Liv Cycling Ambassadorship

It’s halfway through the year. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?!

So much amazing stuff has happened this year and it continues to be a whirlwind. Last fall I applied to be an ambassador for Liv Cycling and was chosen to be one of many women who will be representing the largest women’s cycling brand IN THE WORLD!

It’s an incredible honor and it’s been a wonderful experience up to this point. I look forward to telling you all about it.

For those of you who don’t know, Liv is the sister brand to Giant Bicycles. Liv was created in 2008 and was the brain child of Bonnie TU. TU is a petite and highly stylish woman whose idea for creating a women’s brand stemmed from her own experience while shopping for a bike and clothing for the Tour of Taiwan. The lack of bike sizes for smaller women and comfortable clothing inspired her to get Giant on board with creating products for the women’s market.

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Bonnie TU of Liv Cycling

The very first products were co-branded with Giant’s name on them and were often shrunk down versions of some of the brand’s most popular men’s models. Giant eventually decided to go ALL IN on Liv being its own brand, wiping the slate clean and going back to the drawing board when it came to bike design, accessories, clothing, and more for women.

Liv brought in female engineers for designing the new bike models, they focused on graphics that were fun and bold, but didn’t scream “girly bike”. They dedicated countless hours to developing comfortable touch points on the bikes such as their women’s saddles. What came out of it was one hell of a line up of bikes for women to choose from.

Liv offers a full line up of kids, hybrid, city, road, cyclocross, and mountain bikes. Liv is the first women’s bike brand to launch a long travel, full suspension downhill bike which is the Hail model for 2017. An inspiring feat, as no other brand has dedicated themselves to creating such a magnificent offering to the women’s market.

The brand works closely with athletes such as Leigh Donovan, professional down hill rider and mountain bike coach, to develop their products to be best in class. They also utilize women like myself who are ambassadors of the brand, who work in the field and can give real world feedback from women we ride with to continue to improve the products coming to market.

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Up close and personal with the Liv Hail

Okay, enough of the kool-aid talk. My journey as an ambassador first started in January with our first webinar to discuss the brand history and get familiar with our responsibilities.

Each brand ambassador is provided with gear from Liv including swag for events, clothing,  and other promotional materials. We submit an event calendar for the year and our goal is to simply get more women out riding.

After each event, we report back on how things went and provide feedback on what we hear from women at our events.

Liv also offers ambassadors an opportunity to attend an ambassador camp. This year there were two camps due to the sheer number of women who are a part of the program (somewhere around 125 women).  The first camp was in California near Newbury Park, the home of Giant’s USA headquarters. Attendees had road and mountain bike riding options, as well as workshops, yoga classes, and brand seminars.

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Getting crafty with Jen Audia at the Mulberry Gap barn

The second camp location was a mountain bike specific location at Mulberry Gap, a lovely family owned get-a-way in the Appalachian mountains near Elijay, GA.

I had opted to attend the second camp as I’m getting much more into mountain biking these days, I had never been to Georgia, and I really didn’t want to sit on a plane for 4 hours!

The flight to Atlanta is a little over two hours from Milwaukee, WI. There is really no comparison to having to fly into LAX, even though ATL is the busiest hub in the nation.

My time in Elijay reminded me quite a bit of when I went to bike school for two weeks in Ashland, only much less cramped!

I stayed in a large group cabin with five other women. We had probably 20-25 women total at our camp. We spent our days attending clinics, seminars, riding some of the best mountain bike trails in the country, and bonding over our love of cycling and the Liv brand.

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Post Pinhoti re-group at the bottom of the trail with my Pique 2

I met so many incredible women, who continue to inspire me through my journey as an ambassador. They come up with so many fun and unique ideas for inspiring the women in their communities to ride!

I also have to give a huge shout out to Jen, Dorothy, Stephanie, and Liz from Liv for creating such an awesome experience for us.

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How We Liv @ Mulberry Gap Ambassador Camp 2017

Kate and her family at Mulberry Gap are also some amazing people. I can’t wait to return there for more adventuring in the future. Their hospitality is unmatched and the riding is challenging, but incredibly fun!

Liv ambassadors are offered some great purchasing opportunities for bikes. We are encouraged to get the latest and greatest, so we can speak to the quality of the bikes.

I personally decided to purchase not one, but TWO new Liv bikes. Fitchburg Cycles is the shop I work through as an ambassador, as they are a Liv dealer. Through the shop I landed on the Liv Avail Advanced Pro 1. A full carbon road bike with tubeless setup carbon wheels and Shimano Ultegra components.

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My beloved Avail Advanced Pro 1

When I discovered that Mulberry Gap would be an option for attending Liv’s annual ambassador camp, I also jumped at the chance to order the Liv Pique 2 full suspension mountain bike.

It may be the kool-aid talking, but they are two of the best riding bikes I have ever owned and I’ve owned A LOT of bikes.

Out of the box they were both extremely comfortable. The only change I made to the Avail was swapping out the saddle, as I’m very particular about my saddle choice. The bike feels fast and stable at the same time. It’s an endurance road bike, so it’s great for spending all day in the saddle or for someone who may not want quite as an aggressive position on a road bike.

The Pique 2 took some dialing in as I had never owned a full suspension bike before. It comes with a dropper seat post, which is a welcomed addition to my bike. It makes clearing obstacles a lot more comfortable! I eventually found that I needed to set the rear shock at the stiffest setting and then dial in the pressure and rebound to suite my needs.

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A trail with a view! Getting ready to descend the Pinhoti with the Pique 2

I’m used to riding a plus sided bike with no suspension, so I like a little more stiffness in the rear end, but like the forgiving nature of full suspension. It climbs incredibly well and I haven’t changed much parts wise on it with the exception of the rear tire, which I opted for a slightly wider 2.4″ tire as opposed to the 2.25″ tire that came on the bike. I like wider tires for the extra grip on some of the loose stuff. I also opted to put my favorite ESI silicone grips on as I don’t really like plastic/rubbery lock on grips.

The saddle is incredibly comfortable on the Pique and I tend to forget it’s even there. The SLX drivetrain performs flawlessly and I’ve never come to wish I had more gears on the 1×11 setup.

When women ask me how/why I am a Liv ambassador I often reply that I wouldn’t represent a brand I didn’t believe in and if the products sucked, I wouldn’t want to be a part of what they are doing. Good news, the products kick ass and I’m proud to be riding their stuff!

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Liv Cycling Social @ Fitchburg Cycles

My ambassadorship is no where near over yet for the year. I have some really wonderful plans for events coming down the pipeline.

Sunday June 25th is a brunch ride to Paoli with a coffee stop at True Coffee roasters leaving from Fitchburg Cycles at 10am.

Sunday July 9th is a my Functional Fitness for Cyclists clinic at Cross Fit Big Dane- currently full, but e-mail info@spokehaven.com if you are interested in attending!

August will most likely be a fun Tour de Breweries ride featuring some awesome local breweries!

September will be an in shop maintenance clinic at Fitchburg Cycles

October will most likely be the last event which is kind of a toss up, but a costume ride or bike camping outing isn’t out of the question. I’ll have to see what options folks would be interested in.

All upcoming events will be posted at fitchburgcycles.com and facebook.com/fitchburgcycleswi not to mention the Spoke Haven Facebook page!

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CycloFemme Madison 2017

 

image-6ace2acd09a09d9311152fb98727c511-defaultJoin Liv Cycling, Spoke Haven, Fitchburg Cycles and other area cycling groups for a special ride on Mother’s Day Weekend.

We’re offering up two route options this year. A long and a short. The long will include a ride around Lake Monona, then off to the Cap City Trail for roughly 30 beautiful miles of Madison scenery.

The short route will be around Lake Monona. Both rides will start and end at Olin Park.

The short ride will be casually paced and great for beginners and families.(10-12 mph)

The long ride option will be a little faster paced and great for more intermediate to advanced riders. (15-17 mph)

We’ll have some pre-ride nutrition and hydration available. For the long ride, we’ll have an opportunity have a restroom/water stop if it is needed at Fitchburg Cycles.

Long route riders should be ready to leave Olin Park at 10am.
Short route riders should be ready to leave Olin Park at 11am.

We’ll do a post ride stretching/yoga session after the ride, so please bring a mat, towel, or blanket if you’d like to participate.

RSVP online: https://www.facebook.com/events/1271042409669774/

Fitchburg Cycles Partners with Spoke Haven Cycling Club

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We are super excited to announce Fitchburg Cycles as a new club supporter. The shop is providing us with a start/end location for rides twice a month as well as in store discounts for club members. Fitchburg Cycles is also lending the club space for future workshops and clinics.

Owner Edwin Benet has spent his life in the cycling industry and works to create a welcoming space for all who want to ride. He, along with his wife and kids, opened the shop nearly three years ago and aimed to make the space warm and inviting. With its bright green walls, handmade wooden displays, and large bike themed  paintings (all created by his wife Mary Benet Treleven) the space is unlike any other shop in the area. Customers are offered free coffee, tea, or hot chocolate while they browse or wait for service repairs. Not to mention there’s always free treats for humans and pets alike at the front counter.

Fitchburg Cycles carries bikes from brands Giant, Liv, Momentum, Linus, Cannondale, and Borealis. The Liv brand is a dedicated women’s line of bicycles from the parent company, Giant bicycles. One of the largest and most revered women’s bike brands in the world.

Accessory lines from Pearl Izumi, Bell, Giro, Cat Eye, Topeak, Continental, Yakima, Thule, Saris, Brooks, Light & Motion, Knog, Blackburn, kryptonite, GU, Tifosi, Feedback Sports, Park Tool, Fizik, and Selle Royale offer a range of products that are well known by customers and trusted by Edwin and his staff alike. Benet stresses the importance of carrying products that are made well, have a good reputation, and he refuses to carry brands or products that he himself wouldn’t use.

We look forward to calling Fitchburg Cycles our home shop for the 2016 season! A huge thanks goes out to everyone at Fitchburg Cycles for opening their doors to us and supporting women’s cycling.

For more information on rides, please check our ride info page.

*full disclosure: club manager Cassandra works for the shop. She does not, however have any financial gain by promoting the shop or its products and services.

Wisconsin Bike Summit 2016

The Wisconsin Bicycle Federation is hosting the Wisconsin Bike Summit on Saturday, May 21st 2016. The Summit is being held at UW-LaCrosse in cooperation with the Midwest Active Transportation Conference (taking place May 20th).

Details on presenters and panels to be announced at a later time. Please check the Wisconsin Bike Fed website (www.bfw.org) or Facebook page for more details.

Please click here for information on where to sign up to attend.

 

2016 Here We Come!

Hi All! Cassandra checking in again. I hope you all noticed we’ve updated the website. We have a brand new layout that is mobile friendly (we’re all carrying tiny computers in our pockets-weird).

We’ve also changed the focus of the site to reflect what is going on with the Spoke Haven Cycling Club. We have ride info as well as information on how to join our wonderful club.

We’re super excited to announce that we’ll be partnering with Erik’s Bike Shop on Madison’s West Side to provide a meeting site for a WEEKLY, yes…you read that correctly, road ride! No more switching off Thursdays, we are are going to ride every Thursday 🙂

Partering with Erik’s will allow us to offer plenty of free parking, bathrooms, a chance to get any quick mechanicals checked out, free air for tires, and a place to fill your water bottles. Not to mention they have enough bike gear to supply an army inside the store. With that we’ll also be able to take advantage of a 10% discount in the store. It’s a win for the club and since I work there it also allows me to work with our management team to allow me to have time to ride my bike, instead of just talking about bikes all day.

We will of course still offer our monthly TACO TUESDAY ride of awesomeness…and tacos. The details on starting locations will be announced closer to when the rides start. We are going to shoot for May and hope for the best riding weather possible. Winter was pretty short and sweet this year, unless we get the dreaded April blizzard. It is Wisconsin and all!

CycloFemme is on the books for this year as well. We will be doing a more toned down version of it as we have something cooking for a larger women’s ride/event in coordination with Wisconsin Bike Week. We’ll be partnering with the Wisconsin Bike Fed for that one and hopefully it will be even bigger and better than last year’s CycloFemme event was.

Spoke Haven will once again have a team for Bike MS this year. We had so much fun as a group last year that we just couldn’t say “no”to the chance to participate. If you want to join our team there is already an option to do so. You just need to search for Spoke Haven in the team box during sign up.

We’ll most likely have some ladies participating in Bike for Boys & Girls Club as well as the Madison Honor Ride, so keep an eye out for Spoke Haven team opportunities for those events.

I’m making it a personal goal to update the blog and website more frequently. It has been difficult to find time to do it all. Much of my winter was spent re-discovering my love of snowboarding. I’ve also been doing quite a few home projects, so it can be tough to muster up extra energy to write an in depth review on cycling gear after all of that.

Spring is just around the corner though and I will see to it that we keep things lively on here. I have some write ups on fatbikes, water bottles, and some other gear that are in the early stages. Along those lines we have been toying with the idea of doing some video content as it can be a lot easier to spout off thoughts on items to a camera than it is to have to type, edit, type, re-edit, post, etc. We will see. I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself.

Anyway…thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you on the road!