Ladies Night @ Machinery Row!

machineryrowladiesnight

We’re super excited about this event Machinery Row is putting on! It’s been said that women and minorities alike are looked over greatly in the cycling industsry. Numerous studies have shown that both groups will be the largest population of consumers in the next generation. Most women make the major financial decions in their households, so opening up this world to them will show we support them and appreciate their hard earned dough.

Our goal is to help facilitate more events like this and reach out to women who have been put off previously by their local bike shop experience.

Two thumbs up to Machinery Row for reaching out to the ladies and we can’t wait to enjoy this wonderful night!

Guest Blog:On the Road from Newbie to Roadie

Our good friend Andrea decided to share her experience of what was like to transition from commuter to roadie. Before she became such a road pro, she actually had to work on becoming a commuter first. You can read that story HERE. Thanks for sharing your story with us Andrea!
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I used to find road bikes intimidating. How could I possibly balance on those skinny tires? Would I have to wear spandex? Won’t that tiny saddle hurt my butt? What are “the drops” anyway?

After a few months of commuting on my heavy, old mountain bike I started to feel more confident on the road. I stopped holding on my breaks while going downhill and started to have a greater awareness and comfort for riding with traffic. I decided I was ready for the skinny tires.

The commuting machine.
The commuting machine.

On my first outing on my road bike, I noticed the difference in balancing on the tires, but it was easier than I thought. There’s a short, steep hill on my way to work and when I lifted out of the saddle to climb, I noticed that I had to lean more forward than on my mountain bike.

At first, I rode with Yoga pants, but I quickly realized what all the hype about wearing a Chamois was for. Overall,  firm saddle and all, I was surprised at how comfortable the road bike felt. The first couple of outings, my wrists were a bit sore, but they grew stronger over time.

Of course, the biggest difference between my road bike and my mountain bike is the speed. When I started riding to work on my road bike, I trimmed my commute time from 45 to 40 minutes. I feel like it’s easier to get power while climbing hills. Now when I ride with friends and family, I can keep up with the pack. I’ve added a bit of spandex to my wardrobe, but don’t wear it exclusively.

New road ride!
New road ride!

For me, becoming a cyclist has been a series of small steps. First, I wanted to be able to commute to work and back and not die. Then, I wanted to tackle a 25-mile ride, then a 50-mile ride. Next year I hope to train for a full century…and learn how to ride with clip-less pedals, which look pretty intimidating at the moment.

Choose to Commute!

We’re super excited to finally spread the word about this event! COMMUTE is a four part series about what? Bicycle commuting of course!

The series is being presented by Redamte & 20by2020. Community partners include Sustain Dane, the Wisconsin Bike Fed, Edgewood College, Bicycle Benefits, Machinery Row, and Saris Cycling Group.

Each part of the series will have a different topic for discussion. The dates and themes are as follows:

Feb 25 // Why Commute?
6pm at Redamte (449 State St // Click for map)
Join us at Redamte for a panel discussion detailing the health, economic, environmental, and social benefits to cycling.

Mar 4 // Gearing Up!
6pm at Machinery Row (601 Williamson Street // Click for map)
Join our experts at Machinery Row Bicycles on John Nolan Drive as they showcase the various products for you and your bicycle that will help ensure a comfortable and convenient commute. Bring your bicycle to have it checked out by Machinery Row’s mechanics!

Mar 11 // Safety First
6pm at Redamte
Learn the rules of the road and receive a free helmet fitting and light pack! Join our Q&A Session to answer any questions you have to ensure a safe and stress free commute on Madison roads and paths!

Mar 18 // Group Ride
Departing at Redamte at 6pm
The best way to learn how to commute? Get on your bike and ride! Join us for what we hope will be a monthly ride through Madison and enjoy the views as you ride with other new commuters and veterans alike! Join us after the ride for free refreshments at Redamte!

A little birdie told us there will be some giveaways from Planet Bike, Bicycle Benefits, 20by2020, Saris, and more! That may be subject to change, but we’ll be sure to report the details as we receive them.

Anyone interested in attending the event should RSVP on the website: www.choosetocommute.org The site was recently launched so more information on presenters, etc. will be updated as the details get ironed out.

We’re super excited and plan on being at each event taking photos and actively participating with the folks who come out to the event. Cassandra is actually assisting in planning the event on behalf of 20by2020, so we of course will have the most up to date info on the event!

Talking About Winter Commuting- Video

Here’s a short video of myself talking about riding in snowy/icy conditions. My regular commute one way is 5miles. My Surly has Vittoria Randonneur Hyper (700x38c I believe) tires on it currently, which have a really smooth tread. They were fine getting me through the conditions we had today for the most part, but I had to ride pretty slow. I also had to get off my bike and walk it over one of the commuter bridges that passes over the freeway.

I’m hopping once the holidays are over I can score a set of studded tires to try out and have some cheapish fenders from PDW on the way. I actually loath full length fenders. They weigh too much and I have toe overlap as it is, so I like the clip on route all the way. Maybe you feel differently…that’s just my opinion.

I’ve been continually experimenting with wearing different types of clothing for riding. Today I chose regular skinny jeans, a t-shirt with a tank top under, a Mountain Hardwear Butter hoodie/pullover thing, wool socks, DZR shoes (there will definitely be a write up on those), a Patagonia down jacket, wool hat, and actual winter ski gloves. The outfit worked alright. I still find it hard to ride in jeans in general rather than tights or athletic pants.

The trend is that I’m much warmer up top, sometimes too warm, than I am below. My legs have definitely suffered from the lack of insulation. I need to try some different things out on that front.

I’ll probably experiment with wearing Ski goggles as my Sunglasses are too dark most mornings and evenings on my way home. I actually wore a pair of safety glasses from work for the beginning of my ride, but they fogged up and froze over after a bit.

The lighting on my bike was pretty good, but I feel since I wore regular clothes my actual body didn’t have much reflective gear on it and I like to be seen, so I’ll probably include my riding vest back into my clothing choices in the future.

Overall the past couple days of riding has been awesome. I’m practically alone in the morning on the bike path which makes me both happy and sad at the same time. More people should ride when it’s cold! It’s FUN!

Like I said in the video, I’m going to try and keep them coming. I really enjoy watching vlogs and think they are more interesting than reading a bunch of articles. I’m hoping to do some coverage on Cross Nationals and some other fun bike events coming up here in the next few months.

I’m in desperate need of a video quality SD card for my DSLR as I’ve been just rocking the iPhone as a camera. It’s alright, but I want to produce some better footage. I have access to a Contour and Go Pro through work that I may play around with. Maybe we can write up a couple reviews on those if anyone is interested.

Stay tuned and please e-mail, comment on our Facebook (facebook.com/spokehaven), and LIKE US on Facebook. We usually update it with more stuff throughout the day as it’s easy to do with a phone and an internet connection.

Thanks guys!

-Cassandra