Bespoke Ladies Night with Chris Garrison

What's it all about?

Women all over the world experience many of the same issues while riding a bike. Chris's FREE talk at Bespoke will cover the reasons why skeletal anatomical differences between men and women cause different issues when it comes to swinging leg over saddle. Gain insight into the importance of making a bike fit your anatomy, and how saddles are the heart and soul of any bike fit. You'll learn Chris's 'saddle comfort equation', and leave prepared to resolve common issues that women experience while riding.

When you sign up for the event you are in with a chance to win a FREE bike fit, worth £200.00. Attendees will get 10% off any bike fit services booked on the night.

Our fitter Ben Hallam has noticed an upsurge in the number of women's bike fits over the last few years. "We've certainly been doing more and more women's fits since Bespoke started. In the last couple of years there have definitely been more women getting fitted. We've fitted a lot of women looking to improve both their comfort and performance with sportives as their focus", says Ben. "The explosion of triathlon has also meant a huge increase in women looking to us to help increase their times with the correct position on the bike."

We're keen to prove to people, men and women, the true value of getting a proper bike fit. Chris's talk will help with all kinds of issues that tie in with fitting. We're really happy to have her join us for the night with her wealth of experience.

We caught up with Chris and quizzed her about the night and all things bike.

How many of these events have you done?

Wow. A tough question right from the gun! I'm not entirely sure, to be honest. I've been doing them for 10 years now, so if I made a guess I'd say at least a few hundred across 3 countries.

How did you get into doing this?

In 2004 I was taking a year off after leaving Wall Street, and at the time was in the UK visiting friends when I got a phone call from someone at Trek. She had tracked me down through Keith Bontrager, as I used to be his mechanic at 24 hour races. Trek was hiring for a new program they were starting, which was a demo team for women, splitting women's bikes from the mainline demo program that had been around a while. I was the first one hired for the role, which consisted of driving all over North America with a trailer full of bikes, putting butts on saddles and conducting Ladies Night events for retailers.

What kind of reactions have you had in the past?

One of the most satisfying elements of my job is the response from the women, and men, that come to a Ladies Night event. What's clear from doing these for so long is that women everywhere have the same issues when it comes to riding, which proves out all of the research we've done at Trek to create bikes for women. Yet, despite the commonality of these issues, women rarely feel like they have an adequate resource to help them understand what it is that they are experiencing when they ride, or how to resolve things that cause pain, or other things like overcoming the fear of changing to clipless pedals. I've enjoyed every minute of helping people become more educated cyclists by providing answers and 'Ah ha!' moments for them.

How would you describe the usual audience? Very tech or just regular folks? Will the evening be applicable to new cyclists?

The audience usually contains a bit of everything, from people who are seasoned cyclists, those just getting started, some who haven't ridden since they were kids, and everything in between. Regardless of someone's ability level or experience, the information I pass along works for everyone. Even the most experienced riders can better understand their position on the bike, and new cyclists will learn what sorts of physical red flags appear due to their position not being what their body needs. The only technical jargon comes in the form of anatomical terms, including the word 'pubic'. Let's just get that one out of the way so it's not so awkward.

It seems like women's cycling is growing exponentially right now. What do you think the reasons are for this? Or do you think it's just that the media are picking up more on women's cycling?

Those of us on the industry side know that women represent the fastest growing segment of the bike industry. The reasons for this are varied. Some can be attributed to the success of the 2012 Olympics, some to events such as Breeze rides and other women-only rides, some to bike manufacturers waking up to the fact that women have different needs from their equipment, and some that we don't really know. We use the running industry as a leading indicator for what's happening in cycling, as there's a bit of crossover. The grown in the women's running market has led big companies such as Nike and Under Armour to completely change the way they present their products to the public, and it's examples such as this that we see happening in the bike industry, as well.

Regardless of the reasons, having more women on bikes will have a knock-on effect for other important things because there will be more people with a voice for improved infrastructure, better routes to schools, and more legislation to protect cyclists on the roads. Having more women on bikes will lead to healthier families, which will alleviate the burden on the NHS. It's not that men don't contribute to these things. They absolutely do. But the industry, and all of the social issues surrounding cycling, can't grow from middle-aged men in lycra alone.

And lastly, what's your favourite thing about cycling?

I can't narrow this down to one thing, so I'm going to take the liberty of giving you my top three. One is the way cycling taps into my sense of adventure. Knee injuries from years of playing basketball mean that hiking and running aren't easy or fun for me, but cycling allows me to explore the countryside at my own pace, in my own way, on any surface. It's also rewarding to use my bike to run errands, knowing that at the very least, I'm doing what I can to reduce my personal carbon footprint. And, with every pedal stroke, I'm burning calories, which allows me to completely justify my total addiction to dark chocolate.

Come and meet Chris at Bespoke's Ladies Night on Thursday October the 15th at Bespoke Canary Wharf. It's FREE to attend but please RSVP HERE . We'll have drinks from 6pm and will be getting started around 6:30pm.