30 Days of Biking Day 3: What Women Really Want

30 Days of Biking Day 3: What Women Really Want
Women's Ride, courtesy of Higher Gear


Easy enough.  Now on to my Day 3 ride report...

A little more commentary?  Well, alright, you've twisted my arm.

Women cyclists crave knowledge.  They want to know where to ride, who to ride with, and how to ride safely.  They would like to know more about bike selection, proper bike fit, and basic bike maintenance.  They are interested in proper nutrition, as well as physical conditioning and avoiding injury.  They might even appreciate instruction in advanced bicycle handling skills and racing techniques.

You've come a long way, baby and the male-dominated world of bicycling is finally starting to notice you (and not just because you look good in Lycra).

It should come as a surprise to no one that women account for half of the population and can comprise half the participants in the activity of bicycling.  Strangely, it has come as a surprise to many "old school" bike shops that selling to female cyclists requires a modified customer service approach.

From the greeting at the door to the layout of the merchandise, women have expectations for each shopping experience they choose to participate in.  Smart retailers recognize this and work to create an environment more conducive to women's shopping needs.  Over the past five or so years, I've noticed a marked improvement across the board in nearly every local bike shop.

But what about a woman's need for more knowledge of the ins and outs of the activity of bicycling?

Beginners in every activity require an "Insert Subject Name Here" 101 course.  Novices and intermediate cyclists appreciate a little more depth while enthusiasts still require advanced tips from experienced experts.

It is for this very reason that Higher Gear is offering its 2012 Women's Cycling Clinic at Highland Park High School on Sunday, April 22nd from 9am to 3pm.

Topics for the day include bike maintenance, bicycle handling skills, riding in a paceline, and how to stay injury free on and off the bike.  The $75 fee includes lunch, a goodie bag, a Peace Cord bracelet, and a donation to the Highland Park High School Cycling Club.

I had a great conversation about this upcoming event with Beccy Sullivan, one of the four partners in Higher Gear.  She and Sylvie Legere, together with their husbands, have assembled an impressive team of bicycling professionals which includes several women cyclists.

Beccy and I talked about women's dominance in indoor cycling classes and the value of the high-intensity cardio workout that spinning offers.  We lamented the fact that many women have never taken their fitness outdoors to enjoy the full sensory experience that bicycling provides.  While many reasons exist for remaining inside - convenience, time-constraints, consistency, and personal safety - we both felt that one can never simulate the experience of the wind, hills, and changing terrain while stuck on a stationary bike in a stuffy room.  Cycling has to be experienced outside to be fully appreciated.

Even on a day like yesterday.

Despite a forecast of 70-degrees and sunny skies, once again our great prognosticators failed to interpret the data correctly.  I zipped up my wind breaker and rode the nine miles from Higher Gear in Wilmette to their Highland Park location.  The cold wind off Lake Michigan gusted up to 20mph as I headed north on the Green Bay Trail.  It cut right through my jacket and loose-fitting technical t-shirt and chilled me to the bone.  70?  I was lucky if it hit the upper 50s and it felt a lot colder with that wind chill.

Still, it was great to be out of the car and on the bike.  The drive along Sheridan Road between the two stores usually takes me 25 minutes, so an extra 20 minutes or so each way to arrive by bike was no big deal.  I received an hour and a half of bicycling while only using up 40 minutes of my free time.  I also saved a gallon of gas on the round trip ride.  Not bad for the 3rd day of 30 Days of Biking.

Keep riding and be safe!


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  • Thanks for sharing. I've been wanting to get more into biking (maybe even racing, eek!) for a while now, but I have no idea where to start. I might attend this clinic.

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