What start­ed as a blog to empow­er women in cycling has become a cycling club, one-stop web­site for women cyclists, a ser­vice (coach­ing, fit­ting, bike repair)  and an inter­net move­ment. In Jan­u­ary, BikeShopGirl.com’s founder and edi­tor, Arleigh Jenk­ins, was nice enough to take a moment and answer a few questions.


The Clymb: How long have you been cycling? Your cycling has con­sist­ed of moun­tain bik­ing, com­mut­ing and cyclo-cross. Which do you prefer?

AJ: I’ve been active­ly rid­ing since I was 12, com­pet­i­tive­ly since I was 14.   I pre­fer moun­tain bik­ing, but cyclo-cross is becom­ing a quick love of mine if only I could get in bet­ter shape faster!

TC: A few months ago, you were hit by a car while rid­ing your bike. Can you tell me about the acci­dent? How has that affect­ed your desire to ride/the way you ride?

AJ: You can read all about my acts of recov­ery on BikeShopGirl.com

The cliff notes is I was rid­ing the mile from work to the bus stop and an oncom­ing car did­n’t see me in an inter­sec­tion, tak­ing a left hand turn into me.  My bike was totaled and I was pret­ty shak­en up from the acci­dent.  I pur­chased a car two weeks lat­er and did­n’t ride on the road bike until just last week!   Men­tal­ly, I’ve been dif­fer­ent — crab­bier and pes­simistic.  I was crav­ing to ride but very scared to do so.  Moun­tain bik­ing is my biggest love but that did­n’t seem to fill the entire need.   Now that I rode last week on the road, it felt like I was free finally.

TC: What is most impor­tant in being an effec­tive review­er of bike gear/apparel, etc?

AJ: Being hon­est, and being sub­jec­tive.  I try to look at it from as many views as pos­si­ble.  It may not be for me, but it maybe for some­one else.  Who is that per­son and tell it as so.   For exam­ple, tires that stink where I ride but seem to be per­fect on dif­fer­ent ter­rain.  I state that, I state where I live and the type of soil, I tell how I ride and why things weren’t per­fect.  Hope­ful­ly you’ll be able to pull from that to your own experience.

TC: Let’s say there’s some­one who has­n’t rid­den a bike since child­hood, what would your pitch be to get them rid­ing? What are the benefits?

AJ: Rid­ing is lib­er­at­ing, it can make you feel free and in com­plete con­trol.  There are so many dif­fer­ent types of rid­ing from road, to moun­tain and the hybrid on the board­walk.  You can start anywhere.

TC: In the “About” sec­tion of BikeShop­Girl, you say this: “We believe that bicy­cles can solve many of the worlds issues, relieve stress, and cre­ate a healthy lifestyle.” How can bicy­cles solve some of the world’s issues?

AJ: Pol­lu­tion, road con­ges­tion, stress, child­hood obe­si­ty,  mid-life cri­sis.  I don’t think I need to explain any of these

TC: You spend time talk­ing to brand man­agers in an effort to help them grow their wom­ens lines. Have you found this dif­fi­cult? How would you say bikes/cycling is mar­ket­ed dif­fer­ent­ly towards men and women?

AJ: Brands and com­pa­nies are more aware these days that they need to speak the speak to women. It isn’t about paint­ing their bikes pink, adding flow­ers to their jer­seys or mak­ing shoes white.

Mar­ket­ing to women start from the mag­a­zines, just like guys, but the dif­fer­ence is it mattes in the shop to the dress­ing room or test ride, to how the mechan­ic speaks to them and how the group ride embraces them.  Com­pa­nies that are cre­at­ing communities,and giv­ing staff train­ing are mak­ing the dif­fer­ence.  I don’t think mar­ket­ing is dif­fer­ent, I think men are more will­ing to ignore some of the mis­takes we’ve been mak­ing in mar­ket­ing over the years.

Arleigh Jenk­ins is the own­er and edi­tor of Bike Shop Girl. She is a cyclist and cycling advo­cate liv­ing in the sub­urbs of Char­lotte, NC with her girl­friend, two kids, two dogs, two cats and too many bikes.  You can find her on the week­ends or at night at one of the region­al races or events,  main­ly between moun­tain bik­ing, cyclocross and bike com­mut­ing.  After work­ing with­in the cycling indus­try for 12 years Arleigh left to fry big­ger fish in the inter­na­tion­al mar­ket­ing indus­try.  With a broad­er (not affil­i­at­ed) view of cycling, and more time to ride or write she has expand­ed Bike Shop Girl for 2011 into more than a web­site. You can fol­low BikeShop Girl on Twit­ter here.

Do you have a sto­ry to tell? Are you mak­ing moves in the world of out­door sports? If so, we’d love to hear from you. If you’re inter­est­ed in being fea­tured on The Clymb, please send an email to nina (at) the­clymb (dot) com.