Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

From the Century Cycles family to your family, we wish you a happy, healthy, and safe 2013!

If you don't mind dodging a few piles of snow, and have plenty of cold weather cycling gear, there are a number of New Year's Day ride options to start the new year off right!

  • Medina - A Bi-Cycling Dandy Excuse For Getting Hibernated in January (ABCDEFGHIJ) Ride! - The Medina County Bicycle Club's New Year's Day tradition begins at 12:00noon on the Public Square in downtown Medina.
  • Cleveland - New Year's Day Poker Ride organized by the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA). Begins at 12:00 noon at Lincoln Park in Tremont.
  • Mentor - Cleveland Touring Club's annual Freeze d'Ride, begins at 10:00am at Chase Bank, 6081 Andrews Rd, Mentor-On-The-Lake.
  • Or plan your own ride, and share pictures and stories with us on our Facebook Page!
With the new year comes new store hours in Peninsula. All three stores are CLOSED on January 1, and beginning on January 2, the Peninsula store will close at 6:00pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. We'll remain open until 8:00pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays (except Feb. 14) due to our FREE Bicycling and Maintenance Clinics! Hours of operation for Medina and Rocky River are unchanged.

Our schedule of FREE clinics continues this Thursday, January 3 with GPS and Fitness Apps, beginning at 6:30pm in all three stores.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Use your Wellness Credits!

As we enjoy the post-Christmas celebration, this week is also the time that many people starting looking at finalizing their finances for the year, which includes looking at your Health Savings Accounts and employee wellness benefits.

Does your employer provide wellness benefits? Don't let 2012 run out without using them. In many programs, a bicycle counts as a wellness expenditure!

And, Happy Boxing Day!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

50% Off Biking Essentials: Pumps and All Inner Tubes | Hot Deal #5

Giant Control Tower 2 Floor Pump - $19.99
(in Fire Engine Red; reg. $39.99)

Serfas Half Stick Mini-Pump - $12.49
(reg. $24.99)

50% Off All In-Stock Inner Tubes - $3.99 & Up
(reg. $7.99 & Up)

Half-Off prices valid Dec. 27, 2012 thru Jan. 9, 2012 while supplies last.


Included in the 5 Things to Bring on Every Bicycle Ride are a mini-pump and a spare tube, and every pre-ride safety check involves using a floor pump to make sure your tires are running at the recommended pressure. If part of your New Years resolution is to be ride more and be prepared on every ride, then we've got you covered with this latest Hot Deal for Cold Days!

The Giant Control Tower 2 Floor Pump in Fire Engine Red is an affordable pump featuring a durable metal barrel, a sturdy base, an ergonomic handle, and built-in pressure gauge for efficient pumping. With a maximum of 160psi and an Auto Head that works with Presta or Schrader valves without the need for adapters, it works great on all road, mountain, and hybrid bikes.

The Serfas Half-Stick Mini-Pump has a telescoping barrel and flip-out handle to let you fill tires up to 100psi fast and easy. You can mount it on your bike's frame using the included bracket, but it's small enough to fit in a pack or jersey pocket. The head works with Presta and Schrader valves, and has a built-in dust cover to keep out debris.

Now's the time to stock up on inner tubes! Take 50% off any in-stock tubes. We've got a vast selection in stock for road, mountain, hybrid, and kids' bikes! Even extra-long-valve tubes for aerodynamic road wheels!

The Fine Print:
This Hot Deal is good only December 27, 2012 - January 9, 2013, while supplies last. In-store purchase only; no online or phone orders accepted. No coupon necessary.

Learn to fix a flat tire!

Your new tire pump and tubes will come in handy when you know how to fix a flat bike tire. Learn how at our most popular clinic, Basic Bike Maintenance. Upcoming dates:

  • Saturday, January 12, 1:30pm
  • Thursday, January 31, 6:30pm (Ladies Only!)
  • Saturday, February 16, 1:30pm
  • Thursday, March 7, 6:30pm

For more details and our complete schedule of FREE Bicycling and Maintenance Clinics, see:


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Wondrous Gift: Don's Cassette Christmas Tree

Century Cycles - Medina Chief Mechanic, Don Barnett, is not just a whiz with a bike wrench. He is also a true artist -- creating Century Cycles' first Christmas wheeth, writing a Christmas poem, and this year has outdone himself by building a Cassette Christmas Tree that was selected yesterday as Bike Rumor's Pic of the Day for Christmas:


Don told Bike Rumor: “This is a gift I made for my boss Scott (owner of Century Cycles). It took 3 cassettes and about 50 spacers. The “trunk” is a cassette packaging core screwed to an 1- 1/4″ dowell, the “skirt” is a spoke protector and the star is a spoke. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All.”

Such a wonderful creation by Don, and awesome to see it get national recognition by a popular bicycling website! Scott was thrilled and honored to receive such a gift, and you can now see Don's Cassette Christmas Tree on display at Century Cycles - Rocky River:


And yeah, yeah -- we all want to either (a) buy a Cassette Christmas Tree for our special cycling someones or (b) build one ourselves! (Once again, Don has set a trend.) Stay tuned -- we're pretty sure this isn't the last one you'll see....

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas: The most glorious messes....


"One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created
in the living room on Christmas day. Don't clean it up too quickly."
Andy Rooney

Merry Christmas from all your friends at Century Cycles! Our stores will re-open tomorrow at 10am, with our Holiday Sale on everything still running through December 31.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jan. 6: Everything is Winterrific at the Cleveland Metroparks

Northeast Ohio folks will get the chance to come out of hibernation and enjoy the best that Cleveland's winter season has to offer at Winterrific, an event organized by the Cleveland Metroparks.

The schedule of events includes nature hikes, dog sled demonstrations, ice carving demonstrations, horse-drawn wagon rides, winter crafts for kids, winter how-to-dress demonstrations and, courtesy of Century Cycles and the Surly Pugsley (pictured below) and the Surly Moonlander, SNOW BIKE demonstrations! The Chalet's famous Toboggan Chutes are also open for business.

WHEN: Sunday, January 6, 2013, 12:00 - 5:00pm

WHERE:
The Chalet
Cleveland Metroparks Mill Stream Run Reservation
16200 Valley Parkway
Strongsville, Ohio

Click here or see the slideshow below for pictures from Winterrific 2012!
Surly Pugsley Snow Bike

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tech Talk: Storing Bicycles in your Home

Many people ride their bicycles year-round, but whether you're and all-conditions rider or getting ready to put yours away for the winter, follow these steps first to ensure it stays in good condition throughout the off-season.

Preparing for Winter Storage

  1. Remove your water bottles, cyclocomputer, and any other electronic devices. Store these items inside in a warm, dry place. You don't want your water bottles sitting around all winter getting funky, and keeping your electronics out of the cold air helps to extend their batteries' life.
  2. Thoroughly wash the bike. Dirt, mud, grime, and especially road salt can cause corrosion on your bike's frame and parts any time of the year, but it's especially more likely if the bike's sitting dirty for weeks or months at a time. See these tips for how to properly wash your bike.
  3. Get your bike a full tune-up. It won't hurt to have your bike tuned up before you put it in storage. You'll avoid the spring rush for tune-ups, and the bike will be ready to ride when you are as soon as the weather breaks!
  4. Air up the tires. Even though the bike won't be ridden for a while, it's a good idea to fill them to the recommended pressure for storage, so that they won't develop flat spots, bulges, or other deformities from sitting under-inflated.
  5. Lubricate the chain and cables. Lubrication provides an extra layer of protection against corrosion for these most-sensitive components.


Note that if you do step #3 (get a tune-up), this will take care of steps #4 and #5 for you!


Choosing a Storage Location

Your main consideration in choosing where to store you bike will, of course, be what you available where you live. Ideally, you want to store your bike indoors. However, if you live in an apartment or dormitory, you may have no other choice but to store your bike outside.

If you MUST store your bicycle outside:

  1. Be sure it is locked in the most secure possible way. See these tips for how to lock your bike.
  2. Use a cover to protect it from the elements.

If you have the option of storing your bicycle in your garage, basement, or even an inside room, that is the safest choice, both to avoid theft and to preserve the condition of the bike. There any many options for ways to store your bike in any of these locations; see below for a descriptions and some of the pros and cons of each.

If you store your bike in the garage, it's still a good idea to lock it up. Unfortunately, an open garage door often provides an easy opportunity for a would-be thief passing through your neighborhood.

Many bike storage devices hold your bike by having it hanging by one or both wheels. Is it okay to hang a bike by the wheel? YES, in fact this is one of the best ways to store a bike. The weight of the bike will not hurt the wheels.

Avoid having your tires rest on a bare concrete floor (such as in a basement or garage) for long periods of time. This is because the concrete draws moisture out of the rubber of the tires, causing dry-rot and premature aging of the tires.

If you must store your bike upright with the wheels on the floor, store them on a non-concrete floor (e.g. wood or carpet), or put rugs or rubber mats under the wheels. In this case, check the tire pressure and pump them up occasionally--this will prevent the tires from bulging out for long periods of time, and prevent cracks and other weak spots from forming.


Is Cold Storage Bad for my Bike?

Cold temperatures, in and of themselves, are not damaging to a bike. The only possible negative effect of cold air is that it can reduce the life of the batteries in your cyclocomputer or other electronic devices.

What can potentially cause problems is frequent shifts from cold to warm conditions and back. For example, bringing a bike from the cold outside air to the warm inside air can cause moisture to condense on the inside of the frame, which can lead to rust.

Repeated freezing and thawing can cause components to come loose, or in the worst case, crack. This can also make minor imperfections in in the frame's finish become major cracks.

So, you should choose a storage location that is not subject to changes from cold to warm temperatures. If you are occasionally riding your bike outside in the cold, then you should try to store it where it will remain relatively cold, such as in the garage.


Wall and Ceiling Storage Hooks

The most basic type of bike storage device is a vinyl-coated J-shaped hook (pictured at left). These can be found in bike shops, as well as many hardware stores. They can be screwed into the wall or ceiling, and let the bike hang by one wheel.

PROS: Inexpensive, simple to use.

CONS: Must be screwed into a wall stud or ceiling joist; bike must be lifted to height of hook.

A similar device is a wall hook that also includes a small tray for the wheel to rest against (pictured at right). The tray prevents your tire from marking the wall. Some models include a second tray for the second wheel, or a long continuous tray for both wheels (pictured below).

PROS: Simple to use; does not mark walls.

CONS: Must be screwed into a wall stud; bike must be lifted to height of hook.


Another type of wall-mounted bike holder has a pair of hooks that hold the bike by the frame, so the bike does not have to be turned vertically to store it. Some of these holders, like the one pictured at right, also let you swivel the arm up and out of the way when it's not in use.

PROS: Holds the bike in normal horizontal position, no need to lift the bike high off of the floor.

CONS: Must be screwed into a wall stud.

There are ceiling-mounted hooks available that let you easily lift the bike up off the floor and out of the way. A pair of hooks is attached to a rope and a set of pulleys, making the lifting task easy for a person of any strength or stature!

PROS: Frees up floor space, no heavy lifting required.

CONS: Must be screwed into a ceiling joist.


Wheel Stands

This type of bicycle storage rack is ideal for people with limited space. The rack holds one wheel of the bike, keeping the bike from falling over. Some models have small wheels on the stand itself, making it easy to move the bike around the room as needed.

PROS: Small, easily portable, no need to lift bike.

CONS: One wheel of the bike rests on the floor.


Free-standing Storage Racks

Free-standing
storage rack
There are many racks avaiable that hold one or more bicycles on a rack unit that can be moved to any part of any room. Some have wide legs are bases that allow them to stand freely on their own (see picture at left) and hold bikes on either side, while others only have bike hooks on one side and the other side leans against a wall (see picture below).

PROS: Hold multiple bikes, no permanent installation required.

CONS: Second bike must be lifted to upper hooks.
Wall-leaning storage rack
You can also get a home version of a bike parking rack, similar to those found on many public streets and businesses. These are great for families with several bikes.


PROS: Multiple bikes; no permanent installation required, easy to lock bikes to rack.

CONS: Large floor space required; one wheel of each bike rests on floor.


Getting Ready to Ride in the Spring

When the winter season is finally over, follow these steps to make sure your bike is ready to hit the road or trail:

Get a full tune-up. Unless, of course, you followed the advice to have this done before you put your bike away for the winter!
Pump your tires to the recommended pressure. This, of course, should be done before every ride anyway.
Re-lubricate the chain. This may not be necessary; feel it to see if it's exceptionally dry, or ride it a little bit to see if the chain sounds noisy.








Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Last-Minute-All-On-Sale Holiday Gift Guide

Photo by Ed Meyer
Looking for a last-minute gift for that special bicyclist on Santa's list? We asked the Century Cycles staff what they wanted to see under their tree this year to create a Last-Minute-All-On-Sale Holiday Gift Guide:


Not only are these the hottest products in our stores in a variety of price ranges, but did we mention that they are ALL on Holiday Sale through December 31?! The list represents the bike industry's best brands, including:
  • NiteRider Lights
  • Garmin GPS
  • Pearl Izumi Clothing
  • Raleigh Bicycles
  • ZOIC Clothing
  • Giant Bicycles
  • Cycleops Trainers
  • Electra Bicycles
  • Giro Shoes
  • Nutcase Helmets
  • Surly Bikes
  • Lezyne
  • Topeak
  • Lizard Skins
  • And More!
This is also the time of year to do some good for our fellow bicyclists. That's why the list includes ways you can become a member of or donate to some terrific bicycling advocacy groups like Bike Cleveland, Adventure Cycling Association, Bikes Belong, People For Bikes, and more.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Win Pearl Izumi gloves at Dec. 18 clinic


Learn and WIN!

This big ol' pile of Pearl Izumi men's and women's gloves has been divvied up between the three Century Cycles stores and will be given away at the conclusion of the Dressing For Winter Cycling clinic at each store this Tuesday, December 18, at 6:30pm.

Attendees will have their names entered into a drawing for one men's pair and one women's pair of SELECT Softshell Lite Gloves worth $35 each. The gloves feature SELECT Softshell Lite fabric on the back of the hand, which sets the benchmark for lightweight wind and water protection, and Thermal Lite fabric in the palm to deliver superior moisture transfer and warmth. A soft, windproof fleece wiping surface on the glove will also come in handy.

Big thanks to Pearl Izumi/Cycling and our excellent PI rep, Chip Ellison, for supporting our winter clinics! For more information about Century Cycles' winter clinics, go to www.centurycycles.com/goto/clinics.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Be light and be bright – cycling stocking stuffers for Hot Deal #4

The Blackburn Voyager 3.3 Headlight/Mars 1.0 Taillight Combo is always our most popular Hot Deal ever and is Century Cycles' best-selling light set - a terrific choice for cyclists of all ages and bikes of all kinds. The headlight sports three super-bright LEDs with flash and steady modes, plus it easily attaches to all handlebars without tools. The Mars 1.0 taillight has four ultra-bright red LEDs with mounts that can attach to your bike, pack or rack.

The  Blackburn Flea 2.0 Headlight/Taillight USB Combo is always on the top holiday gift lists and we agree it's a cyclist's favorite - especially with its lithium-ion battery that can be conveniently charged in the USB port of a computer or laptop. Easy to mount, this combo boasts a surprising amount of brilliant LED light for front and rear visibility on the bike.

NiteRider's Mako 1-Watt Headlight has an LED lamp with low and high-beam modes that give you enough light to see on casual bike paths, a flashing mode for on-road visibility, and red "gills" on the side to help you be seen even better. You get up to 300 hours of run time from the two included AA batteries.

The Fine Print:
This Hot Deal is good only December 13 - 26, 2012, while supplies last. In-store purchase only; no online or phone orders accepted. No coupon necessary.

Sign up to receive Hot Deals for Cold Days in your Inbox every two weeks from now through February! Go to: www.centurycycles.com/get/enewsletter

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Win a Flask with Surly's Word Search Game!

(Not) fun for the kids! Win this awesome Surly Hip Flask for you or your favorite fan of bikes and spirited beverages! Just answer 11 questions about Surly Bikes, and find the answers in their Word Search.

The rules? Perhaps it's best to hear the rules right from the source, then go to The Surly Blog to find the contest.



Click here if the video above isn't appearing for you.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Outside: Giant Trance X4 "Best $1500 Mountain Bike"


Visit Outsideonline.com and you’ll find a review from staff writer Aaron Gulley that takes a look at the best budget mountain bikes, with the Giant Trance X4 taking the honors in the $1,500 range -- and just imagine how much they'd like it knowing we've marked the Trance X4 (size M in stock at Century Cycles - Medina) down to $1,399.99?
 
Gulley says, “We’ve long said that buying a full-suspension mountain bike for under $2,000 is a waste of money, but the Trance X4 proves us wrong…A carbon copy of the frames used in its higher-end siblings…with nicer parts than you’d expect…it ripped up the trails – especially downhill…we launched down rocky singletrack peppered with boulders and jumps and the X4 took it all in stride…this is the most hardworking and agile setup we’ve found at this price.”

Of the budget mountain bikes reviewed for this article, including models from Diamondback and Jamis, the Trance X4 stood out, “…out of the three in this review, it’s the one novice riders are least likely to outgrow anytime soon.”

Check out the review at: http://www.outsideonline.com/outdoor-gear/bikes-and-biking/mountain-bikes/The-Best-1500-Mountain-Bike-Giant-Trance-X4.html 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

To 'Cross or Not To 'Cross?

I try to get in one cyclocross race each season. I'm not competitive, but like to race once in a while just for the fun and challenge of it. Last month, on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, my schedule and the race schedule aligned, and I was able to attend the race located at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster, Ohio, organized by a group known as RideOn Cycling Team/Soup Can Racing, and part of the Northeast Ohio Cyclocross Series. The weather cooperated as well, with sunny, warm, and dry skies rather than the usual fall cyclocross wetness and mud.

After I registered, a guy registered right after me, and I noticed that he was the same age and in the same category as me. He was dressed in sneakers, cargo shorts, and a white cotton t-shirt--definitely not looking like a "serious" racer, but something told me that this guy would be my "mark" for the day.

The course description on the event flyer said "This course will be designed trying to adhere to UCI Standards. We have all of the necessary features available." I took this to mean that it would be a very traditional cyclocross course, with many standard barriers and run-ups. However, I think everyone there would agree that the course could be described as "very mountain-bikey." I rode my 29er mountain bike (which is set up with a drop handlebar and rigid fork), and I was greeted more than once with the comment "It looks like you brought the right bike for the day!"

The starting line was at the base of a short, paved hill, which served to space the group out from the start. A couple hundred yards to the top of the hill and the course turned a sharp left into what I referred to as the "spectator loop." There was a steep downhill, followed by a steep uphill, then a couple of swoopy curves, all on grass, then a short paved climb up to the finish line.
Here I am going down the first descent at the start of the spectator loop.
White t-shirt guy was hot on my tail at the start of the spectator loop. He dismounted on the climb, but just after than he passed me going through the curves.
Me and white t-shirt guy heading up the first climb on the spectator loop.
Powering up the first climb
White t-shirt guy was not a very good climber, so on the paved climb leading to the finish line, I passed him up and got a good gap on him.
Heading up the paved climb towards the finish line.
The main loop of the course continued past the finish line and was almost continuously uphill for about a half-mile, then cut across and dropped downhill with some hard curves for about a half-mile, before we turned a hard-right back onto the spectator loop. This downhill had the only barriers on the course, which consisted of two large logs, one right after the other. My dismount and remount skills were a little rusty the first time around, but I got the hang of it more on subsequent laps. There were some soft spots in the grass throughout the main loop, but nothing too muddy and unmanageable.

Soon after my first turn over the logs, white t-shirt guy was breathing down my neck and passed me up again; he must have been able to ride the downhill pretty aggressively on his standard 29er mountain bike. I passed him up again on the paved climb before the finish line. We repeated this cycle for the next couple of laps.

I lost track of time and the number of laps after a while. As I crossed the finish area for the 3rd, 4th, or maybe 5th time, I was sure we'd have one lap to go. When I saw and heard the race official announce "Two to go," I almost threw up. In cyclocross, that's the sign that you're doing it right.

On the grassy climb up the main loop during the final two laps, I put more of a gap between myself and white t-shirt guy. I saw him out of the corner of my eye gaining on me a couple of times, but he never caught up again. So, I finished about where I expected and what is typical of me, not on the podium, but not DFL (dead f'in last.)
Just after the final finish
So, even if you're not a "serious" rider or racer, give cyclocross racing a try some time. It's a great workout and fun test of your skills. Bring the significant other and the kids along, because of all the types of bike racing, it's the most spectator-friendly.

The next (and final) race of the Northeast Ohio Cyclocross Series is this Sunday, December 9 in Broadview Heights.

Thanks to my friend Dave for the event photos and the post-race beers!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wedding Day Bike Ride: Tandems for New Twosomes

"Love doesn't make the world go 'round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile."    Franklin P. Jones
Last year, we were thrilled that Century Cycles got to be a part of Mike and Bethany Kessel's wedding day. You see, about five months before his spring wedding, Mike contacted us about renting a tandem bicycle. While we don't rent tandems, we told him that we are happy to loan them to brides and grooms!

Mr. and Mrs. Kessel had great fun incorporating a bicycle into their special day. Mike told us, "My wife and I were delighted to ride off in such a unique manner. Also, our guests were impressed that we didn't fall down."

Interested in borrowing a tandem bicycle for a wedding? You'll want to call Mike Petcher at the tandem bike headquarters in our Medina store at 330-722-7119. He'll let you know what tandems are available for your special date. He'll also make arrangements for you to come in to check them out, get fitted and take a test ride. Brides will also be consulted about the length of their gowns (long ones can be troublesome to bike chains) and the height of their handlebars.

We don't charge for a tandem loan for weddings. Instead, we just ask that you give Century Cycles a shout-out in your program or some other similar consideration, as well as take responsibility for any damage that may occur while the bike is in your possession. We'd also be thrilled if you shared a photo (or two!) with us so we can share the joy!


Belated but sincere congratulations to Mike and Bethany -- may your marriage be as harmonious as your tandem-riding!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Rat (Fink) Pack

Cathy, Bob, and Lynne from Century Cycles - Medina show off the stylish new Electra hoodies -- AND a good reason for Santa to consider adding a way-cool Electra Rat Fink cruiser to his own personal wish list!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Gone to the kids

Yesterday, our Facebook wall (www.facebook.com/CenturyCycles) went to the kids, with an all-day focus on the littlest bicyclists. Lots of people thought this photo was awesome:


And others learned why training wheels don't work if you're trying to teach a child to ride a bike. (And it reminded us that all our kids bikes -- including the no-pedal balance bikes -- are 15% off for our Holiday Sale through 12/31/2012.)

Twenty-one people liked this photo of a little cyclocrosser, which proves you're never too young (or too old?) to try the sport.

And still others read about how a mom got her two-year-old bitten by the mountain biking bug. If you notice, there are no training wheels on his bike:

Take a kid bicycling, won't you? It's fun for you and them, it burns off all that crazy-energy they have, it's the best way to grow adult bicyclists, and it will probably make the world a much better, kinder place.

Then take a picture and send it us -- we obviously are suckers for cool pics of cute kids on bikes.