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Hanabi in the Guardian

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5 cycling superstars of Instagram

Love cycling? Love social media? Then you should be using Instagram to keep on top of the latest trends in cycling and cycle fashion. We adore Instagram (you can follow us @sawakohelmets) and we've made a list of our five favorite cycling-inspired accounts to get you started!

Bobbin Bikes 

Our friends at Bobbin Bikes have a beautiful Instagram account that showcases some of their stylish bikes and accessories, as well as the people that love them. Follow them @bobbinbikes

Rachel Atherton

Rachel is a professional racing cyclist specialising in downhill mountain bike riding and is a multiple world champion. Her Instagram features lots of candid shots shots alongside incredible professional photography showcasing her skills. Follow her @rachybox

Danny MacAskill

The Instagram account of the supremely talented professional street trials rider Danny MacAskill is as exciting and impressive as you would imagine. Perfect for some cycling inspiration! Follow him @danny_macaskill

Brooks England

Brooks England are the oldest continually operating saddle company in the world, but they have grasped the modern age of social media with relish. Their Instagram account features gorgeous pictures of their super stylish saddles. Follow them @brooksengland

No Life Like This Life

This stunning account aims to bring together 'bikes, photography, art, culture and living classy(ish(' and does a fabulous job of it! It features many stunning shots and is well worth a long browse with a cup of coffee. Follow @nolifelikethislife


Who do you follow? Please share your instagram superstars with us by tagging @sawakohelmets on your favorite post! 

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Featured Dealer: Straight River Sports

Today we are delighted to introduce you to a lovely owner of Straight River Sports, located in southern Minnesota.

Straight river sports new retailer in USA for Sawako helmets

Ann is a jack of all trades when it comes to biking. Whether it be a triathlon or a leisurely ride in the city, she’s got poise and style on her trails! About an hour south of Minneapolis, she’s lucky to take her rides in such a naturally beautiful part of the state!

Straight River Sports is a new Sawako seller but we are so glad to be a part of their story. We love it when women break the mold of the cycling industry and Ann is a great example of that with her sporty bike shop, which serves both hardcore and more leisurely bikers.

  If you’re in Minnesota, be sure to check out this friendly shop, they even have bike rentals for the stylish cyclist whose just passing through.


1.     What kind of cyclist are you? Sporty/commuter/weekend/beginner etc.

Can I answer with "Every kind!"  Love riding with my sporty friends, but just as happy to go for a 45 minute slow-mo ride with less active friends. I participate in triathlons, mountain biking, road riding and winter fat biking...especially with a group of girlfriends!

2.     Which lifestyle brands are you following at the moment?

I shop everything! 

3.     Tell about your business and why you started it. What are your core values?

14 years ago I left my career working in the criminal justice world to own a bikeshop. It was a moment of thinking that there has to be more fun and love in the world than what I was doing at the time. There have been some really hard years financially, but it's been worth it. I'd like to think I've changed my small part of the world and brought in joy while continuing to make a living.

4.     Besides your business, what is your passion?

I love spending time and riding with my husband. We have both had separate businesses for years, but this year we combined our skills and opened an electric bike shop together in Minneapolis. It's been a wonderful merger of skills and we are really having fun. Our boys are grown and on their own and we are enjoying our marriage. Vacation time is generally spent on week long bike tours around the United States or visiting our sons.


5.     As a woman is a male dominated industry, what is your role in inspiring other women to cycle?

It's not hard to sell something you are passionate about and when people see me sincerely having fun on our 45 minute weekly Wobble Ride, they know that it's ok if they're not super slim, super fast or super athletic. I can have just as much fun on a 50 mile hard core ride with my athletic friends. We're all just out to have fun and bring joy to our lives in a way that works for us. I've been trying for years to convince executives in the industry (mostly, if not all male) that they need to quit marketing to the 24 year old male and acknowledge that most of the cycling world is made up of typical people (and women with spending money). They need to start marketing to them if they want to survive. Sawako gets it! Pedego does too. That's why we partnered with them for this second store.


6.     What would you say is the difference between cycle chic and cycle geek?  

It's a continuum. It's easy to start riding thinking you are cycle chic, but the more you ride, you find it's a slippery slope to cycle geek.  I have to reel it in and minimize the bike talk when I'm not with fast cycling friends and glam it up when I'm with my "social rider" friends.


7.     Where’s your favourite place to pedal?

In the woods, winter or summer on my fat bike. 


8.     What was your first bike?

A red schwinn with a banana seat and horn. I was four years old and it was a bike that belonged to "the neighborhood" and everyone learned to ride on him. His name was Spot.


9.     Black croc, leopard or glitter?

I have to choose? I own at least 7 helmets. What I wear depends on the outfit. One must coordinate.


10.  If you could cycle anywhere in the world where would it be?

I've heard biking in Italy is wonderful. 45 minutes between vineyards and taste testing, for miles and miles.


11.  Tell us your secret cycling style tip. 

Dry powder shampoo works to fluff my hair after taking off my  helmet. Soaks up any wetness too!


 12.  What's on your cycling soundtrack?

No music. I like to be able to think (or talk to my friends) and listen to nature. 

Thank you Ann!

222 Bridge St. Owatonna,MN 55060  T: +1 507 451 1666
4804 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55417 T: +1 612 827 5000

Straight River Sports 


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Nice to see you at Bike Expo New York !

We thoroughly enjoyed meeting everyone at Bike Expo NY on May 5-6th 2017. It was our first ever show and we learnt a lot! 

Sawako products received a lot of attentions including a feature in NY1 news.

sawako helmet on ny1 news

The sparkle helmet was the star of the show as well as the leopard helmet. 

a lady with a sparkle helmet!

We loved that many male customers looked stylish with our helmets on. 

cool helmet on a cool man!

We were also excited to hear that some of you already own Sawako helmets and love them.  Looking forward to seeing you at another event soon. 


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Mother's day

In honor of Mother’s Day, I want to celebrate all the Moms out there, for loving their kids unconditionally, even with the stress of frantic morning routines and occasional not-so-perfect parenting!  One of the many things I am learning is to accept as a Mother imperfection.  Many women juggle numerous roles; Mom, Business person, Wife, Friend, this list can go on. But whatever the path we choose, we are all doing our best.  

Let’s celebrate that.  

 sawako juggling helmets

Being an entrepreneur and a mom (or Mompreneur as I like to call it) has a lot of ups and downs.  It has given me so much freedom, creativity and excitement that I could not get while working for a bigger company. However, every morning, I have to be READY to succeed, no matter what. Mompreneur’s need to be motivated to open another door to grow their business and stay positive.  If you stop, money stops.  I must admit that I sometimes missed working for a corporate environment where you get paid, even if you are just making a cup of tea! (Thank you, past bosses!)

 3 gals

In a sense, I feel I am also the mother of the products I have created and I am so proud and glad that they are enjoyed by thousands of stylish cyclists.  Another great part of running my own business, is that my girls Koko & Connie are witnessing my effort closely. When the business was smaller, I used to store all the helmets in my apartment (my poor husband). In those days I’d package every order, and bring them while pushing my kids in their stroller.  They have seen me checking hundreds of helmets in cold warehouses, lifting boxes, holding meetings (often with my husband who is also my business advisor) and they have seen first hand how my business developed into what it is today.  From witnessing my struggles and joys as my own boss, I hope they are also learning with me! 

I found these messages on the cardboard boxes I was transferring for an event recently. 

mama work I love your helmets

"Mama Work, I love your helmet" (by Connie, 4) 

mama's helmets are the best!

"Mama's helmets are the best! Sparekley (Sparkly) Helmet" (by Koko, 7) 

At least I know that so far, they are proud of me, which keeps me motivated and drives me to improve my products and business. 

Thank you, Koko & Connie, for making me a mother! 

 Koko Connie and me

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