Monday, March 26, 2012

why i think the standard triple is the best gear for women

I strongly believe the best possible gearing for women who are past 45 and want to bike well into their 70s and 80s, is the standard double with a third chain ring. Size is 52, 39, and 30. Why you ask is this better than a compact double or the new Apex gearing now appearing on many womens' bikes?

The standard triple

with the 50,40,30 and a 12-29 cassette in back offers the aging woman a bike that she can ride for years and years. The large 50 chain ring makes for some nice flying on flat roads. When I go into this gear I can easily maintain 17-19 mph on flat roads. The 40 is the most overlooked gear for women in my opinion. This gear is super. It give you a nice middle gear that is easy to push and often a handy gear for climbing hills. The compact triple does not have this gear. ( more to follow) The third chain ring at 30 with a 12-29 cassette in back makes for a nice hill climbing gear. What would make the standard double with a triple chain ring even more perfect would be for the number to read like this - 50, 40 and 30.

The compact

is 50/34 and that is it. Now you can push your cassette to a 29 in back but you are missing that good middle gear and climbing hills with the smallest gear being 34/29 is just not that easy as you begin to age into your 60s and 70s.

The standard double

is just a 52/39 and is often paired with a cassett that is 11-26. This bike gearing is ideal for young men and men who bike a lot. Also strong female riders may prefer this gearing especially if they get into competitive racing.

So what to buy?? Get a bike with the best gearing possible for a woman!! Not for a man. I recommend the standard double with a third chain ring, often called the triple.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Giant Food Stores in PA SUCKS (off topic)

This picture above is ME, an angry ME.

Following is a copy of the letter I sent to the USA CEO of Giant FOOD Stores. If you are reading this, send him a letter as well and voice your anger. Giant is buying up all the foodstores in my town. Giant is in the states of PA. DE and NJ and I do not know where else.

Mr. Carl Schlicker CEO
PO Box 249
Carlisle, PA
March 14, 2012

Attention Mr. Schlicker,

I have been shopping at the Giant Food Store located at 698 Dowingtown Pike, West Chester, PA 19380 since it opened its doors. According to my Quicken information, I have spent close to $60,000 at that store since 2009. That is a lot of money. That is a LOYAL customer.

Imagine my shock when I learned that Giant does indeed use “pink slime” in their ground meat sold in MY Giant. I have been buying this product for at least 3 years with no knowledge of the chemicals and the processing that goes into this product.

I got an email back from Eileen Katz at Consumer Affairs at Giant telling me this is a safe product. She even goes as far as to say “All types of lean finely textured beef are sustainable products because they recover lean meat that would otherwise be wasted. The beef industry is proud to produce beef products that maximize as much lean meat as possible from the cattle we raise. If this beef is not used in fresh ground beef products, approximately 1.5 million additional head of cattle would need to be harvested annually to make up the difference, which is not a good use of natural resources, or modern technology, in a world where red meat consumption is rising and available supply is declining.”

Oh my, Giant is saving the earth with this product. Well then let’s dig in, ammonia and all.

What infuriates me the most is that Giant did this without telling its consumers. I do not care how safe Giant says this product is, it is the sheer fact that if this product is so damn good why not advertise it? Why not make it public to your consumers??

Without your consumers, Giant has nothing except empty stores. This underhanded tactic has caused me to lose complete faith in ALL of your products. What else are you not telling your consumers?

I am disgusted by this action. When I asked my butcher if pink slime was in the ground meat he replied, “NO.” When I asked the manager, he thought no but said he would check into it. I never heard back, Again, why the secrecy, put this fact displayed above the ground meat. See how many of us gobble up that ground meat.

Today I went to Whole Foods and spent $165 on meat and fresh veggies. I stocked my freezer with Whole Foods ground beef. I will never buy Giant ground beef again nor do I feel confident buying other meats in your stores.

I hope Giant discontinues this practice and makes more information available at the stores about where the meat comes from, what is in the meat?

I am one disappointed customer and my lost faith will be hard to regain.

Elizabeth Maxim

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

buying a bike for a woman, holy cow, every bike store has a different story

I have spent the last two days helping an older woman get a new bike. She has biked for over 20 yrs on a heavy bike and as she has aged she needs a lighter model with better gearing.

Here is a list of some stuff we learned:
1. Don't buy aluminum
2. Don't buy carbon
3. Don't buy the new Sram Apex, too hard for women to shift
4. Buy Apex, it is great
5. A man's bike is just like a woman's bike
6. Don't get a triple
7. Get a triple
8. Which is better, large chain bike store or local bike store??
9. Plus this is my opinion ONLY but i do feel old folks, over 70 get ZERO information from the bike store. From what I can see they are at the mercy of the store associate. This person wants to sell a bike no matter what. And these folks tend to believe anything they are told as they do not know how much stuff they SHOULD know before even going to the store.

So what to do??

From what I have pieced together aluminum with a carbon fork is a fine choice for this lady. Carbon is not a deal breaker. The Apex is an unknown to me. For one thing, your cogs in back jump from 11 to 32, not leaving a whole lot of choice in between with lots of jumps. Some may find this difficult to get used to.

A man's bike has a longer top tube. A man's bike has wider handle bars. A man's bike has a MAN'S seat. A man's bike is not a nice color for chicks. Too much black. A man's bike has huge brake shifters and gear shifters. Now I guess if you are a woman with a long long torse, wide shoulders and big hands, hey wait, if you had all that you would be MAN. SO STAY away from a man's bike. There are plenty of great women specific bikes on the market.


With help from several sources I came to the following conclusions.

1. If you have the money -$3000 or more- get a women's specific carbon frame bike with Shimano components or a good comparable brand such as SRAM. Get the Shimano 105s if you can or Ultregra. A bike this price SHOULD be equipped with good rims. Ask about the rims. I HIGHLY recommend a triple unless you are in your 20s-30s and fairly athletic. If you are a weekend rider, GET A TRIPLE. If you are past 45 and want to bike well into your sixties or seventies, GET A TRIPLE. If you can get a 12-29 cassette on back. You will personally thank me. This bike will last a long long time at these prices.

2. If your budget is between $1500 - $3000 you have to make compromises. Might want to forego the carbon for aluminum. Can lower the quality of the components. Shimano has several levels of quality -Shimano order of components (high to low): dura ace, ultegra, 105, tiagra, sora.

3. If I can believe bike store man, Shimano has a nice easy touch, making it ideal for small hands. But again, this could just be his preference.

4. Some suggested models if you budget is under $1200. This came from a trusted friend who does NOT own a bike store.

Cannondale Synapse Alloy Women's 6 (Tiagra) = MSRP $1280

" " " " 7 (Sora) = MRRP $1000

Trek Lexa S (Sora - Front/Tiagra - Rear) = MSRP $960
" " SL (Tiagra) = MSRP $1210

Specialized Dolce Sport Triple (Sora) = MSRP $1100

Fuji Finest 1.0 (Tiagra) = MSRP $1179

SO IN CONCLUSION, find your price point before you go to the store. Follow guidelines above. Ask questions, do not let yourself be talked into anything you do not want.

I personally bike on a Spectrum Custom bike made by Tom Kellogg of Pensylvania. I have Shimano Ultrega with a Standard Double with an additional 30 triple chain ring up front. My cassette in back goes from 12-29. I have Mavic rims and fabulous seat by Selle. Woman's seat! My bike is made of titanium. I have LOOK Keo pedals and the highest float cleat made for LOOK.

I can ride and ride all day long and can climb most hills. I did 5000 miles last year and this year I am forgoing the counting of miles. Simply riding whenever I feel like it. I am retired. I am 62 and 5'10'" tall. Hence the reason for a custom as no store bike would fit me and the stores would try to stick me on an ill-fitting man's bike.

Get educated BEFORE you buy your bike. You are spending a ton of money. But it is a one time purchase. A good bike will last a long long time if you keep it clean and maintain the components.

Good luck and go biking.