News Archive 2005
Cleveland Magazine: 55 Things That Rock
Best of Cleveland
We took a spin around town and looked for this city's greatest hits. We feasted on breakfast at Big Al's and cannoli from Casa Dolce, watched revelers challenge the mechanical bill at Tequila Ranch, puffed away at Kan Zaman and shopped for vintage T-shirts at Big Fun and the buy-one-get-one-free tickets at House of Blues. But that was just the start. For the record, we discovered 55 things that rock about Cleveland that you'd be wise to put in your weekend rotation during the next 365 days.
See the Ohio and Erie Canal Corridor behind a pair of handlebars. Century Cycles in Peninsula offers $6/hour bike rentals daily. Choose your bike style and pedal north along the Towpath Trail through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for an afternoon full of fresh air you won’t soon forget. Century Cycles, 1621 Main St., Peninsula, (330) 657-2209, http://www.centurycycles.com/
Crain's Cleveland Business: Women of Note
October 31-November 6, 2005
Some people find inspiration in nature. Some find it in music or art or literature.
Lois Moss found hers in a friend's garage.
Years ago, on a visit to England, Ms. Moss awoke early one morning, before her host, and decided to check out her surroundings.
"I looked in the garage and saw a bicycle," she recalled. "Basically, I had a life-changing bicycle ride around England. I discovered I had a passion for cycling."
The co-founder and co-owner of Century Cycles also discovered she had a risk-taking side.
"I was never athletic in school at all," she said. "I just sort of liked the freedom. I was sort of struck by using my own power."
Raised in Medina County, Ms. Moss earned her accounting degree from the University of Akron. It was a move, she admits, that required some quashing of her inner drive.
"I was always meant to be an artist," she confessed, "but I took the easy way out and became an accountant."
She was six years into her career in the financial world when she and then-husband Scott Cowan (who remains her business partner and co-owner) decided that it was time to take the training wheels off their shared love for bicycling. She had the financial know-how, and he was experienced in sales and marketing.
So, in 1991, after borrowing $12,000 — "in $500 increments from friends and family," Ms. Moss notes — the pair opened the first Century Cycles store in Medina.
That first year, the store made no money.
Undaunted, Ms. Moss watched with interest the development of the Towpath biking trail in Peninsula, and saw the area's potential.
"We knocked on people's doors and hung around the Winking Lizard a lot," Ms. Moss recalled of their quest to discover an ideal location to expand the business. The second Century Cycles opened in 1992 on Main Street in Peninsula, adjacent to both the bike trail and that oft-visited tavern.
The risk paid off. Since then, Century Cycles has added stores in Rocky River and Solon, and now employs 35 full- and part-time workers.
Ms. Moss still doesn't back down from taking the rough path. Most days, she bikes to work, riding from Cleveland's Archwood-Denison neighborhood to Solon.
In 2003, Ms. Moss led a charge against Clear Channel Communications when local radio personalities began bashing bicyclists on air and encouraging motorists to run them off the road. The furor went national following similar incidents at Clear Channel stations in Houston and Raleigh, N.C.
In running Century Cycles, Ms. Moss has sought out employees based on their enthusiasm for cycling and a friendly, outgoing manner rather than retail skills or technical knowledge. You can teach the latter, she stresses, but not the former.
Meanwhile, she recently expanded her own cycling horizons.
"I mountain biked the other day for the first time, and I have the scars to prove it," she said, pointing out scrapes on her wrists and baseball-size bruises on her legs.
And there's still more undiscovered country ahead: As of Dec. 31, Ms. Moss said, she'll be selling her half of the company to Mr. Cowan.
Michael Feldman's Whad'Ya Know?
September 17, 2005
Century Cycles staff member Kevin Madzia attended the popular public radio talk/quiz show "Whad'Ya Know?" hosted by Michael Feldman at Cleveland's Playhouse Square. Mr. Feldman picked a question card submitted by Kevin, and so Kevin got to speak on the air, where he took advantage of an opportunity to mention Century Cycles! You can find archives of some old episodes of the show at whadyaknow.net, but unfortunately, it does not appear that this particular episode is available.
Cleveland Plain Dealer: 5 Great Things To Do This Week
August 21, 2005
3 Night moves: Take a free evening bike ride with Century Cycles. Meet at the Peninsula store at 8 p.m. Saturday for the moderately paced ride; there's an after-party at a nearby Winking Lizard Tavern.
The Gazette of Medina County: Preparing for Germany
August 20, 2005
Special to The Gazette
It was a beautiful summer day in 2003, and I was going for my daily walk. I couldn't believe that in two years I would be retired. Not everyone gets the chance to retire at 50, and I wanted to make the most of it. I wanted to do something fun and adventurous with my husband, but what?
We both love the outdors and enjoy skiing and bicycling. I wanted to do something physical and challenging but not unrealistic. How about taking two months and bicycling through Germany on a tandem? If we only biked 20 miles per day, we could cover well over a thousand miles.
It sounded great to me, and I figured that I had a hear and a half to convince my husband, Harald. That evening, I casually mentioned my idea to him. To my amazement, he loved it and was tandem shopping the very next week.
We went to Century Cycles in Medina and were impressed by the friendly, helpful and knowledgeable staff. Since we had zero knowledge about tandems, the manager, Mike, took his time and helped us with every detail. We ended up buying a Santana Noventa tandem. Of course, we both knew how to ride a bicycle, but a tandem requires a little more skill. Teamwork and communication are of the utmost importance.
On a tandem, you have a captain -- the front person who does everything, like steer, shift gears, brake, watch the road, make decisions and issue orders -- and a stoker -- the back person who just pedals. In other words, you need brains AND brawn.
Since Harald and I think each of us is the brains, we decided to split the driving 50-50. It actually work out quite well. Half the time, you're the boss and do all the work, and half the time you can relax and thoroughly enjoy the scenery.
We quickly learned that I neede to improve my driving skills and Harald needed to work on his communication. One thing we both needed to learn was how to mechanically maintain our bike as well as disassemble and reassemble the whole thing for transport. Our teacher was Don, the chief mechanic at Century Cycles. I don't know how many times we went back to him asking for help.
Packing for the trip would take some planning. We would spend 10 weeks in Germany, and all our supplies and luggage needed to fit in the trailer we would tow behind our tandem. The real challenge was taking the minimal amount possible yet being prepared for all weather conditions.
It's finally time for our adventure to begin. Travel is our passion, and we have seen much of hte U.S., Europe and even Asia. Through our business, Cobblestone Tours, we take people on private, custom tours of Europe. But this adventure would be just for the two of us. Spontaneity is the keyword for this trip, and we can hardly wait to see what adventures lie ahead.
Evi and Harald's 10-week German bicycling journey will be chronicled each Saturday in Accent.
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Brain Gain
August 15, 2005
A newcomer's story
Name: Kevin Madzia
Occupation: Information Technology Coordinator for Century Cycles, a local enterprise that sells bikes at its four area stores and online at www.centurycycles.com.
From: Originally from the small eastern Ohio town of Adena, which is near Steubenville. Most recently lived in Pittsburgh for almost 20 years, working in a variety of IT jobs.
Lives in: Chagrin Falls
Best part about NEO: "The Metroparks. You can do a lot of hiking and biking there."
Least favorite: The fact that everything is so spread out. "Maybe it's just where I live, but it takes me 45 minutes to get across town."
What he'd change: "More mountain bike trails. That's one thing Pittsburgh has over Cleveland."
Why he's here: Madzia, an avid cyclist, met Century co-owner Lois Moss last year on a cross-country bike ride from Seattle to Boston. He was looking for a new job; she was looking for an IT guy. "I thought it was a good fit," Madzia said.
Bicycling Magazine: Bikes On The Loose - 9 great club rides - and how to join in
Our Night Rides on the Towpath Trail were featured in the "Great Club Rides" section of the June 2005 issue of Bicycling Magazine!
THE RIDE: Century Cycles' Night Ride (Peninsula, OH)
THE VIBE: 1.5-2 hours on the Ohio & Erie Canal towpath; post-ride wings and beer at the Winking Lizard
THE 411: Century Cycles, 1621 Main St., 8 p.m.; visit centurycycles.com for dates
Free Times: Rebels Without a Car
May 12, 2005
"Rebels Without a Car" was an article by Michael Gill that appeared in the May 12, 2005 issue of the Free Times of Cleveland. It featured stories about people in the Cleveland area who do not own cars and do all of their traveling by bicycle, including Ray Query of our Solon store.
The following appeared a week later in May 18-24, 2005 issue of The Free Time's Letters section:
Kevin is 20 years old and lives with his grandfather in a scruffy neighborhood on the Near West Side of Cleveland. He is a soft-spoken, extremely bright guy who left Rhodes High School with seven credits yet to finish. He never wanted a driver's license and rides his bike for transportation. A few months ago, he joined the Army and is hoping to go to college. Between basic training and his possible deployment, he is working at Century Cycles in Solon. He rides a bike to his job.
Kevin was mentioned in the Free Times article "Rebels Without A Car" (May 11). That same day, Kevin was forced off the road by a white van on Harvard Road near Broadway. The driver of the van purposely drove next to Kevin, inching over closer and closer until Kevin was forced to put his foot down on the curb. As the van grazed the bicycle, Kevin was thrown to the sidewalk. Kevin was one of the lucky ones. He lived.
The majority of drivers are courteous and careful, but all it takes is one nasty or ignorant driver to cause a tragedy. I'm sure the driver of the white van was thinking "I'll teach this kid a lesson," or "This'll be funny." To the friends and families of cyclists who are killed, this type of driving is not a joke. People on bicycles are real, thinking, feeling humans who have families and lives, just like you.
Drivers: When you see a bicycle on the road, move over and leave at least four feet when passing. Don't pass a bike on a hill when you can't see what is in the oncoming lane. Don't honk your horn at cyclists because we usually hear your car approaching. Don't pass a bike and then put on your brakes to make a right turn. Don't try ot cut in front of a cyclist when you're making a left turn. The eight seconds you might save are not worth someone's life.
Cyclists: Ride in the same direction as traffic. Obey all traffic signals; don't run through stop signs or signals. Make eye contact and let the cars know you are there. Don't make quick maneuvers. Wear bright clothes and have lights on your bike.
To the driver of the white van: you acted maliciously. He is a real person, and you could have killed him.
Be courteous to your fellow road users. Share the road.
Co-owner, Century Cycles
Cleveland Plain Dealer: 10-speed memory makes Ohioan a bike shop owner
April 30, 2005
Dennis Hudson, who has worked in our Rocky River store for six years, will be taking over as owner of C&O Bicycle in Hancock, Maryland as of May 1, 2005. To read more about Dennis and how his new venture came about, read the article below, which appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on April 30, 2005.
We will miss Dennis, and we wish him the best of luck!
Akron Beacon-Journal: Bike maker honors Century Cycles
April 20, 2005
Bicycle maker Raleigh America Inc. named Century Cycles -- an independent chain in Northeast Ohio with stores in Peninsula, Medina, Rocky River, and Solon -- one of the top 25 Raleigh bicycle retailers nationwide. The recognition was based on sales volume.
Century Cycles President Scott Cowan accepted the award at a ceremony in Acapulco, Mexico, last month. It is the seventh straight year that Century Cycles has won the award.
Free Times: 50 Words Or Less
March 9, 2005
Bike Town: finally, a distinction Cleveland can be proud of
by Michael Gill
CLEVELAND HAS HAD ITS SHARE OF DISTINCTIONS. This year, besides the bleak and embarrassing marks that have been so frequently reported, we have a title that will make at least 50 people very happy. Thanks to the editors of Bicycling magazine and a push from a local bike shop owner, the city is part of "Bike Town, 2005."
Bike Town is the concept of Bicycling editor Steve Madden, who wondered two years ago what stories he and his staff would get to tell if the magazine gave away 50 bikes in one city. Would it change people, help them lose weight, stop using cars so much? Would it change the community in any way -- as a catalyst for bike lanes, or two-wheeled community building?
It would certainly make good copy and give the sponsor some great PR.
So Madden started with Portland, Maine, and asked residents to send 50 words or less telling why the magazine should give each entrant one of the 50 bikes. Each winner got a bike and was asked to write about the results in a journal. Last year they did it in five cities. You can read about the results in the March issue of Bicycling. This year there will be 20, including Cleveland. The list has yet to be finalized, but also includes Philadelphia, Ann Arbor, Austin, and Washington, D.C.
To win a bike, you just write 50 words or less about why you're so deserving. If yours is one of the 50 stories they like best, come June you'll get not only a fine machine, but also a helmet, lock, clothes, and classes on maintenance and safety. In return, they ask that you keep a journal through the summer. Did you lose weight, or save time and money? Did you spend quality time with the dogs chasing your wheels through Rockefeller Park? Did you use the bike at all? Did you bring the kids?
Being named Bike Town, as it turns out, is not a mark of distinction in any competitive sense. I asked the magazine's spokesperson, Chris Brienza, if they selected Bike Town cities in any systematic way.
"That would probably be giving us too much credit," he said.
As we talked, though, it became clear that Cleveland's main attraction was quite a good one: potential.
Brienza mentioned the flat landscape, which makes it a little less intimidating for novice riders to get started. But every city in the Midwest can say that.
He says Cleveland distinguished itself by having a lot of "greenbelt space," and by being in a state that the editors felt "did not have a reputation as being an extremely bike-friendly place."
The word "potential" sounds great, but it also implies that there's room for improvement.
Brienza says the Bicycling folks thought shining the national giveaway spotlight on Cleveland could help give a little boost to bike-related projects such as lanes and other facilities.
"It hasn't been an area where there has been a lot of that," he said.
Cleveland also had an advantage in Lois Moss, the co-owner of Century Cycles, which happens to carry bikes made by one of the sponsors. And she networks constantly with local government and bike advocacy groups.
Moss is hoping the Bike Town giveaway will bring some new energy to the many advocacy projects around town. Last week at Jane Campbell's Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting, she told the assembled that Cleveland would be a Bike Town this year. She brought notes on all the various bike initiatives in the city, and added more in the margins. It's a long list. Cleveland may have a long way to go towards bike-friendliness, but thanks to Lois and many others, the course is being charted.
But hanging in the back of my mind through all this optimism is the belief that the most important piece of bike-friendly infrastructure a city can have is human: it's people who want to ride bikes, and badly enough that they actually do it.
The same logic applies to the bicycle itself. It's not hard to get your hands on a bike in Cleveland these days. The price of a good bike has never been lower. For less money still, a person can go to the Ohio City Bike Co-Op and learn to build one from recycled parts. Or look around town on garbage day and pick up a servicable throwaway.
Do you want to get healthier, worry less about whether gas reaches $2 a gallon, and forget about parking lots? Want to balance, charge, and glide your way to the office?
Enter the Bike Town contest. Fifty people will get free bikes. But whether you win or not is entirely up to you.
Free Times: Weather Or Not
January 12, 2005
Century Cycles' own Aaron Maughan of the Rocky River store was featured in the "After the Rust" column by Michael Gill in the January 12, 2005 edition of the Free Times. See the image of the article below; the complete text is reproduced below the image.
Bicyclist proves you can go carless in Cleveland
by Michael Gill
"People don't have any idea what their bodies are capable of," Aaron Maughan says. He seems to be implying that what he does isn't all that noteworthy, that most people could do the same if only they'd make the choice, and maybe more people should try it.
Maughan has a car, but he hasn't driven it in almost a year. Instead he rides a bike.
Each day he rides out Detroit, from West 101st to his job at a bike shop in Rocky River. He rides his bike to meet friends in Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights and Tremont. Visits to his mom in Akron are a little more rare. He doesn't worry about auto mechanics, insurance payments, parking, the price of gas, or the great big whopping monthly.
He waits at intersections for the traffic lights. He eats whatever he wants. Loaf of PB&J?
The adventure was inspired by a guy he knows who rode a bicycle back from Alaska a few years ago.
"If that guy by himself can ride across a continent," Maughan says, "then I'm pretty sure I can make my way around Cleveland."
So he decided to see how far he could go without his car -- not on a grand excursion, but simply in day-to-day life in the city.
We're sitting in a warm downtown coffee shop as he describes the evolution of his method. It was late February. He was about to buy a new bike. The tags on his '84 Audi were due to expire soon, so he figured he'd just let that happen and give himself no choice.
In March, 2004 he left his car parked on the street.
At first, Maughan used a messenger bag to carry what he needed. The riding itself wasn't so bad. The weather was getting better then. But without a trunk and passenger seat to carry bags, he had to make frequent trips to the grocery. So every couple of days he'd pick up a few things. He hauled a five-pound bag of kibble once a week to keep up with his yellow lab.
The dog food problem eventually inspired him to boost his cargo capacity with a bolt-on chrome-moly contraption that makes his bike longer and gives him room for six cubic feet of whatever the journey calls for. It'll carry a 20-pound bag of dog food in one side. Once, he loaded it with a full cooler of beer. The sticker says it's okay to carry up to 200 pounds of humans or whatever. It's a mad taxi.
Maughan went to move his Audi in June and found the key in the ignition, the doors open, rejected even by thieves. Two tires were going flat. The battery was dead. He pushed it into his old garage, swung the doors shut and padlocked them. He remembers thinking he didn't care if he ever saw it again, except to remind himself how much he used to depend on it -- like a memento someone keeps to remind them of who they used to be.
Maughan got his first taste of mobility at age 10, when he and his younger brother let the school bus go by and rode their beater Huffy ten-speeds 25 miles out Route 59 to Grandma's house. When he was 15, he dropped $300 from a summer job on a white Schwinn and rode it home during rush hour. He's never been intimidated by traffic.
For most Americans, the bicycle these days is a toy or a tool for fitness. Census data provided by NOACA bicycle coordinator Sally Hanley says there are 380 people in Cleveland who commute by bicycle, 195 in Cleveland Heights. Tiny Oberlin counted 265. These numbers probably include occasional or seasonal commuters who sometimes use buses and cars. It's an even smaller crew that sticks to two-wheeled travel year-round. Most, including yours truly, draw a line somewhere. Like if there's snow on the ground and slush on the pavement. As there is while we talk.
"It's not bad out there," Aaron says. "It's above freezing. A little slushy, but the cars are taking care of it."
What he means is that the cars are squeezing the slurry into ruts and the gutters, clearing what he considers to be easy tracks.
Maughan says he doesn't care much about the numbers and doesn't have an odometer on his bike, but he estimates that since ditching his Audi, he's pedaled at least 6,000 miles. He plans to keep his driver's license current, just in case. He's driven other people's cars a couple times. He figures that added up to less than 100 miles.
Maughan knows what his is doing is a challenge, because if it weren't, everyone would be doing it. But he also says it's not big deal.
"This isn't epic adventure," he says.
People don't have any idea what their bodies are capable of.