We think it’s pretty fair to say that once upon a time bike shops were a male domain. With all that bike bling they attracted the gents like moths to a flame, and rightly so. But that was then and this is now, and bike riding has become equally appealing amongst women. Over the years however, we’ve heard directly from female riders who have sometimes been reticent to enter a bike shop or ask basic questions.
Bike shops like Velo Boutique are playing a big part in shifting that attitude so that more and more women feel at ease to walk into a store, get on the saddle and take up this awesome sport.
So with Mother’s Day approaching we caught up with Craig Baldwin at Velo Boutique to find out what they’re doing to empower local women to get on board and get into cycling.
Don’t be nervous
Don’t feel intimidated about coming into a bike shop. Yeah there might be lads inside with shaved legs and calf muscles that make them look like Olympians, but everyone was a beginner once.
Women’s Specific Designs are the best bet, right?
Wrong. Well, at least, not quite right. Just because a bike is informed by women’s specific design (meaning it was developed specifically for a female form) does not mean it will suit every female cyclist. Every body is literally different and what might work perfectly for female body shape A could be entirely wrong for female body shape B.
Get Fitted Before You Buy
The Velo Boutique team is big about getting a bike that fits you, rather than trying to fit yourself around a bike. Talking to the team about any previous bike experience, the sort of riding you’d like to do, the amount of time you plan to spend riding, etc will help inform them and ensure they suggest options that are actually right for you, rather than trying to make you right for the bike!
These are simply awesome – there is no better way to get bitten by the cycling bug than to join in on some shop rides. First and foremost shop rides are social; they’re all about linking you with like-minded souls who love nothing more than heading out for a spin. They’re also a terrific way to start absorbing cycling culture – signalling, riding as a bunch, bike etiquette, getting comfortable in traffic and more; you’ll be soaking up the info like a sponge and having a ball the whole time. And don’t worry – there’s a ride for each and every level of cyclist.
Beginner Coaching Classes
Maybe you used to ride… two decades ago. Maybe you’ve never really been on a bike before. Maybe you only ever did the occasional commute on a rust bucket you found in the garage. Whatever your experience, Velo Boutique offers bike coaching classes to help you get the most out of cycling. These include everything – from how to clip in and out of cleated pedals, changing gears or stopping/starting at lights, to bike maintenance classes such as changing punctures (the right way!) and keeping a bike clean in-between bike mechanic visits. You will be a powerhouse of bike knowledge after a few sessions!
Settling into a Saddle
We really love this initiative from Velo Boutique. Finding a saddle is an individual journey and there’s just no way of guessing what is going to work. For sure there are formulae out there, but the practical reality is you’re going to find out only once your bum’s on the bike (and has been for a good several kms!). So the good folk at Velo get you off on what they hope will be the right saddle for you, but if it’s not then you can come back and change it, and change it, and change it until you find the saddle that’s right for you. And trust us – you will want to stick with it once it’s found!
So if you’re a mum keen to give bike riding a go, or if you’re looking for the ultimate Mother’s Day present, we’re pretty confident a gift at Velo Boutique will tick all the right boxes. Happy Mother’s Day!