Cycling & Running for Women

tips, products, comments & interesting stuff – by Laura Dunkley

Bicycle built for a Granfondo Gal

Ladies of the Gran(fondo) – part 1

What bicycle do I need to ride in a GranFondo?  It is a simple answer…a road bike.

There are a variety of road bikes on the market, but by definition it is a road bike that you need.

“When thinking about the type of bike riding you’re most likely to do, if you’re going to be riding exclusively on pavement and want to go pretty fast and/or ride long distances, a road bike is probably what you want. Designed for racing, road bikes typically have a lightweight frame which is designed to allow the upright rider to maintain the most aerodynamic position possible.” [1]

Parts of a bicycle

An entry-level road bicycle gets you all the essentials for completing the ride, it just take a little bit more effort to cross the finish line than one of the high end, light-weight versions on the market.

A new entry-level road bicycle (SPORT) will be about $1,000-$1,900 CAD which is great for a first time rider looking to get into the sport for fitness and wants to have a bike that can handle a group ride. It won’t be light weight, but it will have all the necessary features to get out road riding.  [2]

For those women who have been riding for a while and want to have a competitive edge in a group ride, or just want a lighter-weight bike that is more responsive, look for a bike in the PERFORMANCE category.  Prices range from $2,000 – $10,000 CAD. [2]

Either way, before you bring any bike to the GranFondo (or a similar event), make sure it is in good working order BEFORE the day of the event.   Take this as a friendly reminder…because even some of our most elite and experienced athletes forget to check their bikes over before a race.  I would recommend that you take it to your local bike shop at least one week before the event to make sure you have it looked over.  One week gives your shop a chance to look it over and do any necessary adjustments without time pressures.

So you know you need a road bike, but there are still so many choices!  What road bike is right for you?

I had bicycles customized for me over the years, but there are now women specific models that address many of the general women specific needs without the price of customization.

Features and benefits of women specific bicycles

  • Narrow & smaller diameter handlebars
  • Wider saddle
  • Frame – Shorter ‘cockpit’ (bicycle cockpit is the area between the saddle and the handlebars – also referred to as the ‘reach’)
  • Smaller Shifter/Brake Levers

There are other parts and accessories that are available in women specific designs.  They will be available at your local specialty bicycle shop, but they do not typically come as part of the bicycle price.  Make sure you budget for these essential ‘extras’ when planning your next purchase.  Okay.. maybe not the Dura-Ace pedals, but for sure the others.

  • Pedals with a wider spindle – our Q angle is wider, which means having a wider spindle lessens the stress on our legs, giving us opportunity to have more power through our pedal stroke.  Shimano offers a wider spindle in oe of their pedals (not in-expensive)  “The Dura-Ace pedals don’t change at the body, but there is a new 4mm wider spindle option, helping give more custom fit options.” – Bike Rumor
  • Cycling shoes – women have a narrower heel and small sizes  (Related blog post – Women need women specific cycling shoes)

  • Helmets – smaller sizes
  • Gloves – longer fingers and smaller through the palm area
  • Cycling Apparel – Jerseys, Shorts, Jackets – allows for the curves and anatomy needs of a woman for more comfort (some nice colors and patterns are an added bonus)

Here are links to some women specific road bicycles to get you started [2]

A Video to inspire you from Specialized


[1] Road Bikes – by David Fiedler 

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One comment on “Bicycle built for a Granfondo Gal

  1. Pingback: Training is over : Countdown to GranFondo NF | Cycling & Running for Women

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This entry was posted on August 3, 2013 by in Cycling Info, Cycling Tips and tagged , , , .

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