We actively promote ‘This Girl Can’, British Cycling’s Breeze, and we’ve been signed up to the Association of Cycle Traders’ 'Female Friendly Bike Shop' initiative since its inception six years ago. Essentially for the ACT we have to fulfil these six criteria:
- We offer a selection of bikes suitable for women
- We offer advice and access to a range of women's cycling clothing
- We offer advice and access to a range of stock to support family riding
- We offer advice and services for correct bike selection, sizing and set-up
- We promote local cycling opportunities e.g. women's bike rides
- We have public liability insurance.
But that’s just the physical aspect of what we do. What we’ve really found over the years (and this February 33% of new bikes sold were to female customers) is that the attitude of our staff is what is most important.
We’re independent so we know we live and fall by our customer service and recommendations from our current customers.
It can be overwhelming walking into a bike shop so we know our job is to de-mystify the process of buying a bike. All the staff at Quest Adventure are passionate about riding; and we want to convert you to feeling that way too.
We’ll listen to what you say (no need to take a deep breath and be pushy) and prompt you with questions about what you want to achieve (i.e. where to ride, who you want to ride with etc). We don’t make assumptions as to how experienced you are – we won’t assume you’re a beginner, neither will we assume you are a tech focused speed toting tri-athlete. We wait to hear what you have to say. (No pigeon holing or stereotyping here). We have over 60 years of cycling knowledge shared between us all so you don’t need to have any, indeed making converts from non cyclist to cyclist gives us a huge amount of satisfaction.
It boils down to sound advice tailored to you, the individual, in a way you want it delivered. If you want tech talk we’ll do that, but if you just want to know how widget x benefits your cycling then that’s what we’ll focus on. As it says on ‘our tin’ our aim is to inspire you to ride, not to put you off riding!
We pride ourselves in having all manner of cycling customers – from those just wanting to get out and get fit (we’ll point you in the direction of some great starter routes and led rides) up to women undertaking iron ‘man’ challenges. Why don’t they call it iron woman?
And once you’ve bought that bike it doesn’t stop there. We have women only rides, women only bike fitting taster sessions and bike maintenance classes. These are great sessions for you to meet other like minded cyclists that you could ‘buddy up’ with. We can also point you in the direction of local cycle clubs. Plus local routes that you will feel comfortable riding and even cycle events to enter.
Talking Women's Bikes
The truth of the “Women Specific” bike – sure it’s a great bit of marketing and you certainly need a women’s saddle and different handle bars, but ‘your’ women’s specific bike is the one that fits you perfectly. We focus on helping you choose a bike that will be the right one for your riding and the right fit. There are women's specific bikes some of which have different geometry (the frames are different to the other bikes in the range) and some just have different colours, saddles, handle bars and parts. In our experience women's shapes vary as much as men's and so simply saying women specific in the catalogue won't necessarily mean that it is right for you. We encourage you to try the bikes and we always make any adjustments to the bike to ensure that it is tailored just for you. The right size is the size that fits you.
We sell all types of bikes for women. Please note that you need not restrict your choice just to the bikes that the suppliers have labelled up as women's. You deserve more choice than that.
Some Things to Think About
Structurally men and women’s bodies are different, so you need to think about a bike that is going to be right for your shape.
Starting with the frame, the first point to consider is the top tube (that’s the tube that runs from the handlebars to the seat). Women may require a shorter top tube since we generally have shorter torsos and longer legs. What you don’t necessarily need (unless you like that set up) is an open frame. If you have an issue with mounting the bike just lean the bike towards you at a 45° degree angle and swing your leg over straight onto the pedal.
The shape of the seat is an area of difference; women will feel more comfortable on a wider seat (to better fit the pelvis) and preferably with a space between the two sides to relieve perineum pressure. But it’s down to choice of how you want to feel, and this will depend also on the type of bike you are buying; leisure versus commuting versus road racing etc.
Women tend to have narrower shoulders than men which is directly reflected in the width of the handlebars. Likewise the handlebar stem is usually shorter (than a man’s) to accommodate the shorter torso and narrower shoulders.
Whilst this all sounds like you will need to buy a women’s specific bike, this isn’t the case. You just need to buy a bike where the geometry suits you. A lot is also down to personal choice ie how you want to feel on a bike and what is most comfortable for you. There should be a slight bend in your elbows when reaching forward that allows you to comfortably reach all the positions on your handlebars. Shorter stems will bring the handlebars closer and reduce the reach, but this can also affect the handling. On a road bike with drop handlebars you also need to make sure you can easily reach the brake levers when cycling upright and in the drop handlebar position. Remember that there are countless adjustments that can be made to a bike to fine tune it to you.
So, you are different to men and merely following what is statistically the norm is not going to be the answer. We are all slightly different. At the end of the day you know what feels comfortable but you will need the help and guidance of an experienced fitter to ensure that that bike that you want is both the right one for your riding, that it is the perfect size, and is fine tuned to fit you like a glove. That is what we do. Is it any wonder that one in three of all our bicycle sales are to women?
So, come and meet the team; JP, Tim, Victoria, Oli, Janet and Tom. Let’s get you riding!
This mountain bike glossary may help explain some of the terminology: MTB Glossary