One day I want to take on a big challenge, but I am a chicken and I hate making commitments. I don’t like pushing myself and prefer comfort zone. But this year, I said “NO MORE” and decided to do something crazy – I decided to commit to a big road bike ride.
I love the fact that there are people out there that want me to succeed and happy to help. I feel incredibly lucky that I have this incredible opportunity not only learn myself, but also share this knowledge with you. Teresa Robbins, the Director of the Venus de Miles (road ride for women), has loads of information and this week she is helping me and you to pick the right bicycle.
Purchasing a new or used bike can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips on how to make it a great experience:
Establish a relationship with your local bike dealer
Visit a few local dealers to determine which is the best fit for you. Do they answer your questions? Are they approachable? Do they provide comprehensive bike fits? Can they guide you through the purchasing process? Venus de Miles is proud to partner with local bike shops that cater and support women in the sport including the Trek Store of Highland Park, Kiddles Sports, Village Cycle Center, Wheel and Sprocket, and the Trek Bicycle Store of Madison East. Each of those stores offer a differentiated shopping experience, which is built for women of all ages and abilities. You’ll also want to see what kind of service and support is included with your bike purchase.
Picking the right kind of bike
Are you looking to ride on roads or paths? Do you need a multi-purpose bike to commute with, train, and go to the local farmer’s market? Are you more comfortable on a road bike (built to fly over pavement), mountain (off-road), or hybrid (cruising around town.)
Picking a Brand
Try a few different brands. We’re partial to the phenomenal fit of Trek Women’s bikes. I swear by my Trek Women Project One Madone, and formerly owned a Specialized Allez Vita. You’ll know what’s right for you once you take it for a spin – it might be a larger brand such as Trek Women, Giant, Specialized, Cannondale, or Felt, or a smaller more customized brand. It’s important to purchase it from a trusted source, and buy what you feel most comfortable on. Your body will thank you, and so will your heart and mind.
Determine your price point – what are you willing to pay? It’s a misnomer that specialty stores always want more money for bikes – you can often find last years’ model at a reduced price, and/or floor models. You get what you pay for – shopping at your local bike retailer will ensure that the bike you buy will be fit to your specifications, it’ll last you for years to come, you’re educated in terms of the components and features, and once you purchase it, they can continue to help you take care of it through tune-ups, and other bike services. Additionally, most shops have weekly rides and clinics, to help you build the skills and feel confident on your new ride, thus including you within their community. Buying a used bike is sort of like buying a used car – the price may be right, but make sure your mechanic looks under the hood and, that it fits you right.
Once you’ve tried out a few different bikes, check out product reviews, speak with your girlfriends about what bikes they ride, and do your research.
We are goddesses, and we want to look good while we ride. Do you love the color scheme? Does it match that new helmet you just bought?
The most important element is making sure that you feel comfortable on the bike. Through a proper bike fit, you can easily make tweaks to the stem, handle bars, etc., but you’ll want to feel comfortable on your new ride.
It was during the Greenhouse Scholars Summer Symposium in 2007, after volunteering as a moderator, that Teresa knew she wanted to do something more for the students of Greenhouse Scholars. An avid cyclist, Teresa also knew she wanted to create something to encourage women to get outside on their bikes and support a meaningful cause – Venus de Miles was born. Since its inception, Colorado’s first all-women’s road ride, which is orchestrated by and benefits Greenhouse Scholars, has raised $380,981 for the organization, and expanded to Illinois in 2012. Formerly the Senior Accountant for Greenhouse Scholars’ affiliate Greenhouse Partners, Teresa recently made the switch to the Greenhouse Scholars team to become the full-time Director of Venus de Miles. And when she’s not dreaming up the next quirky idea for Venus, she’s enjoying what inspires her most, spending time with her husbanding, Mo, and their sons, Myles and Nico.