Sunday, May 31, 2009

London Mayor narrowly escapes accident while cycling

Boris Johnson, Mayor of the city of London in the UK, was cycling on a street in the city last Friday, ironically on "Narrow Street," and also ironically, to scout out new, safer cycling routes. The rear doors of a passing truck (or lorry, in the local lingo) swung open as the truck bounced over a speed bump, and caught on a parked car, dragging the car across the street and just barely missing Mr. Johnson and several other cyclists. The event was caught on video by a private security camera; you can watch it here:

http://www.mirror.co.uk?bcpid=18731164001&bctid=24043468001

The cyclists were in a lane separate from the truck and parked cars, so you probably can't say that the truck driver was passing the cyclists in an unsafe manner. Eyewitness reports about the speed of the truck are conflicting; some say the the driver was going over the speed limit, while others say he was within the limit, but too fast for the speed bump. At best, the driver is only guilty of not properly securing the rear doors of the truck.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tennis, anyone?


Today's roadside find of the day (instead of bungee cords)...

"Hey, that's a tennis ball. And there's another. And another. And ANOTHER...!:

More Surlys for your pleasure


We just received a fresh batch of Surly bicycles, ready for you to test ride, and hopefully buy. In stock now are:


  • Surly Long Haul Trucker, 54cm, Olive (Peninsula)

  • Surly Long Haul Trucker, 56cm, Truckaccino (Rocky River)

  • Surly Cross-Check, 54cm, Beef Gravy Brown (Medina)

  • Surly Steamroller, 56cm, Creamroller (Peninsula)

Bikes get sold and transferred, so please call us to verify availability before you make a trip!


Friday, May 29, 2009

More Long-Distance Bicycle Tourists



Our second pair of long-distance bicycle tourists of the season stopped by the Peninsula store yesterday. Kelly Platzer and Chance Glasford are both from Minnesota and are students at St. Cloud State University. They drove to New York city, and headed out on their matching Surly Long Haul Trucker bikes, and are heading west until they reach San Francisco. They are raising money for the American Cancer Society. You can follow their progress and make a donation from their blog at: www.cycle4acure.blogspot.com




Thanks again to Doug for the photos!

Our favorite avid blogger and blog reader Mars Girl asks, "How does one go about preparing for a long bike trip like this?" Good question, and we've got some good answers. Several of the CC staff have some experience at this sort of thing, so stop by our stores and they'd be glad to chat with you about it. A great online place to start is the Adventure Cycling Association's How-To Department at: http://adventurecycling.org/features/howto.cfm They've got great articles for the beginning cyclo-tourist, covering everything from training and packing, to routes and maps.

Speaking of long-distance riding, two of the CC staff are competing in tomorrow's Mohican 100 Mountain Bike Race. Brent from the Peninsula store (on his Surly Karate Monkey) and John from the Medina store (on his Salsa El Mariachi) will be riding the grueling 100-kilometer course!

Good luck to Brent and John in the race, and good luck to Kelly and Chance on their cross-country journey!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bicycling on The Sound of Ideas Fri 5/29/09

Thanks to Walk+Roll for the heads-up on this!

Cleveland's National Public Radio affiliate, 90.3 WCPN, is doing a live radio show tomorrow morning - Friday May 29, 2009 at 9:00am on bicycling in Northeast Ohio! Tune your radio or listen online tomorrow morning to hear about bicycling and pedestrian initiatives that are happening or being discussed. If you have thoughts on how to make our region more friendly to bicyclists and pedestrians, you can voice your ideas at 216-578-0903 or news@wcpn.org.

Our region has some very unique bicycling assets that many people may not know about:
Tune in to WSPN 90.3 at 9am tomorrow morning, or listen online. If you missed the program (or are reading this message too late to catch it), you can listen to archived versions of the show on The Sound of Ideas home page.

Touring season has begun!


We've been seeing increasing numbers of self-supported bicycle tourists passing through and stopping in our stores over the past couple of years. We had our first group of the year in Peninsula during this past Memorial Day weekend. This pair of young women (Beth and Carrie) had left Rochester, New York six days prior, and were taking the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route to the south to Kentucky, where it connects with the TransAmerica Route, which they will follow all the way to Astoria, Oregon.



Thanks to Doug for the photos!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scott Cowan on WKYC yesterday!

Scott Cowan spoke to Andrea Vecchio on WKYC TV's Good Company segment yesterday about the different types of bicycles available for all members of the family, as well as some important and useful accessories. Click on the preview picture below to watch it!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bike lane debate in today's Plain Dealer

The front page of today’s Plain Dealer featured this article: “Bicycling advocates collide on the merits of bike lanes.” It’s a hot topic around town today, especially if you read all the comments to the online edition.

At Century Cycles, we believe in two things: (1) Everyone should remember to share the road and (2) bike lanes/paths increase bicycling use – and that’s what we’re all about. So play nice out there, folks. We’re all in this together.

Check us out in Bicycle Times

The latest issue of Bicycle Times Magazine mentions our Night Rides on the Towpath Trail in their Bike Socials / Events section. Bicycle Times is the new commuter/urban-oriented magazine from the same folks who bring you Dirt Rag, the mountain biking magazine. Find both at your favorite news stand or book store today!

The issue also features a review of the Raleigh Clubman bicycle (which we have in stock in all three of our stores now), plus a comparison of blinky lights, including one of our favorites, the Planet Bike Superflash. Of the Raleigh Clubman, tester Eric McKeegan says, "There really aren't that many bikes on the market like the Clubman. It's a shame really...It takes a page from '70s and early '80s road bikes, and updates the idea with modern frame geometry and components, without losing the practicality that has kept many of those bikes on the road today."


Thanks to Doug for the photo!

Memorial Day Riding

All of us here at Century Cycles hope that you had a fun and safe holiday weekend, and had a chance to enjoy the perfect cycling weather. A few of the CC staff met at the Silver Creek Metro Park near Akron to join a ride organized by one of our customers. The ride was a leisurely 30 miles; here's the whole group at the rest stop in Canal Fulton:

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ride of Silence


The inaugural Medina Ride of Silence was held Wednesday, May 20th. Starting at the Century Cycles shop, sixteen riders rode at a slow pace in near-silence to commemorate bicyclists who have been killed or injured on America's public roadways. The ride was completed safely, but since the ride was close to the city of Medina, there were plenty of motorists who showed their lack of knowledge of the rules of the road. Hopefully through events like this, cyclists can raise awareness of this critical issue.
Thanks to the Medina County Bicycle Club for their help in getting the event organized. You can find more information about the world-wide Ride of Silence campaign at www.rideofsilence.org.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ride Mohican State Park


I took advantage of my day off today and headed down to Mohican State Park, outside of Loudonville, Ohio, to ride the 25-mile mountain bike trail loop. It was a perfect summer-like day, and the trail was in fantastic shape as always. It's so smooth and virtually mud-free, I think my bike got dirtier during the drive there than it did during the bike ride.

Being a weekday, I didn't see another soul on the trail. The only downside of not seeing another face was that my face was the only one available for clearing the spider webs that stretched across the trail. Oh, and check yourself (or have a VERY close friend check you) for ticks after your ride; I caught one of the little buggers crawling up my leg while I was changing back into my street clothes. Luckily, he had not yet sunk his little jaws into my skin.

You can find directions and other details about Mohican State Park in the Where to Ride section of our web site.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Open House at Groovy Cycle Works

Ever wonder what goes on in a framebuilder's shop? Want to see all the grime and glory in person? Really don't care about the first two, but want to get some free food? Here's your opportunity!

Groovy Cycle Works in Wooster, Ohio is having its Groovy Spring Open House on Saturday, May 23, 2009 from 10:00am to 2:00pm.

Shop tours, tech talk, good food, and a lot of socializing will be in full force. Whether you are a customer, friend, or just wanna see what custom bicycles are all about, feel free to stop on by. There will be door prizes, a couple games of cornhole, and a dilly of a good time.

If you plan to attend, drop a note to Groovy's proprietor and sole employee Rody Walter at rody@groovycyclesworks.com so that he can insure that he gets enough food and drink for all.

After the Open House, Rody plans to head out to Vulture's Knob for the Groovy Race Series #2, where you can ride the Knob's challenging trails, eat some more, chill to some killer tunes by the bonfire, then turn into the tents and sleeping bags to camp out for the night.

Groovy Cycleworks
340 East Liberty, Suite B
Wooster, OH 44691
Phone: 330-988-0537
www.groovycycleworks.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Pre-register for GOBA by tomorrow!

Tomorrow, May 20, is the pre-registration deadline for the 21st Annual Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure. Since it's due by 5 p.m. (and that's received, not postmarked), click here to register online. Century Cycles has been a proud supporter of GOBA for the past 15 years, there every day with mechanical SAG support and our "fourth store" in the nightly vendor area. Join us in the adventure!

Latest Night Ride Recap

Rainy weather on and off all day this past Saturday, May 16 scared off some potential Night Riders, but we still had a great turnout of about 80 people! The evening stayed dry for a pleasant ride.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Raleigh Lil' Push Rocks!

I borrowed this post from the Raleigh Bicycles Blog, showing a kid on a Raleigh Lil' Push bike doing exactly what he should be doing--rockin' and rollin!


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Three White Lightning Lubes: What's the Difference?

White Lightning is one of the most popular bicycle chain lubricants, and it now comes in three varieties: Clean Ride (also known as the "original" White Lightning), Epic Ride, and Wet Ride. What is the difference among the three? Check out this video for an explanation.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Comfort Road Bike?

What do you get when you cross an Electra Townie comfort bike, with its Flat Foot Technology and comfortable upright riding position, with a road bike? The result is the Electra Townie Sport series.




Our Electra sales rep Gary Thomas stopped by the Peninsula store on Thursday with the Electra Townie Sport 105 bike for us to try out. There are some things in this world that you love to hate (like Huffys, Big Macs, and John Tesh), and there are some things that you hate to love (like Law & Order, McGriddle sandwiches, and Natalie Merchant). This bike falls squarely in the second category, in my mind. 4 out of 5 of us who tried it agreed that we were surprised how much we liked it. It's amazingly light and fast for such a comfortable bike.




It's got components that you'd be glad to get on any mid-range road bike: Shimano 105 rear derailleur and cassette, FSA compact double crankset, dual-duty pedals that will work with sneakers or click-in cycling shoes, and Shimano Rapidfire shifters that are as sure and smooth as you'd find on any of our top-of-the-line fitness bicycles from Raleigh or Giant. They're all attached to a lightweight aluminum frame and fork that rolls smoothly on Maxxis Detonator 700x28 tires.




The Electra Townie Sport 105 sells for $1,299.99; it also comes as the Electra Townie Sport Tiagra for $899.99, and the Electra Townie Sport 2200 (Men's or Women's version) for $599.99.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Lives Defined: Andy Clarke

Andy Clarke is the 38-year-old CEO of Panther Expedited Services, Inc., and a regular customer in our Medina store who enjoys bicycle racing and riding with his family.

Q. How did you get involved with cycling? What were you riding at the time?

A. I originally purchased my first bike (yellow Cannondale R1000) to compete in triathlons. Interestingly enough, I never actually entered one. Didn’t really like to swim and running was too hard on the joints. At the time I started cycling, I weighed about 220 pounds. While I haven’t ridden my Cannondale in years, it still hangs on my garage wall. I’ll never get rid of it. The good news is that I now weigh 180 pounds.

Q. What's your favorite thing about cycling?

A. Jean Bobet said it best - "The voluptuous pleasure that cycling can give you is delicate, intimate, and ephemeral. It arrives, it takes hold of you, sweeps you up and then leaves you again. It is for you alone. It is a combination of speed and ease, force and grace. It is pure happiness."

Q. When did you decide to compete?

A. I started doing century rides while living in Tennessee; completed my first one in just over 6 hours in the fall of 2003. I wore out a trainer over the winter, dropped about 15 pounds and did my second century in the spring of 2004 in 4:45. At that point, I was hooked. I did about 8 century rides in 2004 before deciding to race in 2005.

Q. What was your first race? How did you do?

A. My first race was a Cat 5 crit in Knoxville, TN and I lapped the field. They immediately upgraded me to a Cat 4. I am now a Cat 1.

Q. What races have you won?

A. Interesting question, and I don’t know the answer. I would guess I’ve probably won about 20 or so with a lot of top 10 finishes. My racing highlights include: TN Masters Time Trial and Crit in 2006 and the Ohio Elite Time Trial and Crit in 2007.

Q. What's your favorite ride? Favorite bike?

A. I used to live in rural east Tennessee and there was a 120 mile ride with over 9,000 feet of climbing. The real beauty of the ride was that I could roll out of my garage and not go through a single traffic light and encounter very little traffic. A close second was doing the Tour of Flanders last year the day before the pros. Favorite bike is my Merckx Team SC. A true workhorse.

Q. Is it a challenge in Ohio to be able to train enough to be competitive? With a career, and family, and weather in Ohio, how do you schedule your rides and training?

A. Good question. When you have little time, you have to make the most of it. So, if I only have an hour to train, I go very hard for that hour. The hardest part for me is the travel I have as part of work. Sometimes I am stuck sitting on a hotel stationary bike. Winters are also hard, but I take weekend trips to warmer weather and sometimes bring a bike.

Q. What foods do you prefer for training and competition?

A. Foods that digest easily. Pasta and chicken the night before a race. Usually cereal or oatmeal the morning of a race, and depending on the length, I’ll have gels during the race. It is important to recover correctly after a hard training ride or race. PB&J with bananas are one of my favorite recovery foods.

Q. How do you prepare mentally for a race?

A. I used to get all worked up before races, because I worried about hundreds of variables that I could not control. I am now calmer in my approach by focusing on the few variables that I do control. The most important thing is to make sure that all your gear is ready and works properly the night before an event. The last thing you want to do is be running around 5 minutes before the start of a race looking for a wrench or bike pump.

Q. Can you recommend any training resources?

A. When I first got into racing, I engaged an online coach to help with training. This resource was a tremendous help, as it allowed me to make breakthroughs in training. I no longer use a coach, but I would still recommend one for those starting out.

Q. Do you have any advice for new cyclists?

A. Have fun. Whenever I ride, I always tell myself that “I chose to be out here on my bike, nobody made me do it”. As a result, bad weather and bad drivers don’t bother me too much. Also, get a bike and gear that fit you. If you are going to be on a bike and get the most out of it, you need to be comfortable.

You guys didn’t ask for a plug, but I will offer one up. Develop a good relationship with the LBS [local bicycle shop] and the mechanics. That means bringing in donuts and coffee every now and again. They will make sure that the bike fits correctly and that you are happy with your ride. Just ask the guys at Century Cycles in Medina – they have definitely taken care of me on many occasions.

Q. Tell us about your family; are they supportive of your riding?

A. My wife Colleen and I have been married for 14 years and we have 3 children: Kelton (10), Cameron (8), and Riley (6). They are very supportive of my cycling and often come to races. They like it when I win, because they get the money.

Q. What are your plans for the future?

A. Survive through 2009.

Q. What races are you planning to compete in this year?

A. Big ones are Masters Nationals Road Race, Time Trial, and Criterium. Also the State RR and Crit.

Q. If you were a Star Wars character which one would you be?

A. Easy – Han Solo. He is one cool dude.

This is a photo from a race that Andy rode in recently; he won the lap shown in progress!
Thanks, Andy, for sharing your story with us, and we look forward to seeing you around again soon!

P.S. It is just a coincidence that Andy shares a name with Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Get a Free Sample of Tri-Flow!


This Saturday, May 16, 2009, look for a tent in the parking lot of our Rocky River store for a couple of folks from Tri-Flow Superior Lubricants. They'll be there from 10:00am to 1:00pm.

Tri-Flow is a teflon-based lubricant that works great on bicycle chains, brake and derailleur cables, and other components. Fill out a brief consumer survey at the Tri-Flow tent on Saturday and receive a FREE 2-ounce bottle of Tri-Flow!

Tri-Flow Superior Lubricants is a division of The Sherwin-Williams Company, based right here in Cleveland!

We first hooked up with the folks at Tri-Flow when they signed on as the sponsor of Ray and Kevin's Pan-American Ride last year to raise funds for The Melanoma Research Foundation. The Tri-Flow/Sherwin-Williams family was a huge help to Ray and Kevin during their ride, not to mention that their supply of Tri-Flow was invaluable in keeping their bikes rolling through hurricanes, the heat of coastal Mexico, and Central American mountains!

Request from Ohio City Bike Co-op

Folks,

The Ohio City Bicycle Co-op rarely makes email-blast pleas for people to just "show up" at events -- we don't want our emails to be another element of the internet din out there -- but here are two important thing you can do this week to really benefit the local cycling community, and yourself, without a lot of time or effort:

Today from 4 to 7pm at the Cleveland Public Library downtown branch, join in a free forum with nationally-recognized presenters to help chart the future of bike advocacy in northeast Ohio. Cleveland is dismally behind the curve on public support for bike facilities, policy initiatives, and cultural awareness. By attending this event (or any part of it) you can demonstrate that there is a trend for the better, and get information and inspiration to help achieve a truly bicycle-friendly community. No registration needed; just show up, enjoy some free Phoenix coffee and cookies, and be part of the change in our region's cycling culture.

This Saturday from 9am to noon at Brookside Park, OCBC is helping 100 Cleveland public school students learn to safely use the bikes they have earned for good grades and citizenship credit from the Coca-cola Pedal Power program. Your attendance as a "rodeo station monitor" will help us fulfill our commitment to this program; earn OCBC shop credit for yourself; and help some deserving kids become the next generation of responsible, effective cyclists.

Please send email to jim@ohiocitycycles.org if you can help at this event.

Thanks!

Jim Sheehan
Director, Ohio City Bicycle Co-op
1823 Columbus Rd
Cleveland, Ohio 44113
Phone: 216-830-2667
www.OhioCityCycles.org

Night Ride this Saturday, and the Missing Megaphone Caper

Join us this Saturday, May 16 at 8:00pm at the Peninsula store for our next Night Ride on the Towpath Trail. If the weather looks iffy, give us a call at 330-657-2209 to see if we still plan to ride. The shop will be open for special Night Ride hours from about 6:30-8:00pm for those who need to pick up a light, helmet, gloves, or other quick items.


The highlight of this month's ride will be the return of our beloved megaphone!


The megaphone, which made its debut for last season's Night Rides, came up missing just before the start of last month's Night Ride. With over 175 people to reach with the naked voice, it made the pre-ride announcements pretty pointless.


I last remembered seeing (and using) the megaphone before the last Night Ride I attended, back in August of last year. I thought (but could not guarantee) that I put it back in its perch inside the store before hitting the trail. I assumed that if that were the last it was ever seen, somebody would have noticed a lot sooner (like before the September or October Night Rides of last year). But just to be safe, my approach to the whole megaphone affair had been to try to keep my head buried in my TRS-80 and let the other CC minions try to track it down.


This strategy did not last long, however, as yesterday morning I got the call from Scott Cowan, appointing me Commissioner of the Presidential Bi-Partisan Committee of the Missing Megaphone Investigation Committee. I assumed that up to this point, all of the obvious places had been checked, but just to be sure, I did a sweep of the back room, the mechanic shop, the rental barn, the storage closet, and the basement (including the legendary Jimmy Hoffa Room), all to no avail.


I started conducting one-on-one interviews with all of the Peninsula staff. I disavow any knowledge of "harsh interrogation methods." The prevailing theory was that it had been borrowed for the Breaking Away with Masi and Century Cycles Party up in Rocky River back in March. My personal theory was that it had been thrown into the Cuyahoga River by Patti The Buyer after she finally had enough of Derrick playing with the siren inside the store.


During my interrogation, er, interview with Doug, he decided to pop into the office/operations center/climate-controlled data center (pay no attention to that man behind the curtain) of the Peninsula store and poke around, and lo and behold, there was the megaphone, sitting on a shelf hiding behind some phone books and toner cartridges, about 5 feet from my head the whole time. So, dear Night Riders, rest assured that this Saturday's pre-ride announcements (and the siren) will come through loud and clear!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Our Latest eNewsletter


The Century Cycles eNewsletter for May is on its way to an Inbox near you! If you have not received a copy, click here to read it online, or click here to catch up on past editions and sign up to receive your own copy!

TechTalk: More Tire and Tube Q&A


We've received several random questions about tires and tubes recently, so we decided to combine them to make this month's TechTalk column!
Q. Why are there two kinds of valves on bicycle inner tubes?
A. The two kinds of valves used on bicycle inner tubes are called Presta Valves and Schrader Valves. The folks at UrbanVelo.org recently wrote an article that talks at length about the history, pros, and cons of both types. You can find this article, "Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Valves," here: http://urbanvelo.org/issue13/urbanvelo13_p78-79.html
A couple points of clarification that we'd like to add... Sometimes you'll see abbreviations for the valve types on inner tube product packaging: "PV" for "presta valve, " but also "FV" for "French Valve" or "RV" for "Racing Valve" instead. You may see "SV" for "Schrader Valve, " but sometimes called "AV" for "American Valve."
When asked what kind of valves you need for your tubes, the answers "regular" or "normal" are not useful, because the words "regular" and "normal" don't mean the same thing to every person! Someone familiar with car tires and hybrid bikes would consider the Schrader valve "normal," but somebody more used to racing bikes would consider the Presta valve "normal!"
Q. Should I rotate (i.e. swap) my front and rear tires occasionally so that they wear evenly?
A. No. While it is true that your rear tire bears more of the weight and friction and thus wears out more quickly, you should always have your best tire on the front, because that is most important when it comes to having enough steering control in potentially dangerous situations, such as cornering and descending.
Q. When installing a tire on a wheel, is there a trick to getting that last little bit of tire over the edge of the rim? Why are they so hard to put on, and how can I avoid pulling my hair out in frustration every time?
A. We feel your pain. Some tire/rim combinations are harder than others, even two tires labeled as the same size, due to minor variations in design and manufacturing tolerances. Bike shop mechanics have built up their thumb muscles from having done this process several times a day over the years. Skinny road bike tires tend to be the worst. Your best bet is to practice at home when you're not under the pressure of trying to finish a ride (and maybe do push-ups on your thumbs?).
You can pick tires that are more loose on your rims, but as always, there are trade-offs to consider. You want the tire bead to be loose enough to be easy to get on and off of the rim, but you don't want it to be so loose that the tire comes off of the rims on its own should you get a flat tire while riding. Especially while going down a hill very fast, the tire coming off of the rim can result in a very quick and dangerous "involuntary separation" of you from your bike.
Our step-by-step guide for How To Fix A Flat Tire (http://centurycycles.com/page.cfm?pageID=714) contains many helpful hints for making the process easier. Of course, having the right tools helps, such as the Topeak Shuttle Levers, KoolStop Tire Bead Jack, or Crank Brothers Speed Lever.
Q. Do skinnier tires roll faster than fatter tires?
The short answer is Yes, but the long answer is No...
Taking the basic no-brainer case of a smooth, skinny road bike tire vs. a fat, knobby mountain bike or hybrid tire, then yes, the skinny tire will be noticably faster.
Where it gets complicated is when you reference a couple of studies that have been done to compare the efficiency of differing widths of tires. These studies are controversial, as some people question the testing methodologies used. Whether you believe them or not, the basic conclusion of these studies is that all else being equal, skinnier tires are NOT faster than fatter tires.
The key phrase in that conclusion is all else being equal. The catch is that all else is rarely ever equal. Stated another way, you could say that two tires with different widths, with the same weight and tread pattern, pumped to the same pressure, will roll at the same speed. However, very few manufacturers make tires that come in different widths, but with the same tread pattern and same recommended pressure, and if they do, the difference in width will make them weigh slightly different, so it's never possible to perfectly compare apples to apples.
Suppose you compared two of the same model tire in different widths, say the Continental Ultra Gatorskin in 700x23 (weighing in at 300 grams) and 700x25 (weighing in at 320 grams). Both have a maximum recommended pressure of 120psi. Put the 700x23's on your bike and go for a ride, then put the 700x25's on and ride the same route. You may not notice any difference at all. Whatever size you tried first might feel faster because you are not as tired at the beginning, or you might feel faster on the second set because you are good and warmed up. Or, you might get on the 700x25's and think (whether consciously or unconsciously) "Hey, these feel more secure and grippy!" and that feeling will make you ride more aggressively, tapping your brakes less on the turns and descents, thus making you faster overall. These uncontrollable physiological and psychological factors make an ojective comparison impossible.
Your best bet is to ride the size of tires that feels the most comfortable and efficient for you based on your own experience, and don't obsess over a few millimeters here and there. We like to go with wider tires for the improved comfort and traction.
Check out this previous TechTalk: Why All The Tires Sizes? for a discussion of what all those numbers printed on the sides of your tires mean.

Staff Profile: Doug Charnock



Doug was one of our very first customers in the Medina store, and he was in the store so often, that we figured we may as well hire him! He has been working at Century Cycles since 1997. He is now the Sales Manager in the Peninsula store, and he also lives in Peninsula. He is so plugged into the local gossip that his co-workers refer to him as the unofficial "Mayor of Peninsula." He also serves as one of Century Cycles' staff photographers; look for him with his camera at most events!


The Northeast Ohio winters aren't that big a deal to Doug, as he spent some time in Northern Minnesota while earning his college degree in Parks, Recreation, & Interpretation.


Q. What's your favorite thing about working at Century Cycles?


A. The ability of my co-workers to bring me out of a bad mood. It's a great group of people, and we really just have a good time together!


Q. How many bicycles do you own?


A. I have five bikes - two road bikes, two mountain bikes, and of course, a Surly Cross-Check, which I mainly use on the Towpath Trail.


Q. Which is your favorite bike?


A. That's a tough call, but I'd have to say my Vicious Cycles Electric Warrior road bike, only because it's the newest. I spared no expense in putting it together--custom paint job, carbon handlebar, Chris King hubs and headset, and Shimano Ultegra SL drive train.


Q. What was your first bike?


A. I don't remember much about the bikes I had as a kid. The first that I got when I started cycling as an adult was a Bianchi Ocelot mountain bike. It was one of the first 10 bikes that they sold at Century Cycles when they first opened the store in Medina!


Q. Road or dirt?


A. Definitely dirt, because it's just me and the bike; no worries about traffic and other stuff.


Q. What is your favorite trail or ride?


A. The mountain bike loop at Mohican State Park. There is this one section there that goes through some trees with smooth, swoopy curves that is my favorite bit of trail of all time, and I look forward to that section during the whole ride. It makes the other 24 miles of hell all worth while!


Q. What is your biggest accomplishment on a bike?


A. Last year, I took a vacation to New Zealand, and part of it was a 7-day mountain biking tour, where we covered 160 miles over some fantastic terrain, going from one secluded village to another.


Q. What do you like to do when not riding a bike?


A. Fly fishing and photography.


Q. What is your most-asked question by customers?

A. "Do you have a seat that won't hurt my butt?" People ask this both when buying a new bike, as well as when looking to upgrade the saddle on their current bike. The answer, of course, is yes. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to bike seats; it's a matter of personal preference more so than any other part on a bike. We have a wide selection and can make a recommendation for just about anyone.

Q. What advice do you wish you could give to every customer?


A. There is some basic advice that I DO give to every customer, such as wear a helmet, and keep your tires inflated well. What I wish I COULD say to every customer is to not take cycling too seriously. I'm passionate about it and it "Defines my life" as much as the next guy. But I see too many people who worry too much that they are not getting fast enough; they set their goals too high. You need to set realistic goals, and just enjoy being where you are; that is, on your bike.


Q. What's the best cycling advice you've received?


A. I don't really have a good answer for that, since much of what I know about cycling was self-taught.


Q. What three words describe how you feel while riding a bike?


A. "Post. Ride. Beer."


Q. What is your favorite beer?


A. Stone Arrogant Double Bastard (not a reflection of my personality!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Good Week in Bike Reviews for Raleigh

Last week saw the publication of three separate reviews in favor of three Raleigh bicycles:



The first appeared in Health Magazine's Gear Guide, for the Raleigh Alysa FT1 Women's fitness bike. Senior Fitness Editor Su Reid-St.John calls it "A great-looking, speedy hybrid at a nice price." Read the full review here. In stock now in our stores!



Next up, for the 3rd time in 4 years, a Raleigh carbon-fiber bicycle has made Outside Magazine's Gear of the Year Top 10 list. This year, it's the Raleigh Supercourse, about which Senior Editor John Bradley said, "If you're looking for a starter road bike that you can upgrade, this is it." Read the full review here, or watch the video review here. Available from us by special-order, although we've got a few of the '07 (on sale for $1,099.99) and '08 (also on sale for $1,099.99) models left in stock! Call for size availability...



Lastly, Outside Magazine also managed to get their hands on one of the limited-edition Raleigh XXIX Pro, "as far as a hardtail 29er mountain bike goes, this is about as good as it gets," says John Bradley. Watch the video review here. Still available from us by special-order!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Scott Cowan quoted in Bike Midwest Magazine

Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan was quoted in the latest issue of Bike Midwest Magazine, in an article by Sarah Kalina about bicycles in advertising and cross-promotions. You can read the whole article here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Meet Matt and his Grandma

Matt Miller has been working at the Rocky River store for over 10 years, but don't feel bad if you don't know him, because he can only be found there on Sundays. During the week, he works as a marketing manager for a large local company, but fills in part-time for us in order to indulge his passion for cycling. He has actually been around the store even longer, as he worked at the previous bike shop located in the building before it was acquired by Century Cycles. So, he kind of "came with" the business! He says, "I love the people I work with and being able to help customers enjoy something as simple as riding a bike."

He recently built himself a comfortable cargo bike using an Electra Townie 21-speed and the Xtracycle longtail attachment:


The reason behind the bike is, as he explains, "My wife and I want to use our bikes for some of the errands we could actually ride to. This allows us to pull the Burley trailer and carry groceries, kids and anything else we could need."

The bike can also handle passengers, and Matt convinced his 85-year-old grandmother to be the first to test it out!
He says, "Grandma did like the ride. She was a little nervous and was pretty sure we were just going to tip over 'because we were only on two wheels!' But she enjoyed the ride and laughed about it afterwards. I think the seat was a little hard since it's only a piece of wood."




And yes, before you start writing letters, Matt usually does ride with a helmet!





Thursday, May 7, 2009

Cleveland Bicycle Week is May 11-17


May is National Bike Month, and next week is National Bike Week, with next Friday, May 15 being National Bike to Work Day!


ClevelandBikes and other organizations have many events planned to promote cycling as healthy and fun sport, recreation and transportation! Visit http://www.clevelandbicycleweek.org/ for full details, but here are somehighlight events:


  • Cleveland Bike to Work Day, May 15th. Park at the future Bicycle Station at Gateway and see the latest drawings (East 4th Street andHigh Street, just north of Huron Road) or got to the YMCA (E. 22nd St. and Prospect Ave.). Bike to Work brought to you by NOACA; visit the Bike Buddy program at: http://www.ohiorideshare.com/

  • Bike Tours to explore new neighborhoods, like Slavic Village (Monday), and arts and historic sites, including downtown arts and architecture (Monday), League Park, baseball history and Negro League history (Wednesday), Civil War and Emancipation history (Wednesday) and more.

  • Bike to the Movies, at Cinematheque, Cleveland Institute of Art, presents The Triplets of Belleville, a 2003 French animation by Sylvain Chomet. This zany, charming animated feature is one of the most acclaimed movies of the past few years. It tells a wild and bizarre story in a quaint/quirky/retro graphic style: a cyclist kidnapped during the Tour de France and taken to a sinister metropolis is rescued by three elderly, eccentric French women who used to be music-hall stars in the 1930s, with a great original jazz score. Show Times May 15 (Fri) - 7:30PM; May 16 (Sat) - 9:30PM

  • Bicycle Forum on May 14 from 4:00-7:00 pm, Cleveland Public Library, Main Branch, Stokes Auditorium. We are bringing insightful and experienced speakers from around the nation to share their thoughts on growing and supporting the cycling community. Speakers: Rob Sadowsky, Executive Director, Active Transportation Alliance (Chicago); Rhonda Border-Boose, Midwest Director, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (Columbus, Ohio); and Representatives from the City of Cleveland. The event is free to the public.

  • Cleveland Bicycle Week Celebration, after work on East 4th Street, Friday May 15th.

  • Learn new skills or sharpen old ones on bike riding, repair andother educational activities.
Ride and Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How to Shift Gears

One of the most common questions we hear from beginning cyclists is "How do I shift gears?" Well, in addition to the expert advice on this and other topics you can get in our stores, we've created a new section on our web site that addresses how to operate the shifting levers for all of the major manufacturer's models of shifters.

Just go to our Where to Ride page, check the list of shifting systems at the bottom of the page, and click on the one that matches your bike.

Also, check out the left-side menu on our Where to Ride page. It has suggestions for places to ride, whether you like riding on the road, singletrack mountain biking, or dedicated bike paths. It also has many other helpful pages, with information and tips about riding skills, training, commuting by bike, bike clubs and other local resources! You can find this page at: www.centurycycles.com/to/ride

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bike Aboard! On the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad



Back for the third year, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers their Bike Aboard! program, which lets you Ride the Rail and Bike the Trail! You can take your bike on the train with you, then ride your bike on the Towpath Trail back to where you started!
  • Please arrive at a boarding station 15 minutes prior to the train's scheduled arrival.
  • The train can be flagged down at boarding stations by waving both arms over your head.
  • Purchase your ticket when you board.
  • One way between stations, once per day.
  • $2 per person for ages 3 and up, includes your bicycle.
  • This fee only applies to cyclists.
  • No guaranteed seats.

Bike Aboard! is offered weekends only during the month of May. A new schedule of service Wednesdays through Sundays will be available beginning June 3.

You can find the current train schedule on our web site at: www.centurycycles.com/to/bikeaboard

Monday, May 4, 2009

1,215 Bay students expected to ride bikes to school today

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

1,215 Bay students are registered to ride their bikes to school today for the start of Bay Bike To School Challenge

BAY VILLAGE, Ohio (May 4, 2009) – Organizers of Bay Bike To School Challenge sponsored by Century Cycles and Chipotle report that 1,215 Bay Village middle and high school students have signed up to ride their bikes to school this morning for the start of the three-week program. Each student who rides today will be rewarded with cleaner air, energized muscles and a free burrito coupon from Chipotle.

Bay Middle School (27725 Wolf Road) has 675 students enrolled in Bike To School Challenge. Administrators at Bay Middle School expect approximately 80% of the school’s student population will travel to school by bicycle this morning, beginning at approximately 6:45 a.m. until the final bell rings at 7:45 a.m. Bay High School (29230 Wolf Road) has 540 students enrolled in Bay Bike To School Challenge.

Back for its second year, Bay Schools Bike To School Challenge sponsored by Century Cycles and Chipotle is May 4 – 22, 2009, and is organized to help middle and high school students in Bay Village, Ohio, kick the car habit by challenging them to ride their bikes to school during three weeks each spring, to help the environment, get more exercise and improve their health.

Students who register for Bay Schools Bike To School Challenge sponsored by Century Cycles and Chipotle carry a redemption card that is stamped each day they ride a bike to school. The more days they ride, the more they get – including free t-shirts and bicycle accessories from Century Cycles bicycle store in Rocky River. Chipotle is giving a free burrito to each student who rides the first day. Students also qualify for Bike To School Challenge’s grand prizes – two Raleigh and two Giant bicycles (one each per school, courtesy of Century Cycles, Raleigh Bicycles and Giant Bicycles) and free Chipotle burritos for a year. The program concludes on May 22 with assemblies at each school, to show the students the impact of their efforts, award the permanent home of the Golden Sprocket Award and draw the grand prize winners’ names.

Bay Middle School and Bay High School will also be competing during Bike To School Challenge to see which school has the greatest percentage of bike-riders on the three Wednesdays of the program, with the winner receiving the Golden Sprocket Award. It will be awarded weekly during Bike To School Challenge, on May 6, May 13 and May 20. In order to be eligible for the Golden Sprocket Award, a building principal or assistant principal at each school must have ridden a bicycle to school on the date of the challenge.

Launched in 2008 as “Bay High School Bike To School Month sponsored by Century Cycles,” the program exceeded organizers’ expectations – 543 students (66 percent of the school) registered for the program and on average 224 students per day biked to school during an unusually cold and rainy May, 2008. At its conclusion, Bay High School students rode an estimated 15,566 miles, saved $2,883 in fuel costs, and reduced carbon emissions by 14,350 pounds.

In 1969, approximately half of all students in the U.S. walked or bicycled to school. By 2001, only about 15 percent of U.S. students make the trip to school by walking or bicycling. Today, the habit of driving kids to school is so pervasive that, in some communities, parents driving their children to school represents between 20 and 30 percent of peak-hour morning traffic. (Source: Safe Routes to School: 2007 State of the States Report)

Two recent studies have found that biking or walking to school is associated with higher overall physical activity throughout the day. There are many potential benefits of physical activity for youth, including weight control, reduction in the risk of diabetes, and better academic performance.

A recent report concludes that changing the habits of just 20 percent of the children living within two miles of school to get them to walk or bicycle to and from school instead of being driven would be the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road each year, preventing the emission of over 350,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 21,500 tons of other pollutants. (Safe Routes to School: Steps to a Greener Future, prepared for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Safe Routes to School National Partnership)

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CONTACT:
Tracey Bradnan, Cartwheel Communications
Cell Phone: 440-781-7690
tracey@cartwheelcleveland.com

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bay Village Bicycle Safety Day

The Bicycle Safety Day at Bay Middle School this past Thursday evening was a huge success for all local residents, and a great way to help students prepare for the Bay Schools Bike to School Challenge Sponsored by Century Cycles and Chipotle!

Thanks to Doug for the photos below, as he managed to snap a few in between checking over 150 bikes with fellow CC mechanics Ray and Josh! Thanks also to Krista, Tracey, and Scott for lending a hand in answering questions and helping people to get their helmets fitted correctly!


Friday, May 1, 2009

59,915


That's the patent number for Pierre Lallement's velocipede, granted in 1866 in the United States. The French mechanic is widely believed to be the father of the modern bicycle. On this May 1 -- the first day of National Bike Month -- let's raise a glass to Monsieur Lallement and show everyone how we roll.