Monday, December 31, 2007

Pedal in the New Year

Start the new year off right by joining one of two annual cycling traditions on New Year's Day. The Medina Bicycle Club's ABCDEFGHIJ! ride starts at 12 noon at the Public Square on Medina. Show up a little early to be a part of the group photo. Several of us from the CC staff plan to be there.

Or, join the Cleveland Area Mountain Biking Association for the New Year's Day Poker Run ride in downtown Cleveland.

However you ring in the new year, please do it safely! We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to serve all of our customers over the past year, and look forward to seeing you all again in 2008 and beyond!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A shelf of bike-love at Room Service

If you're near W. 65 and Detroit Avenue in Cleveland's Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood, check out Room Service, a wonderfully eclectic home furnishings store recently opened by owner Danielle DeBoe. Like us, Danielle loves to ride her bike and she has devoted a shelf in her store to postcards, note cards, a coloring book, and t-shirts from artist Taliah Lempert, who creates bicycle paintings. Danielle said she always plans to have a few bicycling-related gifts in the store (and also something cuckoo-clock related, but that's a whole 'nother story).

Have you found any nifty bike-related gifts during your holiday shopping rounds? If so, spill the beans and let the rest of us know about them, so we can continue to feed our bicycle passion and support cool local retailers.

P.S. Speaking of "beans," here's a little known fact: Many a Century Cycles advertisement has been brainstormed into being at Gypsy Beans Cafe on the corner of W. 65 and Detroit. Key brainstorming ingredients supplied: Excellent coffee, yummy food, and free Wi-Fi.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Bicycling Magazine likes the Giant TCR AW

The road bike reviews in Bicycling Magazine for the new 2008 models had good words to say about the Giant TCR AW. You can read the review here. The "W" in the name stands for "women's-specific." Giant has been designing bikes specifically for women for a few years now, and it's not just pink paint and narrower handlebars. Since most women have longer legs in relation to their torso compared to men, the Giant women's models have a shorter top tube length for better fit. The TCR AW also uses Shimanos R700 brake/shifter lefters, which have a shorter reach for smaller hands.

The "A" in the name is for Giant's Alliance technology, which uses a mixture of carbon fiber and aluminum in the frame, to provide the smooth-riding benefits of carbon fiber, without the usual carbon-fiber price tag. We have a few similar models that are available for an extended demo, the OCR A0 and OCR A1. Call or stop by one of our stores to arrange to take one for a spin for a day or two!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Our Latest eNewsletter

The latest edition of the Century Cycles eNewsletter has just been e-mailed out. You can read the online version here. If you'd like to receive your own copy by e-mail from now on, just go to our sign-up page and enter your address.

In other news, we send a shout-out and thanks to George Nemeth of Brewed Fresh Daily, a popular Cleveland-area blog, for mentioning and linking back to our post of last week about shopping locally.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bikes vs. Ice Storm

After looking at this picture from Missouri, I don't think we can complain too much about the Cleveland winter just yet. Thanks to CC staffer Matt for finding the picture. His comment: "That would suck." That it would, Matt, that it would.

Top 10 Holiday Gifts - #10

Last But Not Least: World Peace and More Places To Ride. This is the perennial wish for us all, for a peaceful, healthy environment where we can all share the road. If you know someone who already "has it all," consider giving them a membership in the Adventure Cycling Association (, the League of American Bicyclists (, the International Mountain Bicycling Association ( or Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (

Speaking of cycling organizations, a story aired on Wed. Dec. 12 on WKSU highlighted the efforts of the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) in building and maintaining many of our local mountain bike trails. Included are interviews with CAMBA founder Mike Farley, local parks officials, and other trail-building volunteers. You can listen to the story here, which also includes a helmet-cam video of a rider at the Alum Creek State Park trail near Columbus.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Another CC to love

Over 30,000 people subscribe to the Cool Cleveland email newsletter to learn what's happening around the area. For the second holiday season in a row, Cool Cleveland is posting a Holiday Buying Guide, and we're so proud to share that that CC has shown this CC the love, listing Century Cycles under the "Outdoors, Health, and Wellness" category.

Cool Cleveland managing editor Peter Chakerian sums up best why they do a Holiday Buying Guide:
The Holiday Season is HERE, and whether you're prepared for it or not, we here at Cool Cleveland are here to help you think outside the (Big) Box (stores). From Black Friday on, we'll have a list of local shop owners, purveyors and proprietors to help you support NEO's artisans, neighborhood Mom & Pop shops and crafty/creative types across the region. Buying local is a smart, equitable and sustainable business practice that helps of support your local economy.

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Buying local -- from Century Cycles and other local retailers -- really does make a difference in our cities and neighborhoods, plus to the bicycling community in this area as a whole. Buying bikes and accessories from big box stores like Wal-Mart, Performance, or Target does have an impact on our local economy -- not to mention the fact that you don't get the expert service, knowledgeable staff, or high-quality products you need and want.

But this is preaching to the choir. Thank YOU for remembering to buy local and reminding your friends and families to do so, too -- at the holidays and all year long.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

You're not the only one itching for a new bike

When Bicycling magazine asked their readers what they upgraded this year, 45% said "I got a whole new bike." The complete poll results:

What did you upgrade this year?
  • I got a whole new bike: 45%

  • Wheels and tires: 24%

  • Fork: 13%

  • Drivetrain: 11%

  • Bar or shifters: 7%

Source: Bicycling, January/February 2008

Monday, December 10, 2007

Are bicyclists alllowed to ride in bus-only lanes downtown?

In this morning's The Plain Dealer, the transportation column featured a question and answer about where bicyclists are supposed to ride on downtown streets with bus-only lanes. Below is the full Q & A (or click here to read the whole column):

Kathryn Harlow of Cleveland asked:
Where are bicyclists supposed to ride on downtown Cleveland streets that have bus-only lanes? I have asked policemen monitoring Public Square while it was under construction where we are supposed to ride. They said we are supposed to take up a whole lane! Cars and buses don't like to be behind a bicycle. One streets with dedicated bus lanes, if we are in a car lane, then we have cars trying to pass us on the left and buses on the right. That's really scary. If we ride against the sidewalk, we are in a bus lane and buses will honk very loudly righ behind you until you pull over.

Sarah Hollander, The Compass editor, responded:
Bicyclists should ride in the bus-only lanes, except on Euclid Avenue, where there are separate bike lanes.

Ohio Revised Code 4511.55 tells bicyclists to ride "as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable..." There was some confusion about the rule's application to bus lanes, however, because the rest of the sentence requires bicyclists to follow the same rules as other vehicles. And since cars are banned from the bus-only lanes, wouldn't that apply to bikes, too?

Not in this case, according to Lt. Thomas Stacho, the Cleveland police spokesman. the city's traffic engineering department will work with Cleveland's Planning Department and the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority to decide whether bus-only signs should be clarified.

The only time you should ride in the middle of a lane is when the right edge of the road is unsafe, because of a hazardous surface, for example, or because a lane is too narrow for a bicycle and an overtaking vehicle to travel side by side.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw shop at Century Cycles!

Okay, maybe not in person, but we give the same great customer service no matter who or where you are -- even if you're a country superstar (and Good Housekeeping cover model!) living in Nashville. Here's the story: Last weekend, we got a call from our Electra Bicycles rep, saying Faith Hill and Tim McGraw needed two Electra "Hawaii" cruisers for their daughters. The closest store with the bikes in stock? Century Cycles! We boxed and shipped them the next day, along with our best wishes from "up north" to our two new favorite customers "down south." By the way, the Electra "Hawaii" is also popular with the girls here in Cleveland, too. Come check it out -- we promise to treat you like a superstar, too.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Top 10 Holiday Gifts - #9

The Big Gift Under The Tree: A Bike. "Seeing a bicycle under the tree is a memorable gift, and for many of us is a quintessential experience from our own childhoods," says Scott Cowan, owner of Century Cycles. Haven’t been on a bike in years? Then test-ride a cruiser-style bike, in particular the Electra Townie ($369.99 and up), which a rider can sit on with feet flat on the ground. Want to ride with your older children for longer distances? A Raleigh Family Tandem ($689.99) will take two of you on faraway fun. Already have a road bike with drop bars? Maybe try a fixie (a bike with only one gear) or a bike designed especially for commuting.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Magnets, Coffee, and Beer (oh my?)

We mentioned in a previous post that we'll be adding coffee mugs and pint glasses to our "Define Your Life Ride a Bike"-themed merchandise. They finally arrived on Friday of last week, so I thought I'd post an update with some photos.

We've also got a new magnetic version of our "Define Your Life Ride a Bike" stickers, using the same design as the stickers that have been available in our stores for most of this year!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Me And My Bicycle (Book, er Space)

The trend in the Internet business is mergers and acquisitions, where the smaller players get gobbled up and consolidated into the big companies, like Google and Yahoo. The world of social networking sites is the exception these days, where more and more sites are popping up to serve specialized communities.

A perfect example, and relevant in our case, is Me And My Bicycle, the social network for cyclists. They promote themselves as the place to "Show off your wheels, find like minded cyclists and join in discussions about all things cycling related."

You can check it out and join in at:

What do you think? Will you join a site like this, even if you would not have considered joining one of the more established social networking sites like FaceBook or MySpace?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Top 10 Holiday Gifts - #8

Stocking Stuffers: The smallest product making the biggest splash right now is the Knog Frog ($11.99), a whimsical LED light shaped like a frog out of flexible silicone which comes in an assortment of colors. For a retro-cool look that feels great to grip, leather handlebar tape ($24.99 and up) would make any cyclist smile on Christmas morning. Because cycling means more to many people than just a way to get around, Century Cycles’ popular slogan "Define your life. Ride a bike." is now on t-shirts and pint glasses, which fit quite nicely into a stocking.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Dirty Dozen

This past Saturday, I had the pleasure (or the misfortune, depending on your point of view) of participating in the Dirty Dozen, a bicycle stage race over the 13 steepest hills in Pittsburgh, PA. The course is a total of 50 miles, but during the sections between the hills, the racers ride together in a neutral pack, waiting for the official whistle to indicate the start of the next hill. Points are awarded to the top 10 riders up each hill, with the overall winner being the one with the most points at the end.

The ride is organized by Danny Chew, a local cycling legend and two-time winner of the Race Across America (RAAM). Danny is an obsessive stats-keeper, and his goal is to ride 1 million miles in his lifetime, which he expects to reach around age 70. During this ride, he reached his 1 millionth kilometer. His web site contains information about the history of the Dirty Dozen, the route, past winners, etc.

Most people, including myself, aren't there with any hope of being competitive; it's just a fun challenge to show up and try to finished the whole ride. I did it once before in 2005; I think this was a classic case of selective memory. Looking back, I must have thought, "Well, I finished once before, so it must not have been that hard." This time, around hill 6 or 7, I started thinking "Why am I here? How much more of this can I take?" But, between the hills, I'd cool off, have a snack, drink some Gatorade, and figure that I'd see how I felt after the next hill. Eventually, we arrived at the end. During the final climb, I started to feel the twinge of the beginning of a cramp in my left thigh, a problem I don't typically have. Luckily, it didn't get to the point where I was immobilized, and I made it to the top.

One of the highlights of the day is riding through the mile-long Liberty Tunnel, which takes you from the hills south of the city into the downtown area. This feat would probably get you arrested on any other day of the year.

Another highlight, especially for local spectators, is Canton Avenue in the Beechview neighborhood, which is believed to the steepest street in the world, with a 37% grade. If that's not enough, consider that it's also over cobblestones.

We have our own version of the Dirty Dozen here in the Cuyahoga Valley. The route is available in the "Places to Ride" section on our web site, and is known as the "Death Ride."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Top 10 Holiday Gifts - #7

Endura Hummvee 3/4 Knickers ($89.99): Straight from the Scottish Highlands, these cycling knickers go past the knee but stay away from the ankle (and the chain ring). They are durable nylon ripstop fabric on the exterior – with a seamless inner leg and loads of pockets (two rear large map pockets plus a zipped pocket for a cell phone) – and feature a padded liner short on the interior that easily snaps in and out.
We wish a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe weekend to everyone! We will be closed on Thursday, Nov. 22, and open for our normal hours the rest of the weekend (Fri-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun 12pm-5pm).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Fox Cleveland's Hot List

Today the bike shop winner was announced in My Fox Cleveland's Hot List contest. Century Cycles didn't win -- that honor and our hearty congratulations go to Bike Authority -- but second place has never felt sogood. It was a fun contest that certainly made this fall a lot more interesting, plus we were flattered and overwhelmed by all of the votes and wonderful comments from our customers. Thank you! Just as importantly, though, the contest really showed the strength of the independent bike stores in our area. Contests like this show we're thriving and growing, even in the face of competition from the big box discounters -- and that's what is really hot about the Hot List.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Top 10 Holiday Gifts - #6

Burley Encore Trailer ($379.99): Most of the gifts on this list are for individuals. The Burley trailer, however, is a great gift for a whole family. Trailers are the safest way to travel by bike with small children, and kids love the ride almost as much as adults love having their children along for it. Believe it or not, Burley is even making trailers for pets, for those folks on your gift list who consider their dog or cat almost like their child.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Timing the beer reward

In a race, it doesn't matter if your bike's perfect or if your training was perfect -- if you're not in that right state of mind, you're just going through the motions. In the middle of a race everybody hits a point where they feel like quitting. I just slow up for a bit and say to myself, "Well, what am I going to do, go drink a beer and watch everybody else finish?" Then I just keep riding. The beer will be there when I'm done.

-- Singlespeed racer Dan Jansen, as told to Bicycling magazine in October. Hopefully there was a beer waiting for him when he finished 11th in the Pro division of The Iceman Cometh last weekend (see Kevin's blog post below on how our guys fared). Jansen won the National Ultra Endurance Singlespeed Mountain Bike title last year.

Top 10 Holiday Gifts - #5

NiteRider MiNewt.X2 ($189.99): Light the road or the trail with this terrific headlight. By incorporating a new high-powered LED and superior optics, the MiNewt.X2’s output is super-bright and the run time is longer, yet it’s not clunky, heavy, or difficult to handlebar-mount. "I’m not surprised the MiNewt.X2 was such a hit with our staff and customers this year," says Scott Cowan, owner of Century Cycles. "It is the most sought-after product in NiteRider history."

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Iceman Cometh Challenge

This past weekend, Doug, Brent, and I from the Peninsula store took a road trip up to Traverse City, Michigan for the 18th Annual Iceman Cometh Challenge mountain bike race. This is a 27-mile race, beginning in the nearby town of Kalkaska, and ending in Traverse City. The local communities do a great job of welcoming us racers, as I'm sure it provides a boost in business in what would otherwise be a slow time in-between the summer and winter tourist seasons.

The race course is a mixture of singletrack, double-track, dirt and gravel roads, and cross-country ski trails. The morning started out at a chilly 26 degrees with a thick layer of frost, but this burned off nicely as the sun came up, and by the time of our race starts, we enjoyed clear and sunny skies with temps in the upper 40's.

Brent entered in the singlespeed division, so had the earliest start time of the three of us at 9:50am. I didn't have long to wait after that, starting at 10:20, and Doug's wave started at 10:50. While Doug and I were waiting and watching Brent's start, we ran into Bill Rehor, a long-time Michigan resident and our sales representative for Shimano, Haro, Bell, Giro, and Blackburn. Bell wasn't participating in the race, however, as later he had to go work at a sale event at a local sporting goods store.

I had two main goals for this year's race: place better than last year, and win the friendly competition between Brent and me. He beat me last year by only 28 seconds, which I blamed mainly on my having to stop mid-race to remove my windbreaker, and a dumb crash where I caught my handlebar on the fence about 100 feet before the finish line. So, my strategy this year was to pick the right clothing at the start, and ride strong and steady.

My clothing choices worked out perfectly; I was never too hot or too cold during the race. On top, I wore a long-sleeve base layer, then my Century Cycles Retro Wool Jersey. Down below, my Endura Hummvee Knickers did the trick. On my feet, a pair of Lake Winter Cycling Boots and Dirt Rag Wool Socks kept my little piggies from going to the market.

Towards the end of the race, I was still feeling pretty fresh and strong, and so was afraid that maybe I had not pushed myself hard enough. But as soon as I exited the finish chute and started to recover and catch my breath, my windpipe felt like it was on fire, and I felt like I was going to pass out, or puke, or both. So I guess I did not leave too much unused effort out on the course. I came in with a time of 2:10:46, placing 17th out of 130+ in my category, which I was extremely pleased with.

Doug kicked butt, placing 11th in his category, and Brent ended up with a respectable time of about 2 hours and 19 minutes. The full results should be posted at in the next couple of days. The results have been posted on the Traverse City Record-Eagle site; they also have this article about this year's event.

Brian Matter took the title for the Pro Men, and once again, Kelli Emmett of the Giant Mountain Bike Team won the Pro Women race!

After the race, we tracked down Kelly O'Brien, another Michigan local and our sales representative for Thule, Powerbar, and Descente. Kelly raced (where he said he noticed Doug passing him), and then set up a tent and barbeque near the finish line, where he shared a few hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and frosty beverages with us. Thanks, Kelly!

The highlight of the day was watching the SnoCone event, a short fun race for the kids; every participant gets a number plate and a medal. It seemed like the younger they were, the less fear they had. Right before the finish line, there was a steep, banked horseshoe-bend turn covered with loose sand, which even took out a few of the pro riders. It was a hoot to see some of those kids on 12-inch wheeled bikes come around that turn, with a look of steely resolve in their eyes, and just nail it perfectly! Then their feet would pedal furiously using their single gear to cover that last few dozen hards to the finish line.

That evening, we went into town for dinner, and later at one of the local microbreweries, ran into Chip Ellison, our Pearl Izumi sales rep. He had a good race as well, finishing in about 2 hours and 17 minutes.

Before heading home on Sunday, we took a detour to enjoy the amazing scenery and a 1.5-mile hike out at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You can see more pictures from the trip at

Friday, November 9, 2007

Bikes on the big screen

If you're headed to the movies this weekend, Fred Claus opens tonight, starring Vince Vaughn as Fred, Paul Giamatti as Santa, and a bunch of Giant bicycles as set dressing. Over a year ago, Giant began working with the production company to supply set dress bikes for the Santa's workshop scenes, which were filmed in both London and Chicago.

In the movie, Santa's wild brother, Fred, is called into service to help improve Santa's workshop efficiency. We all know bikes make the best Christmas gifts, so of course there is a sub-plot about a little girl wishing for a bike under the tree.

Thanks to Giant UK, over 75 bikes were supplied to set dress the workshop scenes, including BMX, trikes, and assorted kids bikes. They also provided 10 Giant Gloss bikes, a European-only offering that was custom-painted orange for the movie.

Top 10 Holiday Cycling Gifts - #4

Cateye Strada Wireless Computer/Speedometer ($55.99): Cycling computers are best-sellers because people want to see how fast and how far they’ve gone. The new generation of wireless computers are packed with functions but free from wires. With the new CatEye ClickTec™ interface, you can switch among seven modes by simply pressing the bottom of the computer face — easy to do, even on rough terrain.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Top 10 Holiday Cycling Gifts - #3

Smartwool Cycling Socks ($13.99-$14.99): Cyclists love the wicking quality of wool cycling clothing. If a wool jersey is not in your budget, begin building a wool wardrobe with high-performance Smartwool cycling socks. They are so breathable and comfortable, they just might become your year-round choice for footwear.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Top 10 Holiday Cycling Gifts - #2

Topeak Road Morph Frame Pump ($39.99): This is a full-functioning frame pump to get you out of a jam on the road, yet is so well-designed and easy to use it could be your everyday pump, with up to 160 psi capacity.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Lives Defined: John Moss

John Moss started cycling only about 8 years ago. Like many active people, he was looking for something that was good exercise, but easier on his bad knee than running, his previous preferred workout.

John talked about some of his cycling adventures in this article from the Pulse-Journal, the local newspaper in his Cincinnati-area home town. Among the 73-year-old's most recent trips werea ride all the way across the southern US.

John is the father of former Century Cycles co-owner Lois Moss. He remains a good friend of Century Cycles, and he regularly finds his way up to this part of the state (sometimes by bike) to visit family and friends, and have us tune his bike up for his next adventure.

Here's John outside his home with his cross-country touring bicycle, which has over 35,000 miles on it.

Here's John at the Arizona-New Mexico border, during a cross-country trip last year on the Adventure Cycling Association's Southern Tier Route, from San Diego, CA to St. Augustine, FL.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pumpkin Riding a Bicycle

These photos are of Tom in our Medina store, just in time to close out the Halloween season. I just had to post them, although I'm not quite sure what to say about them...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Top 10 Holiday Cycling Gifts - #1

Cyclops Fluid Indoor Trainer ($329.99): There is no need to stop riding a bike when the weather is bad. Instead, stay in shape, increase endurance, and remain competitive with an indoor trainer. We especially like the CycleOps Fluid, a quiet trainer with a natural, road-like feel and progressive resistance. Nice bonus: It comes with a training DVD.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Bianchi and Giant fixies featured in Maxim

The current issue of Maxim with the lovely Eva Mendes on the cover has an article "Get Your Gear Here" about the best new single-speed, or fixed-gear, bikes. They write, "These cycles have a single drive train and no derailleurs. In true fixed gear mode, the bikes don’t coast; if the wheels are moving, so are your legs. Impractical? Slightly. Badass? You bet."

The article features two bikes we carry at Century Cycles. Here’s what Maxim has to say about them:

Bianchi Pista ($580): The racing freaks at Bianchi know that fixed-gear bikes are nothing new – they’ve been making them since 1886. This flashy chrome model has a short wheelbase for responsiveness and a smooth-riding steel frame.

Giant Bowery ($575): N.Y.C.’s Bowery may not be that tough anymore, but its namesake bike is, with durable racing components and a lightweight aluminum frame. This model also has a flip-flop hub for coasting. Wuss.

Maxim also provides these city riding tips from single-speed champ Jared Bunde:

  1. Don’t hesitate. Make a move and go with it so others will have time to react – especially dawdling pedestrians.

  2. Eyes up. Look inside parked cars and taxis for people about to get out. You don’t want to be "doored."

  3. Fall safe. You’ll have a close call or a crash at some point. When it happens, let your body roll with it.

We've got a few of the '07 Pistas left in stock in our stores now; we expect to have both the new '08 Pistas and the '08 Bowerys in time for the holidays.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Where In The World Is Century Cycles?

Over the years, some of our customers and employees have sent us pictures of themselves wearing their Century Cycles gear in various places. We decided to make this another recurring feature here on our blog.

Where in the world have you been with the help of Century Cycles? Send us a picture of yourself in your Century Cycles jersey or t-shirt (or if nothing else, with one of our water bottles). Include any interesting story or details that you like. Some time next year, we'll present a gift to whoever has sent us a picture from the most fun, far-away, exotic, or unusual location. E-mail your photos to

To get things rolling, here's our own Michael from the Peninsula store from his visit to Spain last month. On Sept. 16, he got to watch a stage of the Tour of Spain (La Vuelta) race from Villacarrillo to Granada.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Levi

American cyclist Levi Leipheimer, still blessedly untainted by a doping scandal, turns 34 today. He’s currently featured in a TV commercial promoting California, along with a few other famous Californians you may recognize.

From today’s The Plain Dealer: "Leipheimer will join Astana, reuniting with former colleagues Johan Bruyneel and Alberto Contador from the now-defunct Discovery Channel team. Leipheimer, who finished third in the 2007 Tour de France, said that the decision was an easy one. Bruyneel, the new Astana general manager, was Discovery’s team director. Leipheimer and Contador, the reigning Tour champ, were teammates."

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Orrville Cyclocross

I found myself with a day off this past Sunday and in a racing mood, just to get the competitive juices flowing for the upcoming Iceman Cometh Challenge race. The closest race was the Orrville Cycling Club's Cyclocross series, so I loaded up my Raleigh XXIX mountain bike and headed to Orrville.

We sell a lot of cyclocross bikes, such as the Raleigh RX 1.0, to people who don't race, and that's fine; they make great light touring and commuting bikes as well. Part of the process is often explaining what exactly cyclocross is. Rather than try to go into the details myself, the Wikipedia entry provides a great overview. The best look at the guts of the sport, though, are probably best shown in a video such as this one from the 2007 Starcrossed Cyclocross race in Seattle.

Anyway, back to Orrville...I didn't have any hopes of being competitive no matter which category I signed up for, so I registered in the Masters 35+ category, since that would be an hour-long race, instead of just 45 minutes for the B race or 30 minutes for the C race. Contrary to the tame "old guys" connotation of the name, the Masters category in any type of race is usually filled with dudes who have been racing for 20+ years, sometimes even former pros (neither of which applies to me). But, I got my money's worth in a workout, and ended up 7th out of the eight of us that signed up in Masters.

There were a few juniors in the C race as well:

Here are a few more shots from the B race action:

A beautiful day, and another one of the many great, wacky excuses that we've come up with to enjoy ourselves on bikes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Free CAMBA Preview at Ray's MTB

I went to the free grand opening preview for CAMBA members at Ray's MTB Indoor Park this past Friday. When I pulled into the parking lot, I wondered where they were going to put everyone inside the park, as there were more cars in the lot than I had ever seen there before. But, with all of the expansion that Ray has done for this season, there was plenty of room for everyone.

I checked in at the CAMBA table inside, where they were taking applications for anybody who wanted to come that was not already a CAMBA member.

As always, there is an area equipped with tools, pumps, and workstands in case you need to make any adjustments to your bike.

I first went to Ray's at the beginning of the first season, in the fall of '04. I went again later that season, then once during the '05-06 season. I didn't make it at all during the '06-07 season. I always had a good time when I went there to ride, but my personal impression was that the riding was either too easy or too difficult; there was not enough intermediate (Sport) terrain. This is something that Ray has definitely addressed this season. The new Sport section consists of 15 separate "rhythms," or sections of trail. They are all accessed by from a raised wooden platform known as the Moen deck. You can hang out on the platform, scoping and the different rhythms and challenging your friends, or you can keep coming back to the Moen deck over and over in a continuous loop, doing each rhythm one after the other, keep doing your favorite ones over and over, or repeat the more challenging ones until you can clear them!

Riders of all ages enjoyed the Sport area from the Moen deck:

What surprised me the most is how much fun the new Beginner area is. The Beginner Room has a section with some features that are built very low to the floor for beginning riders to start to develop their handling skills. But it also has a platform with a few ramps that lead to banked turns, a rock garden, and log pile. These are a blast, and I spent a long time riding them over and over!

The Gary Fisher XC Course loops around the entire building, and run up through the rafters in some parts. It's a great way to get a riding experience most like what you would riding a regular mountain bike trail in the woods. For most riding at Ray's, platform pedals are recommended, but if you expect to spend most of your time on the XC course, you may want to consider sticking with your SPD's or other click-in type pedals. I found myself having a hard time pedaling up the climbs into the rafters using the platform pedals on my Cannondale Prophet.

To sum it up, with this season's expansion at Ray's, no matter what your skill level or riding style, there truly is something for everyone. If it's been a while since you've tried the riding at Ray's, it is worth making the trip for another look. If you've never been there at all, then all the more reason--go check it out!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bikes and Baseball in Boston

If you’re headed to Boston this weekend to cheer on the Indians, be sure to check out the Boston Bike Film Festival, which starts today. Tomorrow would be a good day to be in Boston, to see “Guerrilla Mechanics,” a short film about a secret squad of guys hoping to fix the world one bike at a time, then watch the Indians beat the Red Sox. Go Tribe!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lives Defined: Wade Wingler

This link comes to us once again from Bike Bits, the e-newsletter of the Adventure Cycling Association. We try to highlight local people for stories like this, but I thought this one was so relevant that I had to share it.

On his web site at, Wade Wingler of Indiana writes "I'm 36 years old. A few years ago, I weighed 317 pounds and was pretty sure I would die before I reached 50." The site tells the details of the changes he made in his life to turn his health around.

He continues, "Fair warning: In the end, what I'm about to share with you will basically boil down to: The best way to lose weight is to eat right and exercise. If you're looking for a pill, product, program or ploy, you'll not find it here."

Needless to say, his exercise program includes cycling. He started with a bike he bought for under $100 from one of the super-stores. First he rode one mile at a time. Soon he would ride two miles. When he started riding 15 miles, he realized is department store bike was not going to cut it any more, so he visited his local bike shop, who set him up with a Giant Cypress. Eventually, he got into organized events of 50+ miles, and got himself a Giant OCR-2 for those rides, although he still uses the Cypress for short jaunts around the neighborhood.

I especially like his "Rules to Live By." Common sense advice from a person whose expert knowledge is their own personal experience.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Giant Demo Day at Rays MTB Park

A few of us from the stores got the opportunity to get up close and personal with the new Maestro suspension bikes from Giant. Tom, Keith, Ryan, Scott and myself where allowed into Rays for a sneak peak of the new stuff he has added, and clinic/ride on Giants Maestro suspension system. The day consisted of a small suspension clinic going over the different types of designs used today and in the past. They gave explanations of how they work and don't work and some of the band aids designed to correct for the short comings in the designs. After a short break to talk one-on-one with some of Giants inside people, and couple of their pros, a small lunch was available, then they turned us loose.

This was the line up of bikes we came into Rays looking at and ended up getting to ride. They had all models present. The xc race Anthem, the all mtn. Trance, the freeride Reigns, and the downhill Glorys.

Kelli Emmett was also on hand to answer questions, then stuck around to experience Rays for the first time. She must have had a good time because she only stopped riding to watch the foam pit jumpers.

Here is Tom in action on a Reign and what could be is next new bike, the all powerful Anthem. Direct quote " whoohhhh this thing is fast"

So in closing fun was had by all, stop by and see the Anthems at our Medina and Peninsula stores, we even have one that YOU can take out and ride for a day. So in closing I'll leave you with a preview of the new beginner section at Rays soon to open for the winter.

Thanks to the sponsors,

Giant and Rays