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
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
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
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
. We'll have drinks from 6pm and will be getting
started around 6:30pm.