Friday, July 31, 2009

What Bikes Belong knows

If you subscribe to the Bikes Belong Newsletter, than you saw these pretty interesting stats in the "Did You Know?" section at the end:

Each year, the average American household spends nearly three months' pay on transportation. Center for Neighborhood Technology, 2009 in AZ Central.com, 2009, "Average cost of transport consumes 3 months' pay"

According to a field study by the city of Portland, OR, while bicyclists come to a complete stop at stop signs only 7 percent of the time, motorists stop completely only 22 percent of the time. Rose, J., 2009 "Hey, Oregon, is that an Idaho stop or a California stop?", The Oregonian

A study of 2,400 adults found that those who biked to work were fitter, less likely to be obese, and had healthier blood pressure, and insulin levels than those who commuted by car. Gordon-Larsen, P., et al., 2009 Active commuting and cardiovascular disease risk, Archives of Internal Medicine, 169, 1216-1223

Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan was just in Seattle to see the 2010 Raleigh and Diamondback line-up (which is obviously so hot it caused a record heat wave) and he heard an inspirational presentation from Tim Blumenthal, the executive director of Bikes Belong. Big takeaway? There is more money coming toward bike lanes and bike infrastructure times 100 than we've seen in the past 20 years. Bipartisan support for bicycling is strong and things are moving forward in a positive way thanks to the initiatives of Bikes Belong. Also inspiring? Bikes Belong new slogans: "Get more people on bicycles more often." and "When people ride bikes, good things happen." Amen!

Define your life...in the French Alps!


David Towne, a pilot for Continental Airlines, a member of the Medina County Bicycle Club, and a regular customer in our Medina store, took a trip to France to watch the Tour de France and ride some of the race routes. He sent us these pictures from the Alpe d'Huez, the most infamous mountain climb in the race's history. Thanks, Dave!

Isn't that a certain well-known American bike racer shown on that sign...?

If you've got the itch to race this weekend, head to Akron for the Rubber City Meltdown, a criterium race on a 1-mile per lap track. It's all part of the Akron Cycling Festival, and also includes a "Blue Line Tour" (a non-competitive ride on parts of the Akron Marathon course and the Towpath Trail), and Bike the Trail - Ride the Rail.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Moving Bike Lane may become a reality


In another post early this year, we told about the concept of a bike lighting system that projects a moving bike lane with you as you ride, using laser beams.

The concept was actually created by two industrial designers as an entry to a contest to win a free bicycle. They didn't win the contest or the bike, but they did end up winning the prestigious Gold International Design Excellence Award (IDEA), a design competition co-sponsored by Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), BusinessWeek, Target, and Autodesk. You can read more about this award in this press release.

The idea generated such interest around the world that they decided to pursue making it an actual product.

They've created a working prototype. They added an LED blinky, and changed the color of the laser beams from red to green. You can check out photos of the prototype design (and check on the progress of when you'll be able to buy it) by going to their web site: www.lightlanebike.com

They've also created this video showing the prototype in action:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Allo Diavolo and the trick to riding a bike upside down


From today's "Strange but true" in The Plain Dealer:

Q: What's the trick to riding your bicycling upside down?

A: Lots of centrifugal force along a loop-the-loop track, as performed by Allo "Dare Devil" Diavolo in a 1901 circus stunt, say David Halliday and others in"Fundamentals of Physics." Diavolo coasted down a long runway, building up speed until he hit the approximately 8.8-foot-radius loop, then up and over he went. Based on elementary physics, this figures to a minimum necessary speed for Diavolo of 16.8 feet per second, or about 11.4 mph, to prevent his losing contact with the upper loop and falling. This speed requirement was independent of the weight of Diavolo and the bicycle. "Had he feasted on, say, pierogies before his performance, he still would have had to exceed only 11.4 mph," the authors say.
Devil horn costumes obviously don't factor in, then -- or DO they...???

Monday, July 27, 2009

The long way around

Late Friday afternoon, the Peninsula crew had the opportunity to help out two very adventurous cyclists, Morrigan and Allan. The two were within 200 miles of completing a 10,000+ mile plus ride around the US. Allan had been having some issues with an out of true wheel and they had considered just pressing on, but fate stepped in while I was outside the shop and shouted "Hi" to them. They figured they were here, and would have both bikes looked at to make sure the last push was issue-free. Allan's bike just needed some minor tweaks, a new rear tire, and some new brake pads.

Morrigan's bike needed a little more; the cassette body on the rear wheel was about to come completely off. Something missed by other shops, a shameless plug for us! The delay was gonna make it too late in the day for them to make the next campground, so I offered my floor to them, and they quickly accepted. I think the idea of a shower and AC helped. Dinner at the Winking Lizard is where I found out more about their trip.

They are both photo journalists, and to describe their goal best, I will quote their website. "We are two young people on a mission: to collect and publish overlooked stories of everyday Americans and their opinions and actions regarding the environment." For more info and to follow the end of their journey follow this link to their website:


To sum up, I consider myself privileged to have been able to help them out; it didn't hurt that they loved some of my photos. Allan my even used one of them for a separate project. I should also mention that they are riding Giant FCR 3's. While these are not bikes specifically built for very long distance tours, they had held up and worked fine.

Are you a bike salmon?


The term "bike salmon" and the artwork above are from Bike Snob NYC -- part of his campaign against the "directionally challenged irritants" who are "a menace to us all."

Related:

Bike Salmon: Omen or Harbinger? (Steamboats are ruining everything.)

What do you do when you know your area's bike laws, but the cops don't? (Bicycling)

A stop sign survey: Should traffic control be more bike friendly? (Treehugger)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Towpath Trail Closures Mon 7/27 and Tue 7/28

We have just been advised by the National Park Service that there will be some temporary closures on sections of the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail next week. This is for maintenance work.

Monday, July 27, 2009 7:00am until 4:30pm - Beginning at the tunnel under the railroad tracks about 1 mile north of Peninsula, closed up to the Interstate 80 bridge, just south of Boston Mills Road.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 7:00am until 4:30pm - Beginning at the northernmost intersection of the Towpath with the Carriage Trail (about 5 miles north of Peninsula), closed up to the Station Road Bridge near the Brecksville Reservation (about 7 miles north of Peninsula).

If you are renting bicycles from us and/or starting a Towpath ride in Peninsula on either of these days, we recommend that you head south to avoid both closures.

Please note that the maintenance work may need to be re-scheduled due to weather conditions, so the trail closure dates may be subject to change. We will try to post updated information here as it becomes available.

Walk+Roll at Two NEW Locations this Weekend!

Looking for something different to do this weekend? Walk+Roll's People-Powered Events come to two new locations:

Saturday, July 25, 2009 - Walk+Roll Detroit Shoreway+Gordon Square - 1:00 to 4:00pm

Nearly three miles of streets and paths will be part of this event, which showcases one of Cleveland’s transformative neighborhoods. Walk+Roll is partnering with Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization on this special event. More info...

Sunday, July 26, 2009 - Walk+Roll Slavic Village - 1:00 to 4:00pm

This is the most ambitious Walk+Roll to date! Nearly eight miles of streets and paths will be used for this route, which will include two Cleveland Metroparks, an inner-city golf course, a waterfall and history center, numerous new commercial and residential projects, public art projects, Cleveland Botanical Garden’s community garden, bicycle polo, skateboard lessons, youth concerts, and many historic churches. More info...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Product Review: Joe-2-Go Coffee Cup Holder


The Origin8 Joe-2-Go Coffee Cup Holder solves the problem of how to carry your favorite non-bottled beverage on your ride. It clamps to your handlebar with a sturdy hinged metal clamp. It holds any beverage in a tapered cup, whether the cup is disposable or reusable.

I picked one of these up a couple of months ago when we first got them for our Hot Deals for Cold Days specials earlier this year.

I had tried an inferior model of coffee cup holder in the past. The cup holder part was made of a thin layer of bare aluminum, which did not grip a cup very well. I had a couple of cases where I went over a bump or railroad tracks and suffered an unplanned ejection of my beverage. I tried to solve this by choosing a coffee mug with rubber grippers on the side. This solved the problem somewhat. Another problem, though, is that the cheap plastic clamp holding it to my handlebar did not hold tight enough. No matter how tightly I screwed the bolt in place, or how many rubber shims I put between the clamp and the handlebar, under the weight of a cup of coffee, after a few minutes of riding, the cup holder sagged under the weight of the beverage.

Both of these problems are solved with the Joe-2-Go. I filled my travel mug before I left home this morning with a full serving of Jet Fuel from my Keurig coffee maker. (Yes, I have joined the Keurig Kult. Resistance is Futile.) The Joe-2-Go performed with flying colors during my 14-mile commute to the shop. The handlebar clamp held firm, with no slippage whatsoever. The foam lining of the cup holder kept my mug from flying out, over curbs, potholes, and railroad tracks. Here it is in action on my Xtracycle cargo bike:


The Origin8 Joe-2-Go Coffee Cup Holder is in stock at all three of our stores, and costs $15.99.

P.S. Roadside Finds of the Day: wooden Jesus fish pendant, big rubber ant, and the usual bungee cord:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Night Ride on the Towpath this Saturday, July 25, 2009

Our next Night Ride on the Towpath Trail is this Saturday, July 25, 2009. The ride starts at 8pm from our Peninsula store. As always, go to www.centurycycles.com/for/nightrides for full details!

Here are some pictures from the last Night Ride on July 10:


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How to teach a child (or adult) to ride a bike



This is my son's 9th summer. This is his first summer riding a bike, thanks to our discovery of this video on this website about two weeks ago.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Discipline of Steel

Dan Polito builds bicycle frames by hand out of steel, right here in Cleveland, Ohio. Who knew? Well, you did, if you've been following this blog and our coverage of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. Many more people around the world know it as well, after Dan won the Best of Show Award. Now the readers of Cleveland Scene magazine know it. You can read the profile of Dan and the growth of his local business Cicli Polito here.

My favorite part of the article is Dan's way of comparing the different bike frame materials: "An aluminum bike is like riding a two-by-four. Riding a carbon fiber bike feels like paddling a kayak in the water. A steel bike feels like the road."

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Meet "Yehuda Moon" creator at ClevelandBikes meeting today

The special guest at ClevelandBikes' informational annual meeting today is Rick Smith, a local bike cartoonist, who will be on-hand signing (and selling) the book compilation of his online comic strip, Yehuda Moon. Check it out if you are not familiar with it -- it's a daily dose of bicycle-oriented art that's created right here in Cleveland.

ClevelandBikes' informational annual meeting is at the Flat Iron Cafe today from 11AM to 2PM. Besides meeting Rick Smith, you can watch the 15th stage of the Tour de France together and discuss (during the commercials) bicycle news. This event is free and open to all. If you have not had an opportunity to renew your membership for the year, you can do that, too.

Please RSVP to Kevin.cronin.ohio@gmail.com so he can be sure to have enough food and tables. ClevelandBikes will have some free appetizers, but you can also choose a full meal when you RSVP from the following limited selection from the Flat Iron's menu, and pay your server for that and any drinks you may order: Vegetable Pasta Marinara, $8.95; Perch Sandwich, $9.95; High Level Cheeseburger, $6.95; Bangers and Mash, $9.95; Hot Ham and Cheese Sandwich, $6.95.

The Flat Iron Cafe is located at 1114 Center St, Cleveland (216.696.6968), at the corner of Center St. and Merwin Rd. Bicycle parking will be available across Merwin Ave from the Flat Iron, and we'll have volunteers watching from window tables, but bring a lock if you have one!

After the meeting and meal, they'll have a 2:15 pm Scavenger Hunt/social ride for all to enjoy.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Bike Jewelry of the Day

A relatively new bike accessory company called Lezyne has been in business for just a couple of years now. Their products are well-thought-out and designed to be practical and useful. Probably their biggest hit has been their line of mini-pumps. We've been stocking the Pressure Drive Small model, and it's proven to be a popular item.

What distinguishes their mini-pumps is a detachable air hose that stows inside the pump barrel when not in use. The hose is reversible to work on either Presta or Schrader valves, without the need to disassemble the pump head to switch modes. Having the flexible hose means that there's less of a chance that you'll rip out the valve from your tube as you're pumping up a flat tire on the side of the road.
There is an optional hose available that also has a built-in air gauge. I found out, though, that the gauge hose only fits inside the Medium or larger models of mini-pumps, not the Small models.

The Lezyne mini-pumps have so far only been available in Black. They've also made some available is Silver, only as an included accessory on select bicycle models, such as the '09 Raleigh Clubman. Now, for those of us who like to match our accessories to all of the fancy-colored components on our bikes, you can get the Lezyne pumps in Red, Blue, or Gold. By special-order; please call us to check availability.

Check out the Red one here on my Surly Cross-Check!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How Rabo keeps cool while riding hot Giant bikes

Catching up on emails while watching the Tour tonight, I came across this email from Patrick at Giant Bicycles:

During the Tour de France the Rabobank team is riding Giant road and TT bicycles, the fastest, most advanced bikes in the peloton. To help keep the team cool while riding these hot bikes, the squad is using new technology—and some tried and true tricks—to beat the heat.

Spectators who watched the Rabo boys warm up and cool down for the time trials have seen the racers wearing some special suits that appear to be hooked up to tubes. “This year we have brought some new skinsuits with us, and they cool down the body quickly,” reports Van Bommel. “The riders wear them after each stage. On top of that we have special helmets.” (Click to read more on the Giant website.)

Patrick sent this communique a few stages ago:


Road Bike Action magazine has given its readers a sneak peak of the 2010 Giant Trinity Advanced SL 0 TT bicycle. In an online feature by editor Zap Espinosa (from the setting of the Tour de France Stage Four team time trial) he writes: “It was here in Montpellier that Giant bicycles took the leap and introduced their new 2010 Trinity Advanced SL 0 TT bike. More importantly still, they not only showed off a new bike (as Specialized and Trek have also done) but they added a firm date for its availability to the public (which neither of Giant's biggest competitors Specialized (Spring 2010) or Trek (vague) have really done).” He talks at length about the features of the Giant Trinity Advanced SL and supplies several photos of the key areas of hyper-engineering on the bicycle. He also mentions how working with pro teams provides a huge benefit to the consumer market: “Perhaps most important of all, the bike you can buy in September will be better than the bike the Pros are riding today. As the saying goes (and has been proven time & time again) racing improved the breed and so what problems they have uncured and solutions they have found with the team bikes have been incorporated to the production bikes.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Twin Sizzler Photos and Video

As was reported in our latest eNewsletter, about a half-dozen members of the Century Cycles staff participated in the Twin Sizzler Bicycle Race, a traditional July 4th event for many years in Medina. Thanks to a couple of our friends and family for their support, and for getting a few pictures of us before, during, and after the race, as well as a short video:



Monday, July 13, 2009

Cycling smackdown in the comics

Remember this little comics gem from Stephan Pastis in "Pearls Before Swine?"


Well, here was the response from Jef Mallet in "Frazz" on Saturday:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Make it 8

A TdF fan lives on the corner of Bassett and Lake Roads in Bay Village....

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our Latest eNewsletter


Our latest e-mail newsletter was sent out this past Thursday evening. If you didn't receive it, you can read it online here. If you'd like to sign up to receive it in your Inbox in the future (and catch up on archived past issues), you can do so here.

Highlights from the latest issue include:
  • Pictures and wrap-up of our last Night Ride on the Towpath Trail.
  • Bicycle Touring Travelers Visit Ohio
  • Two upcoming events sponsored by Century Cycles: Ice Cream Odyssey and Cycle Canalway
  • HOT Product - Keen Cycling Sandals
  • Staff Profile: Tom Wiseman
  • Burley Trailers on Sale
  • TechTalk: Freewheels vs. Freehubs

Friday, July 10, 2009

Spend the weekend on your bike!

TONIGHT: Join us in Peninsula for the Night Ride! Always free, always fun, and no registration necessary. Plus need something last-minute before the Night Ride? The Peninsula store is open until the ride starts at 8 p.m. for gloves, energy bars, sunglasses, bike lights, and all those little things that make life worth living.

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY: Ride your bike to the Ingenuity Festival this weekend and save 50% on your admission ticket! (Or enter "BIKE" as the promotion code when buying tix online.) ClevelandBikes will have free, safe, secure bike parking off Prospect Avenue just west of E. 14th Street.

SATURDAY JULY 18: Walk+Roll Old Brooklyn at Brooklyn Centre! The Old Brooklyn Community Development Corp is bringing bicycling and walking to the All Access Home and Bicycle Tour this year. The event will not involve a street closing, but it will include free bicycle tours, walking tours, trolley tours, local businesses, historic homes and cemeteries in one of Cleveland's most interesting neighborhoods. More info here.

AND ALSO THE 22nd ICE CREAM ODYSSEY ON JULY 18. Medina. Bicycle outing on a summer's day through quaint small towns over scenic, rolling terrain. Routes of 25/42/62 miles are fully-supported; barbeque lunch at finish. Free tee shirts to first 150 registered. Register online through Web site. Medina County Bicycle Club. (330) 421-1987. MedinaBikeClub.org

Go to our website for even more great rides and listings!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Friday Night Ride on the Towpath

Recently listed by The Plain Dealer as one of the region's free and fun attractions, Century Cycles Night Rides on the Towpath Trail are a great way to enjoy a summer night without breaking the bank! Tomorrow's Night Ride starts at 8 p.m. in the parking lot of the Peninsula store. Bike at your own pace for a 12-15 mile ride that takes about two hours. Bike lights and helmets are required.

Can't join us tomorrow? Then plan to join us in the future! The remaining dates for 2009: July 25, August 8, August 28, September 19, or October 9.

(Photo by Doug Charnock.)

Staff Profile: Tom Wiseman

The Medina store’s Tom Wiseman has a 12-year history with Century Cycles, yet has only four years’ tenure as an employee. He was on staff from 1997 to 1999, then came back into the Century Cycles fold in 2007. Tom has a strong background in mountain bike racing, but he is no slouch when it comes to road racing, either. He recently came in second in the 35-39 age group in the Twin Sizzler, a 27-mile bike race that’s an annual July 4th tradition in Medina.

Q: Congratulations on coming in second in your age group! How did the race go?

A: I’m used to mountain bike races. When I compete in road bike races, I never save anything for the end sprint. With a race that short, the whole thing is a sprint. I have a Polar cycling computer that’s also a heart rate monitor and it told me I burned 1,600 calories in the one hour and 10 minutes of the race. I went home afterwards and took a nap, then ate burgers and beer -- it was July 4th! (Polar computers are available by special order from Century Cycles.)

Q: What is your biggest accomplishment on a bicycle?

A: Any ride that I don’t crash or break my bike.

Q: Not Alaska?! (Tom and a friend came in first place in the 2007 Fireweed 400, also known as the Great Alaska Double Century, in the Men’s Duo category.)

A: The Fireweed 400 is probably my most memorable race, but it’s not my biggest accomplishment on a bike. I was in Alaska to support the team as a mechanic, but instead of wrenching I ended up riding. It certainly was the best five-day trip I’ve ever had, but I’ve had more exciting races and wins closer to home. I’m much more proud of my mountain bike racing.

Q: What’s your biggest accomplishment in mountain bike racing?

A: I competed in the Ohio Mountain Bike Racing Series from 1996 until 2006, and I spent four of those years ranked in the top 10. It was a much bigger field of competitors and there was much more adversity to overcome to be successful. Those races are what are really at the top of my accomplishments. But it’s not about racing.

Q: What’s it about?

A: It’s about friends.

Q: What bike did you ride in the Twin Sizzler and how many bikes do you own?

A: I rode a Raleigh Prestige road bike in the Twin Sizzler. I’m down to four bikes now. I had 12, but I had to put my wife through nursing school.

Q: Do you have a favorite bike?

A: No. I go through them pretty quickly, getting a new bike every 18 months or so. I’ve owned every manufacturer. Probably the bike I most fondly remember is a Schwinn Homegrown from the mid-1990s.

Q: What was your first bike?

A: My first “real” bike was a Diamondback Apex, which I got as a freshman in college at Kent State.

Q: What’s the best mountain bike on the floor at Century Cycles right now?

A: I really like the Giant Anthem. I’ve been on it for two years and am not planning to replace it, which is unusual for me. Its durability and ride quality are good. It’s a well-engineered bike. The whole package.

Q: What’s your favorite local trail or ride?

A: Vulture’s Knob. I was part of the group that helped Mark Condry build a large percentage of it. He and I are good friends.

Q: What three words describe how you feel on a bike?

A: Just. Three. Words?!

Q: Dirt or road?

A: Definitely dirt.

Q: When you’re not riding a bike or working at Century Cycles, what do you like to do?

A: I like to spend time with my wife and family. Just relax. Read. I’m a history buff. Anything that helps me get my mind off the everyday stuff.

Q: What’s your favorite beer?

A: A beer brewed by a guy I grew up with – Hoppin Frog Brewery’s Black & Tan. I also really like Hoppin Frog Brewery Boris the Crusher, a dark stout. I remember when he used to brew beer in his basement and now he has a brewery near the Goodyear blimp hangar in Akron.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?

A: I was in a race a long time ago and a guy passed me like I was standing still. I asked him, “when do you rest?” He said, “I rest at home.” I do the same thing now – give it everything I’ve got and no rest until I get home.

Q: What piece of advice do you try to share with customers?

A: Spend the extra now and you’ll thank yourself later. If you think you want it, you do. The only thing worse than buyer’s remorse is losing in a sprint.


Twin Sizzler Superstars!

Besides Tom Wiseman, other Century Cycles employees who competed in the Twin Sizzler on July 4th and deserve hearty congratulations include Adam Rady, 1st place in the 20-24 age group; Andrew Copenhavel, 4th place in the 15-19 age group; Drew Rady, 4th place in the 30-34 age group; and Kevin Madzia, 15th place in the 40-44 age group. Way to go!!

TechTalk: Freewheels vs. Freehubs

Most people like to take a break from pedaling once in a while during their bike ride and just coast along, either to cruise down a hill or catch their breath for a few moments on a smooth, flat stretch of road. Many people don't understand the inner workings of the mechanism that allows you to coast. What keeps your feet from having to keep moving with the wheels? The answer is either a freewheel or a freehub.

All modern multi-speed bikes use either a freewheel or a freehub system on the rear wheel, unless they are using an internally geared rear hub. Most bikes with 7 gears or less on the rear wheel use a freewheel; most bike with 8 gears or more on the rear wheel use a freehub, although there are some 7-speed freehub systems in use. The outward appearance of a freewheel and a freehub is not noticeably different to the average bicycle owner.

In both cases, inside the freewheel or freehub is a set of bearings that are separate from the bearings inside the wheel's main axle. Working in conjunction with these bearings is a set of spring-loaded pawls. When you pedal forward, the pawls lock into position to turn the wheel forward. When you stop pedaling, the pawls release, causing the clicking sound that you usually hear when coasting.

The difference between a freewheel system and a freehub system is in the location of the coasting mechanism.

On a freewheel system, the coasting mechanism is built into the gear cluster. The term "freewheel" refers to the whole gear cluster with the coasting mechanism inside. The freewheel is screwed onto a set of threads on the right-hand side of the wheel's hub.

On a freehub system, the coasting mechanism is a sub-assembly of the wheel's hub. The gear cluster is a unit with non-moving parts, and is referred to as a cassette. The cassette slides into place onto the freehub body and is held in position by a series of ridges, or splines, and locked in place using a cassette lockring.

The diagram below highlights the differences between freehub system (top) and a freewheel system (bottom).
The red dots indicate the position of the main hub's axle bearings. Notice how they are more widely spaced on the freehub axle compared to the freewheel axle. The freewheel bearing placement worked great for decades and was durable enough for most applications. However, when mountain biking exploded in the 1980's, riders experienced frequent problems with their axles snapping in half. This led to the development of the more durable freehub system, and it's used on most better bikes (road as well as mountain) priced over $400. You are still likely to find the less-expensive freewheel system on bikes under $400.

A 6-speed freewheel

When the mechanism wears out in a freewheel, you just replace the entire freewheel (with gear cluster). When the freehub mechanism wears out, you can remove the cassette, replace the freehub, then re-install the cassette.
A 10-speed road bike cassette

These days, since freewheels are mostly used on kid's bikes and less-expensive adult bikes, the quality level of most replacement freewheels available are pretty much equivalent. However, there are a wide range of freehubs available from a variety of manufacturers today. One of the things that makes one freehub better than another is the number of pawls in the freehub mechanism, and the number of engagement points for the pawls. Increasing the number of pawls and/or engagement points makes the freehub engage faster when you start pedaling, with less free "spinning" before the force of your legs gets put to use.

For single-speed drive trains, both the freewheel and and freehub mechanisms are in common use. The working principle for both is the same as their multi-speed brethren. A single-speed freewheel has the coasting mechanism built inside a single cog that is bolted onto the wheel's main hub. These are common on BMX bikes, most single-speed kid's bikes, and many single-speed mountain bikes (both high- and low-end).
A single-speed freewheel

A single-speed freehub has the same type of splines as a multi-speed freehub; the freehub body is just shorter to accomodate a single cassette cog. The are common on many single-speed mountain bikes (both high- and low-end).
A single-speed cassette cog

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Super Dave" tours the Midwest and East Coast


The latest long-distance bicycle tourist to stop in the Peninsula store yesterday is this guy, with his home-made snowmobile-shaped cargo trailer, weighing in at 75lbs!

His name is Dave; although I didn't catch his last name, he said all of his friends and the bike shops in his home of Marquette, Michigan (on the Upper Peninsula) know him as "Super Dave." He does a long ride every summer; this year, he's riding through the Midwest, and will proceed through Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, and then continue down the East Coast to Florida.

He's raising money for The Smile Train, an organization that funds corrective surgery for children afflicted with cleft palate.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day

In honor of Independence Day, here are two stories about bicyclists who helped to defend our country's freedom. Both stories come to us courtesy of the Adventure Cycling Association.

The first is the story of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps, an all-black regiment in the segregated 19th-century US Army. Based in Ft. Missoula, Montana, the regiment traveled by bicycle from there to St. Louis, Missouri, a total of 1,900 miles in 41 days during 1897. The purpose of the trip was to experiment to see whether the bicycle could serve a useful purpose in the Army.

You can read a day-by-day account of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps at: http://www.bicyclecorps.blogspot.com



Fast forward to World War II for the next story. A folding military bike was used by some of the British paratroopers deployed in the D-Day invasion on the coast of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Shown here is a re-enactor on a replica model. You can read more details here.

This last story is not bicycle-related, but I thought it was cool. Take one high school class project, a disappointing grade, and a couple dozen calls and letters to the White House. What you get is the story behind our current 50-star flag came to be. Listen to online at NPR's StoryCorps.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Top 10 Reasons Geeks Should Love the Tour

The Tour de France begins tomorrow, and that means it's time to reduce my Netflix subscription down to one DVD, for there is no movie-watching in our house in July.

Instead, we'll spend the next three weeks with Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen, who are reason #5 on this awesome list of Top Ten Reasons That Geeks Should Love the Tour de France. Doug Cornelius has it right -- the Tour is filled with geeky goodness. It's also filled with enough drama and humor that I don't miss movies one bit while it's on.

The derailleurs that inspired "Disraeli Gears"

Every week I look forward to the Tuesday Trivia email quiz from the legendary geek hero Ken Jennings. Two weeks ago, here was a Q and Ken's A:

5. Derailleur systems are the "gears" on what type of device? A derailleur is the system that includes the gears (sprockets, actually) on a bicycle. I just found out this week that the classic Cream album Disraeli Gears is named for a roadie's mispronunciation of the word "derailleur." Cool, right?

Cool is right, Ken! But I wanted more details. Off to Wikipedia!
The title of the album was taken from an inside joke. Eric Clapton had been thinking of buying a racing bicycle and was discussing it with Ginger Baker, when a roadie named Mick Turner commented, "it's got them Disraeli Gears", meaning to say "derailleur gears", but instead alluding to 19th Century British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. The band thought this was hilarious, and decided that it should be the title of their next album. Had it not been for Mick, the album would simply have been entitled Cream.
The album, which featured "Strange Brew" and "Sunshine of Your Love," went on to be a huge seller in both the UK and America.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bike donated to the Bay Skate and Bike Park Foundation

If you go to Bay Days this holiday weekend to partake of the carnival food and rides, be sure to stop by the Bay Skate and Bike Park Foundation booth. They are selling raffle tickets now through Saturday to win this Electra Navy cruiser donated by Century Cycles. The proceeds go to BSBP, which is trying to move heaven and earth and local politics to create a place for west side kids to enjoy their skateboards and bicycles.


Or: Save yourself 3,000 elephant-ear calories and a stomachache from the Roundup by just donating to BSBP here. It's a tax-deductible act of civic altruism to add to your July 4th festivities, plus founder and BSBP grand poobah Lawrence Kuh (below left) and his crew of skate and bike kids will really appreciate the help.


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Night Ride Photos from June 27, 2009

Our pictures from this past Saturday's record-breaking Night Ride on the Towpath Trail are now available!





Thanks to Brent, Doug, and Petch for the great photos!

Bike Sales Higher Than Car Sales in 2009

During the first quarter of 2009, more bicycles were sold in the US than cars and trucks!

Read more details in this article on the "Energy Boom" web site.

(Thanks to Brent for the link.)