never heard of them.  And what or who is Omafiets??!

‘Omafiets’ is a Dutch word that literally means ‘grandma bike’. No this doesn’t mean they only sell bikes for grannies – it’s referring to a style of bike that has been widely copied for its ease of riding, good looks and reliability.

The majority of bikes at Omafiets are second hand, upright, comfy bikes.

Ollie, Maurice and Chris opened Omafiets in 2010 and their ethos is simple. They just want to get people cycling and provide great bicycles for transport and getting around.

Maurice, Ollie and Chris with their BikeGal.com certificate – winners are grinners!

Having met them, I can now understand why they won. What a nice bunch of blokes who just want to get you cycling! They are relaxed and friendly but clearly know a lot about bicycles and cycling. No macho BS here!

Here is my interview with them.

Congratulations on your win, why do you think you won?

Maurice: “We believe everyone can cycle. I guess our store has got away from the male dominated, sports side of it, most of our bikes are more for getting around. Even our road bikes are more for day rides.

Also Chain Lynx started here which was all about teaching women bike maintenance skills.”

Do you have any female employees?

Maurice: “No! We want some! We are trying to find them!”

So most of your bikes are second hand? Where do they come from?

Chris: “We actually import second hand bikes from the Netherlands.”

How old are the bikes?

Chris: “They range from the 1980s to 2000s. Some are more vintage than others.”

So why are there so many second hand bikes in the Netherlands?

Maurice: “The Netherlands actually has a tax incentive in place so residents can literally write off a new bike through tax every few years.”

How often do you get a new shipment of bikes?

Ollie: “About every six to twelve months we get about 100 to 150 bikes.”

Do you check each bike?

Chris: “Yes, we want to be able to tell people you can rely on these bikes.”

How much are your bikes?

Ollie: “They range from about $400 up to $1000 or more.”

Do you only have commuter bikes then?

Ollie: “No we have all sorts of bikes – road bikes, cargo bikes, electric bikes, kids bikes, tandems… There is a bicycle to solve every problem.”

What sort of new bikes?

Maurice: “We stock the Dutch Gazelle range, Allegro bicycles, and Jamis commuter bikes.”

Do women ask more questions when buying a bike? Is that true?

Chris: “Yes, we think so. We find that women tend to have lots more questions than men.”

Who are your usual customers?

Maurice: “Mostly we get local people or some will come specifically to us because they have heard about us. We often get people who are trying to get back into cycling. And then we try and find them a comfy bike and tell them to go do a City of Sydney cycling course.”

I heard you do something with old second hand bikes?

Ollie: “Yes, Chris and I are part of the Bicycle Garden, a volunteer group that fixes them up and gives them to asylum seekers through St Vincents de Paul.”

So there you have it – our winners for 2013!

I can confess I’ve never recommended buying a second hand bike, but having met these three, I think you could trust them to sell you a reliable second hand bicycle.

Well done to Omafiets! Go and visit Chris, Ollie and Maurice at 117B Addison Road, Marrickville (on Agar St). www.omafiets.com.au

The Omafiets store

June 18, 2013 4

 Thank you to everyone for completing the online survey.  The results are in and Sydney’s best bike store for women is Omafiets in Marrickville! Ninety six people (94% being female) responded to BikeGal.com’s online survey in June which encouraged female cyclists to list their favourite bike stores and giving stories of the best (and worst!) advice […]

 Thank you to everyone for completing the online survey. 

The results are in and Sydney’s best bike store for women is Omafiets in Marrickville!

Ninety six people (94% being female) responded to BikeGal.com’s online survey in June which encouraged female cyclists to list their favourite bike stores and giving stories of the best (and worst!) advice  received from a Sydney based bike store.

Sydney’s top five bike stores for female cyclists are:

1st        Omafiets, Marrickville (18% of votes)

2nd       Clarence St Cyclery, women’s store, city (11%)

3rd        Cheeky Transport, Newtown (9%)

4th        Equal – Liv/Giant, Sydney (8%)

             Equal – Turramurra Cyclery, Turramurra (8%)

Ollie, Maurice and Chris from Omafiets

 One response from a 20 to 29 year old female from the Chippendale and Darlington area described Omafiets as simply amazing. “I have never felt patronised or belittled when asking them for advice. They are also enthusiastic about sharing their skills with women in a constructive way, so I walk away having learnt something about my bike,” she said.

In second place is the city’s Clarence St women’s store which started in 2010 as Sydney’s first women’s specific cycling.

Third place went to Cheeky Transport in Newtown which opened in 1999 and encourages people to use bikes simply to get around.

Fourth place is shared by Liv/Giant, Sydney city’s newest entrant to women’s specific cycling retail, and the northshore’s cycling stalwart Turramurra Cyclery.

Below is a summary of the results and your comments!

The BEST bike store advice and service stories….

We asked you to tell us about the BEST advice or service you have received from a Sydney bike store as a FEMALE cyclist?

55 responses for this question overwhelmingly talked about bike stores with friendly staff who listen and understand us – that’s not asking too much is it? Many responses here were about not wanting to feel ripped off, getting sold the right product/bike for their needs (not the most expensive), good bike fitting skills and feeling welcomed back in the store (post sale) to ask questions and get maintenance help.

In this section, if the response named the store it is mentioned with the comment.

Many said they received the best advice from those stores that offer great service – friendly, helpful, understanding, patient, with staff members who actually listen. These five words ‘friendly, helpful, understanding, patient, listening’ came up time and time again in most responses to this question.

  • Cyclery Northside, Chatswood – always helpful all the time. Super friendly service and encouragement that has got me out of the gym onto a road bike
  • Went into 99 Bikes in Artarmon… friendly, informative, patient and very understanding
  • Woolys Wheels were very patient and helped me
  • Turramurra Cyclery staff are empathetic, informative and easy to talk to
  • I purchased my road bike from Bike Lab Bondi and the service was excellent – love their knowledge, customer service and enthusiasm!
  • Sydney Electric Bikes – very patient
  • Clarence St Cyclery have been really helpful
  • Bicycle Garage were amazingly patient and super amazing with advice and tips
  • Liv Giant staff are always happy to help
  • Cell Bikes – they listened to my needs and understood what I was looking for
  • Velosophy were super helpful and really nice
  • They are simply very helpful (Park Bikes, Olympic park)
  • Cheeky Transport – the staff are the friendliest in Sydney by far. No macho BS

Don’t rip me off! Sell me the best product for me…

Many responses also felt that good advice meant not feeling like they were being ‘ripped off’ and dealing with stores/staff who are not all about the sale but about helping them get the right bike or product for their personal situation – “sell me the best product for me, not the most expensive”.

  • Road bike setup and servicing without ripping me off (99 Bikes Artarmon)
  • Clare gave me advice on using chamois cream when I tried to buy a padded seat for my bike. She could have sold me a 200 saddle but instead I walked out with a $20 tub of cream (Clarence St Cyclery)
  • They go with the best product for me, not the most expensive (Northside Cyclery)
  • She never tries to sell you anything that you don’t need and she will often steer you away from things you’re interested in if she doesn’t think they are worth it (Klara, Velosophy)

Make sure my bike fits me

When buying a bike, the best advice also came in the form of staff who spent time making sure the bike was the right fit.

  • They measured me correctly which I appreciated (Turramurra Cyclery)
  • They spent over an hour adjusting the bike to suit me perfectly (Bike Addiction, Manly)

Be there for me after I’ve bought my bike and teach me some DIY maintenance

Post sales help is also highly valued. Being able to go back to a store to get help with repairs, fixes, to ask quick questions and to learn some ‘do it yourself’ bike maintenance is highly appreciated.

  • Dropped in unannounced to get some assistance with my brakes and I was helped beyond expectation (Brookvale Bike Factory)
  • Helped me with lots of my questions afterwards 
  • Bike servicing techniques are always useful
  • The mechanics were more than happy to talk me through all repairs and fixes (Turramurra Cyclery)
  • The staff at Omafiets are always happy to explain to me how to fix something myself
  • They are also enthusiastic about sharing their skills with women in a constructive way (Omafiets)
  • I was explained what a service involved and what I can do for myself. I was also invited into their workshop to use a tool and see their set up (Bike Hub, Chipping Norton)
  • The fabulous Una talked me through a tyre change on the weekend (Town Bike Pitstop, Darlington)
  • Took me through all the servicing points, what were potential issues  and I what I could do to maintain my bike (Atelier de Velo)

And the WORST bike store advice and service stories….

Of course we had to ask you to tell us about the WORST advice or service you have received from a Sydney bike store as a female cyclist.

We are not going to name names here – just support those stores above that do a good job!

Once more the worst bike store advice and service stories centred around the staff – with complaints of being ignored and disinterested, unknowledgeable, arrogant or sexist staff who did not take female cyclists seriously.

There were quite a few complaints about being sold something overpriced, the wrong thing or staff trying to sell available stock rather than the right product/bike.

Please don’t ignore me

  • They young girls behind the counter couldn’t have been more disinterested in helping me.
  • They just had no time for me…could’nt be bothered with me
  • I walked in and had three people stand and watch me from the back of the store until I left! Awkward…
  • Three staff members who ignored me and were watching bike videos
  • I was standing in this store for 10 minutes trying to get served and it occurred to me that I was being ignored, along with another lady but the men were getting served. I ran out of time, and left but the next day I saw the owner and let him know – he said that it’s because his staff don’t know how to talk to girls!!! Get different staff!
  • Being completely ignored when I wanted to spend $4,000 + on a new bike

Be knowledgeable…

  • Buying a bike and having to order it through the store without being able to try it for size. Being advised that this would end up with the right fitting bike.
  • Nice staff but most of them don’t even ride bikes and know nothing about cycling!

Don’t be arrogant or sexist

  • I asked a question about carbon frames and cracking and the sales assistant told me I had a bad attitude, shouldn’t go into cycling and basically reprimanded me. Thanks for the lecture – I will never go into that shop again.
  • One of the guys in the store said ‘I’m impressed you were able to take the saddle off yourself’
  • Rude, alpha male salespeople that didn’t event really want to talk to me

Take me seriously

  • They presumed I wanted a bike complete with basket!! Offensive!
  • After I waited 30 minutes for someone to pay me some attention, they huffed and puffed ….I don’t look like a typical cyclist so I guess they thought I was a tyre kicker, but that was just their speculation.

Sell me the right thing for me

  • I have felt pressured to buy a more expensive bike than I wanted to pay as well as gear that I didn’t know I needed
  • Trying to sell me an overpriced unsuitable bike
  • I invested a substantial amount in a time trial bike only to find the crank size is more suited to a very tall male
  • I was told ‘we don’t have a medium frame, but we have a large which would be fine’
  • They sold me a bike that was two sizes to big to make a sale, when I tried to take it back and get the right size they refused

Some responses were just downright funny…

  • I was told “It’ll be fine. You don’t need to test ride it”
  • I went back because I was having trouble clipping in the left and asked one I the guys if something could be wrong with the spring or something. He said ‘if I tell you there’s no problem then you won’t be happy’ he hadn’t even looked at my shoe. For god’s sake just pretend!
  • Told not to buy a carbon mountain bike, they were never going to take off and the pros weren’t riding them (they were trying to sell me alloy….)
  • I test rode a colnago – but went for a pinarello, because it was faster, just not sold by this store. I had been dealing with this guy, very helpful but when I phoned to let him know he said ‘ah so you want a pretty bike, you’ve gone for looks rather than performance’ I was so annoyed because it was the other way round!

And the downright awful! 

  • I ordered and paid for the bike, and they said it would arrive in 1-2 weeks. 5 weeks and 3 unreturned phone calls later, they told me they couldn’t get that bike any more. I went into the store and chose another bike, but the guy said their system showed I hadn’t paid yet. I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but checked my bank statement when I got home and found I had now paid twice. I had to go back into the store to get a refund. They refunded me the wrong amount – luckily it was $60 too much! I didn’t bother to correct them – that’s the fee for my time wasted.

All of this just tells you caveat emptor – let the buyer beware! If you are going shopping as a newbie cyclist, it might be a good idea to take along a cycling friend or shop around.

Note that some stores received both positive and negative stories. So in some cases, whether you have a good or bad experience might depend on when you visit the store and who serves you. Shop around and try a few different stores to find someone helpful who you like and whose opinion you think you can trust.

Helpful bike stores and staff are out there – you just have to find them and find the right one for you.

Finally we asked you to share your advice with Sydney bike stores – how could they better serve and help female cyclists?

 The top six tips you are giving to Sydney bike stores for female cyclists are:

  1. Don’t be patronising
  2. Stock female cycling gear and women’s specific bikes/range
  3. Hire female staff
  4. Listen to me
  5. Assume and presume nothing about me
  6. Organise women’s rides and women’s workshops – we like them!

Don’t be patronising…Without a doubt, the word that came up the most in these 54 responses is ‘patronising’ – ‘please don’t patronise me’, ‘stop being so patronising, ‘don’t patronise women’ – it came up again and again and again! So bike stores – take note! As one response put it, ‘I don’t think that some of the men serving realise how derogatory their comments can seem, or how brisk their manner can come across…’

Stock female cycling gear and women’s specific bikes/range. We want it all. We want a variety of women’s cycling gear, particularly clothing – jerseys, cycling pants – plus female specific accessories and women’s bikes.

Hire female staff. Women get other women and this can have an impact on other staff too. As one response said, from experience, having a female or two completely changes the dynamic and attitude of the other male employees towards female customers and women’s cycling in general…

Listen to me. I have questions, I may have a lot of questions. I may also have some concerns and I’m looking for advice but no judgement. ‘Don’t be all alpha male and dismissive. Don’t be arrogant thinking “I’m a shit hot cyclist and this chick knows nothing”. Really listen, as in really listen.’

Assume and presume nothing about me Just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I know nothing about bikes, want the beginner level road shoes, or something with pink on it – in fact, I probably know more than you do….’. We may want the expensive bike, we may want the entry level bike. Just listen to me and find out what I want.

Organise women’s rides and women’s workshops. These help give us confidence and we like them.

About BikeGal.com

BikeGal.com is a not for profit website that contains information in a fun and friendly format to help Sydney women get cycling.

It was created in late 2012 by 36 year old Sydney resident Rachael de Zylva and funded through City of Sydney’s matching grants program.

For more information visit www.BikeGal.com, visit us on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Bikegalcom or email info@BikeGal.com

May 31, 2013 6

Seems like everywhere you go these days there are some kind of rules.  And just like everything else, there are cycling rules and road rules that apply to cyclists in New South Wales. I thought it might be worthwhile, blogging on exactly what these are so we all know the rules and our rights on […]

Seems like everywhere you go these days there are some kind of rules.  And just like everything else, there are cycling rules and road rules that apply to cyclists in New South Wales.

I thought it might be worthwhile, blogging on exactly what these are so we all know the rules and our rights on the road.  Particularly if like me, you sat for your driver’s licence test about a million years ago and you are a bit rusty on the detail.

bike pic

If you want to brush up on the details  – go here:

http://www.bicycleinfo.nsw.gov.au/get_riding/nsw_road_rules.html

Cyclists are required by law to:

  • Wear a helmet – worn at all times when riding a bike
  • Have front and rear lights – must be fitted and used if riding at night
  • Have a bell or horn – fitted and in working order
  • Obey all road rules including stopping at red lights and stop signs
  • Use signed and marked bike lanes where available

Contrary to what anyone tells you, as a bike rider on the road you can:

  • Pass other vehicles on the left, except when those vehicles are indicating and turning left
  • Travel to the front line of traffic on the left hand side of stopped vehicles (again, except when those vehicles are indicating and turning left)
  • Take up a whole traffic lane (yes, a whole lane)
  • Ride a maximum of two abreast in a lane, not more than 1.5 metres apart
  • Cycle in bus lanes and transit lanes (but not bus only lanes)
  • Ride on footpaths that are designated shared paths
If there is bike lane available - use it!

If there is bike lane available – use it!

And what you CAN NOT do – ride on footpaths – unless you are under 12 years of age, accompanying a rider under 12 or again the footpath is a designated shared path. What’s a designated shared path? Click here for more info http://sydneycycleways.net/the-network/types-of-cycleways/shared-path

Next week…. Rules for riding in bike lanes, separated cycle ways, shared paths, shoulder lanes, mixed traffic lanes – oh the list is endless! So many rules, so little time.

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

May 30, 2013 00

I need some fresh air. I ride a bike. For intelligent commentary about whatever current international cycling event is on – the Giro, the Tour. I ride a bike. When I’m feeling a bit blue. I ride a bike. To catch up with a bike-riding friend for a ride and a coffee. I ride a […]

bikegalFBlogo

I need some fresh air. I ride a bike.

For intelligent commentary about whatever current international cycling event is on – the Giro, the Tour. I ride a bike.

When I’m feeling a bit blue. I ride a bike.

To catch up with a bike-riding friend for a ride and a coffee. I ride a bike.

My favourite form of exercise. I ride a bike.

I prefer life on two wheels I ride a bike.

Wanting to smash it up a hill repeatedly and hurt my legs! I ride a bike.

Practising my balancing abilities. I ride a bike.

I like food too much. I ride a bike.

If it’s good enough for Clover, it’s good enough for me. I ride a bike.

I can justify having several different bike types for several different uses! I ride a bike.

I have no car rego or insurance costs. I ride a bike.

To avoid the smelly old bus. I ride a bike.

I need to do something by myself, for myself. I ride a bike.

To see Sydney in a way you can’t do by car. I ride a bike.

I like to tell myself that I’d leave those people in spin classes for dust! I ride a bike.

Faster than walking, public transport, or the car. I ride a bike.

To sit around with my lycra clad friends and drink coffee. I ride a bike.

I’m getting older and it reminds me of being a kid. I ride a bike.

To prove that all those stupid running injuries can’t stop me. I ride a bike.

After an annoying day at work I need to unwind. I ride a bike.

To carry things in a basket. I ride a bike.

To get up in the darkness of a winter’s morning and pedalling into Centennial Park through fog. I ride a bike.

To do a brick session. I ride a bike.

It’s clean and green. I ride a bike.

To always have the best parking spot. I ride a bike.

John F Kennedy said “nothing compares with the simple pleasure of a bike ride” and I agree with him. I ride a bike.

Because it’s fun. I ride a bike.

When I need a few things from the shops and I don’t want to drive round and round the car park. I ride a bike.

To hang with the cool kids at work in the bicycle lock up area. I ride a bike.

Raising money for MS by travelling from Sydney to the Gong. I ride a bike.

A quick trip to Bondi Beach in summertime. I ride a bike.

Shipping containers, Long bay, beaches, just the usual. I ride a bike.

I’ve mastered cleats and feel like a pro. I ride a bike.

To look great in lycra. I ride a bike.

To make new friends. I ride a bike.

I fall off. I dust myself off, and get back on. I ride a bike.

I cancelled my gym membership. I ride a bike.

I sleep better. I ride a bike.

It’s low impact on my poor old knees. I ride a bike.

Independence. Go where I want to go, when I want to go. I ride a bike.

To complete the best stage of the triathlon! I ride a bike.

Passing the boys so they are “chicked”. I ride a bike.

When people criticise the bike lanes I can tell them that I use them, and they are great. I ride a bike.

I know about butt cream and I’m not afraid to use it. I ride a bike.

Cruising in the bus lane and passing the traffic. I ride a bike.

For endless hours of shopping pleasure buying every foreseeable accessory. I ride a bike.

Mid winter rides, soaking wet and kinda cold, but still pleased with myself for getting out and doing it. I ride a bike.

To wear arm warmers. I ride a bike.

For crazy tan lines. I ride a bike.

Just taking me from A to B. I ride a bike.

 

Because I can. I ride a bike.

 

Why do you ride? Share with anyone who rides a bike….

Happy cycling! BikeGal.com

May 7, 2013 00

 We have probably all had this experience. You walk into the bike store, it’s full of male sales assistants serving male customers buying men’s bikes. And when you finally get someone’s attention for some help they talk to you like you have no idea! Okay okay, maybe I’m stereotyping and maybe this situation is changing […]

 We have probably all had this experience. You walk into the bike store, it’s full of male sales assistants serving male customers buying men’s bikes. And when you finally get someone’s attention for some help they talk to you like you have no idea!

Okay okay, maybe I’m stereotyping and maybe this situation is changing – but is it changing fast enough to keep pace with the growing number of female cyclists?

So I thought maybe it’s time to find out where Sydney’s best bike shop for female cyclists is. As voted by you!  Sydney’s female cycling sorority.

Go here to vote now http://apps.facebook.com/my-surveys/bikegal

(Yes sorry it’s via facebook – it was the easiest way…)

We are all busy girls and don’t have time to waste in useless stores. So now is your chance to have your say, and share about those fantastic stores that give great service and those that are …well.. not so great.

Recently via my facebook page I started asking about your experiences with Sydney bike shops.  And the stories came pouring in. Here are just a few of my favourites – I’ll leave it up to you to work out who wrote them and which store they are talking about!

“I am a very experienced cyclist and coach. 

Wanting to buy my first dual suspension mountain bike I went to this store some years ago. I rode a more expensive model to what I had my eye on and was promised that they would swap the double chainring for a triple.

When I went to buy the bike there were total denials. I was called a liar, bullied even though I threatened not to buy it and leave them with the $700 deposit. I was treated as if I knew nothing about bikes! They said to make the changeover would cost $1000 so I didn’t make the changeover I bought the bike and never went back there again.  

The bike is a lemon and I have spent over a $1000 to keep it running. “

Ouch! Horrible story.

“I have been riding for several years now and know a thing or two about bikes. I went to this store and was pretty much ignored by the sales staff. I waited and waited for someone to acknowledge my existence!

In the end I went up to the counter in the hope of getting some help, and even then no one approached me. After hanging around in the store for about 20 minutes, I gave up and left.

What really annoyed me, is that one of the sales staff was pretty much having a social chat with someone, as I heard snippets of the conversation as I left the store. I won’t be going back any time soon.”

Eeek! That one is even worse.

“I like to go into bike shops just to have a look around and ‘window’ shopping!  So, one Thursday night, I walked into the store. They have beautiful bikes with ‘hefty’ price tags too but the guys were so friendly and helpful. I was looking for a pair of Sunglasses at that time and they helped me out. Since then, I bought a few accessories from them and I’m still going back just to look around. They still remembered me even though I didn’t buy any significant items from them.”

Well that’s a nicer story.

“I came across this shop when I was doing training rides for the Ride to Conquer Cancer last year. They are always very helpful. They only have a small shop but I noticed that they treated everyone the same as soon as they walked in the door.

 I bought my road bike from them. They gave me good service.

They wentout their way to make sure my bike was perfect.

I fell down A LOT!!! ( ehm…cleats issues! ) So much so that I bent my back derailleur so many times and they had to keep adjusting it for me. They didn’t have to do this for me, but they did it anyway.”

And that last story is the other end of the scale.

So clearly there is are all sorts of bike stores out there, let’s find Sydney’s best stores for BikeGals.

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

April 29, 2013 00

Sorry it’s been all a bit quiet from BikeGal.com over the last week but I’ve been on holidays to Vanuatu. I had a revelation while I was on holidays… cycling = better balance. Now this may not seem like rocket science to you, but if you are like me and have never considered yourself to […]

Sorry it’s been all a bit quiet from BikeGal.com over the last week but I’ve been on holidays to Vanuatu.

I had a revelation while I was on holidays… cycling = better balance.

Now this may not seem like rocket science to you, but if you are like me and have never considered yourself to have great balance then cycling is a way to improve it.

Having cycled for a few years now fairly consistently, I was delighted to go on holidays and discover that I could attempt paddle boarding and get up first go without falling off.

Several years ago I attempted windsurfing and the experience was just awful.

Anyway, here is me (below left) about to get on the paddle board. Sadly my photographer lost interest in my experience (and probably went to have a margarita!) so there are no photos of me up on the board. But I can promise you, I got up and it was fun!

Getting onto the paddle board

My boyfriend scoffed at me when I said I wouldn’t be able to get up on the board. So yes, he was right and I was wrong. But I was still surprised at how much my balance has improved.

Have you discovered better balance with other activities thanks to cycling?

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

April 1, 2013 00

So sorry for the delay on getting this blog up – I’ve been sick…. Anyway, here it is! We are here, week 6. Well done to you for making it this far. By now if you have been trying everything in these blogs you should be ok at braking, cornering, getting out of the saddle, […]

So sorry for the delay on getting this blog up – I’ve been sick…. Anyway, here it is! We are here, week 6. Well done to you for making it this far.

By now if you have been trying everything in these blogs you should be ok at braking, cornering, getting out of the saddle, indicating and dealing with some traffic.

The last piece of the puzzle is considering where on the road to ride.

This may sound silly but it’s super important and will help with your confidence on the road while commuting by bike.

Repeat after me – I will not ride in the gutter!  You don’t need to. Legally you are allowed to own the lane. By this I mean, ride in the middle of the lane not on the far left. This means cars actually have to change lanes to go around you, instead of trying to squeeze past you.

If you ride in the gutter, you can expect cars to try and sneak past you in your lane and they will come close and probably give you a fright.

So….

Own the lane – take the whole lane. Ride in the middle of the lane. If motorists don’t like this, that is your problem. You are legally allowed to. Even better, ride with a friend and ride two abreast. Again you are allowed to do this and you will feel much safer doing so. Of course, if you are commuting on a regular cycle route, give other cyclists enough room to pass you on the right. Taking the lane also means you are out of harm’s way in terms of car doors opening on you.

Don’t run red lights. It makes you look like a doofus, it gives the rest of us a bad name and it’s dangerous. You could hit a car or a pedestrian. If you wouldn’t do it while driving, then don’t do it on a bike.

When in dedicated bike lanes, stick to the left unless you are overtaking. And when you are overtaking, it’s courteous to ring your bell or call out and let the cyclist in front of you know you are coming past them. E.g. “passing on the right”, “I’m on your right” etc.

Don’t ride on the footpath. Unless you are with a little person or the footpath is dedicated cycle paths (which happens – e.g. Victoria Road), it’s illegal to ride on the footpath. You will cause angst for pedestrians too. Not worth it.

buyingabike

Some road rules apply specifically to cyclists. Did you know you can:

  • Ride two abreast, no more than 1.5 m apart
  • Overtake on the left hand side of stopped or slow moving vehicles
  • Travel in Bus Lanes and Transit Lanes
  • Ride on the footpath if less than 12 years old
  • Ride on the footpath if you are an adult riding with, and supervising, an under 12 year old
  • Turn right from the left hand lane of a multi-lane roundabout with the proviso that you give way to traffic exiting the roundabout before you
  • Travel on road shoulders.

If you don’t believe me go http://www.bicycleinfo.nsw.gov.au/riding_safely/nsw_road_rules.html and check it out!

Congratulations on getting this far. I hope by now you are feeling more confident.

But what if you’re not?

If not, don’t fret. These things take time.  It took me much longer than six weeks to get the courage to commute to work on my bike. And if that’s you too, well so be it.

It may just mean a few more rides on quiet back streets or in a park until you get your confidence up.

Give yourself a pat on the back for giving this a go. Cycling as an adult is not the same as cycling as a kid. So well done for being brave and getting out there.

Let me know how you go!!

In the future, we will also run a special blog on cycling in cleats. Stay tuned.

Happy cycling!

BikeGal.com

 

March 22, 2013 00

Last week I had a really special night – Jono Fisher and his gang from Wake Up Sydney gave me a kindness award for being kind to women by helping them to get cycling with BikeGal.com! Here’s a link to the Q&A with me (thanks to my quick thinking boyfriend for recording it!). Wake Up […]

Last week I had a really special night – Jono Fisher and his gang from Wake Up Sydney gave me a kindness award for being kind to women by helping them to get cycling with BikeGal.com!

Here’s a link to the Q&A with me (thanks to my quick thinking boyfriend for recording it!).

Wake Up Sydney is a community of 12,000 people celebrating kindness and courage in Sydney and encouraging Sydneysiders to be kind to each other.

I spent 10 minutes on stage with the host of the event and Wake Up Sydney founder Jono Fisher talking about BikeGal.com. I really hope it inspires a few more women to give cycling a go.

On stage

The night was great. It started with a guided meditation which may sound odd, but when you have rushed there straight from work and have a million things rolling through your mind it’s not a bad way to start an event and get everyone in a good place. (Guided meditations before work meetings – wouldn’t that be cool?).

There was music performers, a great speaker called Steve Biddulph talking about his book which is all about raising girls (I’ll let you google that one).

Thanks Wake Up Sydney and thanks to City of Sydney for nominating me.

Here I am (in the middle) with my family and friends. We had a great night!

(L-R) Ginni Seton, Robyn, Chris and Rachael de Zylva, Sarah Nicita, Sarah Fernando, Mark Drinkwater

(L-R) Ginni Seton, Robyn, Chris and Rachael de Zylva, Sarah Nicita, Sarah Fernando, Mark Drinkwater