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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Evansville, Indiana to Haslett, Michigan

This hill near Waveland, Indiana is a little intimidating to the average cyclist
This week's post is about Jan Gagliano, who should provide inspiration to anyone who would like to go bicycle touring, but thinks they aren't physically up to it. She says she is the perfect weight for some 6' 4" - Unfortunately she is 5' 4". She is 64 years old, and rides at an average speed of 8 miles per hour. Her trip, which she took in 2012, went from from Evansville, Indiana to her home in Haslett, Michigan (A suburb of Lansing). Her report on the trip is on the Crazy Guy on a Bike website.

Jan was credit card touring (staying at motels), and only rode about 30 miles per day. There were numerous  anecdotes about the trip in, such as a visit to a cantaloupe farm near Vincennes. Her route took her through Terre Haute, where she was born. Her route passed through Amish country and spent a rest day in Shipshewanna. The biggest problem she encountered was the July heat.

Monday, June 26, 2017

2017 Tour de France Preview

2017 Tour de France route
The 2017 Tour de France begins on Saturday, July 1 with an 8 mile time trial. The Tour begins in Dusseldorf, Germany this year. It will go through Belgium and Luxembourg before entering France. Most of the first day's route will be along the Rhine River. It isn't until stage 9 that the riders will hit the mountains. That stage will have three out of category climbs on it. The riders to watch for this year's race are:
  1. Chris Froome is the defending champion and three-time winner of the Tour de France.
  2. Richie Porte has been strong this year - Perhaps this is his year to win the TDF.
  3. Nairo Quintana has two seconds and one third at the TDF. He's a tremendous climber but not so good on time trials.
  4. Romain Bardet is France's top hope to win.
  5. Alberto Contador has won the Tour de France twice. Can he do it again at age 34?
NBC Sports and NBC will provide live television coverage of the 2017 Tour de France. We'll have it on at the store. If you haven't followed the TDF before, you might want to visit our Understanding the Tour de France webpage to learn some of the race terms.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Friday Photo - Indian School Bus

Not the most comfortable ride - But it beats walking
In parts of India they have school "buses" like the one shown above. They sometimes have as many as ten kids in them. Now if you add up all the weight of ten kids, their books and school supplies on the roof, and the bicycle itself, the guy riding this thing better be in good shape. God help him if there are any hills on his route. I'm guessing they don't use these trikes at villages located in the Himalayas. You can find more photos like this at Messy Nessy.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Thursday Video - Bait Bicycle with a Hot Seat

This bicycle thief doesn't get far
This is one of the craziest videos I have seen. Three crazy guys set up a bait bike, and place it where they think bicycle thieves might try to steal it. The seat is made of metal, and there is black tape over it to make it look more like a normal saddle. They attach two Bernzomatic Torch Kits to the seat tube,which heat up the seat. I can't figure out if these are on all the time, or if they activate them remotely. None of the thieves get very far before hopping off the bike. After that the trio chases them down and say "You're on fire!" before spraying them with fire extinguishers.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - The Beer Trike

The Beer Trike from Coaster Pedicabs
This beer trike is made by Coaster Pedicab in Bonner, Montana. With it you can have two half kegs on tap. The tap handles have recycled bicycle chain around the outside. If you are wondering why you can only have two beers on tap, keep in mind that a full half keg weighs approximately 160 pounds. A brewery asked them come up with a bike that would let them serve beer, and this is what they came up with. If you want to buy one of these (or any other Coaster Pedicab bike), we can assist you. Just be prepared for a little sticker shock. They sell for nearly 7,000 dollars.

The video below is an interview with the Coaster Pedicab CPO (Chief Pedicab Officer) and their Vice President of Miscellaneous Stuff. The beer trike in the video is an early prototype. Note that the tap handles don't have bicycle chain. They have a small cog at the top instead.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Touring Tuesday - The Icefields Parkway

Spectacular scenery on the Icefields Parkway
The weather is getting hot here in Indiana. If you're looking for a cooler place to do some cycling, consider Canada's Icefield Parkway. It roughly parallels the continental divide in the Canadian Rockies for 144 miles. The entire highway is within Canada's Jasper National Park and Banff National Park. This route has been named as one of the World's Top 50 Riding Experiences. The route attracts a lot of auto traffic, and quite a few RVs as well, especially on weekends. If you are looking for a ride without a car in sight, this isn't the ride for you. However, there is a pretty good shoulder on most of the road. Along the route are over 100 glaciers, a couple waterfalls, and lots of great scenery. Be sure to bring warm clothing. Not only is the Parkway pretty far north, it's also pretty high. There are a couple passes that are over 6,500 feet high.

Here's a link to a map of the Parkway. Below is a video of cycling on the Parkway.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Stop in for Your Free Brown County Mountain Biking Guide

Free Brown County Mountain Biking Guide
The Brown County Convention & Visitor's Bureau has come up with a 26 page guide to mountain biking in their county. They are being distributed free, and you can come into Circle City Bicycles to get one. It has short descriptions of the mountain biking trails in Brown County State Park. If you aren't familiar with the park, it has mountain biking trails for all levels. You can find something appropriate whether you are a beginner, intermediate, advanced or expert rider. The guide also mentions the mountain bike trails outside the park. Last year, singletracks.com named Brown County as one of the ten best mountain bike destinations east of the Rockies. Much of this information can also be found online at browncounty.com/mountainbiking

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Photo - Giant Squid Bicycle Rack

Giant squid attacking bicycles - Where's a sperm whale when you need one?
Well here's a bicycle rack that is a little different. Seattle has a giant squid that you can lock your bike up against. It was commissioned by the Seattle Department of Transportation in 2009. Artist Susan Robb created this sculpture and titled it 'Parking Squid." Note that the upper tentacle has a bicycle wheel on it.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Thursday Video - Amazing Finish to a Bicycle Race

With a 30 second lead, Iljo Keisse crashes 1 kilometer from the finish line
This is a clip of Belgian cyclist Iljo Keisse in the 2012 Tour of Turkey. It has to be every pro cyclist's nightmare. The breakaway has succeeded, and one kilometer from the finish line he has an insurmountable lead of 30 seconds. Suddenly, disaster strikes - He goes down rounding a corner. Keisse quickly gets up and back on the bike. Then he realizes his chain is off. He quickly puts it back on and starts riding. Unfortunately, his lead has shrunk dramatically. Can he hold off the charging competition? You'll have to watch the video to find out.

Note: The announcers are supposed to stay neutral, but in this case they just couldn't help themselves.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Transgender Bicycle

What do you mean it's a girl's bike?
The bike above looks like one of those classic boy's bikes from the 1950s with a tank as part of the frame. Actually, this is a girl's bike with an add-on. The top tube with the tank has been added, which transforms its gender. This add-on was made by a company called TRM (The Renaissance Manufacturer), which is located in Gadsen, Alabama. These tanks will fit a variety of girl's frames, including:
  • Spaceliner
  • Colimbia
  • Rollfast
  • Schwinn
  • Elgin
You can order them from this page.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Indiana Dunes

Entering Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore
If you are looking for a biking vacation in Indiana at a place that looks nothing like the rest of the state, consider Indiana Dunes State Park and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. The original plan for the state of Indiana had the northern border below the southern tip of Lake Michigan. The boundary was moved a few miles north so that Indiana would have access to the Great Lakes like its neighbors. The national lakeshore has about 25 miles of shoreline, and includes the Indiana Dunes State Park.

There are several bike trails in the area:
All of these trails are paved except the Calumet Trail. I would advise against riding this trail, unless you just need it to get to Michigan City. There is no shade, there are power lines overhead, and it's next to a busy highway and railroad. The trail is in terrible shape and the only trees are to the north, blocking your view of Lake Michigan.

I do recommend riding on Lake Front Drive, which is about a 2.5 mile stretch of road along Lake Michigan in the town of Beverly Shores. There is little traffic and a beautiful view of the lake. It will take you past the Century of Progress Homes. These homes were part of the 1933 Chicago World's Fair before being transported by barge to Beverly Shores.

Other interesting sites in the area you might want to visit include:
Unfortunately, Mount Baldy, the tallest sand dune at 125 feet high, is still closed, except for ranger led hikes. It has been closed since a six year-old boy fell 11 feet into an unseen hole in 2013. The boy nearly died but has recovered fully. There was once a 200 foot high sand dune called the Hoosier Slide in the area, but it was hauled away to make glass.

Here's a video about cycling in the Indiana Dunes area:

Monday, June 12, 2017

200th Birthday of the Bicycle!

Baron Karl Drais - Father of the Bicycle
Two hundred years ago today, on June 12, 1817 Baron Karl Drais went on the world's first bicycle ride. He used the best road in his region of Germany, and made a round trip ride of nearly ten miles in slightly over an hour. He did this on a draisine, which he had just invented. While Drais called it a running machine, it became better known as a dandy horse in England, since most of the riders were dandies.

His motivation for this was the high price of oats, which were used to feed horses. After several years of bad harvests, Indonesia's Mt. Tambora erupted in 1815. The ash from the eruption blocked enough sunlight that 1816 became known as the "Year without a summer." This resulted in very high prices for grain, and many people around the globe starved.

The Baron's bicycle was very primitive. It did have two wheels and steering, but it lacked brakes and pedals.Still, it might have been successful if not for the poor condition of the dirt roads at the time. They were rough and rutted due to the  horses and carriages that traveled on them. Because of this, those who rode bicycles used sidewalks, which endangered pedestrians. Cities responded by banning them. Bicycles were a short-lived fad that quickly died out. They didn't come back until the 1860s when someone got the bright idea of adding pedals.

Karl Drais came up with other inventions besides the bicycle. These include the first meat grinder and the railroad handcar. He supported revolution and renounced his aristocratic title in 1848. He died three years later

Friday, June 9, 2017

Friday Photo - Bike Loaded with Baskets

You can just barely see the rider's face
I ran across an article on the Reuters website called Loaded-up Bicycles. It shows 15 bikes with incredible loads. I think the one shown above (Number 15) is the most amazing. This guy is making a delivery in Beijing, China. Take a look at the article and let us know which load you think is most impressive.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thursday Video - Paratrooper Junping with Folding Bicycle


Ready to go on maneuvers
This week's video shows the Montague Paratrooper, a folding bike with full size wheels, making a jump with a real paratrooper. When he jumps from the plane, the bike is attached in front of him, kind of low on his body. Sometime after deploying his parachute, he lowers the bike so that it hangs about five feet below him. When landing, the bike contacts the ground first and then the paratrooper.

The video dates back to 2012, but the Montague Paratrooper (There are actually 5 models) hasn't changed a great deal since then. One item that has been altered is the location of the release mechanism that allows the bike to fold. In the video it is above the top tube, just in the front of the saddle. It is now located just under the top tube.



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Tall Tricycle

High altitude tricycle
Another one of those weird but practical bicycles. This tall tricycle is designed to be used when the city of Bangkok, Thailand becomes flooded during monsoon season. With this you can travel about the city while staying high and dry. Look at the kid on the back - Is he having a blast or what?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Touring Tuesday - NASCAR Assaults Mt. Mitchell

Jimmie Johnson (center) and George Hincapie (left) getting ready to assault Mt. Mitchell
Three NASCAR drivers decided to do a little cycling on one of their off days. Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray took part in the Assault on Mt. Mitchell. This is not an easy ride. It is over 100 miles long, with more than 10,000 feet of climbing. It starts in Spartanburg, South Carolina and ends at Mount Mitchell, the highest point in the eastern United States (6,684 feet). Anyone can join in on this ride, but with a $135 registration fee, it isn't cheap.

So how did the NASCAR guys do? Pretty good actually. Jamie McMurray took just under 6 hours to finish, while Jimmie Johnson took an additional three and a half minutes. Matt Kenseth finished about half an hour behind Johnson. How did George Hincapie (Shown in the photo above with Jimmie Johnson) do? Curiously, his time was exactly the same as Jimmie Johnson's. Here's an interesting bit of trivia: Jimmie Johnson is a 7 time NASCAR champion. George used to ride with another guy who was a 7 time (temporarily) champion.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Bicycle Cell Phone Holder

The OTG Strap cell phone holder
We stock a number of cycling gadgets here at Circle City Bicycles. We have a couple accessories for mounting your cell phone. This is especially handy if you are using a GPS app to navigate, but you may just want to have it handy for calls. It beats having to dig it out of a bag, during which the call will probably go to voice mail. The item shown in the photo is the OTG Strap. Here's a video that shows how easily you can mount your phone on your bike. Next time you're in the store, ask Sylva for a demo. This device is simple and inexpensive - Only $10. We also have a fancier device called the Omni Ridecase DX by Topeak. It's more expensive but it allows you to adjust the angle and you can rotate it to be in portrait or landscape orientation.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday Photo - Dutch Prime Minister Cycling to Work

Dutch Prime Minister riding to work
In Holland over 25% of trips are on bicycles. In Amsterdam, 38% of trips are by bike. Two things make it easy to bike in the Netherlands. First, it's pretty flat, so you don't have a lot of climbing to do. Secondly, the Dutch have an awesome system of bike trails. What's the chance we'll see Predient Trump on a bicycle? Pretty low, considering that in 2015 he criticized Secretary of State John Kerry for riding a bicycle.

Here's a video of the Prime Minister (Mark Rutte) riding:

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Thursday Video - Cyclist Trying to Steal Bike Off Car


Thief attempting to steal bike from car stopped in traffic

Here's a video of London's most brazen bike thief. While riding his own bike in traffic, he tries to steal a bicycle on the back of a vehicle when it's stopped. He tries this a couple times Towards the end of the video he leaves his bike laying on the road and chases after the vehicle on foot. The car who was behind the cyclist, honked his horn, then drove around the thief's bicycle. I think it would have been poetic justice if the car ran over the thief's bicycle while he was attempting his heist.



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Camel Golf Bike

Add caption
Back in January we blogged about the Golf Bike,  a bicycle for playing golf, available from a company in Florida. Here's another bike for use on the golf course from South Africa called the Camel Golf Bike.  While very similar, this bike is designed slightly different from the Golf Bike. Instead of requiring special bags for your clubs on both sides of the rear rack, it uses a standard golf bag that mounts behind the rear wheel. The bag is angled slightly forward to keep the center of gravity from being too far aft. Looking at the photo above, it looks like you can't lean back very much without bumping your clubs.

Here's a short (just over one minute) video of the Camel Golf Bike out on the course:


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Rainstorm

The Medora Covered Bridge on a previous Rainstorm ride
Rainstorm is a ride for all you hard-core cyclists out there. The ones for whom just one day of 162 miles of cycling across the state (RAIN) simply isn't enough. RAINSTORM gives you five centuries on five days as a way to warm up for RAIN. Along the way, you will get to see some of the most scenic (and hilly) areas of Indiana, plus some of its most beautiful state parks. Here's the itinerary for 2017:
  • Richmond to Brown County State Park (113 miles)
  • Brown County State Park to Clifty Falls State Park (100 miles)
  • Clifty Falls State Park to Spring Mill State Park (105 miles)
  • Spring Mill State Park to Bloomington (100 miles)
  • Bloomington to Terre Haute (100 mile)
  • RAIN - Terre Haute to Richmond (162 miles)
 RAIN is the acronym for Ride Across Indiana. It is a one-day ride across the state of Indiana, much of it on U.S. 40 The ride goes from west to east, so if we get our usual southwesterly wind, cyclists should have a tailwind. You can register online for RAINSTORM or RAIN online at their respective websites.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Pedal & Park: Monumental Yoga

Cycling an yoga can go together - But not like this
Pedal & Park is an organization that provides monitored bicycle parking for a variety of events in the Indianapolis area. One of these upcoming events is Monumental Yoga, which explains the photo above. Parking is always free for cyclists. The cost is paid by the event holder. Pedal & Park provided bicycle parking at yesterday's Indianapolis 500, and will have parking at these upcoming events:
If you would like to hire Pedal & Park for your event, just visit their website. You can apply online.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Friday Photo - Bite It Bicycle Seat

Bite It bicycle seat by artist Clem Chen
This week's photo comes from Canadian artist Clem Chen. It was created for a 2013 art show in Vancouver, Canada called Saddle Up! All saddles were priced at $100 with 10% of sales going to a local cycling related non-profit. To see some of the other show entrants, please visit Flickr.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Thursday Video - Superman Descending Position

The ultimate aerodynamic descending position
Chris Froome's descending position got a lot of attention during last year's Tour de France. He gained 13 precious seconds on his competitors with a surprise attack on a descent. The cyclist above is Michael Guerra in his "Superman" position. Check out the video below, which shows him blowing past five other cyclists, all of whom are pedaling. He eventually passes the motorcyclist, who decides to adopt the Superman position as well.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Minnesota Biking Ship

Ready to pillage?
I ran across a website called vikebike.com. The creator of this masterpiece doesn't give his name. In fact, there is almost no text on his website. He does, however, have a number of photos. They show how he cut up a beat up old canoe and mounted it on an adult tricycle. Note the chainrings fore and aft. In addition to the construction, the photos show the biking ship lit up, inside U.S. Bank Stadium (home of the National Football League's Minnesota Vikings), and at a fast food drive through window. There's even a photo with of the ship with Senator Al Franken of Minnesota.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Little Miami Scenic Trail

Cruising the Little Miami Scenic Trail
If you are looking for a nice, paved bicycle trail that's not too far away, you might want to consider the Little Miami Scenic Trail in Ohio. It is 73 miles long, starts at Newtown, which is near Cincinnati, and winds north and slightly east to Springfield, Ohio. It is the longest paved trail in Ohio and the most popular. The trail takes its name from the Little Miami River, a national scenic river which it parallels much of the way. Among the attractions along the route are:
The state of Ohio has big plans for bicycle trails, They plan to eventually have a trail that runs from Cleveland to Cincinnati, taking the rider from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.

Monday, May 22, 2017

25th Anniversary B&O Bicycle Tour

Out on the B&O Trail
On Saturday, June 3, the B&O Trail Association will hold its 25th annual B&O Trail Ride. This is a fundraiser to help them extend the trail. It has been slow going for them, but they are making progress. All of the routes on this year's ride include the most recently paved section and the bridge over White Lick Creek. Riders have a choice of four distances:
  • 10 miles
  • 25 miles
  • 45 miles
  • 62 miles
Cost is only $25 if you pre-register, and you can register online. Day of the ride registration is $30. The starting point for the ride is Williams Park in Brownsburg. Registration begins at 7:00 AM and the ride starts at 8:30 AM. In addition to the ride, participants will also get a free lunch and listen to live music.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friday Photo - Bike Hanger

Bicycle storage hanger in Seoul, Korea (photo courtesy of Arch Daily)
Here's a clever way to get more bicycle parking space. MANIFESTO Architecture came up with this concept for a building in Seoul, Korea. It makes use of space between buildings, and uses very little space on the ground, while storing 20-36 bikes. It's like a ferris wheel. To park your bike, just turn a crank, which makes all of the parked bikes move, until there is an open space at the bottom, and add your bike. To retrieve your bike, just crank the bikes around until yours is on the bottom. Since there is no motor, the only required maintenance is an annual lubrication.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Thursday Video - Shuttle Bike Kit

Two ladies out on bikes equipped with shuttle bike kits
This week's video features the shuttle bike kit. It can be carried in a backpack when not in use, then attached to your bicycle so you can travel across water. There are two floats, which can be inflated by simply pedaling your bike. They say the total time to get the bike ready for use on the water is about 20 minutes (including inflation). It only takes 5 minutes to disassemble. Top speed out on the water is about 6 miles per hour, and the cruising speed is about 3.5 mph. The entire kit is made in Italy. No price is given on their website - You have to use an online form to inquire about the price.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Snail Bicycle

Riding at a snail's pace? (photo courtesy of Momentum)
I don't have much information on this bike, other than it was part of the 2014 Frankfort Avenue CycLOUvia. CycLOUvia is a program in Louisville, Kentucky where they shut down car traffic on streets so people can walk, ride, skateboard or whatever. Here's a video about it:


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Indonesia

A Bicycle Mall in Djakarta
This week's touring feature is an account of riding across the Indonesian islands of Java, Bali, Lomboc, and Sumbasa to Flores. The article is on the Crazy Guy on a Bike website. Since it is by far the biggest, most of the cycling was on Java. The account was written by Karman Harrop, who was part of a group assembled over the Internet.

The trip got off to a difficult start. Monsoons had hit Djakarta, which flooded much of the city. Traffic in the city was chaotic. They came across an interesting shopping mall - It had multiple bicycle shops and you could ride your bicycle into it. Eventually they got away from the city and traffic declined.

Upon reaching the eastern end of Java, they did some island hopping, eventually landing on Flores. From there they took two excursions to see Komodo dragons. The first was to the island of Rinca. It was mandatory that tourists go with a guide for safety. The usual hikes had been cancelled because there had been a couple dragon attacks in the past month, so they had to settle for a short hike, during which they were constantly looking around for dragons. The following day they visited Komodo Island, where there had not been any recent attacks. Still, they kept a sharp eye out for dragons. They saw a number of adult dragons and some juveniles, which live primarily trees to avoid being eaten by other larger dragons.

Monday, May 15, 2017

New Hours - Closed on Sundays

Our staff: Sylva (left), Zahra (right) and Mark (center)

Circle City Bicycles will remain closed on Sundays for the foreseeable future, and our weekday hours are now 10:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. Today we would like to take the time to explain why. You may have noticed significant changes in personnel during the last year. Our current manager Sylva started with us almost a year ago. We have heard nothing but compliments about her from customers, vendors, and others in the cycling community. In turn, she has brought in our head mechanic Mark and Zahra, who handles marketing and inventory as well as assisting customers. These two have also been outstanding employees.

We do not wish to work this trio to death, and have decided that we did not want to staff the store with part-time employees on Sunday. No matter how talented they are or how hard they try, we just don't believe part-timers can give our customers the high quality service they expect and rightfully deserve. We know this may cause difficulty for some customers, and we apologize for this. However, we feel this is the best solution overall. Zahra will be at the store Monday through Friday. Sylva and Mark will be at the store every day except Wednesday. Roy will be at the store on Wednesdays.

We would also like everyone to know that Sylva, Mark and Zahra are not just employees. All three have an ownership stake in Circle City Bicycles. They have a vested interest in providing you with top-notch customer service to keep you coming back.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Friday Photo - Mountain Biker Chased by Giraffe

Giraffe on course during a stage of the Cape Pioneer Trek (photo by Zoon Cronje)
Let's face it - cyclists in South Africa have to face a lot of dangers that those of us who ride in North America will never encounter. There's the famous antelope encounter, charging elephant, chasing ostrich and the giraffe shown above. The giraffe photo was taken by Zoon Cronje, who has in a helicopter taking photos during the 2016 Cape Pioneer Trek. Giraffes are plant eaters, and might not seem that threatening. However, they can weigh over a ton and reach a max speed of 37 miles per hour for a short distance. Fortunately, no one was injured in this incident. The photographer stated:

"I've captured quite a few close encounters in my line of work, this was by far the most dangerous because of the speed of the riders going downhill unable to see the rapidly approaching giraffe."

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thursday Video - Cyclist Chased by Fawn

Fawn examining cyclist
Here's a video of a cyclist being chased by one of the least threatening animals on Earth. This fawn is tiny - He must be very young. When the cyclist leaves, the fawn chases behind him. Despite his small size, he can move pretty fast.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Bicycle with Car Tires

Bicycle with car tires (photo courtesy of Technabob)
Here's the ultimate fat tire bicycle. Mr. Mash began the project with an old BMX bike and two car wheels. Then he did some pretty serious modifications. He had to remove the centers of the wheels and put in his three spoke arrangement. He couldn't run a chain from the front sprocket directly to the rear hub, so it was necessary to add an intermediate shaft. Modifications were made to the frame and fork to accommodate the much wider tires. You can get all the details at the Instructables website.

Here's a video of it in action. You will notice the rider isn't going very fast. That's not too surprising when you consider that the average car tire weighs 25 pounds.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Wales

Cycling through the town of Dolgellau in Wales
If you are looking for an overseas destination for bicycle touring, consider Wales. Part of the United Kingdom, it is less than one quarter the size of Indiana. Despite its small size, it has three national parks:
  • Pembrokeshire Coast
  • Brecon Beacons
  • Snowdonia
 Total population is just over three million, so its not too crowded. Here are a couple websites with information on cycling routes in Wales:
For general tourist information, check out Visit Wales

Monday, May 8, 2017

How Old is My Bicycle?

1959 Schwinn Panther II (photo courtesy of Schwinn Cruisers)
One question we often get from customers is "How old is my bike?" There are some websites that can help answer that question. First you need to find the serial number. On most bikes it's under the bottom bracket. If you don't find it there, try looking around the headset or the chainstays.

Once you have the serial number, there are some sites where you can find out when your bike was made. Here are a couple:

Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Photo - Bicycle Chariot Race

Ben-Hur on Bicycles! (photo courtesy of The Awesomer)
Lew Wallace (author of Ben-Hur) would love this! Back in 2009, a bicycle chariot race was held at the site of the famous Circus Maximus in Rome. The stadium held over 150,000 spectators in its glory days, but I'm sure this race had a much more modest sized audience. It was part of festivities celebrating the 2,762 anniversary of Rome's founding. Shown below is a view of some of the pageantry surrounding the event. The Circus Maximus is a public park today.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thursday Video - Skunks Greeting Cyclist


What should a cyclist do when skunks come running at you?

Now here's an interesting video. A cyclist is stopped out on a road, and a family (Mother and four babies) comes running up to him. Fortunately, they appeared to be friendly. They didn't spray, they just checked out his bike and his shoe. Perhaps they're thinking of getting into cycling - It's a great family activity. After checking things over, thwy continue merrily down the road.



Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Bicycle Hearse

Sille Kongstad of Copenhagen with her bicycle hearse
In Copenhagen Denmark you can now make your final journey by bicycle. A Danish undertaker named Sille Kongstad had two bicycle hearses constructed, each at a cost of over 7,000 dollars. The investment seems to be paying off. She had fiver bookings in the first two days they were available. Most feedback has been positive, but some people have complained on her Facebook page that it is "undignified." For more information, check out this article on the Japan Times. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Salt & Sand: Cycling Across the Bolivian Salares

Cycling across the world's largest salt flat (photo courtesy of Long Haul Trekkers)
This week's touring story comes from the Long Haul Trekkers, which consists of Dave, Jen (who does most of the writing) and Sora (the dog who goes everywhere with them). Last year they were cycling across the salt flat of Bolivia, which is known as Salar de Uyuni. This is the largest salt flat in the world, covering over 4,000 square miles (roughly equal to 10 Indiana counties). It is high in the Andes, at nearly 12,000 feet. It is extremely flat, with only about three feet of variation in elevation. So flat in fact, that it is sometimes used to calibrate the altimeters of satellites. The photos of the area bring to mind Buzz Aldrin's "Magnificent desolation" description of the moon. There are a few volcanic outcroppings in the salt flat, and these are called "islands" by the locals.

Naturally, there were a number of challenges in riding across this terrain. You can see the goggles on Sora to protect her eyes from the blowing salt and sand. In some places, it was necessary for Dave and Jen to push their bikes through loose sand.  The few villages in the area had very limited food options, and water was always an issue. The wind was strong (There's nothing to block it) and because of the high altitude it dropped below freezing at night.

When they were traveling through the salt flat, Dave and Jen were planning to ride from South America up to their home in Portland, Oregon. After making it through the Andes, they decided to take a flight out of Colombia to get back home. For additional information about their trip and more magnificent photos, please visit their website.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Austin Group Provides Adult Tricycles to Senior Citizens

Senior Citizens with new tricycles in Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas is a well-known hub of cycling activity. There is an organization  there called the Ghisallo Cycling Initiative, which is involved in a number of cycling activities. These include cycling safety and earn a bike programs. In 2015 they provided five adult trikes to the Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center. I think is a great way to encourage seniors to get outside and get some exercise. You can see some seniors above with the new trikes. Unfortunately, I can't find any information about how successful the program has been.

If you are involved with a senior citizens center or assisted living facility, and would like to get adult trikes, please contact Sylva at 317-786-9244. We can get some for you at a discount.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Photo - Google Street Trike Mapping Stonehenge

Google Street View Trike at Stonehenge

In a previous post, I featured the Google Street Trike, which uses for creating its street view images in locations where cars cannot go. Here it is being used at Stonehenge in Great Britain. How did the guy in the photo get such a great job? Can you imagine being paid to bicycle around the great wonders of the world? If you go to the Google Street View page, you can see a number these amazing sites, such as:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Thursday Video - Fat Tire on an Electric Fence

Fat bike straddling an electric fence
In this amusing video we have three British chaps trying to solve a difficult problem - Getting a fat tire bike off an electric fence. It seems one of them was in the process of lifting his bike over the fence and setting it on the other side. In the middle of this action he realized the fence was electric, and immediately dropped the bike. That's how the situation came about. The video below shows their efforts to retrieve the bike. Are they successful? - You'll have to watch the video to find out.

Warning - There is some foul language in this video


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Growler City Bike

The Growler City Bike by Joey Ruiter
This week's bike is highly specialized. It is built to transport a growler (64 ounces) of beer from your local microbrewery to your house (or wherever you're going). The bike features 29" tires, a Monarch Springer fork, and of course, a built-in growler holder. While this bike looks really cool, the Blackburn Outpost Cargo Cage is much more economical. They sell for $24.95 and we have them in stock.

For more information about the Growler City Bike and additional photos, please visit BlessThisStuff.com

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Bike 101 Lakes

Participants at a previous edition of Bike 101 Lakes
Here's a bike ride that will be held in the northeast corner of Indiana: Bike 101 Lakes. The ride starts in Angola, which is the county seat for Steuben county. The county is one of the more scenic areas of Indiana, with a lot of woods and 101 natural lakes. It is home to Pokagon State Park, best known for its toboggan run, and Trine (formerly Tri-State) University. This is the eighth year of the ride, and there are five ride lengths (click on the ride length to see a map of the route):
The long route ventures up into Michigan and over into Ohio a bit. Cost for the ride is $35 ($10 age 13 and under), which also includes a t-shirt. There is also a $40 family option which covers 2 adults and 2 kids on the 2.8 route, with a t-shirt for each rider. There is no online registration, but you can download the form from the web and mail it in.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Demo Mountain Bikes

Jamis Dragonslayer Pro
We now have four demo mountain bikes which we can rent out to you for $50 per day. Should you decide to purchase one, your rental fees (up to $100) may be applied your purchase. Here are the bikes that are available:
  • Jamis Eden 26+, 16" frame size (list price $999.99)
  • Jamis Halo XC 650B, 14" frame size (list price $1299.99)
  • Jamis Dragonslayer Sport 26+, 17" frame size (list price 1399.99)
  • Jamis Dragonslayer Pro, 26+, 19" frame size (list price $2499.99)
All of these are hardtails - We hope to get a full suspension demo bike from Fuji soon. We're not far from Southwestway Park, which would be a good place to do a test ride.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Photo - 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps

The 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps at Minerva Terrace (photo courtesy of GearJunkie)
We're going back quite a ways for this week's photo - All the way back to 1896. At that time the bicycle, especially the modern design, was relatively new, and motorized cars and trucks didn't exist. Naturally, the United States Army wondered if this new bicycle could be useful to the military. In May of 1896, the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps was formed at Fort Missoula in Montana. It consisted of eight African-American soldiers led by a white officer, Lt. James Moss. Moss achieved his position by graduating last in his class at West Point, which meant he also got the last choice for Army assignments after graduation. Most West Point graduates at that time did not wish to serve in the West or to command black troops, so he got to do both.

The A.G. Spalding company provided bicycles to the corps at no charge. The men were taught to ride in formation with these bikes while carrying the supplies they would need (tent, bedroll, cooking utensils, etc.) in the field. They also had to carry a rifle and 50 rounds of ammunition. Initially each cyclist carried his rifle on his back. Later it was attached to the bicycle.

After a number of shorter rides, they went on a major trek in August of 1896. They traveled from Fort Missoula to Yellowstone National Park. The round trip totaled 800 miles. The photo above shows the cyclists at Minerva Terrace, part of the Mammoth Hot Springs area in the national park. By June of 1897, they started on an even longer journey: Fort Missoula to St. Louis. This trek would total 1900 miles. By this time the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps had increased to 20 enlisted men (all African-American), and had added another officer. Also accompanying the group was a 19 year old newspaper reporter named Eddie Boos. Unlike the military cyclists, he rode a Sterling bicycle. His reports went to Missoula, St. Louis and other newspapers around the country. After 41 challenging days, the cyclists entered St. Louis. According to a report filed by Lt. Moss:
"The bicycle, as a machine for military purposes, was most thoroughly tested under all possible conditions, except that of being under actual fire."
The feat is quite impressive when one takes into account the fact that roads in the era before the automobile were so bad the soldiers often had to dismount and push their bikes through mud.

Moss wanted to ride from St. Louis to Minneapolis to see how fast the corps could travel over better roads. Permission was denied and they returned to Ft. Missoula. In February of 1898 he requested permission to cycle from Ft. Missoula to San Francisco. A week later the battleship U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, and the U.S. Army became focused on the impending Spanish-American War. The trip to San Francisco was not approved and the unit was eventually disbanded.

James Moss deeply respected the black soldiers that served under his command. He later fought in both Cuba and the Philippines during the Spanish-American War, and in France during World War I. He was a colonel by the time of his retirement from the Army shortly after World War I. In 1941 he died in a New York City traffic accident not far from where John Lennon was later killed.

For more information on those tenacious souls who made the arduous journey from Ft. Missoula to St. Louis, please visit Riders of the Bicycle Corps.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thursday Video - Kenny Belaey's Balance

Kenny Belaey riding cable over 350 foot drop
I have seen videos of mountain bikers doing a lot of crazy stuff, but this one is incredible. Kenny starts out carrying his bike up a mountain through snow. He rides on some incredibly narrow ridges, and downhill through loose rock and snow. For the finale he rides on a single cable between two peaks.