Monday, June 30, 2008

Bicycle news in The Plain Dealer

First, the good news. In Michael McIntyre's Tipff column on June 16, he had this news:

LEGISLATION ON WHEELS: Cleveland City Council has signed off on new bike-friendly guidelines for parking garage and lot operators: They have to save room for bicycles. Under the measure, sponsored by Councilman Joe Cimperman and Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland, the city would require any new or expanded garage or lot with 10 or more spaces to provide one bicycle space for every 20 car spaces, up to 24 bike spaces. Cimperman said parking companies already licensed for new or expanded lots or garages will have two years to comply. The legislation rolled through with just one broken spoke; Councilman Zack Reed cast the sole vote against the requirements at a Monday morning committee meeting. "Overreaching government," he said. Cimperman questioned Reed's stance. "We are in an energy crunch that we've never seen before," Cimperman said. "Cities moving toward green and environmentally friendly standards will be the most competitive."

And now for the bad news, an AP story from Anchorage, Alaska, in today's PD:

BEAR MAULS TEEN DURING BICYCLE RACE: A 14-year-old girl riding in a mountain bike race was attacked by a bear early Sunday and severely injured, but she was able to make a brief 9-1-1 call that eventually resulted in her rescue. The girl suffered head, neck, torso, and leg wounds and was in critical condition, police said. The attack occurred along a trail and rescuers had to hike more than two miles to reach the girl. She called 9-1-1, whispered one word -- "bear" -- and the line went dead, a Fire Department spokeswoman said. Following procedure for when a call is cut off, dispatchers called the number back. Another rider heard the phone ringing, stopped to investigate and spotted the teen. "That rider was able to pick up the phone and talk with the Police Department," the spokeswoman said.

07/01/08 UPDATE: Okay, so I just learned that the teenage girl mauled by the bear was participating in an all-night bike Alaska....through bear a salmon stream. Someone called it "a pretty bad idea." Um, ya think? The Seattle Times has the full and mind-boggling story here.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Underground bike parking in Japan

This video comes to us courtesy of our friends at UrbanVelo.

Imagine a jukebox for bicycles--insert your ID card, and get your bike 22.84 seconds later!

If my bike collection grows any more, I'll have to consider installing one of these in my basement!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Towpath Trail recommended by MSN City Guides

A recent article on MSN City Guides highlighted areas where you can combine inexpensive travel, cycling, and bed & breakfast lodging. They mention the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail, along with the nearby Inn at Brandywine Falls and O'Neil House Bed & Breakfast. Read the full article here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Chuck Yarborough's On The Job Training - Update

On June 14, we posted pictures from Plain Dealer reporter Chuck Yarborough's stint as our bike rental guy for the day in Peninsula. His own version of the story was published in the June 19, 2008 edition of the Plain Dealer; you can check it out on our web site here.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Kaleb Kaschalk completes Ironman France!

Back in March, we reported on Kaleb Kaschalk, who was training to do the Ironman Triathlon in France. Kaleb informed us today that he completed he race. Congratulations, Kaleb!

He sent along this photo of him with French racing legend Laurent Jalabert!

Monday, June 23, 2008

CC on 19 Action News!

Jen Picciano of Channel 19 Action News was in the Peninsula area yesterday, talking to people in the area about the effects of the weekend's severe weather. Click here to check out the video!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Attention Gas-Free Travelers

Gasoline-free, that is. Adventure Cycling media director Winona Sorensen reports that with the price of petrol topping $4 a gallon nationwide, she's been fielding a lot of calls lately from media outlets curious about bicycle travel. Many callers are particularly interested in visiting with cyclists who are undertaking vacations that are entirely gas-free--or nearly so, anyway. If this sounds like your recent, current, or upcoming travels, and you'd be willing to speak to the media on the subject, please send an email with your name, your contact information, and a brief description of your trip to

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Towpath Trail campground opening in Jackson Township

A lot of visitors ask us about camping locations in the area, and many are disappointed to learn that there are not very many campgrounds directly accessible from the Towpath Trail. It looks like that has just been fixed, according to this June 6, 2008 article from the Akron Beacon Journal:

Towpath Trail campground opening in Jackson Township
By Bob Downing
Beacon Journal staff writer

Backpackers and long-distance bicyclists on the Towpath Trail now have a new option: camping out.

On Saturday, the Stark County Park District will unveil a primitive campsite at the Bridgeport Quarry Trailhead in Jackson Township on the Congressman Ralph Regula Towpath Trail.

The park system is marking National Trail Day with activities from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Erie Avenue Northwest trailhead, south of Traphagen Street.

The campsite has room for several tents and is designed for walk-in use only -- no vehicles, said district spokeswoman Connie Rubin.

Campers must provide their own water. A portable toilet is on the site.

The fee for overnight use has not been set. Advance reservations are required by calling 330-477-3552.

Stark County is looking at providing overnight camping at a second site, but that has not been finalized, Rubin said.

Similar campsites are planned along the Towpath Trail in Summit County: in Clinton and in the Big Bend Area of Sand Run Metro Park in northwest Akron.

David Whited, a planner for Metro Parks, Serving Summit County, said both those sites should be open by the end of the year.

The National Park Service wants to add a similar Towpath Trail campground for up to five tents near the Stanford Hostel in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, said deputy park superintendent Paul J. Stoehr.

In a related development, federal officials have designated the 25 miles of the Towpath Trail in Stark County as a National Recreation Trail.

It is one of 24 trails covering 1,100 miles in 16 states that have been added to the prestigious national system by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The designation was sought by the Stark park district and does not apply to the Towpath Trail in Summit, Cuyahoga or Tuscarawas counties.

Bob Downing can be reached at 330-996-3745 or

Power Outage in Peninsula

Our apologies to anyone who tried to stop in or call the Peninsula store yesterday (Wed. Jun. 18). We closed early due to an unfortunate incident that happened up the street.

A little before 4pm, a truck hauling a load of bricks lost his brakes while coming down the hill on Rt 303 eastbound. He ditched to the side, spilling most of the bricks on the road, and knocking out a utility pole.

Power was out in the whole village for over two hours. The driver was reportedly unhurt.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Take the "Dump the Pump" Challenge with Eric Mansfield

Eric Mansfield covers the Akron-Canton beat for WKYC-TV, and this week he's taking on his own "Dump the Pump" challenge to avoid driving his car for his 4-mile commute to work. Read about it on his blog; including his first day biking to work on Monday. On Tuesday, his attempt to take the bus didn't work out so well...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #13

Free at Last!! How the fugitive slave must have felt when crossing into Canada!

On a much, much smaller scale my journey is complete, goal achieved and I am free to return to my life in Rocky River. It is with mixed emotions that I part from my new friends, all remarkable women. Some of the women will return to jobs; most are retired; in their 50's and 60's and all tough as nails. We shared frustration, pain, fatigue and elation together over the course of 2000 miles. Bonds are formed that only come about having shared such a unique experience.

The last couple of days have been eventful. Right up to the last mile, we had flat tires (I had one each of the last two days - how many people does it take to change a rear flat? No less than three); we had a few crashes - the women involved were able to continue riding; and going through customs on bikes was interesting. But we arrived in Canada, safe and sound two days ago, crossing the Peace Bridge on a lovely day and riding along the Niagara River into Niagara Falls. As always, the Falls were mesmerizing; their power shaking our bones. What a sight for all of us. Yesterday, we continued our ride down the Niagara River along a winding bike trail into Niagara on the Lake, a charming little town, home of the Shaw Festival. Niagara on the Lake sits on the point where Niagara River empties into Lake Ontario, and at this point our journey ended. Our bike journey, that is. For life's journey goes on, there will be more adventures, more of the country to see, more history to take in. But it is time to go home, I miss my family, friends and home, so no more eating, sleeping and cycling. My wonderful husband, Jay, met me as I rode into Niagara on the Lake and we are spending a couple of days here relaxing.

I will be home in a few days and am anxious to see all of you. Thanks for your support and good wishes and your wonderful emails and HAPPY FATHERS DAY!!!! THE RIDE GOES ON!

"The truly extraordinary feature of the bike is that, like the greatest teacher, it encourages you to find the answers from somewhere deep down inside yourself."
----Author Tom Davies


Click this site to see pictures from the ride.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chuck Yarborough's On the Job Training

Chuck Yarborough of the Plain Dealer spent the day at our Peninsula store today. Chuck's "On the Job Training" column is based on his experiences trying various unusual, scary, or dirty jobs for one day. On this day, he got his hands dirty as our Bicycle Rental Coordinator.

Chuck said that he's done over 80 such jobs as part of this ongoing assignment. "It's better than being at a desk," he commented. Most are here in the Northeast Ohio region, but he once traveled to Chicago to be a security guard on the set of the Jerry Springer Show. I asked if he got hit by any flying chairs, and he replied, "No, but I got punched by a fat kid."

"None of the jobs were that bad," he says, but his least favorite was working on a treatment tank for the sewer maintenance department. "I was walking through chest-deep muck, and trying not to think about why the bottom was so slippery." His favorite job was working as an autopsy assistant, although he hesitates to admit that because of people's usual reaction.

Chuck is originally from Texas, which I surmised by the Lone Star tatoo on his right calf. "It's a big state," he says. He once drove from Dallas to Cleveland in one day, but has never been able to make himself do the trip across the whole state of Texas in less than two days.

Here he is making some bike and helmet adjustments for our customers, and enjoying some of the other fringe benefits of the job.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Our latest eNewsletter

The latest edition of the Century Cycles eNewsletter was e-mailed yesteday. If you didn't receive it, you can read it online here. You'll also find a link there to sign up to get it delivered to your Inbox in the future.

Underground Railroad Route Report #12

Last Night in the U.S.A.

For the past two days we have been riding along Lake Erie and it could not have looked more beautiful. Yesterday after cycling through Ashtabula, we had our first look at the Lake, and with Southwest breezes and sunny skies - what a picture. ( And on that very same lake, the very same day, 80 miles to the west, team Milano/Fagnilli crossed the finish line first to set in motion the Wet Hens sailing season. Congrats!!) Of course we were all excited having made our way from the Gulf of Mexico and now touching the shores of Lake Erie. Most of the women on the ride had never seen any of the Great Lakes; they were pleasantly surprised. They had no idea that Lake Erie was so big and that you couldn't see across it! We have ridden 150 miles of its' shoreline and tomorrow will cross over the Niagara River (which Lake Erie funnels into) at the Peace Bridge entering Canada. We will reach our final destination after two more days of riding.

The next two days will be spent reflecting on what I have accomplished. Closing in on 2000 miles, I can now savor what the hard work has produced. Once again, I have been fortunate to be able to see a large part of our country in slow motion, riding three feet off the ground. Engulfed in the heat, rain, cold, humidity, sounds and scents of my surroundings, I felt as if I was part of the landscape. A truly rural country is what I saw, filled with all types of people. Farmers, fishermen, small town merchants, mothers and children and of course, I cannot forget the DOGS. Forests and farmland, swamps and rivers, hills and hollows, all contribute to a varied and beautiful terrain. Between last year's southern tier crossing and this year's south to north journey, I have cycled 5200 miles of this country, and I am awed by the experience.

After almost 6 weeks of riding, the legs are a little tired, the back a little stiff, and the butt (well I'll leave that one alone). Before I sign up for another long distance tour, I will have to forget how it felt climbing those 18% grade hills (as of today we have climbed 55,647 ft. total for the ride) and how it felt riding in 94 degree heat with 90% humidity. But like labor pains, once they are over, you forget, and you are ready to go again (riding that is, not having another baby). So on to Canada, and I can only try to imagine what crossing over to freedom meant for the fugitive slave in whose memory we have undertaken this adventure. "With Liberty and Justice for All".



Click this site to see pictures from the ride.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #11

Small town OHIO,

Yesterday and today have been spent riding through the charming small Ohio towns of Medina, Peninsula, Hudson, Burton and on into Austinburg.
All with lovely town squares and beautiful countryside in between the towns. I am the only Ohioan so this is all new to everyone else and they are quite taken with Northern Ohio. The terrain has been slightly hilly, flattening out the second half of today. We rode through grape growing areas (Ashtabula county is the largest grape growing region in the State) and plenty of Amish farms. The weather today was delightful, but yesterday was another story. We felt every bit of the 93 degrees, it made for difficult (if not dangerous riding). The ride took much longer than normal, with all of the frequent stops to rest and hydrate.

One of of our stops yesterday was in Peninsula, had lunch at the Winking Lizard and of course we all made a visit to Century Cycles which is my bike shop in Rocky River. We all swarmed in, bought alot of stuff and filled in the staff on our ride. The staff was very gracious and helpful, making a wonderful impression on the riders. Thanks Century Cycles! Missed you Scott, have fun with GOBA.

We stayed in Streetsboro last night, which is where my dad and stepmom live, so they picked me up and took me out to dinner. And today a friend of mine, Jim, met me in Burton and rode part of the route with me. A wonderful perk of riding so close to home has been being able to see friends and family. Fortunately for me, this breaks up the routine which after five weeks needs some breaking up. And this past Sunday, Jay and Jessica picked me up in Oberlin and we drove back down to Columbus for The Ohio State University Commencement Ceremony. It was quite a spectacle, 8000 graduates. I was amazed at how efficiently it was orchestrated. So for the last time, we watched Nick walk up and shake the President of the University's hand (Gee), receive his diploma and walk out of the Horseshoe. Closing the book on 8 years of education and a hell of alot of fun at OSU! Nick has scheduled his first week of vacation from his first job, for the week of the OSU/MICHIGAN game which will be played in Columbus this year. We will all be there, it never ends!!

Finished reading FOLLOW THE RIVER by Thom, an amazing story that takes place in the Ohio River valley. Also have read on the trip, THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy, which I couldn't put down, caution: it is a very dark novel. Also read BLACKBIRD HOUSE, by Alice Hoffman, a hauntingly beautiful book. I highly recommend all three.

So this is our last night in Ohio, and I have felt a sense of ownership while riding through our State. I look forward to being back here next week when the ride is over. Heading for Erie, PA tomorrow and while en route we will ride along beautiful Lake Erie. I will think of my sailing pals as you begin our race season tomorrow on this very same Lake. Calm seas and Fair winds!!!!!

Over and out......

"Never use your face as a brake pad."
---Jake Watson (pro mountain bike racer)


Click this site to see pictures from the ride.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Deb's Underground Railroad tour reaches Peninsula!

Our friend Deb Milano, who has been riding the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route with a group of women, finally made it to Ohio a few days ago, and stopped by our Peninsula store today. The group had lunch at The Winking Lizard, then headed out to finish their last few miles of the day before spending the night up the road in Streetsboro.
Here are Deb's most recent reports from the road:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #10

Reporting from Oberlin,

Had a pleasant, although long ride of 82 miles into Oberlin today. Rode through the Mohican State Forest on rolling hills into Amish farmland. We had a very early start, heading out between 6 and 6:30 am to try and beat the heat. I was excited because I knew three of my friends from home (Chris, Nancy and Mary) were riding out from Oberlin to meet me on the route. We hooked up in Huntington, about 15 miles out from Oberlin and then rode in together. I loved seeing you guys, thanks.

Another friend from last years XC ride (Sue) joined our group for dinner and she arranged for a speaker to give us the background on Oberlin's role in Underground RR activity. Oberlin was a busy terminus for fugitive slaves; some staying on here and others passing through onto Canada. Oberlin from its' founding in 1833 by two Presbyterian ministers has always been progressive and liberal in its' thinking. The college also founded in 1833 is the oldest continuously coeducational institution in the country, having admitted full time female students in 1837. And Oberlin College was the first college in the US to admit black students, starting in 1835. The Oberlin/Wellington rescue of a fugitive slave in the hands of slave catchers created a national stir which many believed contributed greatly to the unrest leading up the the Civil War.

Tomorrow, I head back to OSU for the University Graduation Ceremony. On Monday, it is on to Hudson, home of John Brown of Harper's Ferry notoriety. Will be riding through Medina and Peninsula, and staying in Streetsboro for the night. Monday will be the first day of our last six day run. Everyone is holding up fairly well. The heat takes a toll when you are faced with long miles, you need a lot of rest stops and tons of liquid and eventually most everyone makes it in (some people sag some of the time). Well, that is it for now.

Goodnight to all!

"Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my ass 6 hours a day. What are you on?"
---------Lance Armstrong


Click this site to see pictures from the ride.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Enjoy free bike parking at University Circle for "Wade Oval Wednesday" (WOW) music concerts!

ClevelandBikes, the Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op, and the Cleveland Earth
Day Coalition, along with the support of other environmental groups,
offer free bicycle parking for all at University Circle "Wade Oval
Wednesday" events! The popular concerts will be held every Wednesday,
from June 18th through August 27th, from 6:00-9:00 pm. For the full
schedule of events and performers, visit the University Circle Website

Ride on down and enjoy the music, every Wednesday this summer!

The list of involved environmental groups, which is still growing,
are: ClevelandBikes, Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op, Earth Day Coalition,
Cuyahoga County Solid Waste Authority, Cuyahoga County Soil & Water
Conservation District, Lake Erie Nature & Science Center, Shaker Lakes
Nature Center, Great Lakes Bioneers Cleveland, New Agrarian Center

ClevelandBikes : When ClevelandBikes, Cleveland Benefits!

Underground Railroad Route Report #9

Hey all,

Have arrived in Mt. Vernon in Knox Cty, Ohio. Have passed thru Dublin and Xenia since leaving Milford three days ago. All of this are of Ohio was settled around 1803 - 1804. It has been relatively flat riding with long milage days. Coming out of Milford on wed., we rode into the aftermath of the tornadoes that swept into the area the night before. We rode the Ohio to Erie bike trail (along the Little Miami RIver) in heavy rain and had to climb over or under downed trees the entire way. At one point our guides pulled us off of the trail due to lighting and thunder, but we eventually finished the ride for the day. After the rain, yesterday and today followed with extreme heat, low nineties, but we did have a great tail wind.

Of course the highlight of the last few days has been Nick's graduation from The Ohio State Medical School. Jay picked me up yesterday after I rode in and off we went to the festivities. It was quite a thrill to hear Nick introduced as Dr. Nicholas Jerome Milano. This Sunday (we have a layover day)
we will attend the general University Graduation to be held in the Horseshoe.

Tomorrow we have an 85 mile day into Oberlin, a hotbed of UGRR activity. I am hoping a few of my home-buddies will be joining me on the ride. I certainly will be in my home territory and am missing home, family and friends more than ever. Nine more days to the finish!



Click this site to see pictures from the ride.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New T-Shirts Have Arrived

We just received a new batch of our popular "Define your life. Ride a bike." t-shirts. In addition to the current black and gray (men's), periwinkle (women's), pink (girl's), and blue (boy's), we now have men's in Maroon and women's in Lime Green!

As always, a bargain at $9.99 each, or FREE with any new bike!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Underground Railroad Route Report #8

O - H - I - O, O -H - I - O !!!!!!!!!!

So happy to be in my home state, I really did get very excited when we crossed the Ohio River for the last time and entered Ohio. Two days ago we left Dry Ridge and road into Maysville, Ky. Another charming riverfront town, home to Rosemary Clooney/George Clooney and U.S. Grant was born and grew up across the river. We had an extremely hard ride into Maysville, hill after hill. And unfortunately, one of our riders had a bad crash on a treacherous downhill. She lost control at a hairpin turn, crashed and was knocked unconscious. She was transported by ambulance to the local hospital, where it was determined that she fractured her pelvic. There is some rib and shoulder involvement also. She flew home yesterday facing weeks of recovery. Once again, a grim reminder that there is always a risk involved in cycling. Whether from traffic, terrain, fatigue; one must be ever vigilant. Sorry to see her go, she was one of the most experienced cyclist of the group. We have lost three women that originally started the trip, one due to severe knee pain, one for personal reasons and now one due to a crash.

All that being said, once again I am in awe of our country and thrilled to be seeing it up close and personal. I had never given much thought to the Ohio River before, but after having travelled on and off its' banks for the last 12 days, I think of it as a serene, majestic waterway. So much of our history revolves around this 981 mile long river which originates in Pittsburgh where the Alleghany and Monongahela Rivers meet. The Ohio flows along the borders of six states and empties into the Mississippi River in Cairo, Illinois. The Ohio and other rivers throughout the country, were and still are the lifeblood of our nation, providing transportation, food, energy, recreation, the list goes on. I have a new found appreciation for this beautiful river and it brought tears to my eyes when I crossed it early yesterday morning with the fog drifting lightly over its' waters.

Riding into Ohio, we came upon Ripley, home to a great deal of Underground Railroad activity, including the homes of UGRR conductors, John Rankin and John Parker. After a few early hills, the terrain leveled off and we had a beautiful ride. Our destination, Milford, currently a suburb of Cincinnati. Milford came into being as the first safe ford of the Little Miami RIver, eventually a mill was built at the crossing - thus Mil Ford. Most of this area around Cincinnati and in Ohio generally was granted to Revolutionary War Vets. Of course, it was all originally controlled by Native Americans, in this area the Miami, part of the Shawnee. Cincinnati, founded around 1790 and named after a Roman General "Cincinnatus" was the queen of RIver towns. The city flourished with river trade and the completion of the Miami and Erie Canal brought boom times. Currently, Cincinnati is the third largest city in Ohio, following Columbus and Cleveland. It is home to the National Underground Railroad Museum. It was while living in Cincinnati, that Harriet Beecher Stowe formed her ideas for UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, based on what she saw here with the escaped slaves and on what she saw across the river where slavery was legal.

Tomorrow we head for Xenia, and will ride on the Little Miami Bike Trail most of the day. This is welcome relief; not having to contend with traffic for a day. This is a rails-to-trails, part of a statewide effort converting old rail lines into recreational trails. This particular bike trail to be connected with others in the works, eventually providing a trail from Lake Erie to the Ohio RIver, that would be Awesome!!

I am very proud to say, that the day after tomorrow, Jay and I will be attending our son, Nick's graduation from The Ohio State Medical School. I will ride 70 miles that day into Dublin, Jay will pick me up at our hotel and off we will go. Quite an accomplishment, 8 years, straight through at OSU and the result is Dr. Nicholas Milano. Nick will be a doctor of Neurology, interning at Charleston, S.C. and doing his residency at the Cleveland Clinic.
YEA!!!!!!!!!!! Nick.

Geez, this is a long e-mail!

"If you can pedal, you carry on!"
------David Miller


Click this site to see pictures from the ride.

Jet-Powered Bicycle

It looks pretty cool, and I'd be game to try it once, but on the whole, I'd have to agree with one of the comments left on the article, "Not all ideas are good ideas."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Underground Railroad Bicycle Route Reports

Our good friend Deb Milano started with a group of cyclists in Mobile, Alabama on May 10, and are riding the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route. She's been sending us regular updates, and we've just gotten caught up on getting them posted here. You can catch up reading about her progress, and click over to her photo albums as well! Follow these links to back-dated blog posts:

Report #1: May 9, 2008
Report #2: May 10, 2008
Report #3: May 12, 2008
Report #4: May 18, 2008

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tourist Stop

The Peninsula store was a popular rest stop for many cyclo-tourists today, and we expect to see many more in the next few months, being right on the Underground Railroad Biycle Route. These two guys from Detroit were on their way northbound on the UGRR, having started from Mobile, Alabama:

The guy on the left in the following picture is from northeastern Pennsylvania, and was on his way west for a cross-country ride. The guy on the right is from Maryland, and was riding the UGRR:

They were comparing notes, as both were riding their Surly Long Haul Truckers!