Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ohio Department of Transportation Plan To Identify Transportation Priorities

Cyclists and Cycling Supporters:

The Ohio Department of Transportation is going to be conducting meetings all over Ohio about sustainable transportation and cyclists need to participate and let them know about cycling priorities. Sally Hanley of NOACA says there will be a conference on June 17th at Cleveland State University and you can visit this link for more information and participate in a

If you have an opportunity, please attend the event at CSU and please complete the survey to let the state know you believe cycling is important! You know highway contractors are already involved. Cyclists need to speak up! Thanks.

Kevin Cronin
ClevelandBikes : When ClevelandBikes, Cleveland Benefits!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Vintage Bicycle Safety Videos

I saw the following video at the bicycle museum in Sparta, Wisconsin about 4 years ago. Imagine my surprise when it showed up on the Urban Velo blog a few days ago:

Check out the movingly poetic soundtrack on this filmstrip presentation:

Ah, it takes me back to the dark, musty gymnasium of my school days...the only thing missing is the "BEEP" to tell the geeky audio-visual guy when to advance to the next frame of the filmstrip (okay, that guy was me).

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thank you, Joe

We love hearing back from satisfied customers all the time, but this thank-you note that we received today has been the most entertaining one that we've seen in a while:

"When I first thought of making a thank you card for the folks at Century Cycles, I cut out 3 pictures of scantily-clad women.

The title was the same:
Excellent service
(picture of women in bikinis)
(picture of women in lingerie)
Friendly knowledgeable advice
(Maxim magazine's ten best models)
I thought it would make you guys laugh.
What do you get when you come to Century Cycles?
Excellent service, Sales, and Friendly knowledgeable advice, along with lots of half-naked women. LOL
So I started from scratch and changed from poster board to foam core. You can't hang scantily-clad women on the wall of the mechanic shop; strictly a PG-rated bike shop.
So I came up with something you can hang.
Thanks for always being so nice, and helpful, with good reasonable prices, too.

For the record, PG-rated shop or not, we would have welcomed pictures of scantily-clad women!

Bike the Vote

I'm sure I'll live to regret opening up a political can of worms in this space. There are many important issues on which to base your vote in this fall's election. But if you're reading this, then the candidate's position related to cycling probably has at least some bearing on your decision.

This is not a personal endorsement; I'm just passing on another cyclist's observations. Patrick O'Grady writes the "Maddog Unleashed" column for Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, and in the latest issue, he searched the three major presidential candidates' web sites for their positions on cycling, and "found a reason to believe." In his words:

"McCain's 'Environment' section says nothing about cycling. In fact, it says mostly nothing, period, unless you think GOP talking points about market forces and national security constitute straight talk on the environment."

"Clinton, meanwhile, serves up a 15-page PDF explaining in excruciating detail how she would 'promote energy independence, address global warming, and transform our economy.' Seven thousand words. None of them 'bicycle.'"

"Obama's transportation plan discusses his support for the Complete Streets Act of 2008, a measure authored by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) to ensure that all users of the U.S. transportation system, including pedestrians and bicyclists, 'are able to travel safely and conveniently on streets and highways.'"

"His chosen sport is hoops, not cycling. But he is talking about bicycling as something other than a presidential play date. And even a sour old cynic like me finds that vaguely audacious and hopeful."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Don't try this at your local bike shop


from The Capital Times of Madison, WI, Tue. May 27, 2008:

A man who allegedly grabbed the buttocks of a customer and tried to dance with employees in a bicycle shop was arrested on a variety of charges Friday afternoon.

Julius Wilson, 54, no permanent address, was tentatively charged with disorderly conduct, fourth-degree sexual assault and bail jumping.

According to Madison police, the incident took place about 1:20 p.m. Friday at Budget Bicycle Shop, 1124 Regent St. Employees of the bike shop told police the suspect came into the store, grabbed a male customer's buttocks and patted the backside of a male employee, before going behind the counter to try to dance with female employees.

"The suspect was carrying a duffel bag and appeared to be intoxicated," said police spokesman Joel DeSpain.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #7

Hi all,

Just had dinner, chicken sausage and peppers over polenta, large salad and brownies and ice cream. Hit the spot after a 90 mile day.

Woke this morning to a heavy fog settled in over the town of Lewisport which sits on the Ohio River. We had a long day ahead of us and we were on the rode by 6:45. We rode along the Ohio River for most of the day enjoying rural countryside as well as quite a bit of heavy industry along the river. While riding in the countryside, the mist seemed to amplify the sound of the birds and animals.. It is just you, your bike and your surroundings, nothing else interferes with the experience; this is one of the best things about cycling. Of course, when faced with steep hills, which we were after the first 20 miles, your focus shifts to the task at hand. GETTING YOUR BUTT UP THE HILL!!! In the end, made it into Brandenburg, Ky after 7 hours in the saddle.

Brandenburg and Lewisport are both very small towns built up around creeks that empty into the Ohio. In their prime, they were busy ports with heavy trade traffic. Founded in the early 1800's, with populations under 2000; most of the residents now are retirees. Of course all of this land along the Ohio River was once inhabited by the Cherokee and the Shawnee and we all know what happened to them! Lewisport's claim to fame is that Abraham Lincoln won his first court case there, when he defended himself. The charge: operating a river ferry boat without a license. Verdict: ACQUITTAL. And we all know what happened to him!

Yesterday we rode in the rain all day, for 67 miles. The route was flat, and the rain light and constant. Of course the rain makes for some very slippery streets and RAILROAD CROSSINGS. We had a few women fall. The worse case when five of us were riding together, three of us made it across some treacherous tracks, but the last two went down hard. Shoulder, knee and elbow injuries. No broken bones, just blood and bruising. We should have all walked our bikes across the tracks. We will next time.

Riding into Louisville, Ky. tomorrow by way of Indiana. Shorter ride of 52 miles followed by rest day in Louisville. We will cross over the Ohio River twice tomorrow. It is raining right now, but supposed to be nice tomorrow. I have to give my bike a quick cleaning, then I'm off to bed.

Hope you all had a great weekend, maybe got in some boating on beautiful Lake Erie. I am thinking of sailing season as my boys had their first sail over the weekend. They sailed to Put-N-Bay and Cedar Point. Word is they were a big hit at Put-N-Bay as the town gathered and cheered them off as they sailed away from the dock and headed home. Makes a mother wonder what happened at Put-N-BAY?????

Good Night All!!!


Click this site to see pictures from the ride.

Buddy Bike Group Ride - June 22

Buddy Bike Group Ride
on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, OH - Sunday, June 22, 2008

Meet at: 10:00 AM
Ride starts at: 10:30 AM
Start location: Boston Store, 1548 Boston Mills Road, Boston Township, OH 44264
Ride features: Historical sites, scenic surroundings and visit to Peninsula Village (shops & restaurants)
Suggested rider level: beginner and intermediate

History, Nature and Family Fun!

On Sunday, June 22, BuddyBike will hold their 2nd Annual Buddy Bike Group Ride in Ohio. The ride will take place on the scenic Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. This is a relatively flat, crushed-limestone-surfaced trail.

The Buddy Bike Group Ride will start at the Boston Store in Boston Township. Riders will travel south to the Beaver Marsh Boardwalk Viewing Platform to observe wildlife and enjoy the scenic natural surroundings. Riders will turn around to return to The Village of Peninsula for lunch and to visit this quaint village which features shops, art galleries and historic landmarks. Riders will travel approximately 14 miles round-trip or they may opt to turn around at any point to shorten the ride distance.

All bicycles are welcome, so feel free to invite your friends! A limited number of Buddy Bikes will be provided by reservation. For safety, Buddy Bike asks that ALL riders wear helmets on their Group Rides, not just the kids! Children must be accompanied by parents at all times.

If you would like to join the ride but prefer not to bike ride or would like to enjoy a full day of fun, visit the Buddy Bike web site for links to other activities and informational sites.

What to bring: Cold beverages will be provided. There are no fees to participate, but please bring money for lunch at one of the Peninsula Village restaurants. Items to bring: helmets, sunblock, bug spray, camera, spare inner tubes and/or patch kits, bike locks and money for lunch.

RSVP to receive a Rider Goodie Bag and to reserve a bike: 786.489.BIKE (2453)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

For everything else, there's Xtracycle

Canvas grocery bags: 99 cents each

6-pack of India Pale Ale: $7.49

Making your Memorial Day beer run without burning gasoline or disposable plastic: Priceless

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Don't trust the bungee

During my years of cycling the roads, the items I see laying by he side of the road most often are, by far, beverage containers (bottles both glass and plastic, and cans). But, running a close second, is bungee cords.

Just within the past week, I decided to start picking up bungee cords as I come across them while riding. I wish I had starting doing this years ago, as I am curious as to how many hundreds I might have picked up by now.
This rogue's gallery of 14 bungees is what I picked up on my three most recent rides; 9 of them were from today alone. This is not counting the ones I did not pick up, i.e. those with broken straps, or missing hooks, or hooks bent beyond usefulness. Not to mention the ones that I failed to see at all.

I often wonder, with all of these bungee cords flying off of people's vehicles, what happened to the cargo that they were supposed to be securing? I like to imagine what that stuff might have been, and imagine what it must have been like flying out of somebody's trunk or out of their pickup bed. Lawn mowers, lumber, La-Z-Boys, and yes, probably even bicycles. Did all of this stuff end up laying next to the road for a brief time, as well?

Underground Railroad Route Report #6

Reporting from Kentucky,

We have been on the road for eleven days, and have covered 758 MIles. Have just finished a seven day stretch, with a well deserved REST DAY tomorrow. We are staying at a beautiful lodge in the Kentucky Dam State Park just outside of Grand Rivers, KY. Grand Rivers sits at the northern edge of the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation area. We rode the trace up thru the park today for 55 miles. Nice road, very little traffic, the hills have eased off some and happy to report NO DOGS. There were bison roaming the prairie land on either side of the road, but fortunately they were not interested in chasing us. We rode across the KY Dam, which dams up the Tennessee River forming the KY lake on which the lodge sits.

Yesterday, we rode into Dover, Tenn. , population - 1442, home of Fort Donelson National Battlefield. In Feb. of 1862, Union troops led by Gen. U. Grant scored the first major victory of the Civil War for the North on this Battlefield. It was here that Grant issued his famous ultimatum, "No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted". After the Union captured and occupied Fort Donelson, it became a refuge for runaway slaves.

The weather has been great, cool in the morning, low 70's for riding. We met some nice dogs at a hamburger stop on a back country rode (see pictures)
and I met a guy on the road cycling from Chicago to New Orleans solo, carrying all of his gear, his bike must have weighed 75 pounds!!

Last night we went out for dinner at Cathy's Catfish Restaurant, it was our cook's b-day, so she had the night off. Tonite, since we have crossed another state line, ( that's Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee crossed off the list ) we are having a Margarita Party. Every time we cross a state line, we have Margaritas and since tomorrow is a rest day, BRING EM ON!!!!

When we resume riding on Sat. , we will be leaving the Tennessee River behind and making our way to the Ohio River, taking on more of a northeast direction. In the meantime, everyone have a good Memorial Day Weekend! THANK YOU FOR ALL OF THE ENCOURAGING E-MAILS!

"When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race."
-----H.G. Wells


Click this site to see pictures from the ride.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #5

Hello out there,

Since last i wrote, we have had two very difficult days, I know I keep saying that, but the hills are killers, as hard as anything we did in Tex, hill country last year on the southern tier XC ride. And the milage is long, 68 miles yesterday, and 63 today, door to door hills. The countryside is beautiful, it is prettier as we move north.

Yesterday, we rode through the Shiloh National Military Park. The Battle of Shiloh took place on April 6 & 7, 1862. Union forces were led by Grant and Confederate by Gen. Johnston and Gen. Beauregard. The Federal forces were victorious, but only after facing the bitter reality of 23,746 dead or wounded (in two days!). Spent the night in the small town of Parsons. Today we were onto Waverly, riding along the Tennessee river and through the Tenn. National Wildlife refuge. Saw quite an assortment of animals, including turtles and snakes on the rode. And the inevitable happened, when one of our riders was bit by a dog on her hip and hand. A great big black dog got her. I have encountered more dogs in the last three days than I saw on the entire XC trip last year. The sheriff was called and inquiries were made as to rabies shots etc... Everything checked out. The dogs we are encountering are lose in yards in the back hill country, very remote areas.

While riding mostly alone today in those very remote areas, I think Big Foot picked up my trail, because once again there was alot of rustlings in the woods!

Made it into Waverly, muscles very fatigued. More hills tomorrow. For all of you who joked that riding from the south up north would be all uphill, YOU WERE RIGHT!!! American Idol finale tonite, then to bed.



Click this site to see pictures from the ride:

Frame Painter Recommendation

We get questions fairly often about where is a good place to get an old bicycle frame repainted. We never had a good answer until about a year or so ago when a customer brought in his Raleigh Rush Hour in to show us. He had it painted a bright green color similar to Bianchi's Celeste. It was done by Summit Powder Coaters, located in Barberton. It cost $60, which included stripping the old paint.

Recently, we built up this old Santa Cruz Chameleon frame for another customer that had it painted at Summit Powder Coaters:

The finish is smooth, beautiful, and durable. You can find Summit Powder Coaters at 619 South Van Buren Avenue, Barberton, OH 44203, Phone: (330) 753-7040. It's a one-man operation; don't bother looking for a web site, and expect a several-week backlog. He says he's been getting more and more bike frame jobs lately, and is thinking of upping his rate to $65...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Watch Scott on That's Life with Robin Swoboda

You can see our owner Scott Cowan talking with Robin Swoboda on this morning's That's Life on Fox 8 Cleveland. Click here to view the video online.

Robin was at our Peninsula store talking with Scott about the different styles of bicycles that we have for sale and for rent, as well as the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Bike Aboard program.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #4

Hey all,

We've hit Tennessee, and the word for the day: DOGS, DOGS, DOGS!!!! Every color, shape and size, you name it, they chased us. We all have whistles and some of the women have Mace, the whistles do startle some of the dogs, but then there are the die-hard chasers that won't let a whistle stop them. Everyone's feet and legs are still in tack, but it was a huge distraction.

Other than that we have had two long days of riding since we left Columbus, Miss. 85 miles yesterday into Fulton, and 77 miles today into Pickwick Dam, Tenn. Yesterday, was our most beautiful day of riding so far, a nice tailwind, relatively flat, cool. We rode into Fulton, pop.-3800, home of Tammy Wynette. Stopped in Amory, for a wonderful lunch, love the small town restaurants with the local fare. Saw muscrats and many birds; egrets, herons along the water.

Today was a much harder ride. Started right out with hills, a few 12% grade, they were killers. Had my first fall on one of them, I dropped a chain and couldn't release my shoe fast enough so over I went. No damage since I fell on my knee that is covered with a soft knee brace. I am having some knee pain. Anyway, between the dogs and the hills for 77 miles (and some rain too), just wanted to get to Tenn. We did ride along the Natchez Trace for awhile today. The Natchez trace runs from Natchez on the Mississppi River up to Nashville. Originally a animal trail and then an Indian trail, it finally became a main route of travel for the early settlers. Commonly, farmers and merchants rode the Mississippi river south with their wares to sell or trade (including slaves), debarked in Natchez and then made their way north on the Natchez Trace. The city of Natchez was second only to New Orleans in the entire South as an active slave market. Today the Natchez Trace is a designated National Parkway, allowing no commercial traffic.

Finally made it to Pickwick Dam, Tenn. A very small town on Pickwick Lake, which is on the Tennessee River. Pickwick Landing was originally a river boat landing on the River. In the 1930s the river was dammed up to produce hydraulic power, creating the lake which is now part of a state park. It is very picturesque.

I'm so tired, 70 miles tomorrow. Goodnight to all !!

"Whatever the goal undertaken, the road always leads upwards and on."
----Ernesto Colnago (famed equip. supplier to professional racers)


Click this sight to see pictures from the ride.

So Long, Cleveland, Hello, Tierra del Fuego

From the May 15, 2008 issue of Bicycle Retailer and Industry News:

Kevin Madzia and Ray Query plan to log a little saddle time this summer–as in 15,000 miles from Cleveland, Ohio, to the southern tip of Argentina. The trip is more than an extended vacation. The two Century Cycles riders hope to raise $20,000 for The Melanoma Research Foundation and promote awareness of the disease along the way. They’ll set out on August 24 with plans to cover 50-100 miles per day en route to Tierra del Fuego with an ETA April 2009. And these guys know the drill. Query, an associate at the Century Cycles store in Rocky River, Ohio, once accepted a dare to ride home to Cleveland from Anchorage, Alaska. As for Madzia, whose father succumbed to melanoma in 2002, he took a little spin from Seattle, Washington, to Gloucester, Massachusetts, back in 2004, raising more than $13,000 for the foundation. Raleigh Bicycles is supplying the two with two Diamondback Transporter bikes. For more information, or to lend a hand, see

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Impromptu Country Bike Tour

Earlier this week, Gary was telling me about a tree in his neighborhood; a pine tree that had lilac vines growing throughout it, making a usually green pine tree look all purple. Not that I'm much of a tree buff, but I figured that's as good an excuse as any to pick a random destination for a bike ride on my day off.

So, on Wednesday morning, I headed off in search of the Mythical Purple Pine Tree. I made a pitstop in Hudson to meet Brent for PCP (pancake power) at the Perkins, then continued on. The day turned a bit soggy as I reached Mantua Township, and I dodged semi trucks and such for six miles on Rt 82, until finally, at mile 24.6, I reached the tree, pictured here for your enjoyment.

I turned south from Hiram and headed down Rt 700 towards Ravenna. Along the way, I passed this farm, and heard such a commotion from the field that I had to stop and check it out. There was a pig; I know it's not that big a deal to see a pig here in this agricultural state, but this particular pig seemed to be pretty excited about something. He was running in circles, and oinking like crazy, acting so...pig-like!

As I made my way down through Ravenna, then back home via Hudson, the rain alternated between a light drizzle and barely spitting. Since I had my good rain jacket on, I was comfortable. Sometimes, I almost prefer days like this compared to 95 degrees with the sun beating down!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Check out the Rocky River store on WOIO

WOIO 19 Action News was at our Rocky River store the other day to talk to our staff and customers about the growing number of people turning to bicycling to avoid the ever-rising cost of gasoline. The video is available on their web site; unfortunately, they don't make it very easy to link to. This link should take you to a search results page, which should contain a link to the story, titled "People Seek Alternative Travel Methods In Wake Of Skyrocketing Gas Prices."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Biking Through Pennsylvania to D.C.

An article in this past Sunday's Plain Dealer highlights the recently-completed Great Allegheny Passage, part of the mostly off-road bicycle route that connects Pittsburgh, PA to Washington, DC. Parts of the route have existed for many years as local rail-trails and the C&O Canal Towpath Trail in Maryland, but all of the pieces were finally connected just last year.

The article tells the tale of two NE Ohio couples who made the 8-day bike journey from the town of Boston (just outside Pittsburgh) to the monuments right in DC. They stayed in motels and B&B's along the way, but they provide information for how you can make the trip any way you want, from "roughing it to fluffing it."

Read the article online here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Night Rides on the Towpath: CORRECTION

The Cleveland Bicycle Week web site, as well as the Plain Dealer in yesterday's PDQ section, listed our Night Ride on the Towpath for this week as being on Wednesday, May 14. THIS IS INCORRECT!

There is NO Night Ride on May 14. Our Night Ride on the Towpath for this week is as we originally listed on our schedule, Saturday, May 17.

Bike Scavenger Hunt Sat. May 17

A new event has been added recently to the calendar for Cleveland Bicycle Week. It's the Bicycle Scavenger Hunt, organized by the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op. It starts at 10am Saturday at the Co-op in The Flats. Click here for more information.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #3


THAT WAS SOOO...HARD!!! Made it the whole way, but yesterday's ride equalled the two hardest rides that we did on last years' XC ride. We rode hills right out of Bay Minette that continued for the entire 100 miles. It was very windy and hot, hot, hot! I spent 8 hours in the saddle and had an average of 12 miles per hr. We had a couple of 11% grade hills, and climbed 4200 feet. Needless to say, after that we were exhausted. All but 8 women finished the ride.

We were spread out over the road and arrived at the hotel, staggered over the course of two hours. First thing I did, was jump in the pool. Had a great chicken gumbo dinner and then fell into bed. Thank goodness we have a rest day today, because tomorrow is another 100 MILE Day!!!!

So far the terrain is mostly forested with a few small farms here and there. We saw more dead armadillos and dead snakes. There is alot of logging in the area, with logging trucks on the road. Staying at the Downtown Inn in Jackson, population 5000. We rode 100 miles because Jackson was the first town with a motel in it. That is the case again tomorrow as we ride to Demopolis, AL.

So far, I have roomed with Cathy, who is a firefighter from the Oakland, CA area, then with Sondra, a retired nurse from Monroe, LA and today with Marilee, who works for Gen. Elect. In the Rochester, NY area.

Today, I am going to clean my bike, read my book, eat and rest. We have already made a run to Walgreens, cleaned them out of Advil and Zinc Oxide.

I have heard from two people (love getting e-mails) having a hard time with the pictures, everyone else seems to be getting them.


Click this sight to see pictures from the ride.

Press Event in the Cuyahoga Valley Today

This heads-up comes to us thanks to Don May of the Akron Bicycle Club. It's another chance for local cyclists to show a few local local officials and elected representatives that there is a need and support for bicycling facilitites:

"I am doing a press event this Monday [May 12] at 2:00 PM at the covered bridge on Everett to announce the Everett Road project (asphalt berms like Truxell Road). It is also an announcement of the availability of the updated Summit Trail & Greenway Plan. We will have Congresswoman Betty Sutton, County Executive Russ Pry, John Debo of the National Park, Keith Shy of Metro Parks, and others there to announce the project. If you or anyone else from the club could come down to be in the “audience”, that would be great. I know it is a tough time for most people to come to an event, but thought that I would mention it in case anyone could make it."

-Greg Bachman, Summit County Engineer

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #2

Hi All, checking in from Bay Minette, Ala. 38 mile ride today from Mobile, everything went well. Sunny and very hot and humid!

As usual, there was a flurry of activity early this morning with everyone ready to break out of the gate. We had our usual steel cut oatmeal and fruit, etc.. for breakfast, and had our bags weighed ( a first for one of these rides, but understandable ), there is a 50 lb. limit spread between two bags. Then we posed for our group photo, this whole ordeal takes about 30 minutes minimum, because everyone of us has a camera and wants a picture, once that was over, we were on our way.

We slowly made our way out of Mobile, across the Bay and across many creeks and minor rivers that feed into the Bay. As we headed into the country, the hills started to roll gently. Not to much to see other that some fishing camps, a couple of dead Armadillos and small homes spread out along the roads.

As far as the women, today we were all checking each other out!. Who was at the front of the pack, who was slower? Who stopped alot, who was a Chatty Cathy and who had absolutely no sense of direction? And of course what was everyone riding? I have the only Giant, quite a few Treks, a Diamond Back, a Bianci, a Colnago and a few others (not sure on the spelling of all of those). All are road bikes, and all but one have dropped bars. Everyone seemed pretty fit, and everyone I have talked with has years of cycling experience. I would say at least 1/2 of the women have done a cross country ride.

Tomorrow will surely test all of us. We are riding 102 miles tomorrow and it is supposed to be in the high 80's to low 90's. HYDRATE, HYDRATE, AND HYDRATE SOME MORE! That will be the mantra for tomorrow. Todays' ride was short, so we have down time this afternoon to relax and make any minor adjustments to our bikes. I have brought along for reading: Cormac McCarthy's - The Road and Bound for Canaan by Fergus Bordewich.

Plan to read a bit, have a great dinner and hit the hay. Need to get a good nights sleep to be ready for tomorrow.

Happy Mothers Day to all of the MOMS out there. Send good thoughts to me so this mother makes the 102 miles!

Love to all!


Click this sight to see pictures from the ride.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report

This is the first report from our friend Deb Milano, who is riding with a group of cyclo-tourists on the new Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, which begins in Mobile, Alabama, and ends in Owen Sound, Ontario. Look for more updates in the next few weeks!

Hi All, checking in on May 9 from Mobile, Ala.
I'M HERE! Once again, it is good to put the planning behind me, and arrive in Mobile ready to ride tomorrow morning. I flew in yesterday, checked into the Battle House Hotel, which is a lovely old hotel, originally built in 1852. The hotel burned to the ground in 1905, was rebuilt and has been renovated recently. 27 of us have met here at the hotel; coming together to embark on a 5-1/2 week bike adventure along the UnderGround Railroad.

The women who have gathered are from all over the US and a few from Canada, and a woman from Australia. Most seem to be in 50's, some 60's, but too early to start asking ages. Today we spent a couple of hours in an orientation session: introducing ourselves, going over rules of the road, logistics etc....
Most importantly, time was spent checking out our bikes, making sure they survived being shipped down here, (mine came through with flying colors - thanks to Century Cycles).

Did some exploring yesterday and today. It is in the mid-to-upper 80's and sunny. Greater Mobile is a large city with a population of approx. 200,000. However, we are in the old downtown area, which seems small, a combination of old and new. Definitely a city which has seen many reincarnations over the last 300 years. Last year on the XC ride, I was in this area, but a little further south on the Bay, where we had a rest day at Dauphin Island. Tomorrow, we will be up early and riding out of Mobile. We will cross Mobile Bay and slowly ride out of the city and on into rural Alabama. I am anxious to get on the road, get into a zone, and pedal on up to Canada.

Ready to hit the sack now, good-nite to all!

Click the sight below to follow my journey thru pictures, be sure to click each event, as there will be more that just one picture.

Tech Talk: Bike Components for Beginners

Buying a new bike or accessories can often be bewildering to the novice; the guys working in the shop almost seem to be speaking a different language. It's almost as bad as trying to pick out a personal computer!

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 really understand what they are looking for, and often it's just a matter of making sure we agree on the meaning of the words we are using. For example, we sometimes get people asking for a "wheel," when all they really need is a new tire. On the other hand, I gotten really perplexed looks when I'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.

Derailleur - 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 derailleur handles the shifting on your chainrings and is usually controlled by your left-hand shifter. The rear derailleur handles the shifting on your cassette or freewheel, and is usually controlled by your right-hand shifter.

Derailleur 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 - 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.

Leave a comment on this post if you have a question about any of the above terms, or have a suggestion for something that may have been left out.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stage race coming to PA

Bicycle stage racing saw its heyday back in the 80's with the Coors Classic in Colorado (probably best-known as the setting for the Kevin Costner film American Flyers). The past few years have seen a return of major stages races to US soil, with the Tour de Georgia and the Tour of California, and new last year, the Tour of Missouri. Now, coming next month to our next-door neighbor, is the inaugural Tour of Pennsylvania.

Beginning on June 24 in Philadelphia, the Tour of PA will have stops in Downingtown, Carlisle, Camp Hill, Bedford, Latrobe, Ligonier, and ending in Pittsburgh. Eighteen domestic and international teams are scheduled to compete.

So, here's your chance to see some professional racing action without having to travel across the country or to another continent!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Volunteers Needed to Ride the Rail!

A segment of Fox 8 Cleveland's That's Life with Robin Swoboda will be taped in Peninsula on Monday, May 12, 2008. Volunteers are needed to ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (at no charge). Volunteers must meet at the Brecksville Station at 9:00am, and will ride the train to Peninsula and Akron, and will be dropped off back at the Brecksville Station around 2:00pm.

All are encouraged to volunteer, but families (of all ages) are especially needed!

To volunteer, please contact:

Kelly Steele
Director of Marketing and Education
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Direct Dial (330) 657-1915

The Brecksville Station is located at 13512 Station Road, just off of Riverview Road.

Turn South onto Riverview Road from Route 82. Proceed 0.3 miles on Riverview Road to the Station Road Trailhead. Turn left and follow the roadway to the parking area.
The story that is being filmed on this day will be aired on Monday, May 19, 2008.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Should I walk or should I bike?

You can (sort of) do both, with this contraption:

If you watch the accompanying video, you can see that the bike (sort of) actually works. I think they need a lower gear...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Pancake Redemption

The annual Pancake Breakfast at the Stanford Hostel in Peninsula is something that many cyclists look forward to; there are usually more bikes than cars parked there. I had attended every year since 2005. Last year, those in our group left a little disenchanted; it took a really long time to get our orders, and then they only begrudgingly gave us seconds, and only after waiting interminably long again. In the interest of "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all," I had planned to just practice my own quiet boycott of the event this year, and leave it at that.

But, some friends had planned a ride to the breakfast, and a few of them had not done it before, so I was convinced to join them yesterday. I am glad I gave them another chance. The service this year was super-fast, the pancakes were hot and tasty, and the coffee, provided by Phoenix Coffee Company, was also hot and plentiful. Somebody came around with a fresh pot of coffee for refills on a regular basis, and joy of joys, there was also somebody making the rounds with a fresh stack of pancakes so that any and all hungry cyclists (and non-cyclists) got their fill.

A big thanks to the folks at Stanford for providing a fine meal and fun event. I'll be back next year!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

National Bike Month!

How many of you knew that May was National Bike Month? Raise your hands...let's see (counting hands) thats one, two, three...okay, ten.

Well don't look now but our designated month is upon us, and there's lots of bike activity happing this month. As mentioned earlier on this blog there is the Bay High School Bike to School Month and Bike to Work Week.

We've also posted info on Cleveland Bike Week on our website including more local National Bike Month Events. Don't forget the Saturday May 17th Night Ride! I know I will be there!

It's all about the bike this month (sorry Lance), so get out and ride, decorate your bike, inspire others to ride or bring cookies to your favorite bike mechanic.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Check out our Bike Gallery

Have you seen our Bike Gallery? This is a section of our web site where we showcase special bikes that we've built, usually custom-assembled special-orders for our customers, limited edition models, or custom modifications to stock models.

The latest edition to our Bike Gallery is a Salsa La Cruz:

You can see the full specifications here.