Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Buy local. Listen local.

If you donate $75 or more to WRUW's telethon this week, receive a gift certificate for a FREE four-hour bicycle rental from Century Cycles in Peninsula (a $32 value). WRUW (91.1 FM) is the radio station of Case Western Reserve University. Click here to donate or listen online.

Separated at Birth - Volume 1

Separated at Birth?

Bob - part-time bike rental guy in Peninsula?Sir Ian KcKellen as King Lear?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Biggest Sale of the Year Starts this Thursday!

Join us this Thursday, April 2 through Sunday, April 5, 2009 for our Spring Break Sale!

  • Bikes Gone Wild! At least 10% OFF all bicycles - select models marked down even more!
  • At least 20% OFF all parts and accessories!
  • Take Home A Souvenir - FREE Century Cycles t-shirt, pub glass, or coffee mug with any bicycle or purchase over $200!
  • Beach Blanket Bargains - most at 50% off the original price!

Blackburn Trakstand Mag Trainer - $79.99 (regularly $159.99)
Giant Prerunner LX Jog Stroller - $187.49 (regularly $374.99)
Bellwether O2 Cycling Shorts (Men's & Women's) - $19.49 (regularly $38.99)
Serfas Dual Density Saddle (Men's & Women's) - $19.99 (regularly $39.99)
Serfas Combo Kit 3 - $22.49 (regularly $44.99)
CatEye Enduro 8 Computer - $17.49 (regularly $34.99)
Blackburn Air Tower 2 Floor Pump - $17.49 (regularly $34.99)
Giro Indicator Helmet (black or white only) - $19.99 (regularly $39.99)
Giant C.I.D. Cycling Jersey - $39.99 (regularly $64.99)
Shebeest S-Cut Women's Cycling Jersey - $32.49 (regularly $64.99)
Pearl Izumi Zephrr Cycling Vest (Screaming Yellow only) - $39.99 (regularly $59.99)
Electra Front Wicker Basket with Quick Release - $29.99 (regularly $39.99)

New "Define your life. Ride a bike." T-Shirts are in!

Our new supply of "Define your life. Ride a bike.™" t-shirts has finally arrived! Thank you to all of you who have been waiting patiently for them! Yesterday, before Doug sorted through the whole shipment, he snapped this picture to show you what a pile of 1000+ t-shirts looks like!
For the ladies, we've stuck with the popular Periwinkle color, and Royal Blue and Pink for the kid's sizes. For the men, we are continuing Black and Maroon, and have added the new Army Green (see pile in the center)!
As always, you get one of these t-shirts FREE with any new bike purchase, or just $9.99 each when purchased on their own!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Get your Keen Cycling Sandals at Century Cycles!

Keen Sandals have been the hottest item in outdoor casual wear for the past couple of years. Now, their comfortable and sporty styling can be worn in cycling-specific shoes! Two new designs give you the on-the-bike efficiency of cycling shoes with off-the-bike comfort of casual shoes! Now in stock in all three Century Cycles stores!

The Keen Commuter Sandals have the same open, airy construction as their popular casual sandals, with the durable protective rubber full toe box.

The Keen Springwater Cycling Shoes give you the full coverage and stiff sole of standard cycling shoes, with legenary Keen fit and support.

Both the Keen Commuter Sandals and the Keen Springwater Cycling Shoes come in Men's and Women's sizes. They both have a two-bolt cleat mounting system, which means they are compatible with Shimano SPD pedals, or any other two-bolt cleat pedal system, such as Crank Brothers, Speedplay Frogs, and more!

Both shoes are great for warm weather cycling, but until the spring weather finally comes to the Cleveland area, they'd also make great shoes for spin classes!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane....

...it's a Century Cycles billboard! You know those fancy-schmancy digital billboards along the major highways? Well, we thought we'd give them a try, to help get the word out about our big sale next weekend. Not that you all aren't wonderful about telling all your friends and family about Century Cycles goings-on, but only so many people still talk to Mad1 and we thought this might help a bit, too.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Giant Demo Weekend at Ray's MTB

The Giant Bicycles Demo Rig is coming to Ray's MTB Indoor Park this weekend, March 28-29. The festivities run from 11:00am to 5:00pm each day. There will be Giant bikes there to test ride, and you can enter a drawing to win a Giant STP SS! Pro rider Jeff Lenosky will be there to meet and greet as well as riding.

Go to www.raysmtb.com for location and diretions.

Giant Co-founder To Ride From Beijing To Shanghai

Here at Century Cycles, we're big proponents of "eating your own dog food," as the saying goes, and the same thing can be said about the folks at the largest bicycle manufacturer in the world (Giant Bicycles), according to this recent report on UrbanVelo:

"King Liu, the 75-year-old co-founder of Giant Bicycles, will set off on May 9 to ride from Beijing to Shanghai. He aims to complete the 1,688-km trip in 20 days, though he admits it may be tough to keep up with the necessary 80km/day pace required. King Liu is no slouch, though. In 2007 he completed a 927-km ride around Taiwan in 17 days.

Read more at www.etaiwannews.com."

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Women's Health Loves Giant

The mainstream press has been loving Giant Bicycles lately, and the newest great review comes from the April 2009 issue of Women's Health magazine. Here's why they recommend the Giant FCR 1 for Women:
"With a lightweight frame, race-inspired wheels, 18 gears, and clip-less pedals (swap in regular pedals for $20), the Giant FCR 1 W is a thoroughbred. The flat handlebar promotes an upright position, which means more traffic awareness and less back strain. $1,025, giantforwomen.com"
We have the FCR 1 W's more economical little sisters in stock, the FCR 2 W ($849.99), and the FCR 3 W ($549.99), but if you'd prefer the top-of-the-line FCR 1 W, we'd be glad to special-order it for you (our price is actually $949.99)!

The accompanying article also contains tips on cycling as a great fat-burning activity, and features a photo of Giant for Women Ride Society Leader Mari Holden riding the Giant TCR Advanced T-Mobile bike. You can download a PDF of the whole article here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Celebrity Bike Carnage Update

As was reported here yesterday by our blog commenter Chris, Lance Armstrong suffered a shoulder injury in a crash during the first stage of the Tour of Spain stage race Monday. This update from ESPN.com confirms that it is indeed a broken collar bone; Lance is returning to the US for surgery (text and video available at this link):


Today Show co-host and avid bicycist Matt Lauer had surgery on Monday to repair a separated shoulder, after colliding with a deer while riding on Long Island, NY:


And finally, actor/comedian and bike collector Robin Williams is currently recovering from heart surgery at our own Cleveland Clinic; no bicycles were harmed in the process:


Lance Armstrong to ride in Ohio this summer

The word on the street in the bike blogosphere lately is that Lance Armstrong will be riding in a charity bike ride in Ohio this summer. The inaugural Pelotonia Tour hopes to raise $40 million for Ohio State Cancer research in five years, and Lance will serve as the event's honorary chairman during the August 29th 100-mile ride from Columbus to the Ohio University campus in Athens.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Enter to win a Masi SoulVille!

It's worth your while to stop in to any Century Cycles store besides your regular reasons this time of year -- checking out the spring clothes, getting a bike tuned up, test riding one of the '09 model bikes you just read about in a magazine, hassling your favorite CC shop staffer....

Now through April 5, stop in to enter to win this Masi SoulVille bicycle, a unique steel bike that Bicycling magazine said "only gets cooler with time."

Masi Bicycles and Century Cycles are teaming up to give away the SoulVille, which is valued at $875, to celebrate the debut of Masi as Century Cycles' newest bike line. The winner will be chosen from a random drawing on Monday, April 6. Winner need not be present to win.

On the drawing board: The Contrail

The Contrail is a conceptual bicycle device that would allow bicyclists to leave a trail of chalk where they ride, to create de facto bike paths with unique marks on the road and thus, in the words of its creator Pepin Gelardi, "reclaim this crucial shared space." Click here to check out the concept drawings, then weigh in:
  • Interesting idea -- get that thing into production pronto!
  • Kinda useless -- let's just begin with two words: "rainy day"
  • Love it -- The Contrail is a marvel of chalk engineering!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Hat tip: Bike Bits

One of the best bicycling-related eNewsletters around is Bike Bits from the Adventure Cycling Association. It shows how possible the bike travels of your dreams are -- plus it has other cool stuff, like odd scraps of news and quotes. I'm a sucker for quotes; here's the one that was at the top of the Bike Bits that I received last Wednesday:

"Cars are all right on occasion, but they are not moments of grace, as bicycles are."
-- Colman McCarthy, journalist and cyclist

Friday, March 20, 2009

From WKYC-TV: Parma man invents the "bricycle"

See this story on WKYC-TV (video clip also included) about a man in Parma who has invented this battery-operated three-wheeled bicycle, or "bricycle."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another Tale of Two Cities

An article on the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association's web site titled "A Tale of Two Park Systems" compares the availability of mountain biking trails in the Cleveland and Pittsburgh metro areas. Within nine parks of the Allegheny County Parks system (all within 15 miles of downtown), Pittsburgh boasts 99 miles of singletrack mountain biking trails, compared to 3 miles in the Cleveland Metroparks system. This is with a little over half the total park acreage, about one-ninth the annual budget, and one-fifth of the staff compared to the Metroparks.

You can read the full article here, and while you're at it, join CAMBA for their next trail-building day at West Branch State Park on Sunday, March 29.

Bike League at Congressional hearing this morning

In 20 minutes, Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists, will speak at the Select Committee Energy Independence and Global Warming hearing titled "Constructing a Green Transportation Policy: Transit Modes and Infrastructure". The hearing is at 9:30 a.m. at the Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2203, Washington, D.C. Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Vice Chair Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) announced the hearing in response to Congress and the Obama administration's pressing agenda items -- global warming, clean energy and job-creating infrastructure projects. Clarke will discuss the considerable role cycling and walking can play in combating climate change and promoting energy independence. Footage of the hearing will be available here. Click here to view Clarke's written statement to the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Be Captain of a Tandem for the Blind

A lot of people who can't see want to ride a bike. The Cleveland Sight Center, in cooperation with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, teams up sighted and vision-impaired people for monthly tandem bike rides on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The terrain is flat, and the rides are about 5 miles long.

The rides for this season are scheduled for the following dates:
  • April 18, 2009
  • May 16, 2009
  • June 20, 2009
  • July 18, 2009
  • August 15, 2009
  • September 19, 2009

Bicycles are provided, and a National Park Service representative will advise you about safe riding techniques. No prior tandem riding experience is necessary. Practice and orientation takes place from 8:00-9:00am at Hunt Farm on Bolanz Road. The rides take place from 9:00-11:30am. Volunteers are welcome to join the group for lunch afterwards.

To volunteer and join a team, contact Jeri Rask at the Cleveland Sight Center at 216-658-4594, or Margaret Adams at the CVNP at 216-524-1497 x225 or e-mail margaret_adams@nps.gov.

Monday, March 16, 2009

10 MINUTES WITH. . . Ed Begley Jr.

Actor and environmental activist Ed Begley Jr. will be speaking in Northeast Ohio next month, and reporter Evelyn Theiss spoke to him for this story in today's Plain Dealer:

If you're hosting a big-time environmental event, Ed Begley Jr. is THE celebrity to invite. The actor/activist will be the keynote speaker as EarthWatch Ohio (a sustainability nonprofit organization) holds its first anniversary gala Friday, April 3, at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights. Begley spoke with The Plain Dealer's Evelyn Theiss by phone from his office in Los Angeles, where he works and lives with his family.

So I've got to ask, how will you get here?

Sadly, I'm flying. I'd prefer to drive my wife's Prius, but I don't have enough time, so I will have to take the plane like a normal person.

Will you do something to offset the carbon footprint? Or is that, as my friend says, like paying someone to eat broccoli so you can eat ice cream?

It is and it isn't. I do buy a Terrapass (an online social enterprise that allows people and businesses to buy carbon-offsetting products or credits at terrapass.com). Right now, there's only about 80,000 people participating, but if enough people did that, there'd be a net gain.

What was it that set you on the path to ardent environmentalism?

It was growing up in smoggy L.A. -- living through 20 years of that. So in 1970, I said: "Enough already. I'll start doing something different." So that year I bought an electric car, a Taylor-Dunn, though I'm being grand by calling it a car. It's more like a golf cart with a windshield and a horn.

What did that do for you?

It wasn't only good for the environment, but good for my pocketbook. I just plugged it in. No oil changes, none of that car maintenance stuff. People today use them to get around in places like Palm Springs, Calif., and Arizona.

That must have gone over well in 1970.

Sure, people thought it was wacky, but back then, people even thought me riding a bike was nutty. It's hard to be cool on a bike -- especially with the wind resistance I got from my Afro. But that was the first year I really started saving money.

I remember an episode of "Dharma & Greg" in which you played yourself. They had a protest, so Ed Begley Jr. had to be there.

Yes, as I remember the script, they had to kidnap me. But that was a good show, good people.

So, you're still quite busy as an actor, doing films, television. How do you fit your national activism in?

I've always found time to do both. I've gotten so much more demand for speaking engagements. I used to drive my hybrid or electric cars to them, but I obviously couldn't do as many speeches.

For a while I thought, "My contribution to the environment will be for me not to come." But then David Suzuki, a Canadian genetic scientist, told me, "I'm glad you're trying to save fuel, but it's more important to get out there and talk to these people, get the information out." I used to make two or three speeches a year, now I do that in a week. Hence the flying.

You've been in Cleveland quite a bit, right?

Many times. I even stopped there when I drove a natural-gas car across the country. Cleveland was one of the few places I could refuel.

Your daughter once said you were ahead of your time, but it seems like the times are catching up with you, don't you think?

I hope so. I'm almost 60.

So I hear you have this eco-competition going with Bill Nye, "The Science Guy," who is one of your neighbors?

Yes, it's a good-natured competition, but it is competitive. He has a better-looking rain barrel than we do, though.

So your wife, Rachelle, always has been supportive of your intense eco-lifestyle?

Absolutely, she's cool and on board, but she does care more about aesthetics than I do.

What do you suggest people do first as they start greening their lifestyle?

Pick the low-hanging fruit -- that's how I started when I was a struggling actor. Do stuff that's cheap and easy. Get energy-efficient light bulbs, get weatherstripping, ride a bike or walk -- you don't need a 2,500-pound vehicle to pick up a few things at the store. I've ridden my bike in Cleveland even in November. Doing these things, I guarantee, you'll save money.

What's your ultimate message?

I want people to do things that are good for the environment and good for their pocketbooks. The reason we're in the situation we're in, in this country, is that we haven't been behaving in a fiscally responsible manner -- individually or as a country. Now, someone shut the oven door and the souffle fell.

But if you work on creating a healthy environment and keep doing things in your own life in a fiscally responsible manner, and keep doing them even when things get better, you will be fine.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

this bike is a pipe bomb

From Bicycle Retailer (3/15/09):
A bicycle with a sticker advertising a Florida punk-folk band recently forced the evacuation of an airport terminal in Memphis, Tennessee. A pilot alerted airport police when he saw a bike with a sticker that read "this bike is a pipe bomb" parked near the passenger ramps of Terminal C at Memphis International Airport, according to the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. Turns out "this bike is a pipe bomb" is the name of a band from Pensacola, Florida, and this is not the first time its moniker has caused a ruckus -- bikes sporting similar stickers at college campuses in Ohio and Philadelphia led to building closures, arrests and the bikes' destruction by bomb squads. In Memphis, airport police took the owner of the bike into custody but later released him; a spokesman said federal authorities were discussing possible charges, but a federal source said it was "a non-event." A dud, in other words.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

More photos from the Breaking Away Party!

Check out our Facebook page to see more photos from last night's Breaking Away Party with Masi and Century Cycles!

Breaking Away Party Photo Album #1 on Facebook
Breaking Away Party Photo Album #2 on Facebook

Thanks to Petch from the Medina store for being official photographer for the event!

Thanks for joining us at the Breaking Away Party with Masi and Century Cycles!

Thanks to everyone who joined us last night for the Breaking Away Party with Masi and Century Cycles! We had a great turnout, and a fantastic time! Whether you made it or not, you can relive the fun by checking out some of our photos:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Memories of the Little 500

Last week, a very nice couple stopped in the Peninsula store looking for bikes to ride on the Towpath. They had recently moved into the area from Illinois. I happened to mention tonight's Breaking Away Party with Masi and Century Cycles, and they both suddenly got a big grin.
"You might be interested to hear that both of us went to Indiana Universtiy," they said. They were around during the filming of Breaking Away in the 1970's, and remember seeing production crews and other associated activity all over town.
I asked if they made any appearances in the film, and they said that no, they did not, but a very good friend of theirs did.
The friend volunteered to be one of the about 250 local people used as extras for the crowd scenes in the stadium, during the final climactic race near the end of the film. To make it appear that the stadium was filled with spectators, the crew would have those couple of hundred people fill in one section of the bleachers, and then film all of the scenes where that section was in the background. Then, the crew had everyone move to another section of bleachers, and proceed to film all of the scenes from the new angle!
These customers mentioned that whenever they watch the movie, they are amused to see how their friend is magically "transported" all around the stadium in a matter of seconds!
We hope that you find a way to transport yourself to our Rocky River store tonight for the party!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Rise of the Longtail Bicycle

If you've followed this blog for the past year or so, you're familiar with the couple of us that are proponents of the "longtail" bicycle concept, whether used for touring, shopping, or just plain fun. We've put together a few longtail bikes, both using the Xtracycle attachment, as well as the Surly Big Dummy complete frame.

A recent post on the Streetsblog site interviews Evan Ross, the founder of the Xtracycle company. It's a great background on the origin of the longtail bicycle concept and product, plus on the future direction of the company.

In a somewhat serendipitous cross-promotion kind of way, I got the following comment from a guy in New Mexico in response to my posting of this photo of my Xtracycle on the Xtracycle fan page on Facebook:

"How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains?... Yeah... Coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we would've been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind."

That, in case you don't recognize, is a quote from Dennis Quaid as Mike in the movie "Breaking Away."

Our latest eNewsletter

Our latest eNewsletter is hot off the virtual presses this morning! You can check it out online here, or catch up on back issues and sign up to receive it in your own inbox on our eNewsletter Archive page.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

TechTalk: The Zen of Singlespeeds

Many cycling enthusiasts are taking to occasionally riding single-speed bikes. While these people typically have other bikes with wide ranges of gears, their singlespeeds are usually a "spare" bike, something to take out when they're looking for a little different riding experience. With modern bicycles coming standard with 21, 24, 27, and now even 30 gears, why would anyone want to go back to riding with no ability to change gears?

Sometimes you just might slip into a "been there, done that" attitude when it comes to cycling, and want the experience of tackling familiar terrain, with all its usual ups and downs, but with the extra challenge of not being able to change gears. Singlespeed riding can build strength; riders that occasionally train using a singlespeed bike often find that they feel much stronger and faster when they go back to riding their traditional geared bike.

Some people use a singlespeed as their "around the neighborhood" bike, when you don't need to get all dressed up in your spandex and cycling shoes, but just want to grab-and-go for quick errands, a casual spin with the kids, or on easy, flat terrain like the Towpath or other bike trails.

Many people use a singlespeed as their "foul weather" bike, for commuting or other situations where they want to get out and ride no matter what the conditions, but don't want to muck up their "good" bike. The singlespeed drive train is simpler and quieter, with less moving parts, and less potential for something to break or become out of adjustment.

This simplicity also speaks to something more primal in some rider's minds. Without having to think about shifting, they connect with the road or trail in a deeper way, conserving their momentum, feeling the terrain, appreciating the freedom of movement that they had when they first learned to ride as a child. "Free your mind, and your feet will follow," some say. From my own personal experience riding a singlespeed mountain bike, I've found that I end up riding a little more aggressively and faster overall, because as I am cruising along on descents or flats, I tend to ride my brakes a little less, knowing that I need to conserve that momentum to help me up the next climb.

Most singlespeed bikes still give you the ability to coast. A singlespeed that does not allow you to coast is called a fixed-gear bike. With a fixed-gear bike, if the bike is moving, your feet have to be moving, too.

The most obvious difference in the design of singlespeed bikes compared to geared bikes is, of course, the absence of shifters and derailleurs. With a geared bike, the chain has lots of "slack" to allow it to wrap around all of the smallest and largest gear combinations. The rear derailleur's spring mechanism moves to take up the slack when less chain is needed.

With a singlespeed, there is no derailleur to take up slack in the chain. It's impossible to cut a chain to the exact length needed for the gears, so the frame must be designed to allow for adjustment to the chain tension.

The most common method is called horizontal dropouts. The dropouts are the slots where your wheel's axle is inserted into the bike frame. Horizontal dropouts let you pull the wheel back as far as necessary to pull the chain taught, and you then tighten the wheel in place in that position. This system is most common on BMX and track bikes, which usually have rear-facing dropouts (the open end is toward the back). Some bikes have forward-facing dropouts, where the opening is toward the front. The advantage of horizontal dropouts are that they are the simplest, and therefore probably most reliable, solution. The disadvantage is that in most cases, you must use a bolt-on hub in your rear wheel, instead of a quick-release hub. This is because a quick release typically does not hold the hub in place with enough force to counter the force of the chain trying to pull the wheel forward. Also, horizontal dropouts make using disc brakes more difficult, sometimes impossible, since the fore-and-aft position of the brake caliper usually can't be adjusted to match the position of the wheel.

Forward-facing horizontal dropouts on the Raleigh One-Way bike

Surly Steamroller track frame with rear-facing dropouts

Another solution to the singlespeed chain tensioning issue is called sliding dropouts. Sliding dropouts are separate pieces that are bolted onto the main frame of the bike. The actual dropouts are vertical (like on a geared bike), so you can still use quick release hubs. Then, to adjust the chain tension, you slide the whole wheel and dropout assembly forward or back as needed, and tighten the dropouts in place to the frame. With disc brakes, the brake caliper is attached to the dropout, so the brake moves along with the wheel, solving the disc brake issue.

Singlespeed mountain bike with disc brakes and sliding dropouts

The third popular design on most ready-made singlespeed bikes is called an eccentric bottom bracket. The bottom bracket, as you may remember from this past TechTalk post, is the set of bearings and axle that connect to the pedal crank arms. With an eccentric bottom bracket, the bottom bracket shell of the frame is larger than usual. Inside the shell, a metal sleeve is inserted, and this sleeve contains offset holes that are threaded to accept the actual bottom bracket. By rotating the sleeve, the relative position of the bottom bracket can be adjusted, thus providing a way to take up the slack in the chain.

Mountain bike with an eccentric bottom bracket

So, to get their feet wet and try out singlespeeding for the first time, many folks take an old, seldom-used geared bike out of the basement and and convert it to a singlespeed. The problem is, what can you do if this bike has neither horizontal dropouts, sliding dropouts, nor an eccentric bottom bracket? The solution is to use a chain tensioning device. This device looks like a simplified rear derailleur, usually with just one pulley. It attaches in place of the old rear derailleur, and has a spring mechanism that pushes or pulls the chain taught. You'll pick a single cog to use on the rear hub, and use a set of spacers to take up the remaing space where the other gears used to be, and position the cog in line with your front chainring. This setup works pretty well for most road and bike path riding conditions. This method should be avoided for serious, technical off-road riding, though, as it's typically not durable enough to handle the strains placed upon it with this kind of riding.

A typical "push-style" chain tensioner

The Surly Singleator chain tensioner in "pull" mode

Another option for converting a bike to a singlespeed is an eccentric rear hub. This operates on a similar principle as the eccentric bottom bracket, but the adjustment is done at the rear wheel rather than the bottom bracket. The axle on the rear hub is positioned offset in relation to the points where it inserts into the frame dropouts, and the amount of offset can be re-adjusted, thus providing a way to tension the chain. This is a much more elegant and durable solution than a chain tensioning device, and is suitable for off-road riding. The downside of this option is the expense; eccentric rear hubs start around $160, and you'll probably need to have your bike mechanic custom-build a wheel around it, so figure on about $25 and up for a rim, $1 for each spoke, and about $50 for labor. Pictured below is the White Industries "Eno" Eccentric Rear Hub:Finally, the big question when it comes to singlespeed riding is, "What gear do I want?" That depends on where you'll be riding. For off-road riding, a typical singlespeed gear combination is a 32-tooth chainring up front, with an 18-tooth cog on your wheel. This gives you a low enough gear to be able to crank up most of the steeper climbs you find on a mountain bike trail. If you tried riding this bike on pavement, though, you'd find that you'd be spinning your feet out, and "going nowhere fast." For road riding, most people find that a 42-tooth chainring and a 15- or 16-tooth cog make a good combination, enabling you to maintain a good, steady pace on flat terrain, with a gear low enough to climb up typical road grades. Single cogs are not very expensive, so once you get the bike set up, it's easy to experiment with different-sized cogs to find the gearing that works best for your needs.

Staff Profile: Keith Heffernan

Keith Heffernan is one of our ace mechanics in the Medina store, and started at Century Cycles in 1998. As was reported here already, Keith recently had his life turned upside down when he lost his bikes and most of his other possessions in a house fire. He is a past expert BMX racer, with several national titles under his belt.
Here he is with his new Diamondback Scapegoat bike that was donated to him by Raleigh/Diamondback.
Q. What do you like about working at Century Cycles?
A. I don't dread going to work, ever. It doesn't feel like work, it's just like hanging out with friends all day, which is where I always want to be.
Q. What is your biggest accomplishment on a bike?
A. That would be my BMX race wins.
Q. What was your first bike?
A. I will always remember my Powerlite P-38, which was my first "good" race BMX bike, but my very first bike was a fixed-gear Kent with 16-inch mag wheels. A three-year-old on a fixie; how cool was that?!?
Q. We usually ask what is your favorate bike, but I guess with the donation that Diamondback gave to you, that's a moot point now, right?
A. Yeah, I'm still overwhelmed and grateful about how cool they were, and the CC staff for helping to make it happen.
Q. What is your favorite ride or trail?
A. Vulture's Knob in Wooster has always been my favorite; it's just such a great race course. I love it for the technical features and the jumps, and it has some sections that really work to my strengths to let me make up time on other riders.
Q. What is the question you get asked most often in the store?
A. There are lots, but one common question is how to shift gears.
Q. What one piece of advice do you with you could give to every customer?
A. Buy more than you need; don't try to get out cheap. I'm not saying this to try to sell; I know from personal experience that if you try to go cheap, you will be disappointed and will pay later.
Q. What is the best piece of cycling advice you've been given?
A. Learn your body and how it works. This can be valuable for both training and racing; like, you can know when you're at your max heart rate without any kind of monitor, or know how long you can sustain a sprint.
Q. What else do you like to do when you're not cycling?
A. I've always liked motorcycles, and still enjoy riding one.
Q. What three words describe how you feel when on a bike?
A. Free, clear, whole

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Friend us on Facebook

Become one of Century Cycles' fans on Facebook to receive exclusive updates and news, plus check out lots of pictures we don't post anywhere else. While you're there, be sure to go to the event page for the Breaking Away Party this Friday, where you can RSVP for the party and share it with your other Facebook friends. (RSVPs ain't necessary, but inviting others is absolutely required!)

Speaking of sharing the Breaking Away Party news far and wide, we (heart) the blog, I (heart) Cleveland, for giving the party a shout-out today. Grazie mille!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Male model, with lycra

Here's another picture for our dedicated blog reader, Mars Girl, who said:

"Women are always slighted. There's not enough naked guys in our marketing... Just think what it could do for bike sales... Maybe you guys need to get some male models to pose in front of the bikes. No lycra required! You have an opportunity to break into the female market. You should run this idea by Scott. ;)"

Since we aim to please our customers, here's our own ace mechanic from Medina, Tom. Sorry, Mars Girl, not naked, but sporting the latest in full-length skin-tight lycra:

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Not-so-trivial trivia about "Breaking Away"

This useless knowledge can actually win you cool prizes (Cinzano wool jersey! DVDs! Campy cycling caps!) at the Breaking Away Party with Masi and Century Cycles on Friday the Thirteenth.
  • "Breaking Away" was released on July 13, 1979, in the United States. It was released on December 22, 1979, in Italy.
  • In Italy, the movie was called "All American Boys." In Spain, it was called "El Relevo" ("the relay" according to Google Translation).
  • Dave's bike in the movie is a 1978 Masi Gran Criterium.
  • It was filmed on location in Bloomington, Indiana, on the Indiana University campus.
  • "Breaking Away" is ranked #8 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time.
  • It's ranked #8 on their list of the 10 Greatest Films in the "Sports" genre.
  • It is also #8 on Sports Illustrated's list of the top 50 sports movies of all time (Aug. 2003 issue).
  • The production team decided to call the Bloomington townies "cutters" because they felt the actual local nickname ("stoners" or "stonies") would draw a parallel to drug references for viewers who were not raised in the area.
  • The "Dave Stoller" character is based on David K. Blase, who had once led a team to victory in the Little 500 and had an Italian fixation. Blase had a cameo as a race announcer in the film.
  • The Little 500 began in 1951 as a fundraiser for scholarship money for working students. The race was created by the late Howard S. "Howdy" Wilcox, who patterned it after the Indianapolis 500, which his father had won in 1919.
  • The Little 500 is now the biggest amateur bike race in the United States, attracting 25,000 spectators on race day. This year, the women's Little 500 is on April 24 and the men's is on April 25. Race guidelines dictate that there are 33 teams of 4 racers each and all racers must attend IU.
  • Dennis Christopher was actually 23 years old when he played "Dave Stoller," for which he won a Best Juvenile Actor in a Motion Picture Award. He and Paul Dooley played father and son in another movie besides "Breaking Away" and also in an episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."
  • They tried making "Breaking Away" a TV show, with Shawn Cassidy as "Dave."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Men's Fitness select Giant Defy 3 as one of six "Hottest New Bikes"

"It doesn't just look fast for the money--it is. The stiff, responsive aluminum frame, racy, sloping geometry, and upgrades like the carbon fork and seatpost help it outperform its price. And you'll laugh at any doubters while spinning effortlessly past them up hills (and still have money left to buy the first round!)." We've got the Giant Defy 3 in stock in all three of our stores, plus the equivalent women's-specific model, the Avail 3! $749.99 And for Mars Girl, here's the cover of the magazine:

Friday, March 6, 2009

More trail work with CAMBA

The Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) will be helping out the crew at Vulture's Knob do trail rehabilitation this Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 8. Both work days begin at 10:00am.

Vulture's Knob was one of the very first mountain bike trails in the state. It's not an official CAMBA-maintained trail, but CAMBA members want to help bring this trail system back to its former glory. As always, the more hands, the merrier, and no experience is necessary!

The Knob is located at 4300 Mechanicsburg Road in Wooster, Ohio 44691.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stimulate economy by getting out your car

Found this link to a Seattle Times op-ed about how changing commuting habits can stimulate the economy on Bikes Belong's Twitter. Here's an excerpt:

King County residents who drive to work alone waste nearly 48 hours a year stuck in traffic. The typical American household spends 18 percent of its income on driving costs — more than it spends on food. The average downtown Seattle commuter spends $3,900 a year in parking and fuel costs alone. If the number of vehicles coming into downtown Seattle continues to increase at its current rate, we could need to build 20 additional 10-story parking garages in the next decade.

We could make a huge difference in downtown congestion and help our economy by changing our commute habits just one day a week. By sharing a ride, riding a bike, walking or hopping on a bus just one day a week we could relieve traffic congestion, avoid sacrificing our precious open space to new highways and parking garages, and reduce emissions that impact our environment. We could retain the qualities that make Seattle a wonderful place to live and a great place to do business. We could improve our health and save time and money.

Mountain Bike Action praises the Giant Trance X0

The April 2009 issue of Mountain Bike Action magazine contains an article titled "The Nine Most Underrated Components," where they praise such humble yet critical parts like DT Swiss brand spokes. The only bike worthy of mention in the article was the '09 Giant Trance X0."Giant got it right when they built the Trance X0. This low-slung, five-inch travel, dual-suspension chassic has a fresh cross-country feel that would have fallen victim to the big-bar, shorty-stem, black anodized, 33-pound all-mountain trend had its designers not been top bike handlers hungry for a lightweight, all-day trail bike. The Trance X0 remains pure. Maestro suspension and balanced, center-of-the-bike handling give the Trance set-and-forget suspension that is rare in the long-travel, cross-country genre. It climbs effortlessly and bumps up the fun factor on technical descents. The Trance X0's silver-anodized aluminum frame will look beautiful for years because it won't show scratches. Giant sells it in four sizes, its component selection is near perfection - with a variety of dirt-proven items not often seen on mass-market menus - and its $5700 average street price simply mocks it competitors. The Trance X0 is like getting a hand-built bike, but with a major manufacturer's warranty."

You can take a free test-ride on the Trance X0's little brothers, the Trance X3 and Trance X4, as well as others from our fleet of new Demo Bikes. Just call or stop by any of our stores and ask about the bike demo program!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cycles Gladiator - the PD's Wine Buy of the Week

Some of us here at CC have been known to enjoy an occasional beer or two, but we don't discriminate. I was amused by the Plain Dealer's Wine Buy of the Week, from today's edition:

By Donald Rosenberg:

The bottle: Cycles Gladiator 2006 Central Coast Cabernet Sauvignon.

Price: $9.99

Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon

Where it's from: California's Monterey County, where Hahn Estates Winery makes moderately priced Cycles Gladiator, named after the Parisian bicycle company, and more expensive bottligns of chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlot.

Where we found it: The wine is available in many stores, including World Market in Mayfield Heights.

Tasting notes: Dark red with scents of warm, ripe berries and hints of green olives and chocolate. The wine has a fine balance of generous, easy red fruit, pepper and wood. It's a cab with personality - and an exceptional value.

Pairings: Beef, chicken, pasta dishes, savory appetizers and tangy cheeses.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Raleigh/Diamondback's gift to Keith makes front page news!

After we posted the video of Keith getting a new bike from Raleigh/Diamondback to replace one of his bikes that was lost in a house fire, the Medina Gazette took an interest and ran this story on the front page of their Friday, February 27, 2009 edition!

You can also check out the generous company's own reports on the Raleigh Blog and Diamondback Blog!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Define your life...in Vegas!

Thanks to Fritz Hoffmann, one of our customers from the Medina shop, for sending us these photos from his recent ride through the Red Rocks National Conservation Area, just west of Las Vegas, Nevada:

The ride, starting at a bike shop in the city, was a total of 51 miles, with 17 of that in the park, with 2700 feet of elevation change.

Fritz wanted us to be sure to mention what a great help Tom and Adam in Medina were by packing his bike for shipment!

North American Handmade Bicycle Show Recap

Wow, where do I begin? The North American Handmade Bicycle Show is like a kid in a candy store for any cyclist. While other shows are very focused on the latest trends in technology, this one is really mostly about the art. My girlfriend summed it up best when she remarked, "I'm beginning to understand why you always feel like you need more bikes."

Let me just start by showing some pictures, then see below for my thoughts on the exhibitors and trends.

Our experiment with using Twitter to give you photo updates didn't quite work out as well as I had hoped. It seemed like only about half of the photos I sent got posted, and those all seemed to get posted around the same time (about 3pm), rather than as I sent them, and were in random order. Oh, well, I guess this technology is not quite ready for prime time. To be fair, this was using a service called TwitPic to post the pictures, which is a separate web site not affiliated with the main Twitter site. Here are all of the pictures that I had intended for you to see, in order:

This was the best-attended NAHBS in its 5-year history, so that bodes well for the show returning to the Midwest. In fact, I even heard a rumor that they may come back to Indianapolis next year!


Racing-oriented bikes, both road and mountain, are still big, but there were lots of commuter-oriented bikes and cruisers. I had hoped to see a lot of cargo bikes, such as Surly Big Dummy-style bikes or other Xtracycle-compatible bikes, and while there was not anything like that specifically, there was a lot of emphasis on delivery bikes and commuter bikes with integrated custom racks and baskets, usually lushly painted to match the bike frame.

A lot of the builders are also featuring more cyclocross bikes. Track bikes, of course, are still very big.

The 650B wheel size on mountain bikes is getting more attention from the custom builders compared to the large manufacturers. I spoke to Rody Walter, who builds the bikes for Groovy Cycleworks out of our backyard down in Wooster, Ohio. He said that of the last 10 bikes he's made, 5 were 650B's and 5 were 29ers. (See this previous TechTalk post for an explanation of these wheel sizes.)

Another trend starting to take hold in the bike industry is the carbon belt drive. These had a couple of incarnations in the past, but never took off, allegedly because the technology didn't yet work quite right. From what I've heard and read, they got it right this time, and a lot of the custom builders are trying it out. Basically, you replace the chain with a fan-belt type thing, which provides an extremely smooth, quiet, and grease-free drive train. The downside is that frames have to be redesigned or retrofitted, because you can't take the belt apart like a chain, so the frame has to have an opening to install the belt. Rody Walter solved this problem innovatively by putting a small S&S coupler on the drive side chainstay, which he says is much stronger than any of the other solutions. You have to either run the bike as a singlespeed, or use an internally-geared rear hub, to use the carbon belt drive.

There were a lot of bikes using small, 20-inch wheels. I get how this makes sense for folding commuter bikes, but these were all non-folding bikes. I asked one of the representatives from Sillgey Cycles about this. She said that a lot of commuters are liking them, because it makes for a more compact bike that is easier to take on buses and trains, and carry through office hallways, stairwells, and dorm rooms. Also, they are popular with many bike polo players for the quick handling and maneuverability.

The big news for Cleveland is that another custom frame builder right in our own backyard took home the Best of Show award! Congratulations to Dan Politi of Ciclo Politi of Cleveland!

The one major technology-oriented exhibitor at the show was probably also the busiest. Everyone wanted to stop by the Shimano booth the try out the new Di2 Dura-Ace electronic shifting system. They had the Giant TCR Advanced SL bike set up with the new group on a trainer. For those of you who have not read the announcements closely enough, remember that this is NOT an automatic shifting system. You still decide when you want to shift, and when you do, you press the appropriate button, located on the brake levers just like standard integrated shifters. Then, a battery-powered motor handles moving the front or rear derailleur to the correct position. Say what you want about how this concept violates the very notion of non-motorized bicycle technology, but take it from me, this thing works, and it works exceptionally fast and good. I was able to stand up on the pedals out of the saddle, and really torque the cranks, while the shifting the system from the small to big chainring without skipping a beat.

After the show, we enjoyed the hospitality of downtown Indianapolis. Getting around in the winter is made easier by the fact that many buildings are connected by a series of elevated walkways, or skywalks. We went from our hotel, to the show at the Convention Center, to two microbreweries, and a shopping mall, all without ever stepping outside!

A few other familiar faces were present: some of our colleagues from other Northeast Ohio bike shops, and a few folks from CAMBA. I met Doriano DeRosa, the latest generation of the De Rosa family of bike builders. I chatted with Maurice Tierney from Dirt Rag Magazine, Jeff Guerrero from Urban Velo magazine, and THE Paul from Paul Components Engineering.

While waiting for a table to get dinner at the RAM Brewing Company, I noticed a woman wearing a distinctive cycling jacket that I recognized from the Sheila Moon Athletic Apparel booth at the show. I asked her, "Do you work for Sheila Moon?" and she replied "I AM Sheila Moon!"

See the show's own photo gallery, as well as information about the winners and all exhibitors, at www.handmadebicycleshow.com. Also check out UrbanVelo.org for great photo galleries; their pics are all real perfessional lookin' n'at compared to mine.