Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Matthew Lee first to finish Tour Divide Race

At 9:45am (Mountain Time) this morning, Matthew Lee became the first to reach the Mexican border and victory in the Tour Divide, finishing with a time of 17 days, 23 hours, and 45 minutes.

The Tour Divide is a race along the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, which stretches 2,493 miles from Banff, Alberta to Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

This was Matthew's 6th time finishing the race, 4th time winning, and 2nd consecutive win. Read more details at the official Tour Divide web site.

Whether you follow bicycle racing or not, you gotta appreciate that that's some serious riding.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Peninsula store will be open on Independence Day

PLEASE NOTE: Our Peninsula store ONLY will be open this Saturday, July 4th, 2009 from 10:00am until 5:00pm for full service, sales, and bicycle rentals. The Medina and Rocky River stores will be CLOSED for the Independence Day holiday. Our regular Hours of Operation will be in effect on all other days.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Bicycle tourers make a two-day Cleveland stop

Zach and Troy are riding cross-country from eastern Pennsylvania to Astoria, Oregon. Last week, they had a complete Century Cycles experience -- staying with CC co-founder Lois Moss while in town (whom they found via Warm Showers - "hospitality for touring cyclists"), stopping by the Rocky River store for some much-needed bike service from Matt Miller and the crew, then meeting Scott Cowan and the CC gang when they rode through the GOBA camp.

The photos are from their trip blog, from a post they titled "Cleveland rocks!" Had to post the one below, because it's an angle on Cleveland you really don't see enough.

The frogs talking

Back on June 14, Kevin told you about Francis and Helene (above), worldwide bicycle tourers on a stopover in Peninsula. On Friday, we heard from Francis, who posted the following comment:
Hello! The frogs talking...Thank you all for helping us so nicely with our little kick stand problem. You are definitely the coolest bike shop we saw on our way! And of course, a special thanks to Garry and his family for welcoming us to their place for a night. That was unexpected and ... awesome. We just left the Underground Railroad and are now in Toronto, ready to ride the last part of our trip: La route verte in Quebec to Montreal. All the best to all of you and to the shop. Francis et Helene

Record Night Ride crowd greets NiteRider

Rich, one of the new guys in Peninsula, was perched on the southbound rise off the Lock 29 Trailhead parking lot, counting the Night Riders heading north for the evening's ride. His tally: A record 215 cyclists!

Thank you to everyone who came, making it our biggest Night Ride ever! Thanks so much to Tommy from NiteRider, who brought his recently-repaired rig, his vast lighting and cycling knowledge, and some cool lights for folks to demo. (A new Night Rider asked if Tommy comes to every Century Cycles Night Ride. We can only wish, but we are crossing fingers he comes back to us on his 2010 rounds.)

And congratulations to Ken Haver, who won the NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB light!

In the blur of bike lights and bicycles, I seem to recall a few photographs being taken on Saturday night, so we'll see if we can get those posted here in the next day or two. In the meantime, mark your calendars for the next Night Ride on Friday, July 10 -- and let's see if Rich can count higher than 215.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tonight: NiteRider bike light demo, display, and giveaway!

Tonight's Night Ride on the Towpath Trail is chock full of awesomeness:

  • NiteRider Technical Lighting Systems is joining us and giving away this NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB bicycle light (MSRP: $100)!
  • Starting at 6pm, the NiteRider trailer -- the same one that goes to bicycling events all around the U.S. and Canada -- will have all the latest and greatest high-powered bicycle lighting systems on display, with Tommy there to answer all your questions.
  • Fifty Night Riders will be able to demo a NiteRider bicycling lighting system on the Night Ride, which starts at 8pm as usual.
  • Plus in honor of NiteRider's visit and just for our kick-ass Night Riders, Century Cycles is offering a coupon good for 10% off a NiteRider bicycle light at any CC store through July 5.
  • Oh, yeah, and it's all FREE!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Downtown Cleveland bike rentals begin today

We're one step closer to being a more bike-friendly city! Check out this article from The Plain Dealer about the Downtown Cleveland Alliance's bike rental program, City Bikes, which launches today. You can find them on East Fourth Street, across from Flannery's Pub, from 10am to 8pm daily through August 31 (limited availability in September). Cost is $15 for two hours, $6 for a one-hour noon rental.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sometimes we just can't help it...

During a recent grocery shopping trip to a local supermarket Brad, from our River Store, came across a bike that needed a little TLC. When you've put together as many bikes as Brad, I guess you notice the little things. Thanks Brad, you saved someones future cycling experience!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

'Tis The Season

It seems that the season of bicycle touring is in full swing. We had the privilege of seeing two groups of bicycling tourists go through Rocky River on Saturday. Both were heading west and it definitely made some of us at the shop a little jealous! Thanks to Phil and Lauren, and Gerry and Kris for saying hello!

Gerry and Kris ended up staying at my apartment that evening so I showed them around town and hopefully gave them a nice break from sleeping on the ground. Follow Gerry on his blog: www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/GLaP2009

Free Guided Bicycle Tours at Waterloo Arts Fest this Sat 6/27

Saturday June 27, 2009

Free guided rides to, from and around Collinwood - one of Cleveland's funkiest, funnest, fastest changing neighborhoods - and the Waterloo Arts Fest!

Do 1, 2 or all 3:

  • 11am: Rockefeller Park to Waterloo Arts Fest
  • 1pm: Collinwood neighborhood loop
  • 3pm: Waterloo Arts Fest to Rockefeller Park

Rockefeller Park is the beautiful, narrow park that includes The Cultural Gardens, along MLK Blvd between I-90 and the Cleveland Museum of Art. Meet and end in the parking lot at East 105th Street and MLK Blvd, across from the tennis courts.

At the fest, there will be bicycle decorating, bicycle art, maintance tips, and more plus food, music, art, games and some of the most interesting people and intriguing places in Cleveland. Come for a short visit or stay the entire day exploring, creating and experiencing.

The bike rides are free but you must sign a waiver before leaving and you must wear a helmet. Anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. The rides will be mostly on quiet streets with low traffic volumes, will go at an easy pace, and riders of all experience levels are welcome.

Brought to you by Arts Collinwood, Clevelanders in Motion, Ohio City Bicycle Co-op, ClevelandBikes, Walk+Roll and dozens of volunteers.

Underground Railroad Bicycle Route Tourists

Meet Joe Culpepper and Rick Jensen, both of Omaha, Nebraska! They are the latest group to stop by the Century Cycles Peninsula store during a cross-country bicycle tour. They are riding on the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route from south to north.

(Photo by Doug Charnock.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

OBF Bill Introduction Today

Senator Teresa Fedor of Toledo will introduce a bill on Tuesday, June 23 to modify Ohio revised code 4511.27(A) to require that motorists maintain a three-foot minimum clearance when passing bicycles.

Senators Fedor and Mark Wagoner and Ohio Bicycle Federation Chair Chuck Smith will announce the bill’s introduction during an 11:30 AM Tuesday press conference on the West Lawn of the State House in Columbus.

The bill is one of eight Ohio Bicycle Federation proposals to improve Ohio cycling given to Senator Fedor by Smith during a May 15-17 bicycle tour from Toledo to Columbus.

For questions regarding the proposed legislation, check the Ohio Bicycle Federation web site at www.ohiobike.org or email Smith at chuck@ohiobike.org.

Bikes 'n beers, baby!

Click here to read what Bicycling magazine has named the best bike-related summer brews. Even though I'm generally an IPA gal, I gotta give a special shout-out to slide 10, a beer from La Brasserie Artisanale de Rulles: "Estivale is proof the Belgian Beer Gods smile down upon cyclists." And if the Belgian Beer Gods are smiling upon you, what more do you need??

Monday, June 22, 2009

We've got t-shirts!

We just received a fresh batch of our Define your life. Ride a bike.tm t-shirts! So, for any of you who bought a bike recently and did not get your free t-shirt because we were out of your size, stop in soon with your IOU cards!

Thanks to Aubrey, one of the new people in Peninsula, for spending most of the day this past Saturday folding them! Shown here is another new guy, Rich, taking his turn at folding duties.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wet Cycle-Tourists

The steady stream of bicycle touring groups continues through Peninsula, despite the steady stream of rain in our area last week. This pair of guys started in Philadelphia, and are headed to Missoula, Montana. They don't have a web site or blog where you can follow their progress, but they are riding for a group called the Green Bicycle Alliance.

Happy Father's Day! Or: A Tribute To The Guy (or Tiger) Who Taught Us How To Ride A Bike

"The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles. A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard." -- Sloan Wilson

....I remember my dad teaching me to ride a bike, alternately yelling "pedal!" then "steer!" and trying not to appear too dismayed by my epic uncoordination. Now it's time to teach my son to ride a bike and he -- like Calvin -- thinks his bike is out to kill him.
What are your learning-to-ride-a-bike memories on this sunny Father's Day, as either the teacher or the student (or the tiger)?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Simply Superbe

We recently special-ordered the Raleigh Superbe Roadster city/commuting bike for one of our very best customers. In an accidentally timely move, the folks at Raleigh also supplied one of the bikes to Mia, a writer/blogger for Momentum, a magazine for urban cycling culture.

Mia loves the bike, saying, "It is indeed my perfect dream bike for the city, as it came fully equipped with everything I had hoped for, and more! My favorite features of my new bike include the steel cream-coloured mixte frame, the Brooks saddle and grips, the upright city-style handlebars, the internal Shimano 8-speed hub." You can read her full review here.

The bike does NOT come with the Paul Components Flatbed Front Rack that is shown on Mia's bike. If you're keen on spending 200 clams for a front rack, though, we'd be happy to oblige!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bike Aboard! on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

The Summer 2009 schedule for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's Bike Aboard! program is now available! With Bike Aboard, you can Ride The Rail and Bike The Trail!

For a $2 per person fare, you can hop a ride on the train, then bike the Towpath Trail back to where you started.

For full details, and the schedule of operation, see:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

When Good Bikes Go Bad

Inspired by the new Salsa Fargo adventure touring bike, I wondered if it would be possible to take my perfectly-good Raleigh XXIX singlespeed mountain bike and convert it to a geared off-road touring bike. Something ideal for doing the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route or the Great Allegheny Passage. Not that I have plans for doing either of those trips in the near future, but once I got the idea for the bike in my head, I couldn't sleep until I tried to build it.

Here is the original bike in pretty much stock condition (i.e. BEFORE conversion):

Here it is, AFTER:

Weighing in at a total of 37 pounds, it definitely won't set any speed records, but it handles like a steamroller, and I mean that in a good way--point it where you want to go, and it handles steady and on track through gravel, dirt, bumps, and potholes.

There were a number of challenges in trying to make a bike designed and optimized as a singlespeed to work with a full complement of gears. I had originally hoped to use the super-fat Schwalbe Big Apple 29x2.35 tires. They fit great in the frame, but did not leave enough clearance for the front derailleur, so I had to scale back and use the Serfas Drifter 29x2.0 tires instead. These are great tires as well; we sell a ton of the 26-inch versions, and they are ideal for Towpath and other mixed paved/unpaved trail riding.

The front derailleur choice itself was tricky, as I had to find one that had as much of the pivot mechanism as possible situated toward the side, rather than towards the rear, to allow clearance for both the rear tire and fender. Luckily, I happened to have an old Shimano Deore LX in my personal parts supply that fit the bill.

Problem Solvers Backstops provided the cable stops for the derailleur cables that are not normally found on a singlespeed.

The Old Man Mountain Sherpa Front Rack and Axiom Odysee FS Rear Rack work great on this and other frames that lack standard rack mounting eyelets.

Finally, a spare taillight mounting bracket provided a mounting spot for the front of the rear Planet Bike Cascadia 29er fender.

You can check out more pictures and a full component list on our Bike Gallery.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Bicyclops

Today's Rhymes With Orange, from a cartoonist who frequently features bicycles in her work because she's a bicyclist herself.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

World-wide bicycle tourers stop in Peninsula

The latest in a continuing parade of long-distance bike tourists stopped in the Peninsula store this past Friday. Francis and Hélène are from France and have been riding literally around the world on their recumbent bicycles. You can read about their journey on their blog at: http://my.opera.com/f6-ln

Their site is mostly in their native French, but if nothing else, you can at least enjoy their pictures!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Night Riders get Plain Dealer spotlight

What a great day to be a Night Rider!! Check out page D2 of today's Plain Dealer to see this FULL PAGE ARTICLE about last Friday's Century Cycles Night Ride on the Towpath Trail! Many thanks to Outdoor Editor D'Arcy Egan, who rode along with us last week to capture the Night Ride story in words and pictures.

Quoted in the article are Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan and longtime Night Rider Tony Collins-Sibley.

Speaking of pictures, the link to The Plain Dealer has some very cool ones D'Arcy took. The picture above was taken by our very own Doug Charnock on the very same night of our very own Josh Ronschke.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ride Your Bike to Art Museum's Parade the Circle with ClevelandBikes, Saturday June 13th

ClevelandBikes encourages everyone to enjoy University Circle and the Cleveland Museum of Art's "Parade the Circle" on Saturday June 13th, but urges you to ride your bicycle and leave your car behind. You can meet ClevelandBikes at several locations and ride down to the festival with other cyclists and experienced ride leaders and park your bicycle, safely and securely, at the temporary bicycle station set up on the grounds of the Cleveland Institute of Art. There is no cost for the service.

ClevelandBikes will lead departures from three eastside locations, arriving in time to enjoy the Parade:
  • 11:00 am, departing From Phoenix Coffee (2287 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights)
  • 11:00 am, departing from Dewey's (13201 Shaker Blvd., Shaker Square)
  • 11:15 am, departing from Starbucks (12405 Cedar Rd, near FairmountBlvd., Cleveland Heights).

The Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op will lead its own ride from its Columbus Road location in the Flats to the parade as well. The Bicycle Co-Op is located at 1823 Columbus Road and can be reached by phone at (216) 830-2667 or www.ohiocitycycles.org.

For more information, visit: www.clevelandbikes.org/parade.htm

email: kevin@clevelandbikes.org

Sneak Peak: 2010 Bianchi Pista

A sneak peak of the 2010 Bianchi Pista Via Brera has been leaked!

Beautiful neo-retro styling combined with the rumor of SRAM Torpedo rear hub has me really excited for the launch of these bikes.

Keep an eye on our Bianchi Complete Bike page for all of the 2010 models later on in the year.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Free NiteRider bike light demo at 6/27 Night Ride

Free NiteRider bike light demo at Century Cycles Night Ride on the Towpath Trail on June 27

PENINSULA, Ohio (June 11, 2009) – Century Cycles is teaming up with NiteRider Technical Lighting Systems to offer local bicyclists the chance to try the company’s innovative, high-powered lights on a Century Cycles Night Ride on the Towpath Trail on Saturday, June 27. The NiteRider bicycle light display and demo begins at 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the Century Cycles bicycle store in Peninsula, Ohio (1621 Main Street, on Route 303 between Route 8 and I-271, next to the Winking Lizard Tavern). The Night Ride starts in the same lot at 8 p.m.

NiteRider will have 50 bike lights available for bicyclists to demo on the two-hour Night Ride. Those interested in using a NiteRider demo light on the Night Ride must provide a driver’s license and credit card as collateral, and all demo lights are on a first-come, first-served basis.

The NiteRider trailer, a 35-foot rolling showroom that goes to bicycling events around the country, will also display the complete line of NiteRider bicycle lighting systems. Company representatives will be on hand to answer questions, distribute catalogs and give away a NiteRider MiNewt Mini-USB bicycle light (MSRP: $100) by random drawing to one lucky Century Cycles Night Ride participant.

For more information, call Century Cycles in Peninsula at 330-657-2209. Online, please visit http://www.centurycycles.com/ or e-mail info@centurycycles.com.

About Century Cycles Night Rides on the Towpath Trail

Now in their 14th year, Century Cycles Night Rides on the Towpath Trail are FREE group bicycle rides at night along one of the area’s most popular bike paths – the Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Each Night Ride this year has averaged over 150 bicyclists, who enjoy it as a fun family outing, a unique date night, or a just a great bicycle ride with friends by moonlight.

Century Cycles Night Rides on the Towpath Trail are open to riders of all ages and abilities, with no pre-registration necessary. Each moderately-paced ride starts promptly at 8 p.m. in the parking lot of the Century Cycles in Peninsula and is approximately 15-20 miles long (about two hours). Parking is available at the Lock 29 Trailhead, just north of the store. Helmets and bike lights are required. Children 15 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult.

The remaining 2009 dates for Century Cycles Night Rides on the Towpath Trail are: Saturday, June 27; Friday, July 10; Saturday, July 25; Saturday, August 8; Friday, August 28; Saturday, September 19; and Friday, October 9.

About NiteRider Technical Lighting Systems

Founded in 1989, NiteRider is widely recognized as a leading innovator and trailblazer in the bicycle lighting industry. The Company is known internationally for the stylish design, high performance and quality of its lighting products as well as for its unparalleled, high standards for customer service. Over the years, NiteRider has sponsored legends in the sport like NORBA legend Tinker Juarez and ultra-distance legend John Stamstad, both inductees of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. http://www.niterider.com/

About Century Cycles

Century Cycles is an award-winning chain of independent bicycle stores in Medina, Peninsula, and Rocky River, providing high-quality bicycles and friendly, expert service to northeast Ohio bicyclists and their families. Century Cycles is an authorized dealer of Raleigh, Giant, Diamondback, Electra, Surly, Masi, Bianchi, and Haro bicycles, as well as Santana tandems. The Peninsula store also rents bicycles year-round for use on the Towpath Trail in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

In April, Century Cycles was named a 2008 Bike Shop of the Year, one of only eight bicycle stores honored nationwide by the League of American Bicyclists. Last month, Century Cycles was voted a Top 100 Bicycle Retailer in the United States for the eighth consecutive year by Bicycle Retailer & Industry News magazine.

Define your life. Ride a bike.™

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Long Bike Back

An inspiring story about Pearson Constantino, a lifelong cyclist who battles back from a crippling hit-and-run accident and, with his brother Peter, rides across America to inspire more bicycling and encourage safety on the roads.

Constantio completed his journey upon a Raleigh Cadent FC, the crown jewel of Raleigh's performance hybrid line.

Inspired by Constantion's dedication?

Well, you can start off locally with a sub-24 hour overnight, such as the Tour-de-Surly, which took three Century Cycles employees starting at our Peninsula location to West Branch State Park in Ravenna.

Need to gear up for a sub-24 or extended tour?

Surly offers the venerable Long Haul Trucker, which has been thoroughly documented on this here blog.

Another unsung hero is the Raleigh Sojourn. The Sojourn packs a proven trekking geometry, Avid disc brakes, bar end shifters, and a timeless Brooks saddle and matching bar tape. It comes equipped with a set of SKS fenders and a rear rack to make it tour-worthy out of the box.

Happy trails!

Our JUNE 10, 2009 eNewsletter

Our latest eNewsletter, for June 10, 2009, has just been e-mailed to subscribers. For those that received it already, yes, I know, I screwed up. (The "Subject:" line said "May 10, 2009"!)

You can read it online here. You can catch up on past issues and sign up to receive it here.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Staff Profile: Krista McNamee

Krista McNamee is trying to get out the door to do a long bike ride in the Ohio countryside with friends. It’s her day off from working the sales floor at the Century Cycles in Rocky River and she’s got plans. However, we were able to keep her on the phone long enough to ask the Cleveland resident (and wife of a city police detective) a few questions before she loads up her bike and heads out.
Q. Where are you riding today?
A. My friends and I haven’t decided. We have a rule that we have to ride longer than the time it takes to drive there, so we’ll ride about 60 miles, probably somewhere south of Spencer. In July, we’re headed to New York to bicycle along the St. Lawrence Seaway and then around Gaspe Peninsula for three weeks. We’re riding the Route Verte, a bicycle trail network in Quebec. We’ll be doing a lot of high mileage days early in the trip, to get through Montreal and Quebec City and out of civilization.
Q. How many bikes do you have and which is your favorite?
A. I have four bikes. Asking me which is my favorite is like asking “who is your favorite child?” They are all different with their own purpose. The newest is a Surly Cross Check. It’s my trails and dirt-road bike for self-contained rides. I haven’t decided if I’m taking the Surly or my Waterford on the Quebec trip. The Waterford is a custom adventure bike designed to be fully loaded for touring.
Q. What’s your favorite trail or ride? (She asks for geographical specificity, so we tell her within 75 miles of Cleveland.)
A. A covered bridge loop in Ashtabula that I do based on a map I found from way back. It’s so unique and scenic and beautiful. The roads are light traffic and there are plenty of wineries in case you want to stop for lunch.
Q. What is your biggest accomplishment on a bike?
A. I did the Coast-to-Coast ride in 2003 and rode 4,400 miles in nine weeks. Of course it was a supported ride; you can’t cover those distances without support unless you’re Ray. We went over the Continental Divide several times and did a lot of climbing. Probably the biggest accomplishment of that ride was Teton Pass. Anyone who’s biked it knows exactly what I mean.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not on a bike or working at Century Cycles?
A. I’m trying to learn French, for the trip to Quebec.
Q. What are three words that describe how you feel on a bike?
A. Refreshed. Carefree. Energized.
Q. On most days you commute to the store by bike. Which bike do you ride for that?
A. My Bianchi Castro Valley commuter bike. It has straight handlebars, a generator headlight, and a rack to carry stuff.
Q. What was your first bike?
A. A blue and white bike from the hardware store. My dad wouldn’t step a foot into a bike store in the mid 1970s. I’ve always been into bicycling because I grew up in rural Olmsted Township. I had to get on a bike to get anywhere, especially with a mom who didn’t drive and a dad who worked oddball hours.
Q. Road or dirt?
A. Both. I spend a lot of time on dirt roads in rural Ohio.
Q. What was the best advice you were given?
A. Go at your own pace. Stay hydrated.
Q. What question do you ask customers most often?
A. "Where do you see yourself riding the bike you want to buy?" I ask a lot of questions on where and how they want to ride, to find the best bike to fit the application they are going to do the most. When people come in and ask to see a road bike, for example, I ask more questions to find out what they really mean by "road bike."

TechTalk: The Seatpost: Under-Appreciated Hero

The seatpost appears at first glance to be one of the most un-glamorous components on a bike. It just serves to connect your saddle to the frame. But it plays an important part in the comfort and performance of your bicycle in many ways.

When fitting a particular model and size of bicycle to a certain rider, the first, and often only, adjustment is made by changing the seat height. This is done by loosening the clamp that holds the seat post in place in the frame, raising or lowering the position of the seatpost within the seat tube of the frame. The goal is find the right height to provide you with a full extention of your legs (although not 100% straight) while pedaling, and a safe reach to the ground while sitting on the saddle.

The clamp used to hold the seatpost in place in the frame can be either a quick-release clamp, or a bolt-on clamp. The quick-release clamp is convenient when multiple family members are sharing a bike, or in bike rental fleets, when seat height adjustments need to be made on a regular basis. However, the quick-release lever mechanism can wear out with repeated use over time, causing the seat to slip down as you ride. For this reason, most serious bike enthusiasts prefer a bolt-on seatpost clamp. Adjusting a bolt-on seatpost clamp is still fairly easy using a hex wrench found on most multi-tools that most cyclists carry with them while riding.

The exception is for some downhill and freeride mountain bikers who want to have the ability to adjust their seat height often depending on riding conditions. For example, when riding uphill, it's best to have the seat height set to give you the optimum full leg extension. But, when you head downhill over very rough terrain, it's nice to be able to drop the seat height a bit to allow you to more easily shift your weight around as needed as you maneuver the bike through obstacles and steep drops. To allow these types of riders to make this adjustment even more quickly and conveniently, some manufacturers have designed seatposts with a remote control lever system that lets you change the seat height with the flick of a switch.

In addition to saddle height, the seatpost provides other ways to adjust the fit of the bike. Situated on the top of the seatpost is the saddle clamp. The saddle clamp holds on tightly to the part of the saddle called the rails. Usually, the rails are long enough to provide some forward-backward adjustment to the position of the saddle, allowing you to make fine adjustments to the horizontal position of your body in relation to the pedals and handlebars.

The saddle clamp also lets you adjust the tilt of your saddle. Most people prefer a perfectly level saddle, but some are more comfortable with a slight "nose up" or "nose down" tilt to their saddle. Some saddle clamps provide a smooth, continuous range of tilt adjustment; these are called micro-adjust clamps. Conversely, some saddle clamps have a series of ridges that give discreet "clicks" for each incremental adjustment. The incremental clamps are not able to fine-tune the position as well as micro-adjust clamps, but typically they are less prone to slippage under heavy loads. The best micro-adjust saddle clamps use a two-bolt mechanism, with the bolts pulling in opposite directions from the front and rear of the seatpost (see the photo of the Thomson seatpost, above left). Two-bolt saddle clamps won't slip; their only downside is slightly more complicated installation.

On some lower-end bicycles, the seatpost and saddle clamp are separate pieces. These seatposts are referred to as pillar, or simply "straight" seatposts. The saddle clamp is usually a steel assembly held together with two nuts on the left and right sides (see photo at right).
A suspension seatpost provides its own internal shock absorbers, usually a spring, air, or a squishy grade of rubber or plastic, to help smooth out rough streets and trails. These seatposts come stock on many hybrid and comfort bikes, but are available as an upgrade option for most other bikes. You do pay somewhat of a penalty with added weight of a suspension seatpost, however.
There are two measurements required when selecting a seatpost for a specific bicycle. The most critical is the seatpost diameter. This is usually something in the range of 24mm through 35mm. There is no "standard" diameter, although manufacturers have settled on a couple of most common sizes. 27.2mm has become kind of the "unofficial" standard for many bikes, although some road bikes and many heavy-duty mountian bikes today use a 31.6mm diameter. Your seatpost diameter must match the inside diameter of your bike frame's seat tube exactly; even a 0.1mm difference will mean that the seatpost won't fit, or will not stay in place. All Surly Bikes frames use a 27.2mm seatpost, except for the Instigator, which uses 29.4mm.
You must select the seatpost clamp size to match the outer diameter of the bike frame's seat tube. Even if two different frames both take a 27.2mm seatpost, the size of seat post clamp needed may be different based on differences in the thickness of the material in the frame's seat tube.
The other seatpost measurement is overall length. Most road bikes can get by with a seatpost length of about 250mm. However, mountain bikes usually have more standover clearance over the frame's top tube, so a longer seatpost is required. Usually 350mm is sufficient, but 410mm is another common size that is often needed. You want your seatpost to be long enough so that there is enough of the seatpost extending down inside the frame's seat tube to provide plenty of grip on the seat post. If too much seatpost is extending outside the frame without enough inside the frame, the leverage generated by your weight on the seatpost could snap it in half or rip it right out of the frame. I'll leave the gruesome consequences of that scenario up to your imagination...
After wheels, derailleurs, and shifters, the seatpost is one of the components that cycling enthusiasts often upgrade on their bikes when they want to shave a little weight and/or provide their bike with some more "bling." Higher-end, lower-weight grades of aluminum seatposts are available, and of course, carbon fiber is always another option. You should always consider the intended use when selecting a seatpost; carbon fiber works well for most road bikes and some non-extreme cross-country mountain biking, but is not recommended for freeride or downhill mountain bikes, or other extreme-conditions riding.

Frame Raffle to Benefit Cleveland Velodrome

Fast Track Cycling, a non-profit organization dedicated to develop, promote, and sustain the operations of an Indoor Velodrome and Multi-Sports park in Cleveland, is throwing a party and raffling of a track frame hand-built by Cleveland's own Cicli Polito.

The party will take place Wednesday, June 24th at Brothers Lounge, 11609 Detroit Ave (W. 117th & Detroit) from 4:00pm to 8:00pm, with the drawing for the frame at 7:00pm; complimentary food and a cash bar.

Raffle tickets are $20 per ticket or 6 for $100, with all proceeds going toward Fast Track Cycling's efforts to construct a indoor velodrome in the Greater Cleveland Area.

Cicli Polito
recently won best of show at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Here's your chance to get an award-winning frame while helping a good cause. Win-win if I've ever heard one.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Petch on the Radio!

Mike Petcher, Sales Manager at the Century Cycles store in Medina, was interviewed on the premiere episode of Table Talk with Bob Soroky. Bob and Petch discussed some of the do's and don'ts of bicycle buying and maintenance. You can listen to the show online by clicking on the following link:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Dick DeLombard thrills the girls

Doesn't every guy on a penny-farthing?! Dick DeLombard, a longtime friend of Century Cycles and the bicycling community, brought his high-wheeler and his enthusiastic support for Bay Village Bike To School Challenge on the very first day of the challenge on May 4. He pedaled between Bay Middle School and Bay High School, riding along with the 960 students who biked to school that morning.

We've got to give our hearty thanks to Dick, for getting up so early to join us and for adding a festive air of bicycling nostalgia that the kids, staff, and even car commuters on Wolf Road all found thrilling.

COOL FACT: Longest ride Dick has taken on that bike? 101 miles! That's right -- he's done a century on it. Remember that the next time you young'uns brag about riding distances on fixies.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Find Your Surly

I was checking out the Surly Bikes page on our web site this morning, and noticed that we still had pictures and descriptions of frames like the Cross-Check in Misty Mountain Gray and the Karate Monkey in Husker Blue. Those are so LAST YEAR!

So, I warmed up the old TRS-80, and got to work updating the page with all of the latest color information.

While I was at it, I added links to our Special Order Catalog, so that right from the Surly Bikes page, you're one click away from seeing what's in stock at Surly's warehouse, both in frames and in complete bikes. So now it's even easier than ever to find the Surly for you! See yours today at: www.centurycycles.com/get/surly

Latest breaking news: The Surly Big Dummy is now available in Black, as well as the original Military Green. Frames are in stock now; complete bikes coming soon!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Never let it be said that we can't laugh at ourselves...

The NEW List: Bicyclists face long, happy lives

So, I was planning to blog today about the terrific success of the Bay Village Bike To School Challenge that Century Cycles sponsored, but then I read The Plain Dealer while eating my oatmeal this morning and saw this happy headline: "The Lists: Bicyclists face danger." Chuck Yarborough goes on to list 13 or so statistics about bicycling crashes, deaths and injuries. (I can't find it on cleveland.com, so no link. Oh, darn.)

Now, I like Chuck Yarborough and this is nothing against him. In fact, he even worked as a bicycle rental dude for a day last year at our Peninsula store. But if the PD is going to go with death and mayhem -- such a happy way to start the summer -- I thought it only fair to show the other side of the story. Here's MY list:

11%: Percentage upswing in bicycling from 2007 to 2008.

44.7 million: People age 7 and older who rode a bicycle more than six times in 2008, up from 40.1 million in 2007 and 35.6 million in 2006.

#2: Bicycling's spot on Outdoor Foundation's list of favorite activities among Americans age six and older. (Running/jogging was #1).

71%: Of Americans would like to bicycle more than they do now.

3: Hours of bicycling per week that can reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and depression by 50%.

30+: The number of minutes of a round trip bicycle commute that is associated with better mental health in men.

40%: In a study of more than 30,000 people, those who bicycled to work were 40% less likely to die during follow-up, regardless of how much other physical activity they got outside of commuting.

540: Calories burned per hour of bicycling. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Obesity costs a company with 1,000 employees $285,000 per year.

Urban cyclists are exposed to less accumulated air pollution than bus commuters.

According the federal government, biking for fun and transportation can count toward the minimum 150 minutes/week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity recommended for physical health. It is also listed as the safest way to get physical activity.

Sources: Multiple, gathered by the League of American Bicyclits, NABD, NSGA, and other alphabet soups.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Night Ride on the Towpath this Friday 6/5!

Mark your calendars! The next Night Ride on the Towpath Trail is this Friday, June 5, 2009! It starts at 8:00pm at the Peninsula store. We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

They Love their Electras in Erie, PA!

A good customer has come all the way from Erie, Pennsylvania a couple of times, since none of his local bike shops are Electra Bicycles dealers. Last year, he bought the Electra Rat Rod for his son (right), and just last week, he picked up the Electra Hawaii 16-inch for his daughter (left)!

As you can see from their smiles and the girl's t-shirt, it's never too soon to Define Your Life. Ride a Bike! Thanks for the photo!

Monday, June 1, 2009