Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Letter of the Month

We received this letter after announcing our Maintenance Clinic schedule, and it's now in the running for the Letter Of The Year Award....

Dear Century Cycles Staff,

I consider myself something of an expert on the art of bike maintenance. Here's how I handle all mechanical bike issues.

Periodically, I bring my bike into Medina Century Cycles for installs, maintenance tune-ups and problem solving. I usually bring donuts via Buehler's bakery and buy lunch for Mike, Don, Tom, Chris, et al.

When I need work done, I have one of the two greatest mechanics in Western Civilization being either Don Barnett or Tom Wiseman take care of my bike. Using this technique I keep my bikes operating at peak efficiency and I always leave thinking I've received more value than I've paid for.

I have met many folks out on their bikes on the roads and bike trails of Medina and Wayne Counties and most know of Century Cycles and are agreed with me at how fortunate we are to have a local shop staffed by such knowledgeable and dedicated pros.

I do know how to keep my bike clean and well lubed and I use excellent components on my Raleigh, Cervelo and Giant bikes. But even on component selection, I have benefited greatly from the knowledge of Mike and the guys.

So there's my system for bike maintenance. I do the easy stuff and follow the motto of "Don't try this at home" for all the rest. This has resulted in thousands upon thousands of miles of successful road biking over the last 14 years on some of the greatest hills anywhere and I've yet to experience even one flat tire.

Many thanks to Century Cycles Medina for adding so much value to my life via the sublime recreation of road biking on a well tuned bike.

Just thought you'd like to know.


Greg Olsen

Many thanks to YOU, Greg -- we did like to know.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yeah, we can fix that!

The latest in our "coolest item we've had in for a repair" -- The Green Machine! It uses a standard 20-inch tire, which we were happy to replace for another satisfied customer. And yes, they gave us their permission to ride it! (The matching green Nutcase helmet, however, was Kevin's fashionable addition.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

In Memory of Elmer Cowan

Twenty years ago, a father believed in his son’s dream to open a bike store. Today, we honor and celebrate the memory of Elmer Cowan, father of Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan, and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

West Shore Sun: Cowan rememered as 'true gentleman"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Holiday Sale Starts TODAY!

Century Cycles is kicking off our Holiday Sale on Black Friday, but the awesome discounts -- EVERYTHING in ALL three stores is on sale! -- last through December 31 for your shopping convenience! Our holiday festivities include:
  • 10% off ALL bicycles -- including 2011s already marked down!
  • 20% off EVERYTHING else -- trainers, clothing, shoes, pumps, helmets, pedals, and more!
  • A FREE gift with purchase -- a special one-of-a-kind "Ride a bike" something-something to thank our customers for being the BEST all year long!
  • Big discounts on ALL tune-ups -- what a lovely gift for your bike; choose from package #1 with the basics to package #4, the complete overhaul!
  • Century Cycles gift cards in ANY denomination -- bicyclists are a picky lot and this gift is sure to fit every single one of them!
  • Gift bicycle storage for FREE -- let us hide that awesome present for you, then we'll deliver it on Christmas Eve to save you the hassle!
  • Oh What Fun It Is To Ride!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A way to give thanks....

"Whoever invented the bicycle deserves the thanks of humanity." -- Lord Charles Beresford

We couldn't agree with ol' Charlie more, but we also think humanity should take a moment to thank groups like the League of American Bicyclists for their continuing efforts to protect bicycling for all of us.

If you have a quiet moment on this holiday, please sign their Rights to the Road Petition to stop a proposed law that would restrict our ability to ride bikes on roads in national parks (like our beloved Cuyahoga Valley National Park) and on federal lands. Go to: It just takes a few minutes.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hot Deal #2: 50% Off Sunglasses!

Slope Fototec


(regularly $69.99)

Half-off price valid Nov. 22 - 30, 2011

Hot Deal #2 is an awesome buy on sunglasses from Tifosi Optics -- technologically advanced yet value-oriented eyewear that earn great ratings from the bicycling, golf, and sports press. The Tifosi Slope Fototec sunglasses come with lenses that adapt to conditions, making swapping out lenses a thing of the past. They feature temples and nose pieces made of hydrophilic rubber that grip even when wet, 100% UVA and UVB protection, and include a hard Eclipse case for storage and a microfiber cleaning bag. Stop in to try on a pair and save!

The Tifosi Slope Fototec sunglasses are available in two frame colors. The Smoke frames feature High Speed Red lenses that work well in all daytime conditions, from bright sunlight to overcast. The Metallic Red frames feature Light Night lenses, which have a lighter transition range, making them great for partly-cloudy days and riding on into the night--a must for our popular Night Rides on the Towpath Trail to shield your eyes from flying debris, bugs, and Towpath dust!

The Fine Print
This Hot Deal is good only November 22 - 30, 2011, while supplies last. In-store purchase only; no online or phone orders accepted. No coupon necessary.

Be the first to know about the latest Hot Deals for Cold Days by subscribing to the Century Cycles eNewsletter! Go to to sign up.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

20 Bike Maintenance Clinics: All New, All Free!

Century Cycles is proud to announce that after 19 years, we've switched up our educational clinics to make them better than ever for YOU -- more dates to choose from, more popular topics to learn, and the price is right (FREE!). We're offering 20 clinics from now through March on 12 different topics, so there is something for everyone and all can help you get more enjoyment out of your time on two wheels

All clinics start at 6:30pm (unless otherwise indicated), and last one hour. Light refreshments will be served. You do not need to bring your own bicycle to the clinic. Attendees also get a 15% discount on all parts and accessories purchased immediately after the clinic.

Although our clinics are FREE events, we ask that you please RSVP for each clinic by calling the store location that you'd like to attend (Medina: 330-722-7119; Peninsula: 330-657-2209; Rocky River: 440-356-5705). If you're on Facebook, be sure to "like" Century Cycles -- each clinic will have its own event page in the next few days and you can also then RSVP on Facebook.

Here's the line-up:

Basic Bike Maintenance
Our most popular clinic! Learn the basic skills that every cyclist should know: a 5-minute pre-ride safety check, how to change a flat tire, and what you should carry on every ride.
When: Tue Dec 6, Sat Jan 7 (1:30pm), Thu Feb 2 (ladies' night), Thu Mar 8
Where: Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River

Roadside Repair
Learn a few basic tricks to help get you home safely when you break down while out on a ride (and just maybe inspire your bike buddies to nickname you "MacGyver").
When: Tue Feb 21
Where: Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River

Shifting Adjustment
Keep your shifting quiet and reliable by learning how to fine-tune your derailleurs.
When: Tue Jan 24, Thu Feb 23
Where: Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River

All About Brakes
From A to V (adjustment to v-brakes), learn about the different types of brakes and how to adjust them to ensure you can stop your bike safely.
When: Tue Jan 17, Thu Feb 16
Where: Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River

Cleaning and Lubrication
Learn how to clean and properly lubricate your bike's drive train (another word for its chain and derailer) to extend its life and improve your bike's performance.
When: Tue Dec 13, Tue Jan 10, Thu Feb 9
Where: Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River

Mountain Bike Suspension
Having your shocks tuned to your body, your riding style, and the terrain can make all the difference between a good day and a bad day on the trail.
When: Wed Jan 18
Where: Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River

Care and Feeding of your BMX Bike
Whether you jump or freestyle, learn to keep up with the hard knocks of BMX riding.
When: Thu Jan 26
Where: Medina

Choosing and Using Clipless Pedals
What you need to know to pick the clipless pedals and shoes for your riding style, along with tips on how to clip in, unclip while riding, and avoid a dreaded fall.
When: Tue Jan 31
Where: Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River

Bike Commuting 101
Save money, save your health, and save the environment by riding your bike to work! This session will teach you some basic tips to help you get started and stay motivated.
When: Tue Feb 28
Where: Peninsula and Rocky River

Dressing for Winter Cycling
Many of us ride all year long. Hear our essential tips for not getting too cold (or too hot) while riding during the winter.
When: Tue Dec 27, Thu Jan 12
Where: Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River

Bike Touring 101
Whether you're planning a bike adventure around the state or around the world, this clinic will help you get yourself, your gear, and your route prepared for self-supported bike touring.
When: Tue Feb 7
Where: Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River

Snow Biking
Get tips on riding in the snow, and test-ride the Surly Pugsley snow bike!
When: To Be Announced (when the snow falls!)
Where: Peninsula

Monday, November 21, 2011

Test Ride the Giant Defy Advanced 0 with Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic drivetrain!

Shimano first brought their electronic shifting system to the world in 2009, with their Dura-Ace Di2 component group. New for 2012, the technology has trickled down to the Ultegra level.

Century Cycles has one of Giant's new road bikes in stock, equipped with a full Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic group. It's the 2012 Giant Defy Advanced 0. In addition to the state-of-the-art shifters and derailers, the bike features Giant's advanced-grade composite frame with compact road geometry, and P-SL0 wheel system by DT Swiss.

If you've never experienced Shimano's electronic shifting system, now is your perfect opportunity to stop in for a test ride. The shifter buttons are placed on the brake levers and operate just like on a standard road bike, so if you've used road bike shifters before, there's virtually no learning curve.

A noisy, clicking drivetrain is a thing of the past with Shimano Di2 systems. Whether you're in the small or large chainring up front, as you switch gears on the cassette in the back, the Di2 system automatically fine-tunes the position of the front derailer so that there's no rubbing on the chain, but it's still in the optimum position should you need to suddenly switch to another chainring. Likewise, the motorized rear derailer is calibrated to instantly move the chain to the correct position for the desired gear, so there's never an issue with bad cable tension causing your bike to "jump" gears.

The Di2 battery module can last up to a couple of thousand miles on a single charge, plus there's a quick-charge mode that gets you 100 miles on a 10-minute charge, so you're never caught having to cancel a ride because of a low battery.

We've got the 2012 Giant Defy Advanced 0 ($4549.99) in stock in Small or Large frame size. The Small is currently in Rocky River; the Large is in Peninsula. Call us before you stop down to make sure the one you want is still available; we can send either size to Medina or the store that is most convenient for you for no extra charge.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Late-season bicycle tourists visit Peninsula

The chilly autumn weather has not cooled the spirits of Carolyn and Emily, who started their bicycle trip in Portland, Oregon on September 22, and are headed to Portland, Maine. They hope to make it to New Hampshire by Thanksgiving. You can check on their progress at:

While at the store, the two could not resist taking test rides on the CC highwheeler!

See more pictures of people who have visited our stores during long-distance bike trips at our Bicycle Touring Photo Gallery.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Demo: Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer - Hot Deal #1

Just a reminder that Hot Deal for Cold Days #1 -- 50% off a Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer -- ends on Monday, November 21! As this Hot Deal counts down its final days, Aaron and Josh from our Rocky River crew put together this video, demo'ing for you how this trainer works (and why we are almost sold out of them!):

Thursday, November 17, 2011

What We Ride: Derrick's Eddy Merckx Corsa

Derrick Kortvejesi (pronounced kort-WAY-see) is the Service Manager in our Peninsula store, and one of Century Cycles longest-tenured staff members. His knowledge of bike technology is unmatched, and he probably owns more bicycles than most people own pairs of socks.

One of his prized possessions is this circa-1990 Eddy Merckx Corsa road bike. The steel frame was hand-made in Belgium. It's the same model of bike used by the 7-Eleven pro cycling team up through 1990. Derrick bought the bike used some time in the mid-90's, and outfitted it with a Campagnolo component group, and used it as his regular road bike for a number of years.

Back in 2006, when Bob Roll (former member of the 7-Eleven team) visited Century Cycles, Derrick returned the bike to its original component spec: a full Shimano Dura-Ace group, and Vittoria Corsa tubular tires. With the exception of the carbon fiber fork, the bike now looks pretty much like the one Bob Roll was riding in 1990.

Derrick had Bob Roll autograph the bicycle at the store event (see photo below). "He flipped when he saw it," Derrick said of Bobke's reaction upon seeing a piece of his own history in person.

The Eddy Merckx Corsa now sits in Derrick's non-riding, museum bike collection. Today, Derrick rides a Raleigh Prestige carbon road bike, a Surly Karate Monkey when he hits the mountain bike trails, and a Raleigh One-Way on the Towpath Trail.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Use your trainer for cycling classes

If you already scored a Blackburn Tech Fluid trainer in Hot Deal #1 (we're almost sold out, so hurry in if you want one!) or own another trainer, there are several local indoor cycling classes that you can join to get out of the house and into a group. Grunt Girl Racing gave us a heads-up about two such classes:

Chris Martino, USA Triathlon coach with New Level Coaching, is teaching indoor cycling at the Macedonia Family Recreation Center at1494 East Aurora Road. Chris says to bring your bike, trainer, towel and water, and get ready to roll on Saturdays. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. for bike setup. Classes are from 8-10 a.m.

Cost: $5 per session for rec center members and NLC athletes, $7 for others.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, contact Martino at 330-241-3183 or at

Grunt Girl Aimee Millward is teaching cycling at Coca CrossFit at 34601 Mills Road in North Ridgeville. Join Millward on Sundays from November to March for 1.5-2 hours of pure cycling fun – on your own bike. Arrival and setup start at 7:45 a.m. Class begins at 8 a.m. Bring your bike, trainer, towel and plenty of hydration.

Cost: $5 per session for drop-in; six-session pass for $25 (1 free spin); 12-session pass for $50 (2 free spins); or 18-session pass for $75 (3 free spins).

For more information and to schedule an appointment, contact Millward at

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Congratulations, Justin and Kristen!

Last week, Century Cycles' Justin Stark got married to Kristen Parker! Please join us in wishing the happy couple all the very best on their marriage and the impending birth of their child.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Breakfasting with bicyclists? Serve them cereal

Last month we surveyed Northeast Ohio bicyclists to ask "What is your favorite breakfast to fuel up before a long ride?" The folks over at Wheaties and Quaker Oats will be happy to hear that the majority of respondents prefer their breakfast in a bowl, with 45% of the votes for "Cereal or Oatmeal."

That was followed by "Other" and the write-in votes (almost 24%), many of which were combinations of the other choices. There was one vote, however, for "beer and leftover pizza" -- the breakfast of certain champions.

This was followed by "Bacon and Eggs" (16.6%), "Pancakes or Waffles" (11.9%), and a few empty-stomach advocates who voted for "Nothing" (2.3%). Don't tell Dunkin', but nobody voted for "Coffee and Donuts."

Want more insights into the best breakfasts for cyclists? Check out "Start It Up: Spin Stronger By Choosing the Best Breakfast for Your Ride" by Selene Yeager the August issue of Bicycling Magazine.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Redeemed at the Iceman Cometh Challenge

I made my annual pilgrimage up to northern Michigan with a few friends last weekend for the Iceman Cometh Challenge mountain bike race. You may recall my tale of misery and woe at last year's race. I had three goals for this year's race. The first was just to stay upright and keep the rubber side down. The second was to pick the right combination of clothing and gear so that I could ride comfortably and enjoy myself. Given that I've not done a lot of racing or intense riding this year, my third goal was just to finish in some time between my best for this event (2 hours 8 minutes in 2007) and my worst (2 hours 32 minutes last year).

We packed up early Friday morning with my co-worker Doug, former co-worker Brent, and Brandon. Both of the latter are now racing for another bike shop's team, proving that yes, we all CAN just get along (cue "We Are The World" chorus). We left early in order to do a pre-race warm-up ride; we picked a trail outside of Detroit at the Pontiac Lake State Park. It was easy to get to, not far from the main highway. We stopped at the park office to pay our daily usage fee, then proceeded to the trailhead.

It was a nice day, with temps in the mid-50's or so, but there was a pretty stiff breeze in the open area in and around the parking lot. I opted to wear my winter cycling boots, since those were the only cycling shoes I brought (with wool socks, of course), Endura Humvee 3/4-length baggy shorts, Surly long-sleeve wool jersey, Buff bandana under my helmet, DeFeet DuraWool liner gloves, and Pearl Izumi Barrier Convertible jacket. After about a mile on the trail, I got warmed up, plus the tree cover kept the wind at bay, so I stopped to peel the jacket off. I felt perfect for the rest of the ride.

The trail was a wonderful 10.5-mile loop, with gently-sloped ups and downs, smooth banked curves, hardly any rocks, and smooth, dry dirt. Brandon called it a "Quail Hollow on steroids." We headed up to the Frankenmuth Brewery, about an hour north, for the recovery meal, and it ended up timed just right for us to meet there with my friend Dave and his wife Pam (who's a member of Snake Bite Racing and Grunt Girl Racing).

The remaining couple of hour's drive up to Traverse City went by without a hitch, and we checked in at the Iceman Expo to sign in and get our race packets, and checked out the gear at the numerous bike vendor tables. We checked in at the AmericInn, then walked a couple doors down the street for pre-race Mexican carbo-loading at the Red Mesa Grille.

Saturday morning, we fueled up with the waffles and other breakfast buffet fare at the hotel, then headed back to Kalkaska for the race start. The weather forecast called for conditions similar to Friday, so taking a cue from our Friday ride, I dressed in my CC wool jersey, regular wool/lycra shorts, leg warmers, and DeFeet wool liner gloves. I also pulled on my SmartWool beanie just to keep toasty during the trip and before the start. We got to Kalkaska quicker than I expected, so we had plenty of time to check over our bikes and other gear. Here are Brent, Brandon, and I, ready to race:
Photo courtesy of One Gear Photography
I rode the couple of blocks from the parking area to the starting line with my down jacket on, and I was still freezing, as the morning chill was taking a while to burn off. I was thinking, "I'm going to be in trouble once I have to take this jacket off at the start."

I'm horrible at pre-race warm-ups, plus at this event, because of the staggered wave starts, you have to stand around in the starting chute and get cool again right before the start anyway. So, my usual strategy is to take it easy at the start, not push too hard, and stay out of the crowded melee during the few blocks of pavement before the first entrance into the woods. Then, after a couple of miles once I get warmed up, I turn it up a notch and start picking people off from my wave one by one.

I ditched the jacket about 15 minutes before my start; sooner than I would have liked, but I figured I'd have to acclimate sooner or later. I kept the SmartWool beanie on, though. I started the Strava GPS tracking app on my phone. I lined up with my wave of about 75 riders and looked around to try to find any easily-recognizable faces or jerseys, so I could get an idea of how I'm doing against them during the race. The only one I noted was a female rider in a Kenda team kit. We took off at the scheduled start time of 9:39am.

I think I was the last person in my wave to make it into the woods; once we got into the first section of rolling doubletrack, the rest of them were already pretty much out of sight. As I got moving, the chill in the air fortunately finally burned off, and I felt pretty comfortable with my clothing choices. I felt like I was moving at a pretty good pace, but after a few miles, I wasn't seeing all of those people that I was supposedly planning to "pick off." I rode the first 5 or so miles virtually alone, which was amazing, considering it's an event of 4,000 racers. I started to get picked off myself by the wave behind me.

A couple miles later, we entered the first section of true singletrack. I got in just behind this one guy; he was wearing a hydration pack, so I couldn't tell what was on his jersey, other than a pair of wings sticking out on the sides of whatever the logo was. So, in my mind, I started calling him "Wingman." There were a handful of people breathing down my neck, but I figured as long as I kept up with Wingman, I wouldn't worry about what was going on behind me. This was a good strategy, as I think it motivated me to step it up another notch, and I kept up a healthy pace through the singletrack. Once the woods cleared again, I traded places with Wingman a few times on the dirt and gravel roads, until he eventually pulled away, and I didn't see him again.

Around this point, I noticed that my cyclocomputer was only reading about 3 and a half miles. The LCD screen was working fine, so I guessed that the battery in the wireless sensor must have conked out in the cold. I'd have to rely on the trail signs to gauge the remaining miles, but this year, they switched them from miles to kilometers, and doing that conversion in your head is tricky enough when you're not working at lactate threshold.

During one downhill section through a small ravine, I had the most memorable visual moment of the day. Part of the hillside was still in the shade, and part was in the sun. The shaded part was still covered with a thick morning frost, and it felt like I was riding through a white spray-painted Christmas scene.

The kilometers ticked away without too much incident. I passed a bunch of other riders; I got passed by a bunch of other riders; it was impossible to tell whether they were in my wave, earlier waves, or later waves. The trail conditions remained good; the sand pits were packed down enough that I could navigate through without getting bogged down or falling over. I was able to pedal and clear all of the short, steep climbs on the second half of the course, with the exception of the infamous "Anita's Hill." Just after that one, the trail dropped down, then sharply back up again, and I finally caught up to the first person that I was able to recognize from my start wave--Kenda girl!

Getting near the finish, I could start to hear the spectator crowd roar and PA announcer. However, the trail took a sharp turn away again, and before I knew it, we were out in the boonies again. Just as we could hear the finish line again, the trail turned to reveal a final steep uphill, which was labeled as "Ice Breaker," but which I heard most people refer to later as the "f-you climb." After this, it was a quick kilometer to go to the finish line. As we entered the fenced-in area of the last few hundred yards before the finish line, who did I see, but Wingman! As I stayed right on his tail up to and through the finish, I forgot to look at the official race clock.
Photo courtesy of One Gear Photography
Leaving the finish chute, I took my phone out of my hydration pack to turn stop Strava. It showed a total time of about 2 hours, 35 minutes, but that included the pre-start time in the starting chute, and the few minutes after the finish. The mileage came up as about 29-1/2 miles, about a mile and a half longer than usual.

I went and got a recovery beverage from this year's Iceman title sponsor, Bell's Brewery. Not long after, the results got posted on a nearby board. I ended up with an official time of 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 14 seconds, for a place of 35th out of 99 finishers in my age group. So I met all three of my goals: no crashes, not too hot/cold, and a respectable finish. Brent, riding singlespeed, finished in 2:18, which, like me, was an improvement of 10 minutes under last year's time. Brandon did a scorching 2:03, also on a singlespeed.

We hung around the finish line to watch other racers finish, including the juniors, Sno Cone kids' race, and the pros. We met up with a few other NE Ohio folks, including Brett from Fast Track Cycling (thanks for letting us hang out and share your keg at your RV!). Later, we celebrated with a dinner at the Mackinaw Brewing Company in downtown Traverse City.

Not letting the continuing good weekend weather go to waste, we made another stop on Sunday to ride what is probably Michigan's best-known mountain biking jewel, the Potowatomi Trail at Pinckney State Recreation Area. The awesome terrain was just like Friday's, only almost double the distance--18 miles of smooth, flowing singletrack heaven. Another great excuse, as if one were needed, to celebrate once again with a recovery meal at the Arbor Brewing Company.

Yesterday, former Century Cycles rental bike guru and Iceman Cometh Challenge veteran Bob stopped by for his annual visit to show off the medals he won in past years. So, there's hope for all of us, if we can hold out long enough to race in the 65+ division!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tech Talk: Bike Component Glossary for Beginners

Buying a new bike or accessories can often be bewildering to the novice, especially when the folks working in the bike shop almost seem to be speaking a different language.

From our perspective, sometimes it's hard to tell when we're using everyday language and when we're slipping into technical jargon. We have to really ask questions to make sure we're on the same page with a customer, and often it's just a matter of making sure we agree on the meaning of the words we are using. For example, sometimes people ask us for a "wheel," when all they really need is a new tire. On the other hand, we've gotten really perplexed looks when we've handed somebody a "rim," when they were really looking for an entire wheel.

So, breaking down the language barrier is an important step in productive relationships between bike shop customers and bike shop employees. To that end, here is a glossary providing a breakdown of the anatomy of the bicycle.

Bar ends - the angled extensions attached to the ends of some flat handlebars and riser handlebars that provide an alternate place to rest your hands.

Bottom bracket - the collection of ball bearings and spindle housed within the bottom bracket shell of the frame, which provides the "shaft" mechanism on which the crank arms turn.

Braze-ons - threaded sockets that may or may not be present on the bike frame that provide a place to attach accessories such as bottle cages, cargo racks, and fenders.

Cage - the preferred fancy name for water bottle holder.

Cassette - the collection of gears that is attached to the rear wheel on most modern bicycles (see "Freewheel").

Chainrings - the gears that are attached to the right-hand crank arm nearer to the front of the bike. A bike with two chainrings is said to have a "double crank;" a bike with three chainrings is said to have a "triple crank."

Cog - a single gear on a cassette or freewheel gear cluster, or the single rear gear on a fixed-gear bike.

Crank arms - the pedals screw into these; these bolt onto the bottom bracket spindle.

Cyclocomputer - the preferred fancy word for an electronic speedometer/odometer.

Derailer - the device that is bolted to the frame that handles the job of moving the chain from one gear to another when you shift gears. The front derailer handles the shifting on your chainrings and is usually controlled by your left-hand shifter. The rear derailer handles the shifting on your cassette or freewheel, and is usually controlled by your right-hand shifter.

Derailer hanger - a part of the frame where the rear derailleur is attached. It is usually an integrated part of the frame on steel and titanium bikes, but is a separate, replaceable piece on aluminum and carbon fiber bikes.

Drop bar - the type of handlebar found on road racing bikes, with the half-circle-shaped curved ends that extend below the top, flatter part of the bar.

Dropouts - the U-shaped notches at the rear of the bike frame, and at the bottom ends of the front fork legs, where the wheels are held in place. So-called because if you loosen the bolts holding a wheel in place, the wheel "drops out."

Fixed gear - a type of bicycle that has a single gear and does not have a freewheel or cassette/freehub mechanism, so you are unable to coast. If the wheels are moving, you have to be pedaling. "Fixie" for short.

Flat bar - a handlebar with little or no upward or downward curve; some flat bars will have a slight backward curve, or "sweep."

Fork - the two-legged part of the frame that holds the front wheel in place. The steerer tube is a part of the fork that extends up into the frame through the head tube.

Frame - the main structural part of the bicycle, commonly made of steel, aluminum, titanium, or carbon fiber. Composed of a top tube, head tube, down tube, bottom bracket shell, seat tube, seat stays, and chain stays (see image). A frame and fork sold as a combination are referred to as a frameset.

Freehub body - a part of the hub on most rear wheels, it provides that coasting mechanism that transfers power to your wheel when you are pedaling forward, but allows the rear wheel to turn freely when you are pedaling backwards or not pedaling at all. The cassette is attached to the freehub body.

Freewheel - the collection of gears attached to the rear wheel found on mostly older bicycles and some lower-end modern bicycles. Both the gears and the coasting mechanism are part of the freewheel component, as opposed to cassette gears, where the gears are a solid, non-moving component, and the coasting mechanism is part of the wheel's hub.

Headset - the collection of bearings housed within the head tube of the bike frame; it provides smooth steering.

Hub - the central component of a wheel; inside the hub are the axle and ball bearings.

Nipple - A small flanged nut that holds a spoke in place on the rim of a wheel. Turning the nipples with a spoke wrench is what allows the tension in the spokes to be adjusted, in order to "true" the wheel, i.e. make sure the wheel is perfectly round.

Rim - the outer "hoop" part of a wheel. Usually made of aluminum, although can be made of steel on some older or low-end bikes, or made of carbon fiber on some high-end racing bikes.

Rim strip or Rim tape - a layer of material, usually cloth, plastic, or rubber, that is installed around the outside of a rim (between the rim and inner tube), to prevent the ends of the spokes from puncturing the inner tube.

Riser bar - a type of handlebar with a "U" shape in the middle. Some riser bars have a very shallow "U" shape, like on some mountain bikes and most hybrid bikes, but some have a very deep "U" shape, like on some retro-style cruiser bikes.

Saddle - the preferred fancy word for "seat."

Seatpost - the rod that connects the saddle to the frame.

Seatpost clamp - the collar located at the top of the seat tube on the frame, which holds the seatpost at the desired height. Some seatpost clamps have a quick-release lever that allows for easy, tool-free adjustment, while others require a tool to tighten or loosen the clamp.

Stem - the part that connects the handlebar to the frame. Do not call this the "gooseneck," unless you want to make it perfectly clear that you are a clueless newbie. Stems come in two varieties, threadless--which clamps to the outside of the fork's steerer tube, and threaded, which is held in place by an expanding wedge bolt inside the fork's steerer tube.

Wheel - the complete assembly of hub, spokes, nipples, and rim.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hot Deals for Cold Days Are Back!

Every winter, Patti The Buyer at Century Cycles negotiates special purchases from our manufacturers for the most popular bicycling accessories, then we pass the 50%-off savings to YOU! A new "Hot Deals for Cold Days" offer comes out every two weeks, now through February. Stock up on essentials, shop for the holidays, and save on your cycling favorites!

You can be the first to know about the latest Hot Deal by signing up to receive Hot Deals for Cold Days in your Inbox (as well as our monthly eNewsletter) by going to:

Hot Deal #1: 50% Off Indoor Training

Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer


(Regularly $319.99)

Half-off price valid Nov. 8 thru 21, 2011 only, while supplies last.

Hot Deal #1 is an awesome deal on indoor training -- a whopping 50% off the Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer! - ideal for use with your bicycle in your own home, for indoor cycling classes where you bring your own bike and trainer, or for taking to a race or event to warm up.

The Blackburn Tech Fluid Trainer features a resistance device that feels close to identical to riding outdoors. The faster you go, the harder it gets! Super smooth and quiet--all for just $159.99!

Never used an indoor trainer? Learn more by reviewing our 5 Tips for Indoor Training.

In addition to this special buy, save 15% off all our other trainers by Cycleops, Blackburn, and Giant! Plus, save 15% off all trainer accessories:
  • Climbing block to provide extra stability and a hill-climbing workout
  • Training mat to protect your floor or carpet
  • Trainer bag to transport your trainer to classes, races or anywhere else you might need it to go!
Now through November 21, 2011!

The Fine Print
This Hot Deal is good only November 8 - 21, 2011 while supplies last. In-store purchase only; no online or phone orders accepted. No coupon necessary.

Holiday-Free Zone 'til Nov. 25

Century Cycles is a Holiday-Free Zone until Friday, November 25 -- to give you the opportunity to enjoy the autumn (preferably on two wheels!) and to have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Seth Dugos' Thorn of the Week

When Seth Dugos walked into Century Cycles Medina with a flat BMX bike tire, little did he know he'd be walking out crowned with THORN OF THE WEEK! Our mechanics found a one-inch thorn in that flat tire and quickly awarded Seth with the honor, which comes with our highest esteem (well, that and a free tube). Congratulations, Seth!

Flat tires suck. And we hope our "Thorn of the Week" award helps them suck a little less. But you know what sucks the least? When thorns lose the battle.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall Hours Begin This Week

PLEASE NOTE: This Friday, November 11, Century Cycles will begin our Fall Hours of Operation.

Don't worry; this just means that we'll be closing an hour earlier on Fridays and Saturdays. We'll still be open 7 days a week (including Sundays), and open later in the evening during the week.

Our current store hours are:
  • Monday thru Thursday: 10:00am - 8:00pm
  • Friday and Saturday: 10:00am - 5:00pm
  • Sunday: 12:00 - 5:00pm
These hours apply to all three of our stores (Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River). We hope you are still enjoying the lovely autumn weather on your bike!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Metal Day Ride at Ray's 11-11-11

Ride with Century Cycles at Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park on Friday, November 11, for a night of metal and mayhem! We'll have the Blackbox Room from 6-10pm.

Never been to Ray's MTB -- a world-famous bicycling destination right here in Cleveland? This is the perfect night to give it a try. And Ray's makes it easy, with a First Timer's Deal for $24.99 and a Novice Room. Get those and more details about Ray's at this link:

Any updates or further details will be posted to Facebook: See you 11-11-11 and remember: ONE LOUDER.

Yay or Nay? Clevelander Invents Bicycle Desk

Dan Young, an avid Cleveland bicyclist, has invented a $2500 bicycle desk so you can pedal while you work, reports Fresh Water Cleveland. Inspired by a day when he'd rather be cycling than working, Young came up with the idea for the desk, which has now spawned his new company, Kickstand Furniture.

What do YOU think -- yay or nay? Do you want a bicycle desk? Or would you rather keep your bicycling separate from your work??

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Secret to long life? Bike to your errands, reports NPR

Yesterday NPR News reported that researchers at the University of Wisconsin (specifically that guy below on his bike, practicing what he preaches) have announced their study of the health benefits of bicycling around town.

Their findings? Bicycling to your short-distance errands is a cheap and easy way to stay slim, avoid serious illness and early death, and make your neighbors healthier, too, by reducing air pollution.

And the really amazing part? They studied only Upper Midwestern bicycling habits, which means they conservatively figured people would only bicycle on the best 124 days of weather each year. So these findings are for doing errands by bike JUST FOUR MONTHS PER YEAR.

Click HERE to read the full article.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What We Ride: Ken's Torelli Corsa Strada

If you're riding your bike to a cool place like Deagan's Kitchen & Bar for Bike Night, it's even more fun when you have a really cool bike to ride. And Ken Hagedorn in Century Cycles' Rocky River store has a very, very cool bike to ride - his Torelli road bike.

Near as Ken can figure, the Torelli frame is from 1995 or 1996 and is likely to be the Corsa Strada model. How did he come to own such a gem? Years ago, when Century Cycles sold Colnago frames, a customer bought a Colnago and was eager to sell his Torelli steel road bike frame along with the fork and headset. Ken bought it from him, worked on it for years as time and money became available, and now the Torelli is his bopping-around-the-city bike.
"I love it. It's a classic bike that looks really clean. Nothing is flashy or garish," says Ken. We think it looks like a hipster fixie, but Ken is quick to point out he is neither a hipster nor is his Torelli a fixie. Although a singlespeed, the Torelli is a road bike with quick release wheels on the front and back, a rear brake (with a dummy hood on the left), and platform pedals so Ken can ride to the store and around town in regular shoes.

To see other What We Ride profiles of our staff and their bikes, click here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Chagrin River Cyclocross Challenge

Since somebody considered me enough of an "expert" on cyclocross to give a clinic on the topic, I figured I better make good on that confidence, and enter my first cyclocross race in about four years. I chose the Chagrin River Cyclocross Challenge (part of the Northeast Ohio Cyclocross Series), held this past weekend in Bainbridge Township, Ohio, since it's close enough to my house that I could ride my bike there and back instead of driving.

There was a "costumes-mandatory" race on Saturday, and a "costumes-optional" race on Sunday. I spoke to a couple of people who raced on Saturday, and they said it was a soupy mud pit, and advised riding a fatter-tire mountain bike as opposed to a cyclocross bike. However, I've been itchin' to test the racing mettles of my Surly Cross-Check, which I recently re-configured as a singlespeed. Even knowing that most of the other dudes who race the singlespeed category are animals who got bored with winning every time in the "regular" races.

The 7-mile ride to the race venue took about a half hour. I got signed in without any hassle, and found the starting line to do a warm-up lap. Things had dried out a bit, turning the treacherous soup on parts of the course to a slippery peanut butter-like consistency. At one point, a large wooden door had been dropped to provide a bridge over a stream bed. The trail was pretty soft on either side, so I opted to dismount and run across. Just as I got across, a female rider warming up behind me hit the bridge while still in the saddle, slipped, and landed fully submerged into the stream, body and bike. I and another rider helped her out; she was unhurt, but faced a longer, chillier day ahead than the rest of us.

Thanks to Stacey Rhea of Grunt Girl Racing, who saw me during my warm-up and yelled a few words of encouragement.

I finished the warm-up lap with just a couple of minutes to spare to wait at the finish line. I'm already looking winded, while veteran singlespeed cx racer Sean Burkey (of race series sponsor Raleigh America) is looking better prepared:
After a few brief instructions from the starter, the Men's B-1 field started, then we, the singlespeed group (about 8 of us) were sent off 30 seconds later.

The competitive field took off right away, leaving me and one other rider to tag along and battle for DFL (dead f'in last). I stayed on his tail until we crossed a small wooden bridge over a ditch. He slowed down a bit, so I mustered up what little extra energy I could, and passed him before we got to a small stretch of woods. I don't ever recall seeing him again, so I assume my non-DFL was secure.

That small wooden bridge would have been a little trickier on Saturday, but on Sunday, they reversed the direction of the course, making the transition from grass to wood and back a little less severe:
After a few twists and turns around the parking area, the course passed by the spectator tent, where three large logs were placed as barriers, providing me an opportunity to showcase my cyclocross "skills."
The rest of the course snaked through more woods, with sharp turns, more mud, a few ups and downs, and the aforementioned stream. I was thinking that I should have heeded my friends' advice and brought a mountain bike. Fat tires would have helped me be more aggressive and not have to scrub speed so much in the corners, and let me float over the mud a little better. But I was meeting my goal of just having a great time, out for a hard ride on a sunny day.

I slogged my way through lap after lap. During the last lap, I was passed by the leaders of the B race, and soon after was passed by the leaders of my own singlespeed group. During the post-race commiseration with Sean and our other fellow racers, we enjoyed a few beers, pulled pork sandwiches, pasta, and coffee. Just after the start of the A race, I slung my bag on my shoulder and pedaled back up the road home. Tired, with a dirty bike, but a clear head.

Thanks to Fast Track Cycling, the organizers of the race, for putting on a great event! Thanks to my friend Dave (who raced on Saturday) for the photos (see the slide show below for more).

Congratulations to Weston Flickinger (part time rental bike guy at Century Cycles in Peninsula) for winning the Men's Open Cat 3/4 race!

(Click here if the slide show is not appearing for you.)