Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Cuba

Bicycle Touring in Cuba
Since Americans can now legally travel to Cuba, perhaps you have been considering bicycling on the island. Officially, Americans can only visit Cuba if their trip falls in one of 12 categories, which are listed on the State department's Cuba travel page. While this sounds rather limiting, one Internet source say you just have to sign an affidavit at the airport. January or February are good times to go, since it won't be so hot. Also, you will avoid the hurricane season, which runs from June through November.

I found several sources for information on cycling in Cuba:
Here are a few of their recommendations:
  • Avoid hotels. Instead stay at what we would call a bed and breakfast. In Cuba they are called "casa particulares" or just "casas". They also offer dinner for a modest charge. It's a good idea to check the shower in a casa before paying for the night. Some of them don't have much water pressure.
  • Food is okay, but nothing special. Rice and beans are served at most casa dinners, which are reasonably priced. Restaurant meals are more expensive. Pizza is available on the streets for lunch and very cheap. They advise not passing up food if you are the least bit hungry, since it may be hard to find.
  • Roads are okay, and traffic is not bad. Because of the embargo, many cars in Cuba are ancient, from the 1950s. Not surprisingly, many of these belch out a lot of smoke.
  • Many locations are noisy at night with the sounds of dogs, pigs, music and cars. Ear plugs are recommended.
  • Some basic items, like soap, are hard to find in Cuba. 
  • A basic knowledge of Spanish is a big help.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Photo - Bear on the Mountain Bike Trail

One of those guys would make a nice lunch
This week's photo comes from Whistler Mountain Bike Park, by way of MTB Treks. Whistler Mountain Bike Park is located in the Canadian province of British Columbia. It is a premier mountain biking destination. The photo appeared  in an MTB Treks article called 21 Reasons Why You Might Never Want to Do Mountain Biking. The article has a lot of other great photos.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thursday Video - Paintball Loop Mountain Bike Trail Drop-Off Okinawa

This looks like a pretty easy trail
Our video this week is a short one - Only one minute and six seconds. It's shot from a helmet mounted GoPro camera. The trail looks pretty easy for most of the video, although it's a little tight at one spot. About 45 seconds into the video, our rider encounters a bit of a problem.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Bird of Prey Bicycle

The Bird of Prey Bicycle (Photo courtesy of Bird of Prey Bicycles)
This week's weird bike is the Bird of Prey Bicycle. Because of the unique riding position, the crank is located behind the rear wheel. Among the advantages the manufacturer lists is an aerodynamic position for the rider, safety (You won't go flying over the handlebars) and comfort. I have to admit that I have never ridden one of these, but I'm just not sold on the comfort. It just doesn't look comfortable to me. If you want to Buy One, they retail for $4,800. Here's a video of the bike with its designer:

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling in Mexico

I hope the downhill isn't that steep (photo courtesy of Ginger Ninjas)

Continuing the theme of warm weather touring, our southern neighbor of Mexico fits the bill. According to the Ginger Ninjas, all their friends wanted to know if it was safe to bike in Mexico. They reported that they didn't really have any problems, although they were stopped by cops a few times and police cars sometimes followed them for a while (Turned out they were just protecting them from other vehicles). One thing they caution against is riding at night. Enforcement of drunk driving laws are apparently pretty lax, and 90 percent of Mexico's highway accidents occur at night. The folks over at World Biking reported that their bags were searched three times by police officers, but they were always "friendly and professional." There is a drug war going on in Mexico.

The Ginger Ninjas said they generally took the secondary highways when they were available, where they encountered less traffic. They have a map of their route, which ran from Oakland, California to Mexico's border with Guatemala. Their recommendation is to not count on the locals for good directions or information about the steepness of hills. They went south through the Baja Peninsula and then took a ferry over to the mainland. At World Biking they said their expenses averaged only $7.50 per day in Mexico (This info dates to 2010), and that included 5 days in hotels. The rest of the time they camped, stayed at churches, or spent the night in private homes.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday Photo - Zip Tie Bike Tires

Do your Bike Tires Need Extra Grip? (Photo courtesy of LifeHacker)
One innovative cyclist came up with a novel way of getting traction while riding his bike on ice and snow. He used zip ties every couple inches on his tires. He reports that he can maneuver confidently with these on snowpack, and yet they aren't too bad on short stretches of bare pavement.

Please note that this bike has disc brakes. Don't try this if you have standard brakes, because the zip ties will interfere with your braking.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Thursday Video - Bicycle Parking in the Netherlands

Cross-section of Dutch Bicycle Parking Facility

Check out this post on the Bicycle Dutch website.In the Dutch city of Utrecht, they are building a new train station, and this one will have plenty of bicycle parking. There are three levels of stairs going up to the station on its west side. The space under these stairs isn't going to waste. There are three floors of bike parking, each filled with double decker racks. The racks are cleverly designed, and even petite ladies can use the top level. The stairs have grooves in them, so it is easy to roll your bike up or down the stairs. There are a total of 4,200 parking spaces available. Here's a video of the facility:

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - The Golf Bike

Who Needs a Caddy?
Here's a bike that was developed by a guy who loved golf and cycling. He eventually figured out a way to combine these two and came up with the golf bike. The manufacturer claims you can play 18 holes in about three hours with the golf bike, instead of four with a cart or walking. They are sold direct from the manufacturer, who ships them to a local bike shop for assembly. The cost for the bike is $795, which includes shipping and assembly. It can accommodate 14 clubs, and has an insulated cooler in the back as well. The key thing to remember when using it is that you must step through the frame. If you try to throw your leg over the back, you'll hit your golf clubs. Here's an introductory video about the golf bike:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling the Texas Coast

Busted for speeding?
I'm still thinking about riding where it's warmer. Here's a blog about riding along the Texas coast in January. Two guys named Oren and Jerry did a five day ride from Houston to Corpus Christi along the coast of Texas in 2012. This was a credit card tour, so they were staying in hotels instead of campgrounds. Their first day took them onto Galveston Island. On the second day Oren had a nasty little accident when his bike dropped into a pothole, but they were able to continue. On their third day, they didn't start riding until noon because of bad weather, but they were able to reach their destination before dark. The hotel had two sets of automatic doors, so Jerry rode his recumbent bike straight into the lobby. On their final day, they were on a highway that eventually became a limited access freeway. A motorcycle policeman stopped them and told them bikes weren't allowed, then stopped traffic to help them get off at the next exit. Their final destination was a UHaul, where they rented a truck, loaded up their bikes, and headed back up to Houston.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Indoor Time Trial - Saturday, January 28

An Indoor Time Trial (photo courtesy of Fitness Formula Clubs)
Circle City Bicycles will host an indoor time trial on Saturday, January 28. It will be 10 miles long and simulate a perfectly flat course. The event will be run by Michael Schwab, owner of Schwab Innovative Fitness. The entry fee is $10, and all proceeds go directly to Cure Chasers Cycling. Entrants can show up anytime from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Computrainers will be used, and up to four cyclists may race at a time. All participants will get a pedal stroke analysis and their average speed.There will be prizes for the top three men and top three women.

Here's a video of an indoor time trial held at Goodale's Bike Shop in Nashua, New Hampshire:

Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday Photo - Incredible Jump!

Holy Cow!
This week's photo comes from Pinkbike. The photo was taken on the  Canyon Gap trail in Ollantaytambo, Peru. The photo posting drew over 250 comments. My favorite was "Should have been an advertisement for Red Bull."

If you're thinking "No Way! - This has to be Photoshopped," it isn't - You can see the actual jump in this video. The video is called Bombing Through Peru. It's  a good video, and it's 5 minutes and 45 seconds long. If you just want to see the jump, advance it to about 5 minutes and 10 seconds.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Zebra Bicycle

Zebra Man and His Steed
This week's weird bike comes from the Tumblir blog Zenfrogyeah.I haven't been able to find out anything about this bike, but I can't help but marvel at its style.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Maintenance Classes and Tune-Ups

It's January, there's snow on the ground and the temperatures are in the teens. Cycling may be the furthest thing from your mind right now. It's a pretty slow time for us here at the shop. To help keep us busy, we're offering $10 off any tune-up you bring in between now & March of 2017. Normally, our tune-ups are $69.95, but they are only $59.95 through the end of February. Spring might seem like it's a long way away, but March will be here before you know it and we'll start getting some nice days for riding.

We are also holding basic, one day maintenance classes on 4 different Saturdays. These are:
  • January 14
  • January 28
  • February 11
  • February 25
You can find out more about these classes on our website. Spots are limited, so reserve yours today. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Chainless Bike

1898 Chainless Bike (Photo courtesy of Velicious Bicycles)
A bicycle doesn't have to have a chain. Around 1890, shaft drive systems were developed in the United States and in Great Britain. Shaft drive bicycles were first manufactured in the United States in 1893. Columbia put a strong marketing effort behind shaft driven bicycles in 1897. Sales were respectable in 1898 and 1899, but nowhere close to the sales of chain driven bicycles. Many top racers, including Indy's own Major Taylor won on shaft drive bikes, and even set world records. Their popularity was short-lived, and they soon fell out of favor. Periodically, attempts are made to bring back shaft-drive without much success. In the eyes of most cyclists, they don't offer any significant advantage over chain driven bicycles. Today, someone looking for a lower-maintenance, longer-lasting alternative to a chain should consider a Gates belt.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycling Maldives

Cycling in the Maldives

Overall, I like the weather in Indiana, except for January and February. This time of year I start to dream about cycling on tropical islands - Not that I will actually go there. I think the place I would like to go is the Maldives. The nation is comprised of 26 atolls in the Indiana Ocean. The high point is only seven feet and 10 inches above seal level. That's just slightly higher than Shaquille O'Neal is tall! I figure it won't take much sea level rise for the Maldives to disappear entirely, so it makes sense to see them while they are still abone water. Here's an article I found on the Internet called Cycling in Maldives.It has info about cycling there, as well as some resort and airline information at the end of the article

Monday, January 2, 2017

Learning to Ride a Balance Bike

Strider Balance Bike
If you are looking to teach a toddler to ride a bicycle, balance bikes are a superior alternative to training wheels. The problem with training wheels is that the rider doesn't learn how to balance, which is the key skill for riding a bicycle. Balance bikes don't have pedals, but they teach the rider to balance. This is done in five steps:
  1. Child walks the bike while standing
  2. Child walks the bike while seated
  3. Child balances the bike while pushing off with alternating feet
  4. Child pushes off with one foot and then coasts a short distance
  5. Child pushes off with several steps and then coasts for a while
Here's a video that shows all five steps. Please note that the video shows some kids without shoes or helmets. We don't recommend that.