‘One for the Girls!’ – Falling Short

Devoted to helping female customers make the most of winter riding, the first in the series of women specific shopping events was held last night at Evans Cycles’ central London Store on Mortimer Street.

Arriving promptly at 6pm in the hope of gaining a free goody-bag packed with cycling essentials, I was greeted by 50 other girls with the same intention – the last bag handed to the girl in front of me – bugger, this event is popular! It wasn’t the end of the world though. As my Brompton was whisked from me to be stored safely in the workshop, a glass of Prosecco filled my now empty hand as I was guided through the store to join the introduction.

Aiming to cater for new and experienced riders alike, the ‘One for the Girls!’ events held across the country over the coming month, will provide women with a private shopping and Q&A session.

Michelle Arthurs, Social Media Specialist at Evans Cycles, explains “We’ve seen a sharp rise in the number of women buying bikes and we are really excited to see so many more women out cycling.”

One for the Girls

One for theGirls! product demo

“We know that British Cycling are doing a lot to encourage female participation in the sport, and we are keen to do everything we can to cater for this growing audience.”

A cyclist herself, Michelle says:

“I’m aware that there are times when the sport can seem very male dominated, these events are a chance for women who ride to get together, meet each other, and even plan rides if they want to. We hosted a similar series of One for the Girls events over the summer in London, Cardiff and Manchester, and they were a great success – if these go well, we would like to look at rolling them out to more stores.”

I got chatting to a couple of other ladies on arrival, one of whom had only started cycling 3 weeks prior after purchasing a hybrid following a brief stint living in cycling-fuelled Finland and keen to ask some questions about her new hobby. Whilst another, a keen road cyclist looked for a bargain, wishing to use her 20% off accessories offer for the night.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hear much of the intro or the first talk – crammed into one of the smallest parts of this very large store, the small voice of the manager was swallowed by those who’d gathered around her to absorb her knowledge on performance wear.

Everyone else busy with the talk or shopping, I decided to grab another member of staff and ask what women’s specific road bikes they had in store. Not once, but twice I was told to ‘look online’ in answer to my queries… I can’t tell you how much this frustrates me considering I was stood in front of the sales person, in the store!

Shopping for bikes is never easy for me, especially at a pint sized 5’2”. However, I was hoping this event would prove that experience different. I proceeded to ask the sales guy to show me what bikes I could possibly try for size that evening, coming up short (no pun intended) with x1 carbon frame (of a low end brand and entry model) in a suitable size. ‘You could try the larger size’ he claims… ‘erm, somehow I think I’d be wasting my time’ I responded, a little miffed at the lack of knowledge. Although, to be fair, he was only doing the best he could in light of the lack of products to play with. I guess I’ll just have to ‘look online’.

Different definition to 'stacking it!'

Different definition to ‘stacking it!’

On paper, what sounds like a great event and clearly draws the crowds, fell short in a number of places for me. Maybe I had high expectations, but after chatting to some other attendees I wasn’t alone.

The women’s bikes were packed tight, were limited in brand and size (apparently Evans only stock ‘popular’ brands – although I’m not sure I’d count Jamis as one of those, yet that was the only brand available in my size that evening). They weren’t easily accessible to look at (chained to the stand), to find out more about or even try.

Their women’s specific brand section was small in comparison to the store (let’s say 1/10th) and there was no effort to demonstrate further the products. I was baffled as to why they hadn’t ordered in additional stock or brands for the evening; after all, this was a women’s specific shopping event.

The product talk was orientated at the performance cyclist, and it appeared to be the only talk of its kind at the very start of the evening. There also didn’t seem to be much opportunity seized on the community aspect of 60+ female cyclists gathered in one central place.

I’m a tough customer, I know that – I know what I want, and I know my size, but I was also expecting a lot more of a women’s specific cyling event. However, as Michelle had earlier pointed out, this is a step in the right direction, and hopefully they can only get better.

One for the Girls! will be at the following stores over the next coming weeks – let us know how you get on if you attend:

Guildford, Monday 18th, 6-8pm
Wimbledon, Tuesday 19th, 6-8pm
Reading, Wednesday 20th, 6-8pm
Trafford, Thursday 21st, 6-8pm

 

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

‘One for the Girls’ shopping nights at Evans Cycles

One for the Girls is back at Evans Cycles after a successful launch earlier this year.

The ladies shopping evening provides us girls an excuse to go wild in-store, and with the encouragement of 20% off clothing and accessories and 10% off bikes on the night, we can’t really refuse.

Womens-Event-Landing-Page-Sign-UpAnd that’s not all. With a free goody bag on offer to the first 50 through the door at each event, sparking wine and snacks (well, it is the off season), and invaluable advice on hand from store mechanics and staff, it’s set to be a fantastic and insightful evening with fellow female cyclists.

Places are limited, so be sure to get your name down to one of the following events fast:

Mortimer Street, London, on Monday 18th November, 6-8pm
Guildford, on Monday 18th November, 6-8pm
Wimbledon, on Tuesday 19th November, 6-8pm
Reading, on Wednesday 20th November, 6-8pm
Manchester Trafford, Thursday 21st November, 6-8pm

I’m registered for the Mortimer Street event. Fingers crossed I’ll see you there, credit card in hand!

 

Hayley Davies

Hayley Davies

Writer

Riding since Feb 2011 Hayley is a 30 year old female who loves adventures. If she’s not on one of her many bikes or in the water on a bodyboard/surfboard, then Hayley is probably out looking for something new to keep the adrenaline pumping!
Website: www.hjdonline.co.uk

Stranger in the Night – Dipping a Toe into the Dark

Stranger in the night – dipping a toe into the dark

There’s a lot of buzz about night riding at the minute – what with the massive national increase in cycling since the summer of Wiggo and the Olympics, participation has skyrocketed both on and off road. With our balmy, breezy summer evenings, cycling through August, September and even October is perfectly do-able, but the switch to Greenwich Mean Time rather spoils the party unless you’re somewhere lit. That’s where quality lights come in – but quality can be pretty pricey. If you’ve never done it before, how are you going to know whether it works for you without taking a punt on a bunch of expensive kit. What you need is an understanding shop and an agreeable light manufacturer.

Luckily for me, I live not too far from such a shop. Run And Ride at Hednesford are literally right on the doorstep of Cannock Chase, which gives them access to miles of trails, and they took it upon themselves to hook up with Exposure Lights to put on a tryout evening – the incredibly accommodating Exposure sent along a massive crate of their finest off road light sets, and Run And Ride invited the world to pop up to Cannock one chilly November evening, where they would strap on some serious lighting kit and lead you on a night foray.

I chucked the bike in the back and packed some cycling kit in the car that morning, and headed straight up there after work. Even early on there was a decent turnout, and it was simplicity itself to get signed up. As a nightriding newbie, I put myself at their mercy as to what to try out, and was both startled and pleased  to be given a Six Pack to try, a self-contained handlebar mounted light that lit up the trail not unlike a police helicopter search light. I was impressed.

Once everyone was sorted, we were split into fast and steady groups and set out for a trawl around the Chase. Having not ridden off road at night before, it was a fascinating experience – the nature of the visibility makes you hyper-focused on the spread of light before you, and it all seems much, much  quicker, the flickering of shadows on uneven ground keeping you on your toes the whole time. I loved it – I can definitely do the winter cycling thing, which has opened up another six months of riding for me. Happy days.

Six Pack is an incredible bit of kit – a single unit with the battery included, on full power it’ll kick out 1800 lumens for about three hours, with medium (up to 10 hours), low (up to 24 hours) and flash settings, the indicator on the back will change colour to indicate the remaining charge, and it’ll drop itself down through the modes as it reaches the end of the battery to make sure there’s always a bit of get-you-home light in there. Riding with the Six Pack alone was great on straight or flowing tracks, with the beam plenty wide for most occasions, but when we got into the nadgery stuff, very tight and twisty, I found myself turning into corners blind, my eyes tracking the path round the next corner before I needed to turn the bars. If you only ever rode on fast, open trails, the Six Pack would be great on its own, but if you’re likely to face any tighter turns, I think you’d have to go for a helmet-mounted light as well.

I learned a lot that night – I had a great 12 mile ride out on a Thursday evening, and I found out that riding needn’t stop because the light goes. I even found a great new shop – it must have taken a lot of time and effort to organise, and thankfully they had a good turnout to reward their efforts. The staff were friendly  and approachable and incredibly helpful (one poor chap in front of me had his chain snap when he got out of the saddle at speed, resulting in a big swap one way, then a big swap the other way, ending in an oddly graceful flying W into the ferns – thankfully he was fine and one of the Run And Ride crew had the chain back together, (oooo, I’m going to say about 90 seconds after the crash happened, impressive stuff), and there was no hint of a hard sell afterwards, just good banter and useful advice. There’s a reason why people are both proud and protective of their local bike shop – that’s another thing I learned, too.

 

Massive thanks to Run And Ride and Exposure Lights for a great evening and an extra six months riding a year!

www.gorunandride.co.uk

www.exposurelights.com

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What’s in a team name?

Team IG-Sigma Sport Presentation 2012 - Image ©Copyright Team IG-Sigma Sport

Team Sigmasport-Specialized of 2011 has become Team IG-Sigmasport of 2012, to most this is a name change and not much else but in reality it’s a lot more than that, it’s a new direction and a great new opportunity but it’s also a great reflection on the direction cycling is taking in the UK at the moment.

The last two years has seen a lot of development within the Sigmasport-Specialized team and it’s been great to be part of it. Since I joined the team for the 2010 season we have gone onto become UCI registered, take in the Tour of Britain, Tour Series, Premier Calendars, stood on national podiums and enhanced our reputation across the water in Europe competing in France, Belgium and Holland. The team’s development has mirrored that of the flagship store of Sigmasport down in Kingston Upon Themes, which now operates out a grand new building and feeds the ever growing appetite of a new breed of cyclists.

It’s been exciting to be involved with the development, as a fan of the sport you see us riding around criterium’s or plugging through road races, but it’s not all about the racing. Spending time with sponsors and promoting events and products is just as much part of the job now. As interest in the sport has grown, so has the responsibility to be accessible and open to your own sponsors and the public who want to become involved at events throughout the year.

So now moving into 2012 the team has taken a new step, another stage in its development. IG Markets have come on board as title sponsor and our role as riders has grown even more diverse and important.  The first month of the season has seen me standing on the rooftop of IG Markets in Central London for a photoshoot, heading fourteen hours across the world to Singapore for a Criterium, doing laps of Manchester Velodrome with a camera attached to the bike and having a shiny launch of new kit and products in the big smoke of London. Of course there’s been some bike racing too, that is after all the ‘day job’, in fact it’s been a strong start for the team in its new guise with five race wins already under the belt.

It’s race wins that make a successful team but with cycling’s new corporate popularity and with more and more of the wider public choosing to watch and become involved in the sport it’s key to be open and accessible to develop that ‘ownership’ vibe so people in the offices of IG Markets of whoever your sponsor may be can relate to you and truly feel part of the team and journey.

After stepping off the plane in Singapore and having some rest we were taken to meet some of the IG Markets employees of the Singapore office, while they enjoyed meeting the faces behind the jersey’s they see and support, it was great for us as riders to meet people that follow you from half way across the globe. They may follow us through social media or websites but now they have a face to put to the image and report too, it was great to develop that link with them.

It’s great that cycling while increasing in popularity and demand does keep this accessibility. So a team name for us this season is much more than just a shuffling of the title, it’s an opportunity to push the team in new places and develop the connection the public and sponsors have with the team both at events and away from them. It give’s everyone a slice of the action!

 

You can see Team IG-Sigmasport at all of Britain’s top races this season and follow them through both Twitter and Facebook. You can now also log into the riders training and race information through the Strava website and find out more details on the team’s own website.  Now you can’t get anymore helpful than that!

Minty
 
 
 
 

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