Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Photo - Coral Snake / Kingsnake Bicycle Rack

Snake identification bicycle rack
This week's photo comes from a blog entitled: A Front Seat View: Cross Country on a Volae Recumbent. The Florida bicycle rack shown above not only holds bikes, but also provides education on snake identification. The left half is a harmless scarlet kingsnake. The right half is a venomous eastern coral snake (It's in the cobra family). To tell them apart, just remember this little rhyme:
Red next to yellow kills a fellow,
Red next to black is a friend to Jack

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Thursday Video - Bicycle Archery

Motorists allow plenty of room when passing this cyclist

Many cultures have practiced mounted archery throughout history. During Roman times, the Parthians were well know for their archery skill while on horseback. In Japan, it became part of samurai training. Although the bow and arrow have been mostly replaced by firearms for hunting and warfare, their are numerous folks who still practice this ancient craft. Not surprisingly, some have replaced the horse with a mountain bike, since horses are much more expensive to own (Check out this article: The Average Monthly Cost of Owning a Horse).

This video is one minute and ten seconds long and shows several different techniques:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Tree Branch Bicycle

The frame is made from a tree branch (Photo courtesy of Bike Rumor)
Out on the Bike Rumor website, I found this bike, which used a tree branch for its frame. It was built by Steve Chang, the marketing manager at Calfee Designs. They were one of the first to use carbon fiber for bicycle frames, and later became known for their bamboo frames. The tree branch used for this bike was found near the shop. While I must give Steve high marks for resourcefulness and using low cost material, I'm just not sold on the idea of tree branch bicycle. My questions is "If it's strong enough to use for a bicycle frame, why isn't it still attached to the tree"?

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Cycle North Carolina

Bicycle and other whirligigs in Wilson, North Carolina
As a bicycle shop, we get a lot of material in the mail advertising upcoming bicycle rides. One that came recently was for the Cycle North Carolina Mountains to Coast Ride. It is a 7-day ride that starts in the Blue Ridge Mountains and ends at the Atlantic Ocean. Average distance is around 60 miles per day. In addition to the riding, there will be numerous attractions along the way, such as the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson. Still photos just don't do whirligigs justice - See them in action on YouTube.

The 2017 Mountains to Coast ride takes place September 30 Through October 7. While that is a ways off, you can save $100 if you register by May 4. You can register online at Cycle North Carolina. Here's an 8 and a half minute video that talks about the towns on the 2017 route:

Monday, March 27, 2017

Beginner Mountain Bike Rides at Southwestway Park

Riders for the First Mountain Bike Ride
The Indianapolis Mountain Bike Meetup had its first beginner mountain bike ride on Wednesday, March 22 at Southwestway Park. This weekly ride is led by John Wall (Not in the photo, he was taking it). Riders meet at Circle City Bicycles at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, then carpool over to the park. Be sure to check the trail status at the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association website if there is any question about conditions.

It is free to join the group over on and the Wednesday night beginner ride is free and open to anyone. If you decide to come, bring your neighbors, friends and co-workers. We would like to see this ride grow and bring more people into mountain biking.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Photo - Alden Carbon Streamlining

Scott triathlon bike with Alden Carbon outer chainring covers
Check out this Scott triathlon / time trial bike. It is equipped with a carbon chainring cover from Alden Carbon, based in Seymour, Indiana (That's right - John Mellencamp's home town) to reduce drag. The company is run by a father and son duo. They both got into bicycle racing, and eventually started to make after-market carbon fiber parts to give themselves an advantage over their competitors. Those competitors noticed and wanted to buy those parts for their own bikes, which led to the formation of Alden Carbon. They have a product called BTA (Between The Arms) Hydration Bottle Computer Mount. To decrease frontal area and reduce drag, It points the water bottle forward and places the computer right behind it, as shown below:

Alden Carbon's between the arms water bottle / computer mount minimizes aerodynamic drag

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thursday Video - No Snow Dogsledding

Who needs snow for dogsledding? (Photo courtesy of Mushing magazine)
This video comes from Canberra, the capital of Australia. They don't get much snow there, so they often have to improvise if they want to have dogsled races. For their sleds, they appear to use modified bicycles, tricycles, quadcycles and scooters for sleds. It amazes me how fast those dogs can go when they are pulling these things. The dogs seem to really like it. They appear very excited when at the start of the race - Like my dog is when it's time to go for a walk. I don't know if they have different classes, but some of the contestants have only one dog while others have three.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - The Tandem Plane

Accelerating to takeoff speed
This week's weird bike comes from the 2012 Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby. Everything in the parade has to be human powered .The event has been renamed and is now the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby and Arts Festival. This year the event will be held on Saturday, May 20 from noon until 6:00 PM.

Here's a short video from the 2015 derby:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Spain on a Montague Paratrooper Pro

Paratrooper  Pro in front of Sadaba Castle in Spain
Montague makes folding bicycles. Unlike most other brands of folding bikes, they use full size wheels. This means they don't fold up as small, but they ride like a regular bicycle. The blog on the Montague website features a number of articles about touring different areas on one of their bikes. One of those is about a guy touring through the Spanish Pyrenees. He rode on a Paratrooper Pro, which is a mountain bike. The article has very little text, but some interesting photos, especially the ones of Bardenas Reales. It's an arid, badlands type region, with interesting rock formations.

You can see from the photo above that the Paratrooper Pro was fully loaded for touring. You can take this folding bike anywhere you would go with a regular bicycle. When traveling with a folding bike, don't tell the airline you have a bicycle, or they will want to charge you extra.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council

Mayor Hogsett on the 2016 Polar Bear Pedal
Circle City Bicycles attended the February meeting of the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council. According to their website:
The purpose of the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Council is to advise City of Indianapolis leadership on matters relating to the use of bicycle as a means of transportation and recreation.The Mayor's Advisory Council reviews and makes recommendations on planning, design and development of projects by developers, City Departments and consultants affecting the use of bicycles.

Despite the fact that Indianapolis was ranked number 13 on Bicycling magazine's list of The 50 Best Bike Cities, you would never suspect it if you traveled around the south side of town. About the only thing that has been done on the south side is the creation of a bike lane on Madison that disappears at intersections. After attending February's meeting, it was apparent that no one was present to advocate for the interests of the south side. Because of this, Circle City Bicycles will be sending a representative to future meetings. These are held on the third Tuesday of each month. If there is any issue you would like to have brought before the council, please let us know by sending an email to

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Photo - Bicycle Trash Hauler

With 5 full garbage cans, I hope he doesn't have to climb many hills
This week's photo comes from the Bikes at Work folks. This is a small company located in Ames, Iowa that make bicycle trailers for towing. All of their trailers have the same basic design. They come in three different lengths, from 32 inches to eight feet. They also come in standard and wide widths. The standard width is sized to hold 18 gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck containers. If you get the eight foot long trailer and stack the containers two rows high, you can get 12 containers on the trailer. With the standard two wheel models, the weight capacity is 300 pounds. By going to the 4 wheel (One axle with dual wheels on each side), the weight capacity is doubled. The wider width trailers are designed for things like lawn mowers. Prices for their products range from $750 for their smallest trailer up to $1400 for the wide, eight foot model with a load capacity of 600 pounds. Shipping from Ames, Iowa is extra. They also have accessories for their trailers, like a rack for carrying plywood.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thursday Video - A Handle for Your Bicycle

The Little Lifter from Walnut Studiolo is great if you have to carry your bike up stairs
This week's video comes from Walnut Studiolo, makers of the Little Lifter. It's a simple but ingenious product. It's basically a leather handle with buckles at both ends to attach to your frame. They attach on the seat and down tubes, just above the crank. This looks like a good thing to have if you need to take your bike up or down steps, or encounter other obstacles that require carrying your bike. It currently sells for $30.80 online. It comes in two sizes and four colors:
  • Natural
  • Honey
  • Dark Brown
  • Black
Check out the video below and let us know if you think we should carry it at Circle City Bicycles

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Weird Bike Wedneday - Golf Club Bicycle

The tubes look skinny because they were originally golf clubs
This week's weird bike comes from the United Kingdom. A graphic design student named Calum Ray at Kingston University, created a bicycle he calls "Par 12" from golf clubs. Apparently on a tight budget, he bought a set of golf clubs for 99 pence ($1.22) on eBay. This was a senior design project. You can see from the photo that he used heads of irons for the pedals and a wood for the kickstand. He wanted the handlebars to made from club grips, but he reported that they just couldn't bend that much without breaking. The tubes of golf club shafts were also difficult to weld because of their walls were so thin. The creation of Par 12 involved a lot of trial and error.

I haven't found any information about anyone actually riding the bike. With those thin tubes, it obviously doesn't look like it could support a heavy person. Also, I'm not real sure how comfortable those pedals would be. My suspicion is that this is just a show bike. I also couldn't find any information on what grade he received on this project, but I think it deserves an A.   

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Bicycle Touring Portugal

Road Touring in Portugal (photo courtesy of Visit Portugal)
Portugal is a small country, with a little less area than Indiana. That makes it easy to see a good chunk of it when touring by bike. Portugal has quite a bit of coastline, so you can  ride along the Atlantic. There are cycling routes with signposts, including the Rota Vicentina, which covers 220 miles, much of it along the coast. If you are looking for hills, there are some peaks over 6,000 feet above sea level in the interior. Inland roads are less crowded than those along the coast.

You can bicycle tour Portugal several ways. You can do a fully supported tour with a company like Pedal Portugal. This is the easiest and most expensive option. Self-guided tours are also available. The routes are planned out and you just have to ride them. The third way is to go on your own. This is the cheapest, but you'll have to do the planning. If you take this option, here are some tips from Traveling Claus:
  • Getting out of Lisbon can be difficult. If you are heading south, take a ferry across the Tejo River from Cais do Sodre.
  • Most roads are good, and motorists are courteous to cyclists.
  • Rooms at smaller hotels go for about $25 to $35. Camping and youth hostels are also good options.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Indiana Safe Passing Bill

Motorists should not come within three feet of a cyclist when passing
On Monday March 13, the Indiana Senate will have the second reading of House Bill 1174. On March 8, Senator Tim Lanane added an amendment requiring motorists to allow at least three feet clearance when passing bicycles. According to the website Take Your Lane, 26 states and the District of Columbia already have such requirements. Among our neighboring states, Illinois is the only one currently specifying three feet when passing cyclists.

To take a look at the bill, go to To see the amendment, you will need to click  on the left where it says "Senate Amendments" then "Amendment #1". To contact your senator, visit the Find Your Legislator page and enter your address.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Photo - Bicycle with Pool Noodle

Bicycle with attached pool noodle (photo courtesy of Canadian Cycling Magazine)
Warren Huska, a commuter cyclist in the Toronto area, got tired of cars passing him way too close. He came up with an ingenious way to force motorists to give him more room. He attached a pool noodle to his rear rack so that it extended out to the left. Since attaching the noodle to his bike with bungee cords, Huska says the affect has been "Almost magical" - All of a sudden cars are changing lanes to go around me. Ontario law requires motorists to give cyclists at least one meter (3.28 feet) of space when passing cyclists, but they didn't always do that until the noodle was added. Despite his success with this addition to his bike, Huska has seen only one other cyclist using a pool  noodle.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday Video - Cycling Robot

The bicycling robot raising his arm after stopping
A Japanese researcher in artificial intelligence has developed a robot that can ride a bicycle. The robot rides it just like a human would: His legs turn the pedals and he uses his arms to steer with the handlebars and maintain balance. When he comes to a stop, he puts his feet on the ground. Currently, remote control is used to instruct the robot where to go. His creator would like to make the robot smart enough to ride on his own with no input from a human. The robot currently rides a fixed gear bike. Maybe he'll get a bike with a derailleur soon.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Rowbike

The Rowbike is propelled by your arms instead of your legs
I had never heard of the Rowbike until I ran across an ad on Craigslist for a used one. I visited the website to find out more about them. They have both bicycle and quadcycle models. The two wheeled version sells for about $2500 and the four wheeled model is around $3000. To ride the rowbike you put your feet on the platforms at the top of the front wheel and pull back on the handlebars. Here's a video that shows them in action:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Touring Tuesday - Moray Terraces of the Incas

Biking above the Moray Terraces of the Incas
If you happen to find yourself in the Peruvian city of Cuzco (capital of the Inca Empire) with a little time on your hands, you might want to take a mountain bike ride to the Moray Agricultural Terraces. It is not known why the Incas built these bowl shaped terraced fields, but the most popular theory is that it was an agricultural research site. The temperatures from top to bottom in the bowls vary as much as 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the Incas lived at elevations from sea level to more than 2 miles high, this allowed them to simulate many of those climates. The Incas grew many crops, but the major ones were corn, potatoes and quinoa. Corn could be grown up to around 10,000 feet, while potatoes and quinoa were grown up to 13,000 feet.

For more information, check out this review on TripAdvisor. One suggestion the reviewer makes is to make sure you are acclimatized to the altitude before doing the ride.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday Photo - Cycling Biathlon

Shooting in the prone position during the biathlon (photo courtesy of Cyclist Chic)
In the United States, most people think of a combined running and cycling event when they hear the word biathlon. In Russia, they stay true to military origin of the Winter Olympic event, which combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. During the summer, mountain biking replaces the cross-country skiing. From looking at the video below, it appears that they don't carry their rifles on their bikes (In the winter event, they carry their rifles on their backs).

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Tracked Bicycle

Note the continuous track in place of a rear wheel (photo courtesy of Bikejuju)
Here's a very strange bicycle I ran across on the Internet. The front wheel is odd, but the entire back wheel has been replaced with a continuous track. I have no idea where the mechanism in the rear came from. Note that there are no handlebars. Steering is done with a couple levers in front of the saddle. I haven't been able to find out much about this bike, except that the photo was taken at a 2010 Tour de Fat event in Seattle.