Tuesday, March 31, 2015

A Bicycle Seat Bag Is Only as Good as What You Put in It.

Top Ten Things You Should Stuff in Your Bicycle Seat Bag

You can find a bunch of lists online for what you should take with you under your saddle. Here is a list of what you will be most thankful you brought along.

1. First aid - The following items take up next to no room. Three medicated bandaids in various sizes. Two or three individual hand wipes. You’ll be so glad you brought these one day.

2. Identification - Some don’t like to carry a wallet. At least bring the ID.

3. Cash - $5 can get you out of almost any jam. Debit card, too?

4. House key - Easy to forget when you’re traveling light

5. Multi-tool set - Find the right tools for your bike. Even if you can’t fix anything, maybe someone else can help if you have the tools.

6. Cell Phone - Probably no need to remind you to bring this absolute necessity. You may prefer to use a mounting system to attach to your handlebar. But it will fit nicely into most seat bags.

7. Mini pump - You may prefer to mount your pump on the frame. However, some decent hand pumps are now small enough to go into some seat bags. An alternative is a CO2 pump. In any case, having a way to pump up your tire or that of a stranded cyclist is worth a few ounces and a bit of room in your seat bag.

8. Patch Kit and tire changing tool - Don’t bother with the one if you don’t have the other. West of Kansas, due to tire eating thorns, you will need all the protection possible against flats. In the rest of the world, it is certainly nice to have a way to fix a flat when they occur. For the Western US, be sure to outfit your tires with RhinoDillos tire liners. Then take a patch kit for good measure.

9. A spare tube - This will act as stuffing in your seat bag to keep other items from rattling around. It is also great for those times when the patch kit doesn’t work or you go through multiple flats.

10.  Sun screen - Did you remember to put
sun screen on when you left the house early in
the day. Nutz! Now you have to hunt down and pay dearly for a large bottle of some brand you don’t even like. Instead, get the individual packets and put two or three in your seat bag. Or buy a small plastic bottle, and pour some of your favorite sun screen into the bottle as back up. You’ll thank me.

What would you add to this kit?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Cycling Fans

How does a guy run with horns like that?

We're not that far from some major cycling races this year. The big one, the Tour de France won't be until July, but there are big ones on both sides of the Atlantic in May. The Amgen Tour of California is a week-long race through the state that begins on May 10. NBC Sports will have some live coverage of it. In Europe, the Giro d'Italia is a three-week race that begins a day earlier on May 9.

Bicycle racing has some of the most passionate and downright crazy fans. During cycle races, I have seen people dressed up as the Devil (A regular at the Tour de France), sumo wrestlers, and my personal favorite, this guy with the horns mounted on a football helmet. Most of these fans wait for the racers to come by on a hilly stretch when they aren't going that fast, and then run along side them for a short distance. I really don't see how someone can run with horns that big.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Photo - Bear on Bike

Stop that bear! He stole my bike! (Photo courtesy of EgoTV)

I ran across an interesting web page at EgoTV called A Gallery of Animals Riding Bikes. It has 26 photos of animals on bicycles, both non-motorized and motorized. We'll be featuring more photos from this page on our Friday Photos in the coming months. I haven't really figured out what EgoTV is just yet, but I love these photos.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

2015 Scott CR1 20 - Affordable Carbon Fiber Bike - Circle City Bicycles

Stiff, Featherweight Carbon Frame - Yet Designed For Comfort!

Photos from

The SCOTT CR1 20's IMP Carbon frame offers the perfect balance of performance and comfort at a more affordable price point. Designed to save the rider from shock and vibration, the CR1 is the ideal choice for the enthusiast who wants to enjoy long rides but doesn't want to feel beat up at the end of the day.

Like the Solace’s it has a geometry which focuses on ‘all-day comfort’, so it’s shorter in the toptube and taller in the headtube than the race-orientated Foil or Addict, to provide a more relaxed, upright riding position.
Lightweight carbon rails and a carbon injected nylon base. It's comfortable super light foam provides just the right amount of padding to keep you comfortable for long rides without any extra bulk. Equipped with a water and dirt repellent micro fabric cover.
S-bend Construction

Each tube profile is designed to absorb both abrupt and high frequency vertical input with no compromise in lateral stiffness. We’ve created an original tube shape that allows controlled deformation in the rear triangle called an S-bend. The SDS rear stays enable this S-bend deformation via unique tube structure, thickness, and shape in specific sections of the chain stays, seat stays and fork.
    CR1 Carbon / IMP Carbon technology / Road
    Comfort geometry / INT BB
    CR1 Carbon
    1 1/8" Carbon Steerer
    Alloy Dropout
    Ritchey Int. Cartridge
Rear Derailleur:
    Compact: Shimano 105 Black RD-5801-GS
    22 Speed
Front Derailleur:
    Compact: Shimano 105 Black FD-5800
    Compact: Shimano 105 Black ST-5800
    Dual control 22 Speed
    Shimano BR-R561 Black
    Super SLR Dual pivot
    Compact: Shimano FC-RS500 Black
    Hyperdrive 34 x 50 T
    Compact: INT SM-BB7141
    Syncros RR2.0
    Anatomic 31.8mm
Handlebar Stem:

    Syncros FL2.0
    1 1/8" / four Bolt 31.8mm

    Syncros RR1.4 Carbon/AL 31.6
    Syncros Road Endurance
    Formular Team 20 H
Hub (Rear):

    Formular Team 24 H
    Compact: Shimano CN-HG600 11 Speed
    Compact: Shimano 105 CS-5800
    11-32 T
    CN - AERO
    Black 2mm
    Syncros Race 27 Aero Profile
    20 Front / 24 Rear
    Schwalbe Lugano
    700 x 23C 

Circle City Bicycles and Fitness
5506 Madison Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227
(317) 786-9244

Tire Size & Rolling Resistance

Are you a bike geek?  Then today's post might be of interest to you.  There is an older article out about Tire Size and Rolling Resistance.  If you aren't well you just might learn something that "goes against the grain" when out looking for a new bike or maybe your first bike.  Today's bike manufacturers really do not take the "average" rider into consideration with most of the frame technology and size capabilities in my opinion.

I read an interesting quote that goes something like this: "When was the last time you were 2nd place on the podium because of a 28mm tire instead of a 23mm tire?"  Maybe another good question might be when was the last time you even raced your bike in a sanctioned USAC race?  If you race Cat 3 or higher then I would guess you are pretty dialed in with bike tire size and pressures.  But if you are a recreational rider looking to gain comfort and fitness on the bike then maybe you should consider wider tires as a good option to help get  you started.

Here is my favorite point from the article:

On rough surfaces, however, a tire at lower pressure is able to absorb more of the bumps than a tire at higher pressure, with less deflection of the bike and its rider. This is the same “sprung vs. un-sprung weight” argument that demonstrates why suspension makes a bicycle faster on rough terrain — it takes less energy to keep the bike rolling if only a small amount of weight is lifted (like a small section of the tire) than if the entire bike and rider is lifted by the bump.
If the bike were rolling on smooth glass, it’s clear that higher pressure would be faster. The question is, what is the ideal pressure for the surface you’ll be riding on?
When was the last time you rode your bike on smooth glass?

There are many frame options that allow for a wider tire today - you just have to be open when talking to the shop staff and explain what your end goals are from your bike riding.  If you are looking to get in shape, see some great sights, and just enjoy the open road then a wider tire, in my opinion, is the way to go.  If you are planning on racing and training hard then a narrower tire and the frame that limits tire size is the way to go for you.  We are not all cookie cutters so be open and try one of each and you decide which bike feels better.

Originally posted by
Tom's Pro Bike
3687 Walden Avenue
Lancaster, NY 14086
(716) 651-9995

Monday, March 23, 2015

Arkel Panniers

Out for a week-long tour in Wisconsin with my Arkel panniers

At Circle City Bicycles we feature Arkel panniers. These are top of the line, high quality panniers. They are not cheap, but when you are out on the road, one simply cannot afford equipment failure. All Arkel panniers include a lifetime warranty. They are manufactured in Canada and feature top quality materials:
  • Cordura fabric
  • YKK zippers
  • All aluminum (No plastic) hook system
I personally use these when touring, and the photo above shows me out on a week-long tour with some friends in Wisconsin (They have some great bike trails, including the Elroy-Sparta trail). If you are going to be doing extensive bicycle touring, I recommend that you invest in good panniers, because you might be in big trouble if they fail out on the road.

I use the GT-54 panniers in the rear. They have a ton of special features designed into them. My favorite is the the long tube on the right pannier that can accommodate tent poles. It attaches with velcro, so you can remove it if you're not using it. The rear pocket on the left side pannier is sized to hold a large fuel bottle for a backpacking stove. I use the GT-18 panniers in the front.

Most Arkel panniers come in red, yellow or black. Many people like the black ones, but we recommend the red or yellow for better visibility during the day. They have reflective strips for visibility at night.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Photo - Bike in a Tree

Must have been a really bad crash

This wasn't actually due to a crash. An eight year-old Vashon Island, Washington boy received a donated bike after his father passed away in the 1950s. It was a girl's bike and he apparently wasn't too fond of it. He left it leaning against a fir tree and walked away. Forty years later the local newspaper ran a story about it after someone ran across this tree with the bike sticking out of it. Former islander Don Puz recognized it as his bike. The local paper, the Vashon - Maury Island Beachcomber ran another story with an explanation of the bike's origin in 2009.

Unfortunately, after the tree and bicycle became famous, vandals have been stealing parts of the bike. The local chamber of commerce plans to get vintage parts to replace those stolen. They are also considering a fence around the tree to keep thieves away.

Thanks to My Honey's Place and Roadside America for info on this story. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Mixing Technologies

Hill climbing made easy.
Sticking with my Bicycle and Rocket theme, this photo shows a simple solution to the problem of using all of your energy on a hill climb.  With this setup going up a hill is a breeze. The rocket is possibly a little uncomfortable as a seat but, if you have built up a sweat riding on the flat, you can definitely cool down on the climb.

While the rocket on a bike is still in the prototype phase of development, you can visit Circle City Bicycles to find your cycling solution.  We carry a full line of Bicycles and Accessories to meet any and all of your needs.  If you are so inclined, you can visit my model rocket site to see some unique model rocket kits.  Just aim your browser here New Way Space Models.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Get Your Bike Ready for Spring

We repair what we can, but some items are beyond help
Today was the first really nice day of 2015. The temperature maxed out at 74 degrees, and a lot of folks were bringing in their bikes. Unfortunately, the warm weather is not here to stay - Thursday's predicted high is only 49 degrees. This is a good time to get your bike in for a tune-up, overhaul or any other repairs that you need. Get them in now before the weather gets nice and stays nice.

Keep in mind that we offer free lifetime minor adjustments (Ones we can do in a couple minutes) on bikes purchased from us. These are usually gear or brake adjustments. If you purchased a bicycle from the now closed Performance Bike in Greenwood, we'll honor your lifetime adjustments, so you don't need to drive all the way to Castleton.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Photo - The Dandy Horse

An 1820 Draisine
Today's photo is an 1820 draisine, the forerunner of the bicycle. It was created by Baron Karl Drais and patented in 1818.He called it a Laufmaschine, which is German for "Walking machine." The press called it a "Draisine" after its inventor. It became a bit of a fad in 1819, especially in London. It was popular with dandies, so it became known as a "Dandy horse".

It had two wheels and could be steered with a rudder like mechanism on the front. It did not have pedals, so it basically allowed the user to walk faster. Roads in 1819 were not at all smooth, so users tended to ride them on the sidewalks. After complaints by pedestrians, many cities banned them from sidewalks. It wasn't until around 1860 that someone finally came up with the bright idea of adding pedals.

Here is an interesting 15-minute video that describes the draisine in the first half, and covers bicycle evolution since them in the second half.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Pedaling Not Required

Rocket Bike Girl Sarah Pickens lets it rip.
Sometimes you just need a break from pedaling around town and this girl has figured out how to do just that.  I'm not sure we recommend this method of riding but, I guess it works for some.

If you get the chance, visit our store and we can get you on a bike that only pedals, no rockets included.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Handbuilt Show in Louisville Always Provides Inspiration

 If you don't subscribe to, how would you ever know about this bike reports that this was probably the most visually inspiring bike at this years show:

Every year, artisan bicycle builders from all over the world descend upon a different US city to show their wares at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. This year, we traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, to take in the event. We decided to begin our coverage with a very eye-catching one-of-a-kind bike that was built especially for the show, by Copenhagen-based Cykelmageren.
To learn more about this bike and see other photos of the hub, frame elements, and cable set up, go to

If you have seen any innovative bike concepts, please report about them in the comments with links, when possible.

Monday, March 9, 2015

What is Cyclocross?

Fuji Altamira CROSS 1.5 DISC Cyclocross Bike

Cyclocross is a very specific type of bike racing. For the most part, the course is off-road but there are sometimes portions of pavement included in the course. You can expect to encounter grass, dirt, mud, gravel, sand, and a whole slew of other assortments and combinations. The races are based on a set time (measured by numbers of laps), not distance. Depending on your category, a race can be as quick as 30 minutes (for beginners), or as long as 60 minutes (for pros).

It is only starting to gain popularity in America, but it is very popular in France, Holland and especially in Belgium. The cyclocross season is during the winter, when there isn't much road racing going on. The 1910 winner of the Tour de France stated that his off-season cyclocross racing was key to his TDF victory. This greatly improved the sport's popularity.

Here's a video that describes the sport. If you are interested in finding out more about cyclocross racing in the United States, please visit the USA Cycling website. If you decide you want to get into cyclocross racing, Circle City Bicycles can help. We are a Fuji Bicycles dealer, and they currently offers 5 different cyclocross bikes.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Friday Photo - Swiss Army Bike

Any dog that chases this bike is in big trouble.
The Swiss Army had bicycle infantry troops until they were finally disbanded in 2003. They used only two models in their history. The MO-05 was introduced in 1905 and used until 1993. It was a single speed and weighed around fifty pounds. Soldiers were expected to carry as much as 70 pounds of military gear. They must have been in pretty good physical condition - If you have ever been to Switzerland, you know it isn't flat.

In 1993 the Swiss Army introduced the MO-93. It has a seven speed rear derailleur, with a stout guard around it, as you can see in the photo. It also has a front rack, which the previous model did not have. Although they no longer have special bicycle troops, the Swiss military introduced the MO-12 in 2012 for general transportation usage.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 Offers Clear Case for Where to Position Your Road Bike Brake Pad


So where’s the best place to position your road bike’s brake pads?

The trend in road bikes is towards disc brakes.  However, there are still millions of riders who stop their ride using rubber pads on the sides of the rims. We have all spent time trying to set those up perfectly for best stopping, and less noise, vibration, and so on. decided to investigate:

 Last Saturday, while waiting for everyone to arrive at the group ride, the self-proclaimed bike repair guy, whose shop is in his basement, was helping a female cyclist who was fairly new to the sport. She told him that something was rubbing and shaking while she was riding, especially when braking. He took the bike for a quick up the block and back and told her it was her brake pads. She was running them dead center on the brake track and he said that he prefers to see them as high as possible. I sat there for a minute trying to understand his logic which still doesn’t make sense.

2The True Answer is that it’s better to run the pads lower than higher (lower as in closer to the spoke nipples than higher which is closer to the tire). In fact, its best to run them as low as possible just before they start hitting the side of the rim. There are two reasons for this.
  1. From a manufacturing point of view - when machining the braking surfaces, the lower area is supported by the inside of the rim, the upper area has no support and therefore the upper area of the brake track will deflect slightly when machining and will ultimately have more unevenness than the lower part of the brake track.
  2. From an operational point of view - again, the upper part of the brake track is unsupported and will therefore deflect more, i.e., pulsate more under heavy braking.
In summary, the lowest part of the braking surface will have a more concentric width, less tendency to pulse and less compression.
Further searching through Shimano’s vast number of Tech Docs, I found this…

Monday, March 2, 2015

Mountain biking tips - The big Three

Alex Stewart (Indianapolis), Charles Shindler (Nashville) and Jonathan Juillerat (Brownsburg) test a section of hillside trail armored with native stone at Brown County State ParkDuring the last few weeks, my blog posts have covered a few reasons why you should be mountain biking. This week, I have came up with a simple list of tips and tricks that will make you an expert off-roader in no time.


  • Be controlled, smooth and precise in your action and use the counter steer to bring your bike to the outside of the trail as you enter into a turn. This action widens your cornering arc and allows you to carry more speed. It’s generally a smoother trail on the outside as well.
  • Ride around the top or bottom of bumps into and through corners. It’s smoother faster and more energy efficient.
  • Once you’ve entered the corner, position your body weight toward the front of the bike. This position keeps your center of gravity low on the bike. This stylised position is achieved by bending your elbows to act as suspension and bringing your chest toward the handle bars and stem. This assists the bike to turn sharply and brings extra traction to the front wheel.
  • As with your road bike when you stop pedaling in a corner your outside foot should go to the bottom of the pedal stroke.Your inside knee swings into the corner.
  • Inside shoulder drops.
  • Outside elbow rises.
  • Bring your head and chest toward the handle bars.
  • Bum off the seat allows you to turn your hips in the direction you want to go.
  • Lean into the corner.
  • Lower your center of gravity. Think snow skiing. Mountain biking is same same. It’s like carving a good turn on the snow.


  • Steep uphill riding position is similar to the cornering position. Bring your head and chest toward the handle bars by bending your elbows. Combined with sliding your butt forward on the seat keeps the bike tracking in a straight line and stops the bike from wandering across the trail. This keeps the front wheel down on the ground as you power into the pedals.
  • Remaining seated going uphill keeps maximum traction to the back wheel and keeps your pedaling technique smooth and efficient. As soon as you stand up and stomp on the pedals your heart rate jumps 10-15 beats per/min. It also offsets your balance and reduces your traction.


  • Keep your knees pointing down the track to where you want to go. Let-go of the seat with your inner thighs it allows the bike to pivot underneath you.
    Image result for awesome mountain biking
  • Stand up on your pedals as soon as you are rolling downhill. Dominant foot forward and slightly up from a horizontal position. This makes the front of the bike light and lets the front wheel aquaplane over the bumps.
  • Roll down through your heels when standing up. This evenly distributes your weight onto both legs and into the pedals. It allows you to have your weight further back on the bike and apply more back and front brake when your travelling in a straight line.
  • Choose the smoothest part of the trail when going downhill. Its more energy efficient and allows you to look ahead on the trail or through the corners.