Monday, June 29, 2015

Tour de France Favorites

Chris Froome after winning Stage 8 of the 2013 Tour de France
(Photo courtesy of The Gaurdian)
The 2015 Tour de France begins this Saturday. Here are some of the contenders for the overall title. Be sure to watch the fantastic coverage of the race on NBC Sports. I'll start with what some are calling the "Fantastic Four".

Chris Froome of Great Britain is the favorite. It should be no surprise if you watched him in 2013 and 2012. He looked very impressive when he won the 2013 Tour de France. In 2012 it looked like he might have been able to win it if he had not been supporting team leader Bradley Wiggins. In 2014 he was looking to defend his title when he crashed twice on stage 5 and had to abandon the Tour.

 Nairo Quintana of Colombia is considered by most who follow professional cycling to have the next best chance of winning. Many cycling fans first took note of him and his fantastic climbing ability in the 2013 TDF when he finished second to Froome. In 2014 Quintana competed in the Giro d’Italia, which he won, and skipped the Tour de France, because the Giro's hilly route suited his abilities better. This year's route of the TDF is very favorable to him since the route is hilly and has only one short individual time trial. If he can stay close to the leaders, he might very well win it on Stage 20, which ends atop Alpe d’Huez.

Alberto Contador of Spain is the third favorite of the oddsmakers. He won the Tour de France in 2007 and 2009. His victory in 2010 was nullified after he tested positive for a banned substance. He finished fourth in the 2013 TDF. Contador looked to be in good form at the start of the 2014 Tour & was expected to challenge for the title. Unfortunately, he crashed out in stage 10. In 2015 he again looks to be in good form after his Giro d’Italia victory. Some are wondering if he can recover quickly enough to win the Tour De France. No one has won both of these grand tours in the same year since 1998.

If you watched Vincenzo Nibali win the 2014 Tour de France in impressive fashion, you may be wondering how he could be rated number 4 going into this year's TDF. So far, he just hasn't looked that good in 2015. Keep in mind though, that he didn't look that good in 2014, until the Tour de France started and he began leaving his competitors in the dust.

There are some dark horses out there to watch. Thibaut Pinot is the best French rider in many years. In 2014, he finished third at the Tour de France. Many think he will someday win it. Could 2015 be the year? America's best hope is Tejay van Garderen, who finished fifth in the 2012 and 2014 TDF. Perhaps he can move up to a podium finish this year.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Photo - The 1932 Cyclomer Amphibious Bicycle

The 1932 Cyclomer amphibious bicycle
In 1932 a French inventor unveiled his amphibious bicycle, called the cyclomer, at a Paris exhibition. He demonstrated its unique ability by riding it across a swimming pool. In the photo above, it is in its land mode. The wheels are hollow, providing buoyancy for crossing water. The four smaller spheres are on arms that can be lowered to the side. These provide additional buoyancy and stability. If you look closely at the back wheel, you can see small triangular projections. These act as paddles to propel the bike forward on the water.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Practicing Pedaling is the Path to Perfection

Get Your Pedaling Up To Speed With These Tips

One pedaling drill you can do on any ride with downhills is spinning the pedals as quickly as possible as you accelerate down slopes. To do this correctly, leave the bike in a gear that's too easy, one that forces you to fan the pedals to keep up with the speed of the bike. Your goal is to rev your legs as quickly as you can while remaining seated. At first, you'll probably bounce a lot on the seat. But, with practice, you should be able to stay in the seat and maintain a calm upper body even though your legs are spinning at supersonic speed. If you do this drill a lot, your pedaling speed and efficiency will quickly improve.

Try Rollers 

If you're willing to purchase a handy piece of cycling equipment, a great way to smooth your spin is to train indoors on rollers. Rollers consist of a frame with three spinning drums (one for the front wheel, two for the rear), with a rubber belt connecting the front drum to one of the rear drums. You put your bike on the rollers and start to pedal and you can balance and ride just like you do spinning down the road outside. Most rollers have optional equipment that allows increasing resistance because there isn't much drag from just the roller unit itself.
Develop A Winning Spin

Rollers require above-average balance and exaggerate any pedaling flaws. With enough practice, you naturally eliminate pedaling problems because they're so noticeable. And, when that happens, you ride faster with the same effort because your pedaling becomes more efficient and more of your energy goes into driving the bike. Think they're just for roadies? Actually, the concentration and spin improvement builds confidence and the ability to ride tight singletrack, maintain your balance in slick mud and skirt narrow ledges high in the mountains, too. 

Forced Spinning

A classic cycling trick to improve pedaling technique is riding a fixed-gear bike in the winter. Constant pedaling is required because you can't coast. And you must accelerate pedal speed on downhills because you can't shift. These factors combine to smooth your pedal stroke and force you to spin complete circles. Pick ride routes that avoid steep climbs and descents. You don't need to buy a new bike to pull this one off, either. A threaded-hub wheel, a track cog, a BMX chain and a few axle spacing tricks can turn your regular bike into a fixed-gear rig. We can help with the conversion.  


Try The Track

If you're one of the privileged few who can ride a track bike at a velodrome (a circular, banked track for cycling), you'll reap the same benefits as training on a fixed-gear bike. Never ride a track bike on the road, though. Brakes are a must on the street, and track bikes don't have them.

Keep Checking Our Blog For More Cycling Tips!

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

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Scott Hybrid/Commuter Bike - Sub Evo 20 - Getting Around Town Never Looked This Good

Specs and Features: SCOTT SUB EVO 20 BIKE 

The SCOTT SUB Evo 20 features a sporty trekking geometry that suits trips of all distances. Equipped with a Shimano 30 speed transmission, integrated front and rear lights, a custom Racktime carrier and compatibility with Snap'it accessories, this bike is begging to go on an adventure.

  • Butted 6061 aluminum frame offers a sturdy, nimble ride; flat handlebar creates a comfortable, upright riding position
  • Shimano Alivio shifters guide the Deore rear derailleur and Alivio front derailleur for quick, easy and dependable shifting through the 27 gear combinations
  • Powerful and responsive Shimano hydraulic disc brakes work powerfully and effectively in all weather conditions
  • Continental Sport Contact tires offer puncture protection and great all-around rolling performance

SUB Evo 6061 Smooth welding
Sub Evo Alu Rigid Forged
VP-A41AC Semi integrated
Rear Derailleur
Shimano RD-T780 SGS 10 Speed
Front Derailleur
Shimano FD-T780
Shimano SL-T780
Brake Levers
Shimano BL-M355
Shimano BR-M355
Shimano FC-T781 48x36x26 T
Syncros Flat Bar HL MTB-300 UC3.0
Handlebar Stem
Syncros HL TDS-D5078 UC3.0
Syncros HL SPC-212 UC3.0
Syncros Urban Solution 2.5
Hub (Front)
Shimano XT DHT7851DB Dynamo 32h
Hub (Rear)
Shimano FH-M615 CL 32h
Shimano HG54
Shimano HG81 11-34 T
Pillar Steel 14G
Mach 1 560 Disc, 32h
Schwalbe Kojak
Integrated Busch & Müller
Rack & Fenders
Racktime Standit w/ spring clamp
Curana C-lite D45 with integrated Front and Rear Light

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

Monday, June 22, 2015

Advertising by Bicycle

Outdoor Mobile Billboards create mobile billboards for bikes or cars 
We have been considering ways to promote Circle City Bicycles, and have done some research on bicycle based advertising, It is amazing how much stuff is out there. There are quite a few companies which make advertising trailers to be towed by bike. The trailer shown above is made by Outdoor Mobile Billboards, which custom makes each trailer. Extrawheel makes a single wheel advertising trailer that sells for $350. It looks kind of like a Bob trailer with the cargo area replaced by a frame to hold a poster. A company in Canada called Wike makes an advertising trailer that sells for $150. What I really like about it is that you can use add-on trailers, which only cost $100 each, and pull up to 5 at a time with one bike. Here's a video that shows their trailers in action. They also make a larger one that sells for $250.

In Seattle, there is a company called Biking Billboards that specializes in bicycle based advertising. If you're wondering how much they pay people to ride their bikes, they start at $15 per hour and can go up to $18 per hour. Another company that does bicycle advertising is Alt Terrain. They recommend bicycle advertising in cities with concentrated foot traffic, such as:

  • New York
  • Chicago
  • San Francisco
  • Philadelphia
  • Boston
  • Washington
  • Minneapolis
If you are looking to get into the bicycle billboard business, there is one available in Dayton, Ohio. The Pedaling Promotions website says it is for sale. They use four wheel bikes with an integrated billboard instead of pulling trailers. These vehicles are manufactured by a company called Adbikes.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Photo - The Endless Climb

Looks like this guy has some serious climbing ahead in the Chilean Andes
(Photo courtesy of Traveling Two)

This week's Friday Photo comes from Gareth Collingwood, who has a website called El Pedalero:Life, On a Bike, In Latin America. There is also an interview with him on Traveling Two. He has spent the past two decades traveling through South & Central America. When asked why he considered Latin America the "World’s greatest adventure travel destination," he listed some of its special geographic features:

  • Longest mountain range (Andes)
  • Largest jungle (Amazon rainforest)
  • Driest desert (Atacama Desert)
  • Biggest salt flat (Salar de Uyuni)
  • Highest waterfall (Angel Falls)
  • Highest active volcano (Ojos del Salado)
  • Widest street (9 de Julio Avenue in Buenos Aires)
  • Longest road (Pan-American Highway)
When asked for one or two places to cycle tour in Latin America, he listed a dozen and said to just pick one at random. Gareth reports that Venezuela and Paraguay are the most overlooked South American countries for bicycle touring. He said Paraguay is the only place where he saw a jaguar in the wild (hopefully from a considerable distance). When asked what bikers should take with them when touring Latin America, Collingwood said "Spanish."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

2015 Scott Contessa Spark 700 RC — Women's Full Suspension Mountain Bike

2015 Bikemag Bible of Bike Tests — Scott Contessa Spark 700 RC

This bike is a racehorse for ladies who eat carbon for breakfast, regularly rock spandex and love going fast–uphill and down. While perhaps not the most versatile bike of the bunch, it is very good at what it does: Devour trail at an impressive rate.

The Spark comes equipped with a custom FOX Nude shock, and our Patented TwinLoc technology, in combination with Traction Control, allowing for three travel/geometry settings to always optimize your ride.

In the video, women were interviewed after a day of riding on the Scott Spark. They all seemed to agree that the bike performed very well with little to no adjustment necessary.

The girls typically used the middle setting of their three setting front fork suspension... suggesting that while they were amazed at the rigidity the lockout provided, that it was never actually needed.

One of the three girls said she rode the bike "full squish" the whole time, and claimed that it was still nice and responsive.

"Definitely just motors right up the hills"

"I'm not someone who cares about grips but I was like 'These are nice!' (...) I noticed them. Which I never do."

Scott did not apply a women's specific geometry to the Spark frame. For the taller girls that rode the bike, it wasn't an issue. The shortest of the girls felt a bit stretched out on the frame and that the bike felt a bit too big — but she still greatly enjoyed riding it.

The Contessa models get a shorter stem, narrower bar, wider saddle, smaller-diameter grips. But it’s also worth noting, however, that the shock tune on the Contesssa is adjusted for lighter-weight riders.

Other Tech:

Direct Post Mount

We've saved even more weight by eliminating bulky brake hardware for mounting the rear caliper and integrated a direct post mount to the chain stay. This mounting position also decreases the load the brakes apply to the swingarm parts.

Twin Loc

Our patented Twin Loc technology now offers simultaneous control of rear shock travel and fork lockout. The open position allows full travel, front and rear. One click switches the rear shock to Traction mode, while the fork remains fully active. Click again and rear shock and fork lock at the same time. No other bike in the world offers this user friendly system. Found on the Spark & Genius and Genius LT models. Only available for Nude2 shocks on 2013 or previous year models.

Adjustable BB Height

The Spark, Genius and Genius LT employ an adjuThe Spark, Genius and Genius LT employ an adjustable geometry by way of a shock mount chip in the linkage. By changing the shock mount chip--simply removing it and flipping it in either mounting position--you affect the bottom bracket height by 7mm, which also affects the head tube angle by 0.5 degrees.

There is so much more to this bike. Come in today to see our entire selection of Scott Bikes as well as bikes from Fuji and Haro. We would love to help you find the bike of your dreams.

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

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Nite Ride

Coming up in just two short weeks there will be the 22nd annual NITE ride! NITE ride stands for Navigate Indy This Evening. The ride takes place around Indianapolis and is 20 miles long. It's a group ride where you can go on an evening ride with 3000 of your closest friends! NITE starts at the Indiana State Fair Grounds at 11 o'clock at night. The evening is filled with fun and good times. Grab your helmet, a headlight and taillights, and ride with us! There will be a couple of us from the shop out riding! Hopefully we will see you out there!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Save Time, Stress, Maybe Even Your Life With These Tips

6 No-Nonsense Cycling Tips From Circle City Bicycles!

Across the internet there are hundreds and hundreds of cycling tips for you to view and learn from. The tips are bringing you today aren't organized in any particular way, but they are all important things to think about. Here we go!

#1. When you are riding, don't put a "death grip" on the handlebars.

Most beginners are a little afraid of putting their hands on the drops if they are riding with drop down handlebars. It can be a little unnerving when you are riding and feel like you may lose your balance. No matter what part of the handlebar you hold on to, loosen up your grip so that you can be more in tune with the bike. If you are clamping on like a vice, it is much more likely for you to lose your balance and even fall!

#2. Ride as if you are invisible, not invincible

Ride WITH traffic (that is - going the same direction), and err on the side of caution by assuming that there isn't a single car that can see you.

It's often safer to take the whole lane, or at least ride a little bit to the left, rather than hug the right curb. Here's why:
  • Cars at intersections ahead of you can see you better if you're squarely in the road rather than on the extreme edge where you're easily overlooked.
  • Taking the lane prevents cars from passing you too closely on narrow roadways.
  • Riding a bit to the left prevents you from getting doored.

You might worry about slowing down the traffic behind you if you take the lane. But if you're on the kind of street where you've got cars blocked up behind you or constantly changing lanes to get around you, you're probably on the wrong street and should find a quieter neighborhood street.

#3. Don't Ride Without Lights

Light up.
Too obvious?  Well, if it's so obvious, then why do most night-time cyclists ride without lights? We have rear red blinkies for $15 or less.  Headlights are just as important as rear lights.  And modern headlights use LED's so the batteries last ten times longer than old-school headlights.

4. Learn How To Fuel Right

If you are doing long (50+ miles) bike rides, it is extremely important that you know how to keep yourself fueled (and refueled!!) so that you don't "Bonk." Come in today and talk with us. We can help you find the right nutrition products for you.

5. Try Lycra Shorts

Maybe you haven't tried them yet because they don't look so cool. Maybe you don't think there will be that much of a difference. Lycra cycling shorts are specifically designed for riding bikes! They breathe better than normal clothes, and they won't chafe the insides of your legs or *ahem* other sensitive parts. More comfort? Yes please!!

6. Friends

Lastly, make some friends who are a bit more experienced than you. This tip even applies to the best of the best! There is always something to be learned and fun to be had. Bring some other people along and stay safe out there!

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

Monday, June 15, 2015

Cycling in the 1890s

Los Angeles Bicycle Club in the 1890s
After the invention of the safety bicycle, cycling became very popular in the 1890s. You no longer had to be a young, fit daredevil to ride, which made cycling possible for a much larger segment of the population. In addition to being a fun activity, cycling was also a very practical mode of transportation. Henry Ford's Model T, which brought automobiles to the masses, was not manufactured until 1908. Your choices for transportation in the 1890s were limited to:
  • Walking
  • Riding a horse or in a carriage
  • Train
  • Streetcar
  • Bicycle
 Not surprisingly, many chose a bicycle as their primary means of transportation.

At that time, cyclists were known as wheelmen. A national organization known as the League of American Wheelmen had been formed in 1880. They pushed for better roads, since most roads at that time were unpaved. The organization is still in existence today, but has changed its name to the League of American Bicyclists.

Although bicycles allowed many people much greater freedom to travel, not everyone was happy about this. Theater owners and booksellers lost money because cycling provided another leisure activity. Public transportation suffered a major decline as many people rode their bikes to work and other destinations. Laundries also lost money as those who road their bikes to work opted not to wear starched shirts and collars. Perhaps the ones who were most upset about the cycling craze were preachers, since many in their congregations would go riding on Sundays instead of  attending church. One preacher warned that

"These people are heading to a place where the roads are not muddy due to the high temperature"

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Photo - Bicycle Riding Raccoon

Raccoon out for bike ride
This Friday's photo comes from the Mirror in the United Kingdom. It seems that animal welfare groups are upset that this raccoon was forced to ride a bicycle. It seems they think forcing someone to ride a bicycle is one of the most diabolical things you can do to them. Lots of people ride bicycles and consider it fun. How do these animal rights groups know the raccoon isn't doing this willingly. You may be thinking that's crazy because raccoons don't ride bicycles unless humans force them into doing it. Well, you're wrong - Check out this video.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

AMAZING Deals on SIDI Cycling Shoes!

Road Shoe Closeouts

These road shoes are a few years old, but they have never been used, and they are now available at great prices. These shoes can be shipped anywhere in the continental United States. Please call us at 317-786-9244 if you are interested.

Sidi Genius 5 Carbon Pro

(Was $269.95 Now $150) Available sizes:

US 15, EUR 50
US 13, EUR 48
US 10.5, EUR 45
US 9.5, EUR 43.5
US 9, EUR 43

Sidi is the world's bestselling brand of road shoes, and the Genius 5 Pro is the model that sells the most. Its Lorica upper has all the upsides of leather with none of the negatives. Lorica is supple, conforming, highly breathable, and will not stretch. In addition, it is water repellent, highly abrasion resistant, easy to clean, and won't rot or dry out. Sidi combines Lorica with ballistic mesh to give you superb comfort, fit and ventilation.

The Genius 5 Pro Shoes are made with Sidi's Millenium 3 Carbon Composite sole.

Sidi adds a ratcheting buckle so you can micro-adjust the strap pressure to ensure that the fit of your upper won't be too loose or too tight. It's mated to a Soft Arch Compression Strap that more evenly spreads the upward stroke pedaling forces across the top of your foot. The buckle provides 4 clicks per uptake along with half-click releases, meaning that you can precisely tension the pressure of the strap.

Sidi T2 Carbon Mamba

(Was $199.95 Now $100) Available sizes:

US 10.5, EUR 45
US 10, EUR 44

Between its stiff composite soleplate, its comfortable liner and its easy transitions you can forget about ever using the Sidi T2 Carbon Cycling Shoe as an excuse for losing your next triathlon. Unless of course, you aren't wearing them.

  • Stiff, lightweight composite sole transfers energy directly to the pedal for greater pedaling efficiency
  • Triathlon-specific, tongue-less uppers designed to make transitions fast and easy
  • Large heel pull makes shoe easy to get on and off
  • Soft brushed interior makes it comfortable to ride sock-less
  • Replaceable heel-pad for added stability

Sidi Ergo 3 Vent Carbon

(Was $499.95 Now $300) Available sizes:

US 10.5, EUR 45

Except for the optional venting, the sole shares the same construction method as the Carbon Lite sole, less 38 grams of weight. Even with the weight savings, you'll get the same kind of stiffness and razor sharp power transfer you've grown to expect from Sidi. The vent inlet at the toe can be opened or closed depending on the temperature and your preferences - even while on the bike if necessary. The airflow moves underneath and through the insole to cool your feet in sweltering summer temps.

The Ergo 3 has the same closure system as previous Ergo shoes- Ratcheting Caliper Buckle Techno II Buckle, and hook and loop. No other system so precisely and gently provides a custom fit.

Sidi's improved its Heel Security System to keep your foot positively planted in the shoes. It's an adjustable, rigid composite band that closes the shoe more securely over your heel to anchor it in place around your Achilles - giving you more comfort along with more security.

Two final touches worth noting are the replaceable traction pads at the heel and toe, which extends the life of the shoes indefinitely.

Sidi Genius 6.6 Carbon Lite

(Was $449.95 Now $300) Available sizes:

US 10.5, EUR 45
US 10, EUR 44

Built around a carbon composite sole, the 6.6 is both extremely light and ridiculously comfortable. Sidi designed the 6.6 Carbon Lite to provide a slight amount of flex in the toe, while retaining maximum stiffness throughout the body of the shoe, enabling comfort and road feel - but not at the expense of performance.

The 6.6 also features a unique heel retention system designed to close the back of the shoe around the rider's ankle, eliminating heel lift and power loss during your sprints or canyon climbs. Caliper buckles allow for the most minimal of adjustments, even in the saddle, everything can be done with one hand.

Anti-slip insert at the toe and replaceable polyurethane heel pad ensure you don't take a dive in the coffee shop.
Reinforced heel keeps foot in position and prevents the shoe from being deformed by high miles or prolonged pressure
SL and Caliper buckle straps are both serviceable and replaceable, so a nasty crash won't ruin your favorite kicks
High Security Velco straps with integrated locking polymer teeth for slip-free clinching
Lorica is water-repellent, permeable to water vapor and resistant to tearing
3-bolt sole for Shimano, SPD-SL, LOOK & Time cleats. (Speedplay can be fitted with an adapter

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

Sidi Shoe Descriptions from

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

2015 Boardman CX Team: BUY IF... You want the best

Who Said You Have To Break The Bank To Have Speed and Versatility?

Well, they're wrong.

Meet the Boardman CX Team Cyclocoss Bike.

The CX Team comes with SRAM’s entry-level Apex shifters and rear derailleur, and a Microshift front derailleur. Shifting is positive, and riders with small hands will appreciate the short reach to the brake levers, and the 50/34 chainset and 11-32 cassette offer ample range on and off road. The Avid BB5 disc brakes provide plenty of power and we were pleased to see inline adjusters, making tuning the anchors a breeze. Boardman has also supplied inline brake levers.

"The CX Team is brilliant fun on smooth bridleways and swooping country lanes, where its road geometry shines. If the racy position suits you, it excels as a fast, versatile commuter."

-Matthew Allen,

Fully UCI legal, this bike has a triple butted alloy frame and lots of nice features to make it a pure all-arounder. Like the assymetric chainstay design which incorporates the disc brake on the pannier and full length mudgard mounting points.

A full carbon fiber fork and tapered steer tube bless the front end of this bike; both of which help dampen road vibration and increase steering precision. Another nice touch is the Pressfit 30 Bottom Bracket.

Thanks to the wide range of gears available in the 2x10 SRAM Apex system, this bike is well suited for cyclocross racing, as well as more everyday road rides and commuting too!

Light and strong Mavic XM318 rims and Shwalbe Rapid Rob Kevlar Guard tires are perfect for a bike of this caliber

The ultimate in versatility and performance, the CX Team is a disc brake equipped fully UCI legal Cyclo Cross race bike that is equally at home on the daily commute, super hilly sportive and light touring as it is blasting around offroad trails in the way that only a lightweight Cross bike can.

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

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bicycle Shop Bicycles Versus Department Store Bicycles

SE Palisade 7 - Far better than a department store bike & priced at $349

It's something that every bicycle shop has to deal with. People come in expecting to buy a bike at the same price they see advertised at department stores. There is really no comparison in quality between our bikes and theirs.  Keep the following facts in mind when you are comparing a department store bike to one sold at a bike shop:

  • Department store bicycles are made cheaply from inferior materials to keep the cost down. The average department store bike is only ridden about 75 miles in its lifetime.
  • Bicycle shop bikes come in different sizes to fit you. Department store bikes come in one size, which means you may be in an uncomfortable and inefficient riding position.
  • Circle City Bicycles employees spend about an hour assembling a bike, testing it out, and making sure that the brakes work and the gears shift smoothly. Most department store bikes are assembled in 10-15 minutes.
  • Reputable bike shops stand behind their products. If there is any problem, they fix it. Try taking a bike back to a department store to get it repaired.
  • Department store bikes just aren't designed to be repaired. You may save when you buy them, but they will cost you down the road in repair costs.
We try to tell our customers these things, but many think we are just trying to sell our "overpriced" bikes. Perhaps the message would be more believable if it came from a well-known, unbiased source who does not sell bicycles. Someone like ...

Consumer Reports

The entire article can be found here. Here are a few excerpts:
  • Find a good bike shop. You'll pay more, but we think you're more likely to be satisfied. Bikes from big-box stores might not be properly assembled or well matched to your body.
  • Avoid cheap bikes, except for very casual use. Inexpensive bikes--those selling for less than about $200, often in big-box stores-- may seem like good deals, but we advise spending $300 or more.
  • Mass-market bikes have cheaper construction than higher-priced bikes and can weigh seven or eight pounds more. They come in only one size, so you're not likely to get a great fit. And mass merchants can't match bike shops for quality of assembly, expert advice, and service.
  • Adults should consider inexpensive bikes from a department store only for the most casual use.
If you absolutely cannot afford a new bike from a bicycle shop, we highly advise that you purchase a used bike on Craigslist. Our greatest fear is that if you buy a cheap department store bike, you won't like it and give up on cycling. That would be a real shame. I bought a Fuji America in 1978 for $429, which was a lot of money for a college student. I have never regretted it and I still have the bike today.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Friday Photo - Bicycle Touring With Dogs

The Cycling Gypsies Fin & Zoa go bicycle touring with their dogs
While looking for this Friday's photo, I ran across a website called Cycling Gypsies:Bikes, Dogs and the Big Blue Beyond. I'm not sure where the photo above was taken, but it sure looks like Utah.

Fin and Zoa sold everything they couldn't carry on their bicycles and trailers in 2008, and have been cycling over 17,000 miles through 21 countries since then. Their two dogs, which are not small, travel with them. The larger one, known as Jack, weighs in at 90 pounds while Paco, the smaller one, looks like he is about half that size. Originally they looked for someone to take care of their dogs for a year while they went bicycle touring. Unable to find anyone and unwilling to give them away, they decided to take the dogs with them out on the road.

On their website, they list some of the pros & cons of touring with dogs, such as:

  • The dogs, dog food and extra water add a lot of weight. It's not too noticeable on flat ground once you get up to speed, but you definitely feel it going uphill. This limits their daily mileage somewhat. They normally ride about 30 miles in winter and 40 in summer. Their longest day ever was 85 miles.
  • The dogs make it very easy for them to make friends & talk to the locals.
  • They limit where you can go. They originally planned to travel through Morocco and the Middle East but abandoned those plans because of problems they might have encountered because of the dogs.
  • The dogs provide security for your bikes and belongings.
  • They once had to wait three hours for Paco (the smaller dog) to return after chasing a rabbit.
  • It's great to have your friends along on a bike tour.
When they are riding in areas away from traffic, they attach their dogs to their bikes with leashes and let them run alongside to get exercise.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Follow These Quick Tips To Extend The Life of Your Drivetrain

Preserve Your Drivetrain, Handle Shifts With Ease

Learning to use the equipment that comes with your bike is extremely important, as it will help you to enjoy your ride more as well as extend the life of those parts. Shifting is no exception, and we have a few tips to help you improve that aspect of your riding.

An important rule to remember is to - reduce your applied pressure on the pedals during shifts. As drivetrains have improved over the years, the have been designed to shift no matter how much pressure is put on the pedals. However, if you ease up on the pressure just a bit, the shifts will be smoother and your chain, cogs and chainrings will last longer.

Here are some more tips to help keep your drivetrain in great working order:

Keeping Your Drivetrain Clean:

Before we even get into proper shifting, it is important to make sure you keep your drivetrain clean and tuned up to extend the life of your drivetrain. We have chain cleaners for sale in the shop that can help get your chain clean and keep it that way.

Every six months or so, inspect your chain and measure to see if it has been stretching.

Pick a chain pin on the top side and measure to any pin 12 inches away. Links are exactly one-inch long, so you should be able to measure exactly 12 inches between two pins. If the measurement is 12 1/8 inch or longer, it's time to replace the chain.

(Check Your Cogs too!)
Remember: cogs wear out at about the same rate as the chain. If you put on a new chain, you will eventually run into skipping cogs - which is at best annoying and at worst dangerous!

Remember to keep the front rings and rear cogs clean. Stay on the lookout for a post about how to clean your chain and drivetrain!

On The Road Tips:

Shift Before Hills:

Even though the hardest place to put less pressure on your pedals is when you are struggling to get up a steep hill. Try changing gears before the steep part of the hill so you can make the shift with out stressing the chain and pedals.

Front Shifts:

Remember when you are shifting the front derailleur that the chainrings are significantly different in size! This means your derailleur has to work hard to move the chain from one to the other. If you can add some finesse to this shift, you are much more likely to get a clean, smooth shift. And, you'll eliminate problems associated with high pressure shifts such as having the chain come off.

There are three or four set spots (shift ramps/shift gates) on the chainrings to make it shift. The chain (while moving forward) needs to contact these ramps to be pulled up onto or down over the chainring. It is very important to hold the shift until the chain comes into contact with a shift ramp. When the chain is under load (meaning there is force on the pedals) this is the ony spot where the chain will shift. Ideally shifting should be done with little load on the chain. When the chain is under load the derailleur will just flex and laugh at you instead of making the shift happen. When there is no load on the chain the derailleur will be able to move it.

Getting Your Chain BACK On:

Usually, you can shift the chain right back on the chainring if it falls off. This is usually impossible when climbing a hill, as you will lose momentum and have to stop. However, any time you are riding and you can coast for a few seconds, you can almost always get the chain back on by gently pedaling and shifting the front derailleur to move the chain toward the ring.

(When a chain comes off repeatedly, something is wrong and you should have us take a look at the front derailleur adjustment.)

Circle City Bicycles and Fitness
5506 Madison Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227

(317) 786-9244

Monday, June 1, 2015

2015 B&O Trail Ride

Riders on the 2014 B&O Trail Ride
The 2015 B&O Trail Ride will be held on Saturday, June 6. Ride lengths of 10, 25, 45 and 62 mile routes are available. There will be sag stops on all routes. The Avon High School Jazz Band will be performing at one of the stops.  After the ride there will be a BBQ lunch and live music. You can register online for the ride at

This is the 23rd year for ride, which is a fundraiser for the B&O Trail Association. The B&O Railroad line was originally constructed back in 1880 and connected Indianapolis with Springfield, Illinois. After over a century of service, the line was abandoned, beginning in 1989. The B&O Trail Association was formed shortly after that with the goal of turning the abandoned rail line into a recreational trail stretching from Indianapolis to its western endpoint at Montezuma, in western Parke County. Despite the grand vision, progress has been modest, and there are only a few paved miles. The task is quite complex and demands considerable resources. The B&O Trail Association has been steadily increasing momentum and plans to have an unbroken, paved trail from Clermont to 500E in Hendricks county by the end of 2016. Construction will then extend westward towards North Salem.

Current & future portions of the B&O Trail