Here's a quick look at some new gear that's recently landed in the TotalWomensCycling.com office. Look out for reviews over the next few weeks.
Thule Enroute Strut backpack
If you think Thule just makes roof racks, think again. The Swedes launched a range of tough travel luggage a few years ago that quickly became the darling of travel writers everywhere, and now they've launched a range of four backpacks under the EnRoute label.
The 19-litre EnRoute Strut here is the smallest of the range, but is still packed with features. There's an internal sleeve for a laptop and we can confirm Thule's claim that it'll take a 15in Macbook Pro. There's also a slot for an iPad, and a crush-resistant SafeZone pocket for sunnies and gadgets.
We can see this being a great commuter pack and we'll report back soon on how it handles the daily dash to the office.
More information: Thule
DMT Marathon 2.0 women's mountain bike shoes
Highly regarded Italian shoemaker DMT doesn't have a big line of women's shoes. In fact, this and the road equivalent are it. But for £75 you get a good-looking three-strap shoe with a stiff sole and optional mud studs.
More information: DMT
UK supplier: Paligap
Cinelli Bootleg Tube belt
Cinelli's Bootleg line of urban and lifestyle bikes and accessories just got this rather cool addition: a belt made from a recycled inner tube. Cinelli is one of Italy's most famous bike company names, so here's a way to wear a bit of cycling heritage.
More information: Cinelli
UK supplier: Chicken Cycles
Ritchey Lady Comp saddle
Ritchey eschews the usual wide hull and pressure-relieving cut-outs in this women's saddle. At 142mm wide, it's about 10mm wider than most men's racing saddles, but there's no mistaking the intention here: this is a saddle for fast girls who are racing or banging out fast sportive miles. In black or white, and there's a titanium-railed version, the Lady WCS, that weighs a claimed 220g, against this saddle's 260g.
More information: Ritchey
UK supplier: Paligap
Shimano T400 Click'r pedals
While there's not quite such a thing as 'women's pedals' there are two aspects of so-called 'clipless' pedals that deter women. The first is sheer unfamiliarity which leads to the fear of getting trapped in place in the event of a crash. In fact, clipless pedals almost always eject you if you come off, and if they don't the situation is usually one of those low-speed mountain bike spills that results in you upside down in a hedge with your bike on top of you, unable to move for fits of giggles.
The bigger problem is our small feet. Clipless pedals are great if you have the leverage of size 9s to twist out of them, but if you have dainty feet you might not be able to generate enough oomph (the technical term for torque) to get out of them when you want to.
Shimano's Click'r pedals have a much easier release action than other clipless pedals, and a platform round the pop-up mechanism so they're comfy with flexible soles.
More information: Madison Cycles