Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
And for anyone out there thinking of doing a trip like this stop in and ask one of us who have done it and we can get you started with some knowledge and stories from the road. See you out there!!!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Once again, meet Mary Ann and Dave (below). After stopping by the Medina store yesterday, they ended up stopping at the Peninsula store later that same day...our first multi-store bike-touring visitors!
The award-winning program concluded with school-wide assemblies at both Bay Middle School (BMS) and Bay High School (BHS), at which local officials and sponsors helped the school administrators celebrate the program’s success with students and award the grand prizes of free bicycles and other prizes.
Bay Village Mayor Deborah Sutherland praised the students and told them that Bay Bike to School Challenge has inspired her to bicycle more to work at City Hall. She said the entire city was proud of their commitment and she encouraged them to keep bicycling all summer long.
The inspiration wasn’t confined to Northeast Ohio, however. A school in Edmond, Oklahoma had their very first Bike To School day on Friday, May 21, after being inspired by Bay Village’s efforts.
From May 3 to May 21, Bay Bike to School Challenge racked up some big numbers:
• 28,052 miles: Total number of miles bicycled by Bay Village students (calculated by daily bike counts at BMS and BHS and the average daily commute based on student surveys). The earth’s circumference is 24,901 miles, so Bay students logged enough miles to more than circle the globe.
• 28,641 pounds: Total number of pounds of carbon dioxide emissions estimated to be saved.
• 1,242 students: Total number of BMS and BHS students who registered for the challenge, out of a total population of 1,642 students).
• 481 students: The average number of Bay Middle School students who biked to school each day, or 58% of the school. The highest number of bicyclists was on May 5, when 600 students biked to BMS (a whopping 72% of the school) and approximately 240 BMS students biked every single day of the challenge. Prior to the challenge, 74% of BMS students used a car or school bus to get to school, according to student surveys.
• 178 students: The average number of Bay High School students who biked to school each day, or 22% of the school. The top bicycling day at BHS was May 3, when 290 students biked to school. Approximately 40 BHS students biked every single day of the challenge. According to student surveys, only 6.5% of BHS students regularly bicycled to school before the challenge.
• $3,857: The estimated fuel savings by Bay students by bicycling to school for three weeks (based on total mileage and an average gasoline cost of $2.75 per gallon).
• 80,052 miles: Total number of miles bicycled by Bay students during all three years of Bay Bike to School Challenge, 2008 – 2010.
• 82,352 pounds: Total number of pounds of carbon dioxide emissions estimated to be saved during all three years of Bay Bike to School Challenge, 2008 – 2010.
Those numbers are in stark contrast to national averages. According to the Safe Routes to School National Partnership, only about 15% of U.S. children bike or walk to school today, versus approximately 50% in 1969. As much as 30% of morning traffic is generated by parents driving their children to school, one-third of schools are in “air pollution danger zones” and more than 33% of U.S. children are now overweight and obese or at risk of becoming so.
On May 21, school administrators were also striving to reach “1000 Bikes in Bay” to give the challenge one last boost. They almost met their goal: The bike count for the day was 930 bicycles – 285 at Bay High School, 514 at Bay Middle School, 125 at Westerly, three at Normandy, two at the school board office and one bicycle at Glenview. Organizer Jason Martin, Assistant Principal at BHS, deemed it a success and said, “This was definitely the most bicycles we’ve ever had at Bay schools on one day.”
At Bay High School, the grand prize winners of Raleigh and Giant bicycles from Century Cycles were Luke Reid, Nick Snyder, Abe Zbornik and Nathan McDonald. At Bay Middle School, the bicycle winners were Nick Portonova, Ron Gilman, Matthew Thomas and Dominic Passalacqua. The winners of free burritos for a year from Chipotle were Laurence Gaide at Bay High School and Hayley Langer at Bay Middle School. In addition, over 60 more students won grand prizes from Century Cycles, Earth Day Coalition, Main Street Cupcakes, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park, Project Earth Environmental Club, Bay Skate and Bike Park Foundation, Vanitylab Salon, Bay Lanes and more.
A special drawing for a Cedar Point season pass was held for the students who bicycled all 15 school days of the challenge. That drawing was won by Hillary Stradtman at BHS and Hunter Dunlop at BMS. Also honored were Camille Eckel and Kathryn Tokar at Bay High School, who won the t-shirt design contest and had their artwork featured on the event’s t-shirt.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Check out past pictures of long-distance bike tourers on our Bicycle Touring Photo Gallery!
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Doug Charnock was on hand to snap a couple of photos:
Friday, May 21, 2010
The solution was easy, since the bike he was taking to show off was the Surly Big Dummy! All it took was a little creative use of zip ties to attach a fork mount to the back of the Big Dummy frame, with plenty of room in the Freeloader bag to carry Josh's front wheel.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Ride of Silence in a speech in Congress:
Check out this guy in Japan who REALLY likes his Surly Big Dummy (dancing in your cubicle in encouraged):
We now return you to your regularly-scheduled slacking off.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
As I was tuning up my bike at the shop and getting it ready for the ride, I regretted having left my old favorite Topeak Compact Handlebar Bag at home. Knowing I wanted to take a lot of pictures during the trip, and knowing that it's nice to keep your camera handy, I grabbed one of the Detours Mini Met Handlebar Bags off of our shelf.
At first, I was wary of the handlebar clamping system. It doesn't have the auxilliary cable or steel band that goes under your stem to help keep it stable, like most other brands of handlebar bags and baskets. It's just got two sets of rubber shims, in different thicknesses to accomodate different handlebar sizes. Once I got the clamp in place on my handlebar, though, I could see that it gripped pretty tightly, and wasn't likely to go anywhere.
At half the size of my old handlebar bag, the Mini Met is still surprisingly roomy. I was able to fit all of my usual stuff in it--wallet, cell phone, digital camera, and keys (the "big four"), and then still had room for the rain cover (included with the bag), some spare change, and a small tube of sunscreen.
Out in the real world, the handlebar clamp did not let me down. It held firm while riding over all types of terrain--paved roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, even singletrack.
In addition to the rain cover, the Detours Mini Met Handlebar Bag also comes with a detachable shoulder strap, so you can convert it into a man-purse (or "European Carry-All," as Jerry Seinfeld would call it). You can also order extra handlebar clamps, so that you can easily swap the Mini Met from one bike to another. The clamp is compatible with all models of handlebar bag from Detours; the Mini Met is the smallest, but there are larger models available (such as the Cruiser) for those who want to carry everything, including the kitchen sink.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Our celebration of Cleveland Bicycle Week continues, with our on-going Super Seven Sale, and the Ride of Silence in Peninsula on May 19. See www.centurycycles.com/for/clebikeweek for full details!
Our next regularly-scheduled Night Ride on the Towpath Trail (sans pajamas) is Friday, June 4, 2010. See www.centurycycles.com/for/nightrides for more details.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
I've had my Xtracycle Freeradical Longtail kit for about three years now, and this is fourth different bike frame it's been attached to. This time, I thought I'd see how I might be able to get it to work with 700C (instead of 26-inch) wheels, since I had a spare set of 700C touring wheels with no home. The frame was an old GT hybrid that we had sitting in the back of the shop, also waiting for a good home. I had to swap out the front fork for an inexpensive steel fork with disc brake mounts made by Dimension.
Xtracycle claims that the Freeradical is compatible with 700C wheels up to 37mm wide. What you can make work will vary from one tire manufacturer to another, and whether or not you plan to use fenders.
I had hoped to use my Panaracer T-Serv Messenger 700x35C tires, which are pretty fat, and actually measure more like 38mm wide. These ended up bumping into the front and back part of the Freeradical frame. I finally settled on a pair of Schwalbe Marathon 700x32C tires (that I originally got for my Surly Long Haul Trucker). These left just enough room in the frame, and enough room to use my Planet Bike Hardcore Hybrid fenders.
Xtracycle makes a 700C "lifter" kit that raises the height of the v-racks enough to give clearance for the SnapDeck over the top of the wheel. This kit looked to me like four bar end plugs, so I just found two pair of old bar end plugs, dropped them into the v-rack upright supports, and they do the trick just fine.
The old GT frame used cantilever brakes; this setup doesn't provide the usual cable stops needed for modern v-brake/disc brake systems, so I added this bolt-on cable stop made by Problem Solvers:
Finally, because every bike needs a little Surly in it, the handlebar is a Surly Torsion 1x1 bar, given to me by Neal in our Rocky River store (Thanks, Neal!). Its 15-degree bend provides a comfortable grip, and the wide, flat shape leaves plenty of room for mounting all of my dorky accessories (Profile Design Brief Bar Ends, Joe-2-Go Coffee Cup Holder, Topeak Compact Handlebar Bag, CatEye Enduro 8 Cyclocomputer, and IncrediBell Brass Duet.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
"Can I get a 105, or Ultegra, or Dura-Ace version?" you may ask. Yes, but not as easily. Tiagra-level components are now the top-of-the-line for Shimano 9-speed compatible drive trains; 105, Ultegra, and Dura-Ace are now only made in 10-speed compatible versions. To upgrade a Cross-Check to 10-speed, in addition to the brake/shift levers, you'd also need to upgrade the chain, derailleurs, and crankset. Cha-ching!
This bike is currently in the Century Cycles store in Peninsula; give us a call if you want to check it out in Rocky River or Medina.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Last weekend in Peninsula, a customer brought a wheel into the store with a flat tire. They said, "It feels like there's a screwdriver or something inside there." As we took it apart, that was pretty much what it was, only a chisel, not a screwdriver, stuffed between the tire and the inner tube. No idea how or why it got in there...
- Cleveland Bicycle Week
- Pajama Party Night Ride on the Towpath Trail
- Ride of Silence
- Super Seven Sale
- Staff Profile: Rich Oettinger
- 5 Tips: Mountain Biking
- Our latest online poll: What was your most embarrassing moment on a bike?
As always, you can sign up to receive our monthly eNewsletter and catch up on past editions from our eNewsletter web page. Of course, we don't share, sell, or do any other nasty things with your e-mail address. In fact, in recognition of our excellence in e-mail communication and adherence to e-mail best practices, we were honored with the 2009 Constant Contact® All-Star Award.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
It's now mountain biking season in Northeast Ohio! One of the premiere mountain bike trails in our area, West Branch State Park, officially opens for the season on May 15. Other Northeast Ohio mountain biking trails are already open, weather and trail conditions permitting. Ride responsibly, and don't ride when the trails are wet!
Even if you're an experienced street or bike path rider, mountain biking requires a special set of skills unique to the terrain and off-road riding experience. Even if you've ridden through the woods many times before, these tips can help hone your talent and enjoy yourself even more!
1. Lower your tire pressure. The general rule for cycling on pavement is that you want to have the maximum recommended air pressure in your tires. This provides the smoothest, most efficient rolling, and the best protection against flat tires and wheel damage if you run into a pothole.
When riding singletrack mountain bike trails, however, you want to do the opposite--your tire pressure should be at or just above the minimum recommended pressure. For typical mountain bike tires, this is around 35 to 40psi. This gives you the most possible traction when pedaling over slick roots, rocks, and loose dirt. Even if your mountain bike has suspension, your tires are really the first line of defense against bumps on the trail. If your tires are inflated to too high pressure, you'll feel like you're being bounced around like a pogo stick. Lower tire pressure helps to smooth out the ride, allowing you to maintain more control, not to mention you'll feel less beat up in your hands, arms, and the rest of your body.
Keep in mind that this is a trade-off situation--the lower tire pressure you use, the more likely it is that you will get a pinch flat if you run hard against the edge of a rock or other sharp obstacle. But most experienced riders feel that the risk is worth it for the increased traction and control you get.
2. Apply front and rear brakes evenly. This is a good rule of thumb for any type of cycling, but it's especially important for several reasons when mountain biking. Applying balanced pressure on both your front and rear brakes allows you to control your speed with less chance of locking up either wheel. If your front wheel locks up, it's an almost assured recipe for an "involuntary dismount" over your handlebars. If your rear wheel locks up, your rear tire will skid, causing you to lose control, as well as damage the trail surface.
Some situations call for rapid pumping of your brakes, to alternate between quick stopping power and releasing to avoid skids, simulating the "anti-lock braking system" found on many modern cars.
3. Uphill: weight forward; downhill: weight back. When you're pedaling on a steep uphill, your front wheel will have a tendency to lift off the ground, doing an unintentional wheelie. To counteract this, lean way forward, with your nose hovering just above your handlebar. Keep your butt on the seat, but scoot way up on the nose of the seat. This moves your center of gravity forward, while still keeping weight on the rear wheel to keep it from losing traction and spinning out.
When riding downhill, you have the opposite problem--your bike bike will want to flip back-end over front. To help prevent this, stand up on the pedals (keeping your knees slightly bent and flexible) and move your body back beyond the back edge of the seat. In extremely technical downhill conditions, some riders will even lean so far back that the seat pokes them in the gut, and their butt hovers precariously just above the rear wheel. This moves your center of gravity towards the back of the bike, putting more weight on the back wheel and helping to keep you and the bike upright.
4. Speed is your friend when trying to ride over obstacles. When you approach a tough-looking section of trail or an obstacle, your first impulse might be to grab your brakes and slow down, the idea being that if you think you can't cleanly ride through, it's best to scrub speed to minimize the impact of a crash. As you get more experience, you'll find that maintaining a steady speed can help you more easily clear the tough stuff, whether it's a log jump, a large rock, or a patch of small rocks or roots. Your forward momentum helps carry the bike over the tops of the obstacles, with less chance that you'll be bounced around from side to side.
To choose a good line through obstacles, it can be helpful to think of this principle in reverse. In other words, ask yourself "What path do I need to take to get through this section as fast as possible?" This leads to the old saying, "The shortest distance between two points is a straight line." Sometimes, you have to maneuver your way around in the spaces between obstacles, but keeping speed and efficiency in mind, you'll eventually find that's it's usually easier to go straight over, rather than around, trail obstacles.
Don't get discouraged if you're just starting out and aren't always able to pick the best line to get through a hard part of the trail. As you ride your favorite trails over and over, you'll start to remember what works and what doesn't work in each section. Plus, you'll develop the experience and skill to "read" the trail to pick the best line, even on unfamiliar trails, just like a pro golfer can read the subtle undulations on a green or an expert kayaker can read the currents while paddling a stretch of whitewater.
5. Look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go. Imagine you're cruising along on the trail, and you see a big tree very close up ahead. If you stare at it and start saying to yourself "Don't hit that tree, don't hit that tree," chances are, you're going to hit that tree. At times, our bodies can be smarter than our brains. The body will tend to guide itself where the eyes tell it to. So, the trick is to get your brain to point your eyes in the right direction, and your body has a better chance of following.
Pretend that you are The Terminator, with laser beams coming out of your eyes. Make those laser beams track along the trail, following the best line that you believe provides you the quickest, smoothest, and safest path based on your experience. If you keep your eyes on that line, your bike has a pretty good chance of staying on that line, too.
This principle applies to other active sports, such as skiing, rock climbing, and even ball/target sports like tennis, baseball, and hockey. It's an application of what sports psychologists call "positive imagery." That is, if you can build a mental picture of yourself executing a difficult maneuver, you actually increase your chances of successfully achieving it.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Rich Oettinger, 39, started working at the Century Cycles store in Peninsula in June of 2009 after a 19-year career as a semi truck driver. He started on the sales floor, but with a knack for learning about all things mechanical, he quickly came up to speed as one of our expert mechanics. He currently lives in Cuyahoga Falls with his wife and son.
Q. What's your favorite thing about working at Century Cycles?
A. It's a totally different atmosphere from sitting alone in a truck all day, having nothing to do except think about stuff that I shouldn't be thinking about. Here, the people I work with, including customers, are always generally happy and bubbly, so I never feel like I've had a bad day.
Q. When did you first start cycling?
A. Three or four years ago, I realized that I had to do something to get some exercise, since driving a truck doesn't provide much opportunity. I started riding a bike, and since then, I've dropped from 320 pounds down to about 265.
Q. How many bikes do you own?
A. I have three: a Raleigh road bike, a Giant mountain bike, and a Raleigh touring bike that I use for commuting to work.
Q. Which do you prefer, road or dirt?
A. It's hard to say, because I really just love all kinds of riding. I love riding off-road, but at the same time, I've really gotten to love commuting--it's convenient, fun, and a great way to take your mind off the everyday stresses of life.
Q. What do you like to do when you're not on a bike?
A. I used to be pretty seriously into racing radio-controlled cars, but it's been about 10 years since I gave that up, because to be competitive, you've got to devote your full-time attention to it. I still like to follow racing sports, though--all kinds, anything that has a motor. I also really like paintball, spending time with my family, and doing yard work and other stuff around my house.
Q. What's your favorite ride or trail?
A. Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park, because it's a fun place to ride, and I can work on skills that come in handy when I'm actually out on the trails. Plus, it's a great social scene, letting you keep up with people that you ride with in the summer that you don't usually see during the winter.
Q. What was your first bike?
A. My dad got me a Huffy; all I really remember about it was that it was an orange BMX-style bike.
Q. What's the best cycling advice you've been given?
A. For commuting, get a good, bright taillight. For mountain biking, know your limitations and don't ride over your head.
Q. What questions do you get asked most often?
A. Since we see a lot of beginner cyclists, we get a lot of questions about the benefits of using cycling-specific shoes. Of course, in Peninsula, we get our usual share of non-cycling-related questions, such as "How do I get there from the East Side?" (take I-271 South to Exit 12) and "When does the train stop there?"
Along comes the new Cinco de Fixie wrench from Avenir!
It's got a 14mm and a 15mm open-end box wrenches, the most common sizes for wheel nut installation and removal. It's got a lockring tool for tightening your cog lockring (also handy on some older-style headsets and bottom brackets).
It's also got a chain whip, which is used to tighten your fixed cog on your hub. The chain whip can also be used to help in removing freewheels and cassettes, but who would want to ride with a freewheel or cassette?
Finally, it's got the #1 tool you need, a bottle opener! (Does PBR even come in bottles any more?)
It also comes with a handy carrying pouch, so you don't get grease all over your tight jeans.
Just $18.99 each, in stock today at all three Century Cycles stores!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Two weeks from now, there's a great opportunity for first-timers to get some tips and a gentle introduction to mountain biking. In conjunction with the Cleveland Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA), local rider Esther Gates is holding a Beginner's Mountain Bike Ride!
Date: Sunday, May 23, 2010
Time: 1:00 pm
Where: Quail Hollow State Park
Please RSVP to the e-mail address provided on this announcement on the CAMBA web site.
Quail Hollow State Park's mountain bike trail is an easy, beginner-friendly loop about 3.5 miles long. It's perfect for first-timers, with no major uphills or downhills, and a relatively smooth surface with very few rocks, logs, and other obstacles.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Above is Keith Blume, from Jamestown, New York. He's riding from his home to the west coast, following the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, then the Transamerica Route, then the Lewis & Clark Route. We fixed him up with a pair of gloves and some replacing a broken spoke. You can follow his trip here: www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/leavingtrunk
Here are Mike Nelson and Jeff Brown, making their way from their home in Bowling Green, Ohio to Newport, Rhode Island. We swapped some chainrings on Jeff's bike to give him some lower gears to handle the unexpected hill climbs he encountered in Northeast Ohio!
We've been posting photos of people on bicycle tours for a couple of years now. To make it easier for you to check out other other pictures of people on bike tours, we've collected all of them in a new page on our web site, the Century Cycles Bicycle Touring Photo Gallery!
Friday, May 7, 2010
And how 'bout this for a crazy CC connection: See that guy waving in the photo above? That's John Clay, a longtime Century Cycles customer we'd recognize anywhere, even front-and-center on the TOSRV brochure and website!
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Century Cycles is transforming its regularly-scheduled Night Ride on the Towpath Trail on Saturday, May 15, into a Pajama Party Night Ride in celebration of Cleveland Bicycle Week and National Bike Month. The FREE event festivities for all the pajama-clad bicyclists include:
+ Cycle-your-own-smoothies and glow-in-the-dark goodies in the parking lot of the Peninsula store starting at 7pm. (The Night Ride will depart the parking lot at 8 p.m., as usual.)
+ The turnaround at the ride's halfway point will have games of "Spin the Water Bottle for Cycling Truth or Dare" and some yummy slumber party snacks like popcorn, cookies and Twizzlers!
After the ride, bicyclists are welcome to gather in the Peninsula Winking Lizard party room to trade bicycling (and ghost!) stories. While the Night Ride is free as always and requires no advanced registration, the Pajama Party Night Ride will be collecting donations for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Association’s TRAILS FOREVER Fund.
Pajamas are not required, but they are highly encouraged. And be sure that whatever you wear doesn't hang or drag – nothing that can get caught in a bicycle’s spokes or chain.
Check out www.centurycycles.com/goto/nightrides for all the details about Night Rides or e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, you can also dial up the Peninsula store at 330-657-2209.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
FREE Nantucket Cobblestone Crescent Basket with a Mother's Day bicycle purchase!
($30 value; good for any women's bike purchase thru Sunday May 9, 2010 or while supplies last)
More Ways to Say "Happy Mother's Day"