Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Over time, as you ride your bicycle, the chain rollers and pins slowly wear down. As they wear, the chain actually gets a little bit longer, mainly because the holes in the rollers get ground open (bigger hole) and the pins get ground away (smaller pin). The rollers can be pulled apart further under tension because the metal is worn away. Cyclists often call this wear "chain stretch". The downside is that as the chain wears and elongates, it slowly wears down the rear cogs, chainrings, and rear derailleur tension pulleys as well. In short, failing to replace a worn chain gets rather expensive.
The bicycle tool companies have some really slick, cheap and easy to use gauges that measure how much chain wear is acceptable, and when it's time to start anew.
Here are three "chain checkers" as we call them. Top is a $10 Wipperman model, middle is the $12 Park Tool and bottom is a $38 Rohloff. I personally don't care for the flexy plastic Wipperman, so let's forget about it. The Rohloff is very nice, but about 3X the cost of the Park tool and isn't demonstrably any better. Winner is: Park CC-3 in a landslide financial decision.
The Park Tool CC-3 is likely the most commonly encountered. The Park and the Rohloff are
very similar and by far the easiest ones to use. Hook one end of the tool into any chain roller and try to seat the opposite end into the chain. The tool basically pushes the rollers apart to see how far they separate. If the tool will not go in at all, Perfect! Hooray! All is well in your chain's world. Now get out there and ride! If the tool will drop in on the .75% marking, it's time for just a new chain. Congrat's! You've ridden some miles and caught the wear at the ideal moment in time. If the tool drops on the 1% mark, things are going to cost some money. The chain and cassette are goners. Drivetrain parts need to be replaced as sets. A new chain alone will not seat properly on worn rear cogs. The chain will skip out of gear under load (think "big hill") and no amount of adjustment can put the metal back on the cogs.
Not all the parts need to be replaced if the wear measures at approx 1%. The chainrings up front live longer lives than rear cogs by virtue of their larger size and the fact that the chain wraps around more of the ring's circumference compared to the rear cog wrap. A bigger ring spreads the load over more teeth, thus less wear. About 1/3 of the total teeth on a rear cog engage the chain. That 15 tooth cog you ride the most? Gee, maybe 5 teeth holding. That 1% of wear didn't sound like much to me either. That's why it matters.
Keep the chain clean. Lube it often. Get--and use--a chain cleaner. The cleaners work incredibly well. All the drivetrain parts last longer if you clean the road or trail grime from the chain. It'll shift better, too. Finally add that $12 Park Tool chain checker to your tool arsenal. Try to drop it into your chain every month. It'll take you more time to find it than to use it. Replace the chain as soon as the .75% wear mark drops in. Used monthly, you can replace the chain several times before you need to replace the rear cassette gears. It's typical for a chain to last about 2,500 miles before it needs replaced. It'll go longer if kept clean and lubed. Lighter riders get more mileage, too. (Lucky!) Finally, keep in mind that there's some significant money to be saved with such a cheap tool. Last time I checked, those 9 and 10 speed cassettes weren't getting any cheaper. Surely I mentioned that the bike just plain works better when all the parts are within spec? And that's why you really use the tool.
Friday, January 23, 2009
I carry extra gloves or a phone (in a zip-lock bag) in the left pocket and a tightly rolled vest or jacket in the middle one. Food goes in the right pocket -- because I'm right-handed, that's the easiest pocket for me to reach and thus the place where I stash items I'll use most often.
So...what do you carry where??
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Century Cycles Night Rides on the Towpath Trail are free group bicycle rides at night along the Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Led and supported by Century Cycles staff, each moderately-paced ride is approximately 15-20 miles long and takes about two hours. Open to all skill levels, a Century Cycles Night Ride is a fun family outing, a unique date night, or a just a great bicycle ride with friends.
The 2009 schedule of Century Cycles Night Rides on the Towpath Trail is: Saturday, April 25; Saturday, May 16; Friday, June 5; Saturday, June 27; Friday, July 10; Saturday, July 25; Saturday, August 8; Friday, August 28; Saturday, September 19; and Friday, October 9.
All Century Cycles Night Rides begin at 8:00 p.m. Meet at Century Cycles’ Peninsula store (1621 Main Street, on Route 303 between Route 8 and I-271, next to the Winking Lizard Tavern). Parking is available at the Lock 29 Trailhead, just north of the store. Helmets and bike lights are required. Children 15 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
For more information about Century Cycles Night Rides on the Towpath Trail, call Century Cycles in Peninsula at 330-657-2209. Online, please visit http://www.centurycycles.com/ or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
“After 14 years, Century Cycles Night Rides on the Towpath Trail are more popular than ever, with each ride averaging 75 – 100 people riding everything from tandems to mountain bikes,” says Scott Cowan, owner of Century Cycles. “It’s a thrill to help people discover the joys of riding a bicycle at night. I recommend folks plan to arrive early – to have plenty of time to get ready for the ride – and plan to leave late, since the group usually ends up at the Winking Lizard after the ride, trading stories of past cycling adventures.”
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
- "Giant’s new road machine takes comfort and performance to new levels of affordability, with, top to bottom, dependable Shimano 105 parts, high-tech hydroformed tubes, and a solid FSA crankset."
- "Giant’s Defy 1 is stable, even at speeds exceeding 50 MPH, thanks to the rock-solid frame and trustworthy geometry."
The Giant Defy 1 is IN STOCK now in our stores! Please call for size availability.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
The Stark County Park District is seeking volunteers to join its Trailblazers group. The volunteers cover 60 miles of park trail, including 25 miles of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail.
To get an application and arrange an interview, contact volunteer coordinator Jennifer Martin at 330-477-3552 or go to http://www.starkparks.com/volunteer_program.asp. Interviews will be conducted through Jan. 30.
Five training classes covering first aid, bicycle repair, park history and regulations, and communication skills will be offered on five dates in February and again in April. Volunteers are asked to work at least 32 hours a year.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
A quick web search for "daniel dominic ohio" will show you many of these stories, including the Akron Beacon-Journal, Toledo Free Press, Fox 8 Cleveland, and WFMJ-21.
Daniel, if you're out there reading this, tell us what you're up to today, and more about your 15 minutes of fame!
Friday, January 16, 2009
The Metroparks Serving Summit County is planning a new bike-hike trail in the Tallmadge area. The proposed new trail will be called the Freedom Secondary Trail, and will start at the Portage Hike and Bike Trail in Kent, connect to the Tallmadge Trail, and continue west to the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail. A possible spur will connect to the Metroparks Bike & Hike Trail in Munroe Falls.
A public meeting is being held on Thursday, January 22 from 5:00 to 7:00pm at the Tallmadge Community Center at 80 Community Drive, Tallmadge, Ohio 44278. The meeting will be an open house format, where visitors can see graphic displays, talk to park staff and consultants, and make comments. For more information about the meeting, call Park Engineer Paul Wilkinson at 330-865-8040 x210.
Even if you have no concerns about the trail, just showing up would be a great way to let local officials know that there is interest and support for these kinds of projects!
(This post was based on information found in an article by Stephanie Kist in the West Side Leader.)
Thursday, January 15, 2009
- One less car, one more bald sheep.
- Where the rubber -- er, yarn, -- meets the road.
- How good is Derrick? He's such a good mechanic, he gave this bike a tune-up.
- Leave it to the Swedes.
- Envious of Rocky River's winter building projects, Medina decided to get crafty.
- Um, Grandma? For Christmas I said I wanted a "kite kit," not a "bike knit."
- Sweater shaver optional.
- I know it's been a little slow at the stores, but this is ridiculous.
- You should see the scarf!
- Does this make me look fat?
- Jag har inte slutfört något av allt det jag började på förra veckan.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Giant’s PreRunner LX Jog Stroller makes it easy to include your child in your active lifestyle. This lightweight stroller sports an aluminum frame, 20-inch wheels and smooth tires for easy rolling. The fleece padded shoulder straps and 5-point harness make this stroller safe and fun. Plus, the PreRunner folds and has quick-release wheels for easy portability and storage. And, there's even a parking brake for additional safety and convenience.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
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Monday, January 12, 2009
For Rocky River staffer Ken Hagedorn, working at Century Cycles is a family affair. His sister, Kathy, is married to Derrick Kortvejesi, Peninsula's head mechanic, and it was Derrick who referred him for the job over 10 years ago. A classmate of Scott Cowan's, Ken is also a Class of 1978 alumni of Bay High School. He now lives in Rocky River, close to his aging parents.
Q. Even though you work at different stores, are there any disadvantages to working with your brother-in-law?
A. Believe me, they are all advantages, no disadvantages. I've always been into bikes, but I've learned more about bikes from Derrick than anybody else.
Q. What was your first bike?
A. I got a red and chrome tricycle when I was about two years old. I tried to stand on it, then fell over and split my chin open. Funny enough, my first two-wheeler was also red and chrome - a no-name brand I don't remember - and I split my chin open on that bike, too. I also had the Schwinn with a banana seat that a lot of boys had back then. When we were growing up, my brother and I rode our bikes everywhere with a pack of buddies.
Q. How many bikes do you currently own?
A. Five built, three or four in progress. All road bikes.
Q. What's your favorite bike?
A. My 1998 Bianchi Campione is what I like to ride the most, although I haven't been riding for the past two years due to an injury. I own fancier bikes, but the Campione is a classic and I have about 13,000 miles on it.
Q. What three words describe how you feel on a bike?
A. Rhythmic, relaxed, and - even though it's more than one word - enjoying the fresh air.
Q. What's your favorite ride?
A. My regular ride is a 20-mile loop that I can do before work. The most beautiful place to ride is on Chagrin River Road on the east side.
Shown above, top-to-bottom: loose-bearing bottom bracket with square taper spindle, square taper cartridge bottom bracket, Shimano Octolink bottom bracket, Truvativ external bottom bracket cups.
Other thread types, mostly found on older frames, are Italian, French, Swiss, as well as some obscure others. The thread types differ in the size of the threads, and the direction of the threads on the drive side and non-drive side.
Many older bottom brackets use loose ball bearings, which are held in place with retainer rings. A bottom bracket overhaul is the process of disassembling the bottom bracket, cleaning all of the parts, cleaning the threads in the bottom bracket shell, cleaning the bearings (or replacing them, if necessary), then re-assembling the whole system. When assembled, the cups that hold the bearings in place must be tightened just right--tight enough, but not too tight--to provide the smoothest possible pedaling action.
As with most other bike components, a liberal amount of grease is spread on the threads before installing them. This prevents the threads from slipping out of adjustment, and prevents them from rusting and freezing up, making adjustments and removal easier in the future. Sometimes, the bottom bracket threads are also wrapped with teflon plumber's tape. This helps to create an even sturdier bond, as well as helps to eliminate knocking and grinding noises coming from your pedaling motion.
Most modern bottom brackets use cartridge bearing systems, which are usually a self-contained unit. Some cartridge bearings are sealed to help protect against water and other contaminants. These bottom brackets provide a less maintenance-intensive system, with a much longer lifespan. The overhaul process with this type of bottom bracket is somewhat simpler; sometimes the sealed bearings can be replaced, but usually the whole bottom bracket is replaced.
The primary distinguishing feature among most modern bottom brackets is the method by which the crank arms are attached to the spindle. Historically, as well as currently in many low-end to medium-quality bikes, the most common spindle is the square taper. On a square-taper bottom bracket, the ends of the spindle are shaped like a square with the corners somewhat rounded off, but the size of the square gets bigger as you move inward along the length of the spindle. The mounting holes for the crank arms have a hole with a similar square shape. The crank arms are simply pressed onto the spindle and held in place with a bolt; as the bolt is tightened, the crank arm gets tightened into place as the bolt wedges it further and further onto the thicker part of the spindle.
The advantages of the square taper system are that it is common, and therefore easy to find replacement parts, and relatively simple. The disadvantage to this system is that because the crank arms get wedged tightly onto the spindle, removing them for service can be difficult. After you remove the bolt, you must use a special crank arm remover tool to un-wedge the arm from the spindle. After this process is done over and over through the years, the mounting holes in the crank arms can get worn out, to the point that they can't be tightened enough to stay in place reliably on the spindle, so the crank arms must be replaced.
You should note that not all square-taper parts are interchangable, as there are some differences in spindle size and taper size among different manufacturers (e.g. Shimano vs. Campagnolo).
To improve on some of the deficiencies of the square taper design, Shimano designed a system that they called Octolink, where the ends of the spindle have 8 splines, and the inner edge of the crank arms have 8 corresponding grooves. There are two versions of Octolink, referred to as V1 and V2, which differed in the depth of the grooves between the splines. Shimano patented this design, and so not very many other manufacturers made parts that were interchangable with Shimano's system, as other manufacturers had to pay a royalty to Shimano to use their design.
To get around the Shimano patent issue, King Cycle Group, Race Face, and Truvativ got together and came up with their own splined bottom bracket design, and published the specifications as an open standard, so that anybody could produce parts that were interoperable with their design. They called their system the International Splined Interface Standard, or ISIS for short. ISIS uses a set of 10 splines on each end of the bottom bracket spindle.
Both Octolink and ISIS were popular with racers and other riders requiring high performance characteristics, as the increased diameter of the bottom bracket spindle provided a much stiffer, and therefore more efficient, interface. However, with the ISIS design, the increased diameter of the spindle required that the individual bearings be much smaller in order to fit them inside the bottom bracket shell. Because of the smaller bearings, the ISIS bottom brackets are prone to wear out much faster than the other designs.
To provide the stiffness advantages of Octolink and ISIS bottom brackets, and overcome the durability issues of ISIS, most major component manufacturers have come up with their own designs using external bearing bottom brackets. These designs have seemed to be very successful, and are now very common on many mid-range to high-end bicycles. They can be recognized by the knurled bearing compartments visible between the crank arms and bottom bracket shells. These systems are very easy to install, with only one special tool required to tighten or loosen the bottom brackets cups into the shell, and no special tools required for crank arm installation or removal.
Shown above: external bottom bracket as visible on the Raleigh Clubman bike.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
After kicking tons of tires, watching fuel prices and global warming soar while the economy plummeted, Sarah chose something practical, yet sporty--a Surly longboard bike.
"This bike is totally versatile," Sarah says. "It's huge and sturdy. What I love most about it is that every errand fulfills multiple goals--fresh air, exercise and no more feeding the meters and dealing with parking tickets. It's great."
Sarah points to bicycling's long history as a vital transportation mode in America. Whether racing, winding up mountains or cruising beach boardwalks, bikes have always metamorphisized to suit their environments. The longboard, funny-looking though it may be, is just one more incarnation.
Besides helping Sarah increase her fitness and decrease her carbon footprint, the longboard supports Sarah in modeling healthy, admirable behavior for her children.
"My kids are getting the message to get out in the world and move around because it feels really good. There's such beauty in riding a bike--the continuity of going somewhere, the sensory experience of seeing, feeling, smelling. I love the fact that you understand the landscape better. The whole gestalt of it is wonderful," Sarah says.
Sarah's daughters, Sophia and Alex, enjoy the ride as much as Sarah; perhaps even more, since they don't have to peddle up the steep hills that characterize the Bay Area. "My girls are always telling me we don't need a car. They think the bike is a hoot."
Riding a bike as part of daily life, rather than strictly for exercise, is deepening Sarah's relationships with her children, the environment and her community. "When I pull up to a stoplight, people talk to me. I'm not hiding out in a metal box," Sarah says.
Since much of Sarah's riding takes place in city traffic, she's forced to pay attention to her surroundings in a way she rarely managed when driving the minivan. "Bike riding is very meditative," she says. "Being totally present is part of the joy. When it comes to this bike, there is absolutely no downside."
If you're thinking of emulating Sarah, take care to follow her safety tips. Always wear a helmet and make sure your kids always wear theirs. Ride defensively--never assume that motorized vehicles with which you share the road will look out for you. Stop for red lights, stop signs and pedestrians. Whenever possible, choose the least trafficked routes. Equip your bike with a horn and wear a whistle. Always stay alert.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Thanks to Brent in the Peninsula store for the link!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The Medina County Bicycle Club has offered a new service on their website called "Ask the Mechanic." Don, our Medina Service Manager is fielding questions from Medina County Bicycle Club members and visitors to the website. Century Cycles Medina is proud to be able to offer this service to Medina Bike Club, and if you have any questions about your bike and are looking for a convenient, easy forum to get those questions answered, head on over here and ask Don!
"There's one bike here that is truly outstanding...Giant's Anthem X2 blew us away. Superb composure and trail connection from only 100mm of travel and rocket ship responsiveness from the super light frame make this a must have for anyone who measures their rides in tens of miles."
You can click here to read the full review article from Mountain Biking UK (PDF file, requires Adobe Reader software).
We've got one Giant Anthem X2 coming on a special-order for one of our customers in Medina, but we do have in stock a few of the Anthem X2's more economical brother, the Giant Anthem X3! So stop by for a test ride!
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
"In 1974, I blacksmithed the now famous klunker from scavenged objects. Then I started to hear that high form of recognition: 'You can't do that,' and 'It won't work.' I knew I was onto something big." -- Gary Fisher, pioneer mountain-bike builder
Somebody asked me the other day why I spend so much time doing bike stuff. The question caught me off guard. My first response was that bikes are as good a pursuit as just about anything else I can think of. Then I realized something else: it's not really about bikes. I mean, it is. But. It's about being outside, it's about communing with something big, it's about meeting people. Bikes are forward momentum. They are machines with inherently positive motives. I like that. Always have. Not going to stop any time soon.
Monday, January 5, 2009
During my rides to work just since the beginning of this year, I found both the record largest and record smallest bungee cords of all time! These were found along Rt 91 between Hudson and Twinsburg, apparently a popular bungee-cord hangout spot.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Bicyclists welcome at Obama's inauguration January 20. -- Bike Radar
50 states. 100 bike blogs. -- 100KM
Ride a bike through Shanghai with model Elyse Sewell. -- YouTube
Monday through Thursday: 10:00am - 6:00pm
Friday and Saturday: 10:00am - 5:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Hours in Medina and Rocky River are unchanged:
Monday through Thursday: 10:00am - 8:00pm
Friday and Saturday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm - 5:00pm
As always, you can find our currently-in-effect hours of operation at centurycycles.com/find/hours.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
And here out on the road on their tandem:Our ace mechanic Don from the Medina store made it to the ride as well, although not in time for the group photo!