Sorry, this entry doesn't involve me dressed in drag and infiltrating Ladies Night at a local watering hole to find out what women really think about...it might be more interesting if it did.
Last night, we hosted Trek's Women's Specific Design group's Ross Rushin for an event at our Brentwood store all about cycling and women (More info: http://www.fitforwomentour.com/). It was truly a success, with 35 women in attendance learning all sorts of great things about what makes women's bikes special, how to fix a flat tire, and how to prepare for their next big ride. I think everyone walked away with something they learned, yes, including me.
1. I learned how to fix a flat tire without touching the chain! After fixing literally tens of thousands of flat tires, I'd always done the road-side repair while grabbing the chain to get the wheel out of the frame and while putting it back in. Ross showed me that it didn't have to be so - something I'll add to every flat-changing clinic from now forward.
2. I learned that it's not a good idea to try out that new jersey or new pair of shorts for the first time during a big event. While that really sounds like common sense...it obviously wasn't for me. Shorts that don't fit the way you think they did or a jersey that rubs you funny can turn a great ride into a bad one in a hurry.
3. Not really something I learned - but something I was reminded of: There are enough women out there who can out-ride me to keep me humble for a long time! I was amazed at the talent, ability and dedication of the riders who gathered at our event. From the occasional but passionate hybrid riders to weekend-warrior mountain bikers, to accomplished road-racers and Ironman-length triathletes - they were all excited about their sport and share a level of dedication that we don't always see in the guys who seem to be a little more common in a bike shop. (Maybe that's because guys are always worried about looking "cool").
Over half of the customers of our stores are women - yet many bike shops don't acknowledge that and actually try to accommodate and cater to them. That is why we host events like this one and why Trek travels around the country to facilitate them. Women are still the silent and sometimes ignored majority in bike shops and we want them to know that they are always welcome in our stores, there is no such thing as a stupid question, and that they can be comfortable on their bikes too.
If you missed our event, keep an eye on our website at bikepedlar.com - we'll always publicize it there. If you don't live in Middle Tennessee, but want to see if there's an event happening near you, Trek's WSD tour schedule for the entire United States is posted at http://www.fitforwomentour.com/. They've really taken the ball and run with it when it comes to creating products specifically for women and teaching them everything they need to know to enjoy our great sport.
Thanks for reading - now get out and ride!