Tuesday, May 31, 2011

2011 Bike to School logs 32,034 miles, ends with school-wide celebrations

The students who attend Bay Middle School, Bay High School and Rocky River Middle School didn’t let an unusually rainy May dampen their commitment to bicycling during Bike to School Challenge sponsored by Century Cycles, Raleigh Bicycles and Chipotle, which concluded last Friday with school-wide assemblies to celebrate the program’s success. And there was plenty for the 2,240 kids to cheer about -- and for the cities' mayors, schools' administrators and program's organizers to praise.

Students at the three Northeast Ohio schools bicycled a total of 32,034 miles to school from May 9 through May 27 – enough miles to circle the globe and then some – which saved the environment 35,237 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. It also saved Mom and Dad $5,795.92 in gasoline expenditures.

At Rocky River Middle School, the three-week initiative nearly quadrupled the average number of bicyclists to school per day, from 49 to 193. At Bay Middle School, 430 students (53%) biked to school on average each day; 16% of the school – 130 students – bicycled all 15 days of the challenge despite rainy, chilly weather on many of those days. The highest overall ride day was Wednesday, May 11, on which a total of 1,070 students biked to all three schools.

Bay schools marked its fourth Bike to School Challenge by hitting a major milestone – its students have now bicycled a total of 102,803 miles and saved 113,083 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions since the program began in 2008.

“I think this is the best program of its kind in America,” said Chris Speyer, vice president of Raleigh Bicycles, a Seattle-based bicycle manufacturer that is a Bike to School Challenge sponsor. Speyer, who also serves as the president of the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, attended the celebrations to present the grand prize bicycles.

Both Bay Village Mayor Deborah Sutherland and Rocky River Mayor Pamela Bobst attended their respective assemblies, praising the students for their bicycling accomplishments and telling them how much they’ve inspired their communities. Mayor Bobst said that the Old Detroit Streetscape project will have new bike racks, and she encouraged the students to bicycle all summer to their destinations. Mayor Sutherland vowed to bike and walk more herself this summer, saying she sees far more citizens riding bicycles in Bay Village since the program began.

For regular updates about Bike to School Challenge, visit www.centurycycles.com/to/bts

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cross-country cyclists visit the Medina store

Another group of cross-country cyclists stopped in one of our stores this morning, this time in Medina. From left to right, Nick Shields, Andrew Hobson, and Gary Sereico are riding from Rochester, New York to Oregon. Andrew had some trouble with his bottom bracket, so we were able to replace it for him on the spot.

Good luck, and have fun on your ride, gentlemen! For more pictures of touring bicyclists that have stopped in all three of our stores, plus information about the national touring routes that pass near our stores, see: www.centurycycles.com/for/touring

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Towpath Trail closed; bike rentals suspended

This afternoon the National Park Service closed the entire Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in Cuyahoga Valley National Park due to excessive flooding. The bicycle rentals at our Peninsula store are suspended until the Towpath is re-opened by the NPS.

The trail closure includes associated parking lots from Lock 39 Trailhead in Independence to Botzum Trailhead in Akron.

Please check www.nps.gov/cuva in advance of traveling to the park for updates. The NPS also asks everyone to please respect all park closures for the safety of visitors, resource, and park staff. Please do not drive through moving water or designated closed areas.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The unsung heroes of Bike to School Challenge

Bike to School Challenge comes to an end on Friday, so we wanted to take this opportunity to thank the people who make a three-week program like this safe, fun, and -- let's face it -- even possible. First up: Teachers.

Dedicated teachers at each school check in the students each and every morning for three weeks,  direct school traffic, and countlessly remind their classes to keep biking and how the program works. In particular, we've got to give a shout-out to Lawrence Kuh, Brent Illenberger (below) and Gary Sherwood at Bay Middle School; Wendy Crites, Peg Liberatore and Laura Brabant at Rocky River Middle School (above); and Eryn Whistler at Bay High School.

School aides, who help all students give Bike To School Challenge a try, whether it's riding in with them, helping them find a trike or even a stationary bike, or helping the student work as a BTS volunteer.

All the school crossing guards. 'Nuff said.

Community supporters, in particular avid cyclist Rich DeLombard of Huron, who rides his high-wheeler bike with the students on the first day and has attended the start of every Bike To School Challenge since we began the program. You rock, Rich!

And Rich is generous enough to even let principals give his bike a try.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lives Defined: Bill Cunningham

This past week I had the pleasure of seeing a wonderful documentary about a man who most certainly embodies Century Cycles' motto "Define your life. Ride a bike."
"Bill Cunningham New York" tells the story of the New York Times photographer who is in his 9th decade of life (yes, that's a fancy way of saying he's over 90) and is riding his 29th bicycle (the first 28 got stolen). Cunningham pedals around Manhattan almost daily, putting miles and miles on his bike as he lovingly, selflessly and almost obsessively captures the fashion zeitgeist of the city and serves as one of its most loyal cultural anthropologists.
To see this poignant and award-winning documentary about a dedicated artist and bicyclist, head to the Capitol Theatre in Cleveland. (Got some time to kill before the movie starts? This is a great neighborhood for that -- ice cream at Sweet Moses, coffee at the Gypsy Bean, shopping at Duo Home....)
To see his amazing work, check out On The Street with Bill Cunningham each week in the Styles section of the Sunday New York Times. (Confession: I re-order my Sunday Times sections so this one is always last, like a delicious dessert. But enough about me - I am only in my 4th decade of life and am decidedly un-zeitgeisty.) To read more Lives Defined profiles, click here. (Seriously inspiring stuff.)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Happy Bike To Work Day!

Early morning fog gave way to sunshine-y skies here in Northeast Ohio as a wonderful gift to Bike To Work Day. How did YOUR ride to work go today? What worked, what didn't, and will you be trying to bike to work more days this summer?? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook.

And hopefully you -- like Frazz -- are able to take advantage of the fact that it's not called Take-The-Most-Direct-Route Day!

When it comes to our staff, seven Century Cycles employees biked to work in Rocky River today, and Bike To Work Day is also coinciding with the 60th birthday of Michael Williams in our Peninsula store. Happy birthday, Michael -- hope you got a bike ride in to celebrate!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Poll results: Workplace bicycle-friendliness in Northeast Ohio

Century Cycles conducted an online poll last month to ask Northeast Ohio bicyclists "What would make your workplace more bicycling-friendly?" The overwhelming response: We need it all!

Showers/changing areas (29%), bike racks/storage (12%), wellness incentives (7%) and bike to work programs (2%) all got their share of votes, but a whopping 50% voted for "all of the above."

Where can a workplace go for help? The League of American Bicyclists has a Bicycle Friendly Business program that helps employers rate and improve their bicycle-friendliness, even offering a Bicycle Friendly Blueprint.

Where can a bike commuter go for help? Century Cycles has an online article, 5 Tips: Commuting by Bicycle (http://bit.ly/l0cXjf), with extensive information for bicyclists of all skill levels, including links to more articles and resources. Century Cycles’ staff at their stores in Medina, Peninsula and Rocky River – who are seeing an increase in customers expressing a desire to use their bicycle for transportation to school, errands and work – can also offer personal assistance seven days a week with insights on everything from essential gear to route-mapping.

Bike To School t-shirt design contest winners announced

Every year, Bike To School Challenge has a t-shirt design contest for students to create the unique and original artwork that is on the front of the event's commemorative t-shirt given away to every student and teacher who bikes to school just four days during the three-week program. Today we're happy to announce the winning student designs.

Emma Tomczak, a senior at Bay High School, designed the front of the Bay Bike To School Challenge t-shirt and it features the bicycle as super-hero along with the message "Save the planet. Bike to school." Her winning artwork was selected by the students of Project Earth Environmental Club, which is awarding Emma with a gift basket of goodies. She also wins a $25 gift card from BTS sponsor Century Cycles.

At Rocky River Middle School, 7th grader Clara Sandu submitted the winning artwork for the Rocky River Bike To School Challenge t-shirt (below), in which all the bicycles lead to school and help protect the planet. Clara's design was selected by the student volunteers of the Fuel Up To Play 60 group at the school. Clara will also win a gift basket from the program and a $25 gift card from BTS sponsor Century Cycles.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Honey Hut supports Bike To School with sweet treats for students

Today at 2:45 p.m., over 500 Bay Middle School who biked to school on this dreary spring day will be celebrated for their two-wheeled accomplishment with free ice cream provided by Honey Hut Ice Cream, a sponsor of Bike To School Challenge.

Last week, Honey Hut’s Bee-Mobile served up ice cream to the student-bicyclists at Bay High School (above) and Rocky River Middle School, and today it's Bay Middle School's turn.
BMS students average a 4-mile round-trip to school, which on a bicycle burns almost 200 calories and saves 15 pounds of pollutants from the air. That means today alone,  when approximately 500 Bay Middle School students biked to school, they as a group burned approximately 100,000 calories, biked 2,000 miles, and saved 7,500 pounds of pollutants -- all well-deserving of a dish of delicious locally-made ice cream!

Honey Hut owner Bruce Page (pictured below at right, with Bay High School Assistant Principal Jason Martin) wants to reward students for bicycling and help fuel their bike-to-school efforts.

Bike To School Challenge sponsored by Century Cycles, which coincides with National Bike Month in May and Cleveland Bicycle Week on May 16-23, is a three-week program that began on May 9 and runs through May 27 at Bay High School, Bay Middle School and Rocky River Middle School. Students commit to ride their bicycles to school to help the environment, improve their health and beat high gas prices – plus win great prizes and have fun. Last Monday, May 9, 1,001 students bicycled to the three schools on BTS Challenge’s first day and the students achieved 4,624 combined round-trips to school via bicycle during the first week.

Century Cycles, Chipotle, Honey Hut, Bay Lanes, and national bicycle manufacturer Raleigh Bicycles are corporate sponsors. In Bay Village, the Bay Village Kiwanis, Bay Schools Parent Teacher Student Association, Project Earth Environmental Club and the Bay Skate and Bike Park Foundation are also sponsors. In Rocky River, Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Rocky River PTA are also sponsors.

Fore regular updates, visit www.centurycycles.com/to/bts.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Pajama Party Night Ride rescheduled for June 25

Severe weather forced us to cancel last Saturday's Pajama Party Night Ride. But have no fear -- we have rescheduled it for Saturday, June 25!

Everything stay the same -- all the details, your preparation, and what you can expect -- we'll just be doing it a few weeks later, when hopefully monsoon season has subsided.

As always, head to www.centurycycles.com/for/NightRides for more information!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Students biked 4,624 round-trips to school this week

Students in Bay Village and Rocky River embraced two-wheeled transportation during the first week of Bike to School Challenge, bicycling a combined 4,624 round-trips to school from Monday, May 9, through Friday, May 13, and filling their Ohio schools' bike racks (and fences- above) to overflowing.

During the first week of the three-week program, Bay Middle School students biked a total of 2,530 round-trips to school, averaging 506 bicyclists to school per day (62% of the school). The highest ride day of the week was Wednesday, May 11, when 575 students (70%) biked to school.

Rocky River Middle School students biked a total of 1,317 total round-trips, averaging 263 bicyclists to school per day (42% of the school). The highest ride day of the week was Friday, May 13, when 311 students (50%) biked to school.

Bay High School students biked a total of 777 trips, averaging 155 bicyclists to school per day (19% of the school). The highest ride day of the week was Wednesday, May 11, when 199 students (25%) biked to school.

These high bicycling numbers are in contrast to national averages. Studies show only about 15% of U.S. children bike or walk to school today, versus approximately 50% in 1969. As a result, as much as 20 to 30% of morning traffic is generated by parents driving their children to schools and one-third of schools are in “air pollution danger zones.” More than 33% of U.S. children are now overweight or obese or at risk of becoming so, with many now suffering from diabetes and other weight-related illnesses.

Bike to School Challenge sponsored by Century Cycles, Raleigh Bicycles and Chipotle is a three-week program that runs through May 27 in which students at the three Northeast Ohio schools commit to ride their bicycles to school to help the environment, improve their health and beat high gas prices – plus win great prizes and have fun.

This is the first year Rocky River Middle School students have taken the challenge. Now in its fourth year in Bay Village, the award-winning program has had a big impact upon the lakeside community. In the challenge’s past three years, Bay Village students have biked 80,052 miles and saved an estimated 82,352 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. Last year, Bay students also saved $3,857 in fuel costs in just three weeks (when gas cost $2.75 per gallon).

National bicycle manufacturer Raleigh Bicycles has joined Century Cycles, Chipotle, Honey Hut, and Bay Lanes as corporate sponsors of Bike to School Challenge. In Bay Village, the Bay Village Kiwanis, Bay Schools Parent Teacher Student Association, Project Earth Environmental Club and the Bay Skate and Bike Park Foundation are also sponsors. In Rocky River, Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Rocky River PTA are also sponsors.
For regular updates about Rocky River Bike to School Challenge and Bay Bike to School Challenge, visit www.centurycycles.com/to/bts.

(Photo: Doug Charnock)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Flip-Top Water Bottles Now Available

We've been getting several requests in the Peninsula store for a specific type of water bottle. When riding on the Towpath Trail, the dust from the trail tends to get kicked up a lot, causing it to cake on the nozzle of your water bottle. Unless you wipe it off really well before you drink, you can get a mouthful of grit!

These bottles solve this problem with a flip-up cover that keeps the dust and other gunk off of the mouthpiece of the bottles. They're made by Nalgene, and are called the All-Terrain Bottle. Just $9.99 each, and they come in white or blue.

We've got a few of them in stock in Peninsula; if you'd like to pick one up in Medina or Rocky River, just give us a call and we'd be glad to send one over at no extra charge!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pajama Party Prep Time!

Our 2nd Annual Pajama Party Night Ride is this Saturday -- your only chance to celebrate Cleveland Bike Week in bedtime clothes! Some of you may be new to the slumber party on two wheels, so here are five tips to prep for it:

1. Select the sartorial statement you want to make with your pajamas. For example, pink flannel is an excellent choice -- and still looks smashing with a bicycle helmet and cycling shoes!

2. Bring fresh legs to ride both the Blender Bike AND the Towpath.

3. Also bring an appetite for Twizzlers -- they just might be the only thing the sustains you until the Winking Lizard server brings you a burger and beer.

4. Gather up your courage to play "Spin the Water Bottle for Cycling Truth or Dare." Sample truth you may have to 'fess up to: How often do you wash your cycling shorts? Sample dare: Do a wheelie!

5. No slumber party is complete without a monster movie. We're not telling you what fine cinematic experience you're going to have after the ride at the Winking Lizard, but suffice it say this flick was filmed in 1964 and stars Yosuke Natsuki. Awesome.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

1,001 students biked to school yesterday for BTS kick-off

Sunny skies greeted students for the kick-off of Bike to School Challenge yesterday, and they bicycled  to their Northeast Ohio schools in droves. Bay Middle School (pictured above and below) counted 527 bikes (almost 60% of the school), Rocky River Middle School counted 276 (almost 50% of the school), and Bay High School counted 198 (about 25% of the school) – for a grand total of 1,001 bicyclists to school on Monday, May 9, and a terrific start for the three-week program.
And the kids weren't alone. All three school principals also biked to school – Sam Giffords at RRMS, Sean McAndrews at BMS, and Jim Cahoon at BHS -- as did many teachers and administrators, who made it a “bike to work” challenge in support of the students and the program.

“It is an awe-inspiring sight to see hundreds and hundreds of bicycles parked in front of these schools. It sends a powerful message about the huge impact the students can have on the community with the simple act of riding a bike,” said Scott Cowan, owner of Century Cycles bicycle store in Rocky River and one of the challenge’s organizers. “Everyone involved with the program is just thrilled with the response on the first day and is excited for the coming weeks.”

Bike to School Challenge sponsored by Century Cycles, Raleigh Bicycles and Chipotle is a three-week program that runs through May 27 in which students at the three local schools commit to ride their bikes to school to help the environment, improve their health and beat high gas prices – plus win great prizes and have fun. For more details, check out www.centurycycles.com/for/BTS.

Rocky River Middle School staff members Peg Liberatore, Laura Brabant and Wendy Crites greet students who rode their bikes on the first day of the three-week Bike to School Challenge. The students received a BOGO burrito card from Chipotle for biking the first day and a "Ride Card" that will be stamped each day they ride to school. The Ride Card can be redeemed for a t-shirt from Century Cycles and earns them chances to win grand prizes from Raleigh Bicycles, Chipotle, Honey Hut, Bay Lanes, and more.

Rocky River Middle School teacher Dave Opdycke joined in the Bike to School Challenge.

Rocky River Middle School students filled their bike racks and started bike parking along a school fence.

Peninsula's first touring cyclist of the season

The Peninsula store had its first bicycle-touring visitor of the season today. Elzie Chavers, from the Buffalo, New York area, is on the fifth day of his trip, following the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route to Mobile, Alabama. He'll be writing about his adventures at:

We replaced his rear wheel for him, after his original wheel had been trashed from carrying the weight of his gear, and his hitting a deep manhole cover outside of Youngstown yesterday.

See more photos of past bike touring visitors to all of our stores in the Century Cycles Bicycle Touring Photo Gallery.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Over 2,000 students take Bike to School Challenge starting today

Over 2,000 middle and high school students in the Cleveland, Ohio suburbs of Rocky River and Bay Village are taking the Bike to School Challenge sponsored by Century Cycles on May 9 – May 27, committing to ride their bikes to school for three weeks to help the environment, improve their health and beat high gas prices.

The award-winning program kicks off this morning at Rocky River Middle School (1631 Lakeview Avenue; student arrival on bicycles: 7:30 to 8:05 a.m.), Bay Middle School (27725 Wolf Road; student arrival on bicycles: 7:00 to 7:40 a.m.), and Bay High School (29230 Wolf Road; student arrival on bicycles: 7:10 to 7:45 a.m.).

Bike To School Challenge vs. National Averages
In 2010, 58% of Bay Middle School students biked to school during Bike to School Challenge (481 students biked per day on average; 600 biked on the challenge’s first day). In stark contrast, studies show only about 15% of U.S. children bike or walk to school today, versus approximately 50% in 1969. A report concludes that changing the habits of just 20 percent of children living within two miles of school to get them to bicycle or walk to and from school instead of being driven would be the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road each year, preventing the emission of over 350,000 tons of carbon dioxide and 21,500 tons of other pollutants. (Source: Safe Routes to School: Steps to a Greener Future, prepared for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Safe Routes to School National Partnership)

Two-Wheeled Transportation Can Transform Schools
• 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.”
• Two recent studies have found that biking or walking to school is associated with higher overall physical activity throughout the day. There are many potential benefits of physical activity for youth, including weight control, reduction in the risk of diabetes, and better academic performance.

About Bike To School Challenge
Now in its fourth year in Bay Village, Bike to School Challenge shows students, their parents and the community as a whole that going by bike is a great way to go, especially for short trips around town. The program has had a big impact: Last year, Bay students saved $3,857 in fuel costs in just three weeks (and that was when gas cost $2.75/gallon). In the challenge’s past three years, Bay Village students have biked 80,052 miles and saved an estimated 82,352 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. And its message is spreading – the program has now expanded to Rocky River Middle School, as well as inspired a school in Oklahoma.

“Everyone looks forward to Bike to School Challenge in May. As educators, we know physical activity positively impacts academic performance,” said Jason Martin, Assistant Principal at Bay High School and one of the program’s organizers. “The kids have fun biking to school with their friends, but they are also learning the benefits of lifelong fitness and the effect their choice of transportation has on the environment.”

New Sponsors in 2011
National bicycle manufacturer Raleigh Bicycles has joined Century Cycles, Chipotle, Honey Hut, and Bay Lanes as corporate sponsors. In Bay Village, the Bay Village Kiwanis, Bay Schools Parent Teacher Student Association, Project Earth Environmental Club and the Bay Skate and Bike Park Foundation are also sponsors. In Rocky River, Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Rocky River PTA are also sponsors.

How It Works
Students who register for Bay Bike to School Challenge and Rocky River Bike to School Challenge carry a “Ride Card” that is stamped each day they ride a bike to school. Students receive a free event t-shirt from Century Cycles for biking at least four days. The more they bike, the more they can win – every Ride Card they fill up earns them more entries into a grand prize raffle, and they earn twice as many entries if they wear a bicycle helmet.

There are also daily incentives: Honey Hut Ice Cream is throwing after-school ice cream parties for those students who bicycle on May 11 (Bay High School), May 13 (Rocky River Middle School) and May 18 (Bay Middle School). Bay Lanes is giving away a game of bowling to every student who bicycles on the last day of BTS, May 27, which is also “1,000 Bikes in Bay” – a day that the entire city and school district joins the bike to school effort.

The program concludes on May 27 with assemblies at each school, to show the students the impact of their efforts, receive congratulations from sponsors and dignitaries, and draw the grand prize winners’ names. The grand prizes include:
• Two bicycles per school from Raleigh Bicycles;
• Bicycling accessories (locks, bags, lights and more) from Century Cycles;
• Chipotle burrito party for 25;
• Honey Hut ice cream party for 20;
• Bay Lanes bowling party for 10; and much more!
• There is also a special grand prize drawing for a Cedar Point season pass for the students at each school who biked every day of Bay Bike to School Challenge.

Bay Bike To School Challenge began in 2008
Inspired by a student car boycott to protest high gas prices in 2007, Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan approached Bay High School, his alma mater, about encouraging more bike-riding to school. It was enthusiastically embraced by the students and faculty. Participation in 2008 exceeded organizers’ expectations. In 2009, the program was expanded to include Bay Middle School and spread to Rocky River Middle School in 2011.

For regular updates about Rocky River Bike to School Challenge and Bay Bike to School Challenge, visit www.centurycycles.com/to/bts.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lessons learned from 30 Days of Biking

Congratulations to everyone who accomplished 30 Days of Biking last month, especially since it was one of the rainiest, coldest Aprils we've experienced in the past 50 years. As you can see from the above comments from Century Cycles' Facebook wall, Laura and Hillary biked for 30 days, and so did Kevin Madzia at our Peninsula store and Sean Burkey, Century Cycles' rep from Raleigh Bicycles. Here's what Kevin and Sean had to say about taking the 30-day challenge:

KEVIN MADZIA: The nicest day of the month was the 30th, but I only had time to do the spin around the block that day! Most of my rides were commuting to work, or 25- to 50-mile fitness rides on my days off; occasional grocery runs. On the days that I didn't have time for a "real" ride, I did a quick spin around the block in my neighborhood, often in the rain at 10-11pm, when the significant other and the dogs were already asleep. A couple times it was to take a quick test-ride of a stock bike in the store around Peninsula. I totaled 465 miles for the 30 days; I did not count the quick around-the-block spins in the mileage total, though; those were about 1/2 mile each.

During the 30 days, I tested out new tires on my Xtracycle, and the Avenir Metro Mini Handlebar bag. I already had a full complement of waterproof clothing, waterproof panniers, dry bags, etc. to handle the weather, plus my must-have piece that I think I used every single real riding day, the Surly Wool Jersey, plus SmartWool socks or DeFeet Woolie Boolie socks.

My main lesson for myself and to pass on is to plan you day as such: a) Decide to ride, b) Check the weather forecast, then c) Decide what to wear. If you do b) first, you'll end up not riding!

SEAN BURKEY: I managed to get at least a spin in every day for the 30 days of biking. It was a good event and a challenge at times to keep on the bike with all the wet weather, but it really helped remind me of the challenges of riding/commuting in the weather and what gear you do need. My clothing has been updated with some great rain gear and additions such as fenders, dry bag panniers, and a dry bag for the phone have made this weather less of a hindrance and at times a greater experience than had it been sunny. Crazy to say, but it's been fun.

Fun with the Fagowees!

Century Cycles' blender bike, a couple Raleigh bicycles, and a few of us hit the road to the join the Cleveland Fagowees Ski Club at their May membership meeting -- or what they were wonderfully calling Cinco de Biko.

What a great crowd of folks that loves pedaling almost as much as skiing! Some of their local bike rides welcome the public (like the Wednesday Biking on the Towpath or the Monday Night Westside Rides), while others are members-only (so become a member and enjoy year-round social and cycling events along with your winter skiing or boarding).

Our huge thanks go out to Shelli Snyder for inviting us to attend and for pedaling (above) a very tasty batch of margaritas!

Friday, May 6, 2011

See you at TOSRV this weekend!

We're looking forward to seeing many of our friends at this weekend's Tour of the Scioto River Valley! For those of you not familiar with this ride, on Saturday it's 104 miles from Columbus to Portsmouth, Ohio, and then the same route in reverse on Sunday.

Century Cycles is proud to take part in our 14th year of serving the over 3,000 TOSRV riders! Each year, Scott Cowan packs up the CC van with clothing, accessories, and parts to create a rolling "store-away-from-the-store" to provide for any last-minute needs of the over 3,000 people signed up for the tour. This year, Josh (also from the Rocky River store) will also be there for mechanical support.

This year marks another major milestone for the event; it's the 50th anniversary of TOSRV! Way back in 1961, Charles Siple and his son Greg mapped out the ride on a whim, and decided to ride it over a 2-day weekend. More riders joined the Siples the following year, and the rest is history! TOSRV not only went on to become the unofficial kick-off ride of the Ohio cycling event season, but served as the model for other organized rides around the country.

Greg Siple later was one of the founders of Bikecentennial, a cross-country ride done by hundreds of people in 1976 to celebrate our country's 200th birthday. Bikecentennial later became the Adventure Cycling Association, which to this day, continues its mission to inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle for fun, fitness, and personal growth.

In honor of TOSRV's 50th anniversary, Greg Siple has made the journey from the ACA's home in Missoula, Montana, back to Ohio to attempt the ride the full 208 mile route! Look for Greg out on the road, and see www.tosrv.org for more history of this classic spring bike tour!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

WEWS TV-5 story on RR Bicycle Safety Fair

We had a great turnout last night for the Rocky River Bicycle Safety Fair -- over 60 bicycles, lots of students eager for 2011 Rocky River Bike To School Challenge to start on May 9, and even WEWS TV5 was in the house to cover the event for their 11 P.M. newscast! (If the video above is not appearing for you, click here to view it on our web site.)

Missed last night's safety fair? You still have one more chance -- attend the Bay Village Bicycle Safety Fair tonight!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"With My Own Two Wheels" Cleveland Screening

Last night, I went to check out the exclusive Cleveland screening of the film "With My Own Two Wheels." The film is a short feature that weaves together the experiences of five individuals into a single story about how the bicycle can change the world--one pedal stroke at a time.

Century Cycles is proud to have been a sponsor of the event; we donated door prizes for the raffle, proceeds of which benefit World Bicycle Relief. The event was part of Northeast Ohio's celebration of Cleveland Bicycle Week. Although Cleveland Bicycle Week doesn't officially start until May 16, as Kevin Cronin of ClevelandBikes pointed out in his opening remarks, we're considering any bike-related event this month (as well as some in June) to be a part of the festivities!

The story in the film focuses on 5 individuals throughout the world:

  • Fred, a farmer in Zambia -- In addition to supporting his wife and children as a farmer, Fred volunteers to provide care for local members of the community suffering with HIV/AIDS. With his bicycle, provided by the organization World Bicycle Relief, Fred is able to visit more patients in a shorter amount of time, and have more time left to spend with his family.
  • Mirriam is a physically disabled woman in Ghana. She works at a local bicycle repair shop called Ability Bikes, that was founded with the help of the organization Bikes Not Bombs. She is an inspiration not only to other disabled people who are normally shunned and ignored by the society they live in, but also to women in general, in a culture where women are typically considered not able to perform skilled mechanical work.
  • Bharati is a 14-year-old girl in India. In her rural region, most girls don't attend school beyond the elementary level, because the schools are often hours away by walking, and the girls are expected to spend more time at home helping their families with chores. With bicycles provided by a group called Ashta No Kai, Bharati and her friends are able to attend high school and still have time for studying and their other family obligations.
  • Carlos is an engineer who helped found Maya Pedal in Guatemala. The group designs and builds "bicimaquinas," or pedal-powered machines that enable local farmers and others to perform necessary work using methods that require less expensive resources that cause less harm to the environment. Some of their creations in use in their community today include a bicycle-powered corn thresher, water pumps, and a bicycle blender.
  • Sharkey is a volunteer bicycle mechanic at the Bici Centro bike co-op in Santa Barbara, California. His work has given him a sense of worth and positive connection to the community, which has helped to keep him away from gang activity in his neighborhood.
In seeing these people tell their stories of how bicycles have changed their lives, you can't help but be struck by the vast difference between them and us in their relationships to their bicycles. Personally, I love my bikes, and I believe that using them instead of my car as much as possible helps to save natural resources, save money, and save my health. But to be honest, the real reason I ride is just that I think it's a lot of fun.

This difference hit a note even further when, in one scene, Fred is shown strapping his medical kit to the back of his bike using an old inner tube. Of course, the first thing I thought was that he could us a few of the bungee cords that I routinely stop and pick up on the side of the roads during my rides. I started doing this a couple of years ago just on a lark, as a goof, if you will, just because I was amazed at the number of them that I saw. I've become known kind of as the "Johnny Appleseed of Bungee Cords." My friends now sometimes will say that they notice them laying on the side of the Interstate, and their first impulse is to stop and pick them up, until they realize, "Wait, I can't do that, I'm in the middle of a freeway." The whole thing kind of reminds me of a quote from the movie "The Book of Eli," where the main character (played by Denzel Washington), in comparing our world of today with the post-apocalyptic wasteland of his time, said, "We used to throw away things that people kill each other for now." Maybe that comparison is a bit extreme, but that's just what occurred to me.

Anyway, if you didn't get a chance to catch the film at the Cedar Lee Theater last night, check out www.withmyowntwowheels.org for other screening locations around the country. One of the co-directors, Jacob Seigel-Boettner, was there last night for a Q&A session after the film, and he said it will be available on DVD (and probably online) in 2012.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Let's celebrate National Bike Month!

May is National Bike Month -- plus Cleveland Bike Week is May 16-22 and Bike To Work Day is May 20. Here's what's on Century Cycles' calendar to help Northeast Ohio cyclists celebrate these momentous occasions!

Bicycle Safety Fairs: Rocky River on May 4 and Bay Village on May 5 - Bring your bike and get it ready to ride to school, to work, or just around town! FREE and open to all.

Bike To School Challenge: May 9 - 27 -- Back for the 4th year at Bay High and Middle Schools and launching for the first time at Rocky River Middle School, this program strives to inspire over 2,000 students to realize the huge impact bicycling to school can have on the health of planet, their bodies, and even their wallets!

Pajama Party Night Ride on the Towpath Trail on May 14 -- Bike in your bedtime clothes to celebrate at this slumber party on two wheels! FREE and open to all, plus it will benefit Project Night Night.

Bike MS Pedal to the Point Kickoff Party on May 20 -- Bike to Around The Corner in Lakewood to join Century Cycles and Raleigh Bicycles at this great event hosted by the MS Society, plus learn more about our special program to help you boost your miles and your fundraising for MS 150!

Special National Bike Month Coupon -- If you received our 2011 Cycling Guide or a sale postcard back in March (either in-store or in your mailbox), you should have kept a special "Save For Later" coupon that is good for 25% off one accessory during May only. Now is the time to redeem it!

Monday, May 2, 2011

U.S. Bicycle Route System: Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It!

Beginning today and throughout National Bike Month (May 2011), Adventure Cycling Association is working to raise $30,000 to support the creation of an official U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) -- once complete, it will be the largest official cycling route network in the world!

Donate $10 today to support the creation of a national network of bicycle routes: the U.S. Bicycle Route System, a visionary project that will be similar to the national and international systems blossoming across the globe, such as Euro Vélo. The routes will connect cyclists across the U.S. with cities, transportation hubs, scenic and historic destinations through existing (and new) infrastructure; routes will be numbered, mapped, and officially recognized by state and federal government agencies.

30 states are already working to implement U.S. Bike Routes -- donate today!

Want to help spread the word about this campaign?

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Mocha-riffic: GGR chooses new t-shirt color

We were thrilled to host a meet-n-greet for Grunt Girl Racing in our Rocky River store last Tuesday evening. As their official bike store sponsor, Century Cycles is happy to provide every GGR member with a "Define your life. Ride a bike." sweatshirt and t-shirt, to help them show their cycling pride. Since we were looking for a new color of women's t-shirt, we asked GGR to pick the new color and and they voted for MOCHA! You can spy them stacked on the table in the center of the table in the photo above.

How can you score a Define Your Life t-shirt? We have them for men, women, and children in assorted colors and sizes -- free with every bike purchase and for sale at all of our stores. (And we love to see where our t-shirts go -- from the Cleveland Marathon to Oregon wine country to Taiwan -- so send us a photo of where you take your shirt!)

Or join Grunt Girl Racing -- get that mocha t-shirt AND the friendship and support of Northeast Ohio's only all-women multisport club/team that's open to all ages, interests and abilities.