Monday, February 27, 2012

Bicycle Hand Signaling Tips, and more history than you wanted to know

Recently, we shared the following two videos from Road ID on our Facebook page:

Advice for Drivers: How to Drive With & Around Cyclists

(Click here if the above video is not appearing for you.)

Signaling while Cycling - Road ID Rules of the Road

(Click here if the above video is not appearing for you.)

Good advice all around, and it prompted this comment and question from Paul, one of our Facebook followers:

"When riding in traffic I always use hand signals, it helps people driving cars know what you intentions are and as far as I am concerned drivers need all the help they can get. Because I use hand signals, and because I am right handed I also switched my front brake lever to the right side of the handle bar. However, I get strange looks from other cyclists when I tell them I use hand signals and that I front brake with my right hand. Any opinions?"

First of all, a bit of history about hand signals. They were originally incorporated into many states' traffic laws before cars had built-in turn signals. These hand signals remained on the books for use in the event of malfunctioning turn signals. The law said to signal a left turn by sticking your left arm out of the left side of the car. Since, in a car, you're sitting on the left side of the vehicle (at least in the US), it didn't make sense to put out your right arm to signal a right turn, because it was unlikely that anyone behind you would be able to see it. So, the law says that to signal a right turn, extend your left arm out and point your hand in the air.

Since cyclists are subject to the same rules of the road as car drivers, many conscientious cyclists, to this day, will signal a right turn by raising their left hand in the air. This despite the fact that anyone behind a cyclist can see their right arm just as well as their left arm.

Recognizing this, many states, including Ohio, have amended their vehicle codes to allow for right-turn signaling by cyclists using the right arm.

So, what does all of this have to do with your brake levers? Some folks argue that you should still signal a right turn with your left hand, because most bikes have the rear brake lever on the right, so while signaling, your right hand is still available to operate the rear brake, if needed. However, the law states that you do NOT have to signal continuously throughout the turning process, specifically when the hands are needed for the safe operation of the bicycle, or when the bicycle is in a designated turning lane.

In European countries, bicycles are configured with the rear brake on the left hand and the front brake on the right hand. The reason may have more to do with tradition than safety, as the brakes on motorcycles (in Europe as well as the US) are set up this way. Some cyclocross racers also like to reverse their brake levers in this way, probably in order to be able to operate the rear brake during a running dismount, or maybe just because they want to be "euro." (Incidentally, when we get European customers for our rental bikes in Peninsula, we make a point to warn them that the brake levers are reversed from what they are most likely used to.)

One-handed braking is a dicey proposition in any situation. Most experts agree that while most of your braking power comes from your front brake, it's safest to apply both front and rear brakes as evenly as possible to avoid skidding. If you MUST brake with one hand, most cyclists prefer to apply only the rear brake, rather than only the front brake. If you're braking with only the rear, in the worst-case scenario, you'll lock up your rear wheel and go into an out-of-control skid. If you're braking with only the front, in the worst-case scenario, you'll lock up your front wheel and fly over the handlebars.

So, Paul, in response to your question, and to summarize it for everyone:

A) All cyclists should use hand signals; if your cycling friends give you strange looks about this, then they are misinformed, and you should direct them to this article.

B) You can set up your brakes and brake levers however you want; do whatever you feel is safest and most convenient for you. The law allows for safe signaling regardless of how your bike is set up. If your cycling friends give you strange looks for having your front brake lever in your right hand, tell them you're "kickin' it euro-style."

Friday, February 24, 2012

Bike news bonanza on WEWS NewsNet 5

The Northeast Ohio bicycling community is really fortunate that WEWS NewsNet 5 videographer Tom Livingston is on the bicycling beat for the TV station -- he is an avid cyclist who shines a much-needed light on all the great bicycling news in the area.

Look no further than his terrific report yesterday, which covered Century Cycles' tips on winter biking and storage, Jacob Van Sickle now heading up Bike Cleveland, Jim Sayer from the Adventure Cycling Association coming to town, and even a bike swap meet.

A tip o' the bike helmet to Tom and WEWS!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Adventure Cycling's Jim Sayer visits Northeast Ohio this Saturday

The Adventure Cycling Association is the world's premiere bicycle travel organization. Their mission is to  inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle. They help cyclists explore the landscapes and history of America for fitness, fun, and self-discovery.

Jim Sayer, the Executive Director of Adventure Cycling, will be visiting Northeast Ohio this weekend to "Celebrate the Joy of Bicycle Travel." One of his main topics will be the new Underground Railroad Detroit Alternate, which is a new spur of the Underground Railroad Bicycle Route, which runs from Mobile, Alabama to Owen Sound, Ontario. The new alternate route splits off of the main route in Oberlin, Ohio, and goes through Detroit and then along the northern side of Lake Erie.

There are two presentations in two different locations; RSVP to either at

When: Saturday, February 25, 2012, 11:00am - 12:30pm
Where: Swerve Bike Shop, 23 S. Main St. Oberlin, Ohio
Snacks and drinks provided.

When: Saturday, February 25, 2012, 6:00 - 8:00pm
Where: Ohio City Bicycle Co-op, 1840 Columbus Rd. Cleveland, Ohio
Vegan chili provided – bring potluck dish to share (preferred) and/or cash donation.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Free party March 2: Celebrate 20 years of Century Cycles!

Our free annual spring party is rockin' it 1992-style to celebrate 20 years of Century Cycles! Everyone is welcome to join us on Friday, March 2, in Medina, the first Century Cycles store -- where it all started (and where it will all soon change to make the most of the NEXT 20 years). See you there!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Listen to Radio Century Cycles

Radio Century Cycles is our monthly online broadcast hosted by Bob Soroky from our Medina store, featuring news, tips, and interviews with personalities from the bicycling world. The next show is tomorrow: Tuesday, February 21 at 10:30am. You can listen online, either live or any time afterwards!

Tomorrow's show features Century Cycles owner Scott Cowan. Celebrating 20 years since the founding of the first store in Medina, Scott will talk about the store's rise from humble beginnings to Ohio's most awarded bike shop.

You can catch up on the previous ten editions of the show at our Radio Century Cycles Archive page. Some interview highlights from the past:
  • December 20, 2011 - Chip Ellison, sales representative for Pearl Izumi and Shimano, provide tips on dressing for winter cycling.
  • October 19, 2011 - Ellen Bryan, Miss Ohio 2011, talks about her bicycle tour around Ohio to benefit the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.
  • September 20, 2011 - Kevin Madzia, from the Century Cycles store in Peninsula, talks about news and the latest cool biking gear from Interbike, the annual bicycle industry trade show.
  • July 19, 2011 - Mike McClintock recounts tales of his long days and nights during RAAM, the Race Across America.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

11 Days left to Make the Most of Winter!

Our Make the Most of Winter Sale ends on February 29, so stop in soon to take advantage of these great deals:

Save $$$ on all bikes!

The following discounts are good off of the lowest marked price of all bicycles, including those already on sale!
  • Bikes $150 - $199: Take $15 Off
  • Bikes $200 - $499: Take $25 Off
  • Bikes $500 - $799: Take $50 Off
  • Bikes $800 - $1299: Take $75 Off
  • Bikes $1300 and up: Take $100 Off
All In-Stock Trainers on Sale!

Take 20% off the regular price of any in-stock indoor trainer.

Winter Tune-Up Specials

  • Tune-Up Service Package #1: Save $15 (regularly $59.99)
  • Tune-Up Service Package #2: Save $20 (regularly $79.99)
  • Tune-Up Service Package #3: Save $30 (regularly $119.99)
  • Tune-Up Service Package $4: Save $50 (regularly $199.99)
See for descriptions of what's included in each service package.

Shoe Closeouts
  • 40% Off ALL Keen shoes and sandals!
  • 40% Off select Pearl Izumi cycling shoes!
  • 40% Off select Shimano cycling shoes!

Friday, February 17, 2012

What cycling skill would you most like to learn or improve in 2012?

What cycling skill would you most like to learn or improve in 2012? Click here to take our latest online poll and let us know!

Our last online poll asked, "How do you use your mobile phone during bike rides?" The majority of respondents (43%) bring their phone along, but don't answer it while riding. About half that many (26%) will answer important calls during a ride. Only 7% don't take their phone on bike rides. See the full results of the last poll here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012 praises Giant Anthem X 29er, a UK-based website, put the 2012 Anthem X 29er to the test, posting a glowing review recently on its website. Editors of the review, which also appeared in What Mountain Bike magazine, praised the Anthem X 29er 1 test bike for its low weight, great handling, and proven Maestro Suspension. “There’s one thing that immediately makes the Anthem X 29er stand out next to its immediate competition, and that’s weight, or rather, lack of it,” they wrote.  “At a hair over 12kg and under the magic 27lb barrier, the Giant certainly isn’t carrying any excess baggage. Compared with lardier rivals, it positively bounds up the hills.”   To read the full review, go to

As of today, Century Cycles has one Giant Anthem X 29er 1 in stock (size medium in Medina). We also have the Giant Anthem X 29er 2 in stock (size small in Rocky River; sizes medium and large in Medina). Any of them can be transferred to Peninsula or the store closest to you for test-riding!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Tech Talk: Storing Bicycles in Your Home

How do you store your bike in your home? Believe it or not, there's more to it than leaning it in the corner of your garage. A little preparation goes a long way towards keeping your bicycle in good riding condition (and avoiding costly repairs), as well as keeping your home well-organized.

Read Century Cycles' latest Tech Talk article, Storing Bicycles in Your Home, to learn:
  • How to prepare your bicycle for storage
  • Choosing a storage location
  • Why bare concrete floors are no friend to bicycle tires
  • Are cold temperatures bad for bicycles?
  • Pro's and con's of popular storage options
  • Time to ride again: How to prepare a stored bike for riding

Sunday, February 12, 2012

All Three Stores CLOSED Wednesday February 15

PLEASE NOTE: All three Century Cycles stores will be CLOSED on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 for our annual staff training day.

Sorry for any inconvenience! We will be open for our regular hours on Thursday, February 16.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Snow Biking Clinic is ON!

This could be you!
We just posted yesterday our lament about the lack of good snow to test out our snow bikes. Today finally provides the ideal conditions to take a snow bike for a REAL test ride, as the smiling customer in the video below did.

Since the temperatures are expected to stay low for the next week, we've decided to schedule our long-anticipated Snow Biking Clinic!

What: Snow Biking Clinic
Where: Century Cycles, 1621 Main Street, Peninsula, Ohio 44264
When: Saturday, February 18, 2012, 1:30pm
Cost: FREE!

Dress warm, as this will be an OUTDOOR clinic, where you'll get to test ride the Surly Pugsley and Moonlander, learn about the special features and design of snow bikes, get tips for riding in the snow, and how to outfit a regular bike for snow riding.

Space is limited, so call us at 330-657-2209 to RSVP for the event!

See for the full schedule and details of our other FREE bicycling and maintenance clinics!

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Surly Has Landed

You may be out of luck if you've been anticipating snow here in Northeast Ohio, but if you've been anticipating buying a fat-tired snow bike, today is your lucky day. We've got one, and only one, of the few available Surly Moonlander bikes in stock! Currently located in our Peninsula store, it's got the Medium-sized (18-inch) frame. You've got to see the Space Black finish of the frame in person to appreciate its beautiousness.

The Moonlander ($2,349.99) is just like a Pugsley ($1,649.99), except Surly has turned it up a notch by beefing up the tires to 4.7 inches wide! You get Shimano Deore and SLX derailers, Microshift thumb shifters, Avid BB7 disc brakes, the Surly Mr. Whirly Offset Double (MWOD) crankset, and Surly Clown Shoe rims with cutout sections to save weight!

 (Oh, and we still have one Pugsley left in stock, 16-inch frame, currently in our Rocky River store.)

Here are Doug and Kevin putting the Moonlander through its paces in Peninsula (this could be you/don't try this at home):

Thursday, February 9, 2012

WEWS TV 5 visits Century Cycles for scoop on winter cycling

It's been such a great winter for bicycling in Northeast Ohio that WEWS Newschannel 5 came to the Century Cycles store in Rocky River yesterday to get the scoop:

Click here to read the complete news story on the station's website or if the video isn't working for you. It's great to see so many of our staff filmed by videographer Brian Archer during his visit -- and even better that longtime customer Mike Foley happened to be at the store and was interviewed as well!

On Tuesday, Century Cycles was also featured in a similar story in The Plain Dealer about how bikers and hikers are taking advantage of the warm winter. That article reported that this is the third-warmest winter in the past 50 years, with an average high of 40.9 degrees.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas for Bicyclists

Does your valentine love to ride a bike? Here are some of Century Cycles' best gift ideas -- pick one depending on the message you want to send your sweetie!
"You Ring My Bell"
The Electra Sweetheart Ding Dong Bell (in Rocky River; can transfer to other stores). Need we say more?

"You Light Up My Life"
The NiteRider MiNewt 600 Cordless headlight (in stock in all three stores) puts out a whopping 600 lumens and weighs just 190 grams, plus it charges in your computer's USB port. Give it along with the 2012 Night Ride schedule and you're all set for an awesome date night this summer!
"I'll Follow You Anywhere"
The Raleigh Companion tandem (in Medina and Rocky River; can transfer to Peninsula) is a bicycle built for two that is a double dose of fun and comfort. Beware, though -- your kids might be borrowing it all the time to ride with their friends!
"A Bicycle as Beautiful As You Are"
The Electra Mariposa cruiser bicycle (in Medina and Rocky River; can transfer to Peninsula) is a fashionable and fun way for her to ride to the coffee shop, school, or anywhere around town in style. Beautiful butterflies are arrayed on the frame, fenders, the seat and the bell -- to remind her of your love with every bike ride.

"I Love My Bike"
Show your bike the love by shouting (um, ringing) it to the world with the "I Love My Bike" bell (in Rocky River; can transfer to Medina or Peninsula) -- OR by bringing it in for a tune-up before February 29 and saving anywhere from $15 to $50, depending on which service package you choose.

What is YOUR best Valentine's gift idea for a bicyclist -- one that you're giving or hoping to receive? Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Weekend News Roundup: The Big Show

For some, "the big show" this weekend is the Super Bowl. For others, it's the Puppy Bowl. For Century Cycles, it's the Great Big Home and Garden Show! Check out our all-Electra booth, with its "Bikes + Fun = Happy" message we hope to share with everyone at the IX Center today through February 12:

Stop by and see us! Now on to our round-up of news and links from our Facebook and Twitter pages:

With a new bill introduced this week, the House is poised to roll back DECADES of progress for bicycling and walking in U.S. transportation. Please take action. -- League of American Bicyclists

And here's 10 reasons why that transportation bill sucks. -- YouTube/Bike League

What to do when someone yells at you from their car. -- Facebook

We agree. The Raleigh Roper is one helluva bike. -- Urban Velo

Sh!t Cyclists Say. -- YouTube/People For Bikes

Don't plan. Pootle. -- Via Adventure Cycling Association

But if you want to do a teensy-tiny bit of planning, be sure to come to our Bike Touring 101 Clinic on Tuesday. -- Century Cycles

We're a proud member of Silver Wheels and have marked the Dog Days Wine Tour on our cycling calendars for July 21 -- Silver Wheels Cycling Club

Finally, thanks to Paul who posted this on our Facebook wall and made us smile:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Century Cycles Night at Ray's MTB Indoor Park

Last Friday, January 27, the gang from Century Cycles hosted a get-together at Ray's MTB Indoor Park in Cleveland -- our second-ever CC Night at Ray's! Among the store staff in attendance were Justin, Rich, Rob, Ed, Kyle, Lynne, plus a few spouses and friends!

Since there were several beginners in the group, they started riding in the Beginner Section, practicing staying in between the painted lines. Once everyone felt familiar with their bikes, they moved to the Yellow Room, where they practiced skinnies, berms, and rolling over box jumps. Next, they headed over to the Sport Section and rode the Rythym Course, then moved on to the pump track.

Those who visited with in the Black Box Room were treated to CC stickers and tatoos, plus one lucky man and woman each won a Century Cycles t-shirt!

Justin put together the video and photos below, featuring his wife Kristen and some of our other guests working their way up from the Beginner Section to the more advanced areas.

Click here if the slide show and/or video above are not appearing for you.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Northeast Ohio bicyclists resolve to ride more in 2012

Last month, we surveyed Northeast Ohio bicyclists about their bicycling resolutions for 2012 and nearly half of them (45%) said their resolution is to ride more miles than in 2011. Closely tied for second place were those resolving to just "have fun" (21%) and the 20% of respondents who are resolving to train for and do something big -- a charity event ride, bike tour or race.

For 11% of those surveyed, commuting by bike more often to work, school and errands is the top goal for the year. Only 2% are resolving to try a different kind of riding.

Click here to take this month's online bicycling poll, which asks: "How do you use your mobile phone during bike rides?"