Monday, March 31, 2008

Pista Elite Cycling Team announces Ohio Track Training Series

Here's a chance for all you fixed gear-heads out there to prove your stuff. Head out to the Lorain County Speedway every Thursday, May 8 through September 18 of this year, for the track racing series. More details can be found here.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Cool Bike!


Here's a cool bike that we recently ordered for a long-time customer at Medina. It's a Giant Tran Sport LX, which Giant calls a Lifestyle Metro Bicycle. It comes outfitted for heavy-duty adventure with rugged 26 inch wheels, ALUXX double-butted aluminum frame, multi-position handlebars, and racks that expand along with your cargo. We have not chosen to stock this bike yet, but if we get another request for it we will probably consider doing just that. Here's a shot of it, and of course you can also view it at giantbicycle.com.

Define your life. Do the Ironman France.

Kaleb Kaschalk is a NE Ohio college student who will be competing in the Ironman triathlon in Nice, France this June. At 19 years old, he will be the youngest competitor there. He is using the event as a fundraiser for cancer research, in honor of his grandfather Frank Kaschalk, who died from cancer in April of 2006.

See this video about Kaleb from Fox 8 Cleveland.

And what's that Kaleb is wearing while training? It's one of our "Define your life. Ride a bike." t-shirts! Thanks, Kaleb!

You can go to Kaleb's online donation page here.

And thanks to our friend Mike for forwarding this story to us; Mike is a customer in our Medina store, and a dedicated bike commuter.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nada Surf - "Whose Authority"

Another link courtesy of Krista from our Rocky River store, the video for the song "Whose Authority" by the band Nada Surf, which depicts a day in the life of a New York City bike messenger:

http://stereogum.com/archives/video/new-nada-surf-video-whose-authority-stereogum-prem_007696.html

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Perfect Day

Nothing makes a day better than spending it running errands by bike, especially when coupled with sunny skies, warmer temps, and a day off from work! A perfect antidote to the foul mood I was in a couple days ago...

Yesterday, I hopped on my Xtracycle and headed up to Twinsburg, with a stop at the post office in Hudson on the way. I had never ridden on the stretch of Rt 91 (Darrow Rd) between Hudson and Twinsburg before. For much of the way, there is a wide, dedicated bike lane, but the sections without the bike lane are definitely not for the faint of heart. Plus, it's uphill most of the way to Twinsburg--tougher on the way there, but a breeze downhill on the way home! I broke up the ride home with a cofffee stop at Hattie's Cafe' Fountain & Gift in Hudson.

Warning: Shameless Plug ahead

This ride was the first time in my brand spakin' new Pearl Izumi X-Alp Seek shoes, my new favorite cycling shoes. Like other lace-up casual cycling shoes, they are comfortable and provide easy walkability with cleated pedals, and the sneaker style reduces the geek factor (although some might say the orange highlights crank the geek factor back up). But, they bring some extra features to the table.


They are based on the same upper as Pearls Izumi's popular Seek running shoes, which includes a one-piece seamless inner lining, providing increased comfort and reducing the possibility of hot spots. The sole provides the usual inner nylon plate to provide pedaling efficiency, but with a hinged section in the toe area, providing even more comfortable walking than other cycling shoes of this style.

They are available in Men's and Women's sizes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Define your life. Upgrade your PC!

So with this blog, our website, and our latest and greatest store inventory/sales system, I'd say we rely on information technology quite a bit, probably even above average for the bike industry. But I would not go so far as to say that we are an information-driven industry. To that end, over the years, we have traditionally gotten by with "refurbished" PC hardware.

This means that our computers started out as the state-of-the-art model on some CEO's desk, and were then inherited by some middle-level managers, then eventually passed down to some poor file clerk. When they outlived their usefulness in the corporate world, they were probably donated to charities, community organizations, or passed on to family members. When they finally wore out their usefulness to scout troops, PTA's, and even nuns and monks toiling under the watchful eye of God him/herself, they were sent to a used office equipment dealer where they could be snatched up by the frugal likes of bike shops.

As the company computer guy, I enjoy this job more than any other I've had. But yesterday was one of those days that makes you wanna hop on your bike and head into the sunset for an indefinite period of time. It started with learning what I was going to have to shell out for a new alternator for my car, but that's another story (and another good reason to ride my bike more).

One of the old PC's in the Rocky River store had just died last week, and another was on the verge of dying. I had ordered a couple of brand-new Dell replacements last week, and yesterday was the day to get them up and running in the store. One thing I learned 20 years ago is that in planning any computer upgrade project, use the following rules for estimating the time required:
  1. Take your best guess, based on everything going relatively smoothly, with the possiblity of a few unexpected glitches.
  2. Quadruple that estimate.
  3. Double it again.

That formula has never failed, and yesterday was no exception. It's always the thing you least expect, in this case McAfee's anti-virus software has some issues installing with Microsoft Internet Explorer 7. The kicker is that I set up this exact same configuration last month in our Medina store, and it was a painless 10-minute effort, but this time around, 5 hours of effort left only one computer working right. You would think that in the weekly e-mail report I get from McAfee, reminding me of what I've already purchased from them and how much more wonderful my life would be if I purchased more products from them, they could have been bothered to mention that their product has some incompatibility issues with the latest version of the number one web browser program in the known universe, but no.

The one surprising bright spot was that their technical support line was helpful, and I only had to spend about 30 minutes on hold, which is probably better than average for software support. I've gotten minimal calls today from the gang in Rocky River, so I assume that no news is good news and their keyboards are clicking away happily. If that turns out not to be the case later on, we appreciate your patience...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lives Defined: Scott Cutshall

Scott Cutshall of Minneapolis went from 501 pounds to 232 in under three years, thanks to a special bike, soup for breakfast, and a lot of determination.

This story comes to us from the Surly Bikes blog; read the rest of the story at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Click on the "Audio Slide Show" link to the right of the text of the story; it's worthwhile...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Do the test

This video was linked to us by our long time Medina customers, David & Stacy Hawthorne:

Rubber City Alley Cat Race - April 5

Akron, Ohio's first Alley Cat Race!

Join in this spring for a bike race of epic proportions. Featuring checkpoints all around the city, a "king of the mountains" challenge, prizes for the winners and participants, and an after party at The Matinee, 812 West Market Street, Akron, OH 44303, featuring Birds & Elephants & Social Insecurity. Between the race and after party join Akron Food Not Bombs for a free dinner fit for a rubber burning cyclist.

Entry Fee: $10
When: Saturday, April 5th, 2008
2:00pm Check-In, 3pm Race
Meet at 812 West Market Street, Akron, OH 44303

See www.rubbercityalleycat.com for more information.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bike Shop Hijinx

There's always room for Jello-o, and there's always room for Derrick's favorite tools in Lime Green Jell-o! How did those get in there?!!?





Preparation Phase 1:


Preparation Phase 2:

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Birthday Prize Drawing Winners

Congratulations to the following winners of our 16th Birthday Gift Card Raffle:

$25 WINNERS
  • Kevin Norris, Rocky River
  • Brad Elles, Berea
  • Hawthorne Family, Medina
  • Jeff Corbitt, Bay Village
  • Katie Stroh, Cleveland
  • Tony Aseff, Solon
  • Jill Dexheimer, Medina
  • Gene Elbert, Fairview Park
  • Daniel Kodosky, Spencer
  • Jane Turzillo, Akron
  • Laura Creed, Shaker Heights

$50 WINNERS

  • Dennis Boudreau, Wellington
  • Colette Zidek, Avon Lake
  • Christopher Rutter, Canal Winchester

$75 WINNER

  • Patrick Harrington, Medina

GRAND PRIZE $100 WINNER

  • Mike Miller, Bay Village

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Thanks for the memories!

We extend a big Thank You to all of our friends and customers who stopped by this weekend to help us celebrate our 16th Birthday. We hope we can serve you for another 16 years and more!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Guinness is good for you!

We can't think of any better way to say "Happy St. Patrick's Day!" than to extol the virtues of Guinness Stout beer.


GOOD FOR YOUR HEART! A scientist from the University of Wisconsin found that darker brews like Guinness had substantially more anti-clotting properties than light beers, preventing the clots that can cause heart attacks. The beneficial effect comes from hundreds of flavonoids in the beer, the same anti-oxidant compounds that provide the dark color in many fruits and vegetables. And don't stop at just one Guinness. The researcher said that for the optimal anti-clotting effect, you need to reach a blood alcohol level of 0.06, which for the typical person is accomplished with two, 12-ounce glasses.
GOOD FOR YOUR WAISTLINE! Men's Health magazine reports: "Most people think of Guinness as a beer milkshake: dark, thick, and rich enough to induce tremors of guilt in thirsty partakers. But a 12-ounce serving is as low in calories as some watery light beer selections and can save you up to 75 calories over other full-flavored brews like Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Part of that comes from the alcohol percentage: Guinness has 4 percent alcohol, and the Pale Ale has 6 percent. Switch out a six pack a week and you've just saved yourself nearly 7 pounds this year."



I came across this blog where one poster claimed that Guinness contains enough of the basic essential nutrients (with the exception of vitamin C and calcium) that an average person could survive by drinking, per week: 1 pint milk, 1 pint orange juice, 42 pints Guinness.

On a related note, here's a stat from Bicycling magazine for those who prefer a sweeter St. Pat's Day treat....

7: The number of ounces of Bailey's Original Irish Cream you'd need to drink to replenish the 680 calories burned on a 1-hour, 18-mph road ride.

Cheers!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Ethicist gets a cycling question

In today's New York Times Magazine, The Ethicist answered a bicycling-related question....

I participated in a triathlon in which drafting, riding close behind another bicycle to gain an aerodynamic advantage, was prohibited. While riding alone, I was overtaken by a large group of cyclists riding together. I had two choices: slow down and let them pass me, obeying the rules but losing significant time, or ride with them and break the rules. I chose the latter, and none of us were disqualified. Was this the right decision? — JOSHUA KULP, MODIIN, ISRAEL

The Ethicist replied: It was not. Other people’s cheating does not justify your own. Nor were you limited to the alternatives you describe. A triathlete I consulted, Tim Donahue, suggests that you should have shouted: “Guys, watch the drafting. You know the rules.” If rule-breaking riders ignore your warning, he says, report them to race officials and “make a special point to waste them on the run.”

He’s right. A sport is not merely governed but defined by rules to which participants voluntarily submit. If you flout the rules, you may as well install a motor on your bike and wield a flame-thrower to discourage other riders from passing you. And by “other riders,” I mean bike-straddling killer robots.

Donahue adds a call for moderation: “If these guys aren’t going for some kind of top position in the race, I’d say lighten up. The rules are a bit more about fun when it comes to 174th place.” This flexibility is apt for sports where a competitor’s behavior only indirectly affects your own. Other people’s drafting does not force you to alter your riding style. In fencing, for example, you would have to change tactics if a foe swapped his foil for a chain saw.

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

In completely unrelated news, "Dancing with the Stars" begins a new season tomorrow. The only reason I mention this is because here were the results of a recent Bicycling magazine poll:

What would you like to see Lance attempt next?

38%: "Dancing with the Stars"

29%: Ironman triathlon

16%: Leadville 100 (for real this time)

15%: Race Across America

2%: A sub-2:40 marathon

Um, yeah. Weird. Hopefully that is the first and last mention of "Dancing with the Stars" on this blog.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Yield to Life

There are lots of organizations out there doing great work to make life better for us cyclists, such as the League of American Bicyclists, BikesBelong, and locally, ClevelandBikes, among others. The latest group is a foundation called Yield to Life, and the distinction is that it is the first (that I am aware of) that was founded by a world-class professional cyclist, David Zabriskie.

As David puts it, "We all travel life’s roads. I stand before you to ask for your cooperation in providing safe space for cyclists. When you see a cyclist on the road, please, yield to life."

Their web site also contains helpful tips for both cyclists and motorists for using the roads safely. Check them out at www.yieldtolife.org.

Thanks to Krista from the Rocky River store for forwarding this information to me!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Get a Happy Ass!


Take the Pearl Izumi Happy Ass Challenge, and enter to win free Pearl Izumi Cycling Shorts for life at www.getahappyass.com!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Our Latest eNewsletter

Our latest eNewsletter was sent out a couple of days ago. If you didn't receive it in your Inbox, you can read it online here. You can sign up to receive it in the future by going here.

The biggest news in the latest edition is our 16th Birthday Sale, which begins tomorrow, March 13, and runs through Sunday, March 16. Take 10% off all bikes, including those already on sale! Additional models from '06 and '07 have just been marked down; see our Previous Model Year Bike Clearance page to see!

Also, take 20% off all regularly-priced parts, accessories and clothing, and look for special $16 Deals!

Anyone who is also turning 16 years old this month can get a FREE Gift!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Where was my bike made?

This article is a rather illuminating overview of the state of the bicycle manufacturing business, and where the bikes we are riding come from. Along the way, it also gives you some interesting tidbits of trivia of the history of the bike industry.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Tech Talk: Why all the tire sizes?

If you've shopped for a bike recently, or even if you're an experienced rider who's ever shopped for new tires or inner tubes, you've come up against the confusing arrary of sizes available. What do all those numbers mean? And why have so many choices in the first place? Why don't they come up with a standard?


As we used to say in the computer industry, the great thing about standards is that there are so many to pick from. It may sound surprising to you that there actually used to be many times more varieties of tire than are common today. In the early years from the invention of the bicycle through the early 1900's, many bike manufacturers had their own set of sizing standards that only applied to their own bikes. It is a testament to how far we've come that today you can buy tires, tubes, and wheels from three different manufacturers and be sure that they will all work fine together, as long as you select the proper sizes of each.


There are four groups of tire sizes that are commonly used on standard adult bikes today. Each group is defined (roughly, as we'll get into shortly) by the diameter of the tire, with varying widths available within the same diameter.


The most common tire (and wheel) size group is called 700C. These are found on most road bikes and hybrid bikes. They come in widths ranging from 20-23 millimeters for fast road bikes, to 38-42mm wide for hybrids and touring bikes.


A question we are often asked is "what does 700C mean?" The name comes from years back when there were 700A, 700B, 700C, and 700D tires available; the letters referred to different widths. All of these tires were 700mm in diameter, measured from one outer edge to the other. However, they all had different inner diameters; this measurement is also referred to as the "bead seat diameter," or BSD for short, because it's the diameter of the tire's "bead," i.e. the part that hooks onto the wheel's rim.


For various reasons, 700A, 700B, and 700D eventually fell out of common use, and 700C became the de facto standard. The standard BSD of 700C tires was 622mm, and over time up through the present, the term 700C came to be used for any tire with a BSD of 622mm, no matter what the width. This can be a source of confusion, because some tires will have the size stamped on the tire itself using the BSD measurement. Thus, a tire labeled 25-622 is 25mm wide with a 622mm BSD, or what would more commonly be called a "700x25."


The upside of this is that any modern tire labeled as 700C will work on a modern 700C rim, as long as the widths are close enough. The downside of this is that there is a huge variation of the "true" outer diameter among 700C tires; for example, a 700x20 road bike tire may be as small as about 660mm in diameter. Another downside of the variations in tire diameter (as well as width) is that there is no foolproof way to know whether any given tire will fit in your frame, other than trial and error.


The next common size is 27-inch tires. This size was popular on the "10-speed" bikes that were common from the 1960's through the 1980's, but not many (it would probably be safe to say "none") bikes are being made today based on this wheel size. However, replacement 27-inch wheels are still available for these bikes, and the tires will probably continue to be produced for years to come. 27-inch tires use the same inner tubes as 700C tires, but the tires themselves are NOT the same. So, you should NOT use the terms "27-inch" and "700C" interchangeably.


The prevalent tires on mountain bikes and comfort bikes is 26-inch. This size first became common on beach cruiser bikes beginning in the 1930's. In the 1970's, when the early mountain biking pioneers first cobbled together their bikes, 26-inch tires became the de facto standard, because the 26-inch balloon tires on the beach cruisers were all that were available in a tire wide enough to handle off-road terrain. Today, 26-inch tires are commonly available in widths from 1.25 inches up to 2.5 inches. The standard bead seat diameter on modern 26-inch tires is 559mm. As with 700C tires, the true outer diameter of a 26-inch tire will vary from one brand and model of tire to the next.


Finally, some triathlon/time trial bikes and smaller-framed women's-specific bikes use 650C tires. They are typically one inch in width. Contrary to common belief, 650C tires are NOT the same as 26-inch tires. 650C uses a BSD of 571mm. However, similar to 700C and 27-inch, 650C and 26-inch inner tubes are interchangeable, given a close enough width.


What about the new 29er mountain bike wheels, you may ask? The name "29er" comes from the fact that the fatter tires have an outer diameter that is near 29 inches. However, the rims use the same BSD of 622mm that is standard for 700C tires, so the growing popularity of the 29er market has not complicated things as much as it could have.


One new complication is a resurgence of the 650B tire size (with a 584mm BSD) among some touring and mountain bike enthusiasts. Many claim that this size provides the "best of both worlds" when comparing the pros and cons of 26-inch versus 29er/700C wheels. We'll leave that discussion for another day...


I have to credit the late, great Sheldon Brown for providing reference for much of this article. If you want even more details and history of the tire size issue, read his article on the subject here.

It's radio, daddy-o

The radio advertising starts today on WMVX and WMJI for our big birthday sale this weekend. (Let us know if you hear it!) We really like the woman who did the voiceover for us and it turns out the feeling is mutual -- she loves the bike she bought from our Rocky River store! It wasn't until the spots were completed ("in the can" as some say) that we realized it was a customer who was recording them for us. Small world....

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Wild Words from Wild Women

According to the "Wild Words from Wild Women" daily calendar that a friend of mine has, this past Friday was International Women's Day. Although a couple of days late, this quote from that day seems appropriate:

"What was once frowned down upon as unladylike, trivial, and shocking, is now done openly and with the approval of the beholders. Perhaps nothing illustrates this so much as the riding of the bicycle."

--Dr. Gracie Ritchie, mover and shaker in nineteenth-century Canada

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snow!


We are open for the time being, but that could change by the hour...call to check before stopping in. Go skiing or stay home!




Friday, March 7, 2008

Lance Armstrong praises 'Ironman' Favre


One thing seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong didn't count on was getting upstaged by another ├╝ber-athlete on the day he was in Madison to lend his support for a statewide smoking ban in Wisconsin.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Giant TCR-C1 gets rave reviews in Road Bike Action magazine



The May/June 2008 issue of Road Bike Action magazine tested and reviewed the 2008 Giant TCR-C1 with positive results. The $3000 bike comes equipped with Shimano's slick new Ultegra SL component group, and Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels with Michelen Pro Race tires. Some highlight of the review:

"When you look at the TCR-C1, you can instantly tell that Giant knows what they are doing with their carbon construction process. [They are] heralded by many as the most advanced carbon bike producer in the world..."

"As delivered, the [size XL] TCR-C1 weighed 16.8 pounds without pedals."

"Aspiring racers and aggressive club riders are the stuff of the Giant TCR-C1. It has the stiffness and agility to move a skilled rider a few wheels up in the peloton..."

"Beyond the Giant's superbly constructed frame, we liked its better-than-the-norm treatments, like the Fizik saddle, its Race Face bar and the Jagwire control cables, which help the Giant stand out from competitors at this price point. The TCR-C1 is a true racing machine from one of the world's most experienced carbon bike makers."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Celebrity on a bike: Kate Hudson!


Here's the lovely actress, Kate Hudson, riding the lovely Raleigh Retroglide in Miami a few days ago. See how happy and beautiful you can be on a Raleigh?! ;)

Photo/info: I'm Not Obsessed

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

We're Turning 16 This Month!

And we have a free gift for you, if you are also turning 16! Just stop in at any of our three stores, show proof that you are turning 16 years old any time during the month of March 2008, and receive FREE a stainless steel bike sprocket key chain (a $7.99 value)! This limited-edition key chain is from Earth Studio metal workshop in Moab, Utah, and is only available while supplies last from March 1 through 31, 2008.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Surly Big Dummy has arrived!

Surly finally had a batch of their Big Dummy framesets ready to ship about two weeks ago. We had been waiting to get two of them, one for Brent and another for one of our customers in Peninsula. They day they arrived at Surly was the first day of our Staff Retreat, so we missed getting them ordered in time before they sold out. Luckily, a couple more became available on Tues. Feb. 26, so we were able to snag a couple. They are all sold out again, and no more will be available until they do their next production run, which will not be until this August.

Brent got his built up right away; you can see more pictures as well as the full specifications on our Bike Gallery page.

Here's a video of him testing it out in our parking lot:



The folks at Surly, based outside Minneapolis, were interviewed about the bike on WCCO, one of their local TV stations. You can read the whole story and watch the video here.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Petition for a "Bike There" Feature on Google Maps

Passing this info along from our friends at UrbanVelo:

GoogleMapsBikeThere.org was created to ask Google to help make the world safer for bicyclists by adding bicycle routes to Google Maps. Consider signing the petition, Google just might listen. Adding the “Bike There” option to the Google Maps toolbar of “Drive There” and “Take Public Transit” would be a valuable tool for both everyday and new cyclists to find routes, at home and on the road.