Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday Photo - Dodging Cows in the Tour de France

French Cyclist Warren Barguil dodging a cow in the 2015 Tour de France
The 2017 Tour de France starts on Saturday with a 9 mile time trial. While the race is always a grueling test of endurance, it seems like each year, some unlucky cyclists encounter additional obstacles. Last year the one kilometer to go banner crashed down on Adam Yates. In 2015 Warren Barguil had to dodge some cows while descending at a high rate of speed (above). In 2010 Marcus Burghardt crashed into a dog. The rider with the worst luck was Johnny Hoogereland in the 2011 TDF. A team car sideswiped Juan Antonio Flecha. This started a chain reaction which ended with Hoogerland flying into a barbed wire (see video below). Let's hope this year's Tour is a safe one with no major injuries.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday Video - Mark Cavendish's 30 Tour de France Stage Wins

Mark Cavendish pulling away for his 30th stage win in the Tour de France
The Tour de France begins on Saturday. Last year, Mark Cavendish increased his career stage wins to 30, trailing only the great Eddy Merckx with 34. Will Cavendish catch Merckx this year? We'll just have to watch and see. In the meantime, please enjoy this compilation of his 30 wins to date.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Weird Bike Wednesday - Carroll Gear Drive Bicycle

!897 Carroll Gear Drive Bicycle
Lots of people have wanted to get rid of the chain on the bicycle. Major Taylor set some of his speed records with a gear-driven bicycle. On his bike, the front sprocket rotated a shaft which transferred power to the rear wheel. The 1897 Carroll design used a third gear instead. This design came along as the bicycle boom was coming to an end, and never became very popular. It was built in Philadelphia by the Carroll Chainless Bicycle Company. One of these bikes sold for over $30,000 at an auction in 2007.

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, 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

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.