March Gravel Goodness: Dirty Thirty and Melting Mann

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Spring means gravel in Grand Rapids, and we've got the best calendar of gravel events in the Midwest! Grinding season starts with Melting Mann and keeps rolling the following weekend with the first annual Dirty Thirty! 

We're as anxious as anyone to get out on the dirt this spring, but with the wicked freeze/thaw cycle in place, gravel roads are the easiest way to explore, get fit, and certainly race this time of the year. Our area has one of the best gravel race scenes around, with events all over West Michigan offering their own unique take on how to make a race tough and fun. Kicking off the local gravel season is Melting Mann. 

Located down in Vandalia, Melting Mann is entering its fifth year. With it's late March time slot, the weather has ranged from idyllic and warm, cold and rain, and downright frigid and snowy! Course conditions this time of year are very dynamic, making tire and gearing selection for the race always a part of the challenge, or part of the fun, depending on how you look at it. 

At over 90% gravel, Melting Mann is as pure a gravel challenge as you'll find in the state. Aside from some asphalt at the start/finish, the roads offer largely fast and smooth roads but a few important rough and technical two-tracks that often serve as the selection points in the 35 mile Long course. 

Melting Mann registration is wide open online, so get yourself signed up right here

If you can't make it on March 25, or if the first race only whetted your appetite, great news. The Dirty Thirty is another chance to get out and put down some power, this time even closer to home in Saranac, only a short drive from Grand Rapids. The race starts and finishes right downtown, heading north in the wide-open, wind-swept farm fields that surround the town. Expect crosswinds to split the field early, and watch for those gaps to open further as the race turns south and hits the hills near the river. 

Both events offer a short course for those who haven't been able to get many miles in this winter, or for folks that just want to see what gravel racing is all about. There really isn't a more accessible type or racing than gravel, and there's no better place to get into it than West Michigan. We are absolutely spoiled for great roads, great rides, and great races throughout the year, and it all gets started in March! 

If you've got questions about these races, gravel riding, or what the best bike for gravel roads might be for you, swing by and we'll show you all the bikes, tires, and more. 

Make sure you follow The Dirty Thirty and Melting Mann on Facebook for the most current weather and course updates, too. 



My Kona: Wes' Kona Big Unit


We're looking forward to spring, and some of us slightly more than others. Folks with new bikes, or bikes that have been built up as something new, are especially antsy. Wes' Kona Big Unit has him jonesing to shred, with a utilitarian build that's tough enough for a big season. 

The 2016 Kona Big Unit began as a frame and built up as a singlespeed. Heading into 2018, the bike is going to be the everyday shredder, race winner, and trail crusher for Wes. Because he travels a lot for work, the bike needs to be very easy to maintain, tough as nails, and be suited for any number of trail systems. 

The frame itself is a rarity these days, and hasn't been in production since 2016. It's made of 6069 scandium, which offers a springy steel ride but at a much lighter weight than even aluminum. The frame also spearheaded the now nearly universal sliding rear drop out that has swept the industry, making it easier to adjust your wheelbase to how you ride, as well as switch between singlespeed and gears. That choice is an easy one to make now, because it takes about 30 minutes to switch back and forth once you get the hang of doing it. 

Another big choice was to stick with the fully rigid Whisky fork. It takes off a bit of weight, sure, but with little maintenance or adjustment, it's also a bit of a time saver for a rider who admittedly puts his bikes away wet, mud, and quickly. 

That utilitarian theme extends to the drivetrain, where he's opted for 1x10 components with a tight 11-36 cassette. Putting in big miles means he'll through anywhere from four to six chains this summer, and 10 speed components add up to a lot of savings. He's gone with a SRAM GX groupset, paired with a 34t Wolf Tooth Oval chainring up front. There appears to be just a bit more room for a bigger ring, which may prove useful later in the season and in any potential gravel races. 

After a few years on ESI grips, he's back on ODI grips, a Prologo Novo saddle, Shimano SPD pedals, and RaceFace seatpost and bar. He's switching to an Easton 90mm -17 degree stem to lower the front end. 

The wheels are Stan's Crest with Schwalbe Racing Ralphs in a 2.25 front and rear. 

This bike weighs in at 23.1 pounds, not the lightest the world, but there's some weight to be shed from the crank when the need arises. 

What's your Kona story? Let us know about your bike, it's history, and why you love it and we can feature it on the site! Contact with your Kona photos and tall tales. 



CDC Does Spring Break In Knoxville!


Spring is a curious thing in Michigan. You can’t rely on anything when it comes to the weather, and even the tail end of March can be snowy and cold. You need a break, and we’re doing most of the planning.

This year, we’re heading south to Knoxville, Tennessee for Spring Break 2018! Get far enough south to enjoy the warmth, but close enough that the drive doesn’t eat up your whole weekend. Knoxville is home to a massive network of urban trails, most of then dirt, that winds through the whole city. We are packing up and bringing the tribe with us; meet up, catch up, and hang out with the CDC crew for three days of dirt riding!

Trail expert Courtney Joesel will be leading skill sessions and rides over the course of the three-day trip. She’s a certified expert who has already helped instruct riders at our Louisville MegaCaverns trip earlier this winter. Courtney is a ton of fun to ride with and everyone who gets time with her is a better rider for it.

Sound like fun? Call or stop by the shop for more details and to reserve your spot on the trip. Lodging rates and other expenses will be determined as we get a little closer to the trip and will depend largely on how many people are planning on joining.

Stay tuned for more information throughout March and make sure your bike is ready to rock!

You can get a taste of the Knoxville scene here. 



Bike Stuff We Love This Valentine's Day


Valentine's Day is almost here. If you're lucky enough to love someone who loves bikes, you know that getting flowers and chocolates isn't really going to cut it. Flowers die, chocolate disappears, and disappears quickly. Instead, we've picked out a few things that'll spice up your Valentine's Day and make your bike riding better, too. 

3 Toes Threadworks Top Tube Bag. Okay, here's how you give your sweetheart some chocolote. Fill up these hand-made top tube bags with something sweet, and once you're headed out for a ride, you can fill it with snacks, your phone, or whatever you want to have close at hang. 

Level 3 Tune-Up. February is the prime-time for service specials, and we've got the Bike Love offer going strong. Take 20% off a Level 3 service, and remember, nothing says "I care" like tightening someone's hubs for them. Faster turnaround time is just an added bonus! This time of the year is a great time to get your well-ridden fat bike back in shape, or get your gravel, road, or mountain ready for spring in just a few weeks. 

A Fat Bike. Yeah, this is how you really show you love someone, or how you get out of the doghouse for getting them a crockpot for Christmas. With in-stock fat bikes up to 35% off right now and plenty of winter left to make the most of one, it's the perfect chance to go fat. Rocky Mountain and Kona make some incredible bikes, and once you throw a leg over one, you'll get it. You can see our current stock list here. 

Have a great week, a Happy Valentine's Day, and we'll see you on the trails! 



Fat Nats Weekend In Grand Rapids


Trust us, you're busy this weekend. CDC rolls deep into the idea of February with a celebration of all things bike, with trail-talk, great racing, and the perfect weather for what's on tap. 

The Fat Bike National Championships are back in Grand Rapids this weekend with a new venue and the perfect stage for not one, but two days of racing at Cannonsburg Ski Area. This year, we've got plenty of snow and some frigid conditions in the forecast all week that will help make sure the course is snowy, fast, and a ton of fun. 

Things kick off Friday night at Cannonburg with a unique chance to meet MTB legend Dave Wiens. The current IMBA Executive Director will be at the ski hill from 7-9pm to talk about everything from his six consecutive Leadville 100 wins, his work with IMBA, and thoughts about fat bikes, eBikes, and anything else we talk about. It's a great chance to come down and join the West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance, learn about trail organizations, and get excited for the rest of weekend! 

Saturday is the big day, with Fat Bike National Championships running throughout the morning and into the afternoon. Races start at 9a, 11a, 1p, and 3.30p, with awards throughout the day. The weather this week couldn't be more ideal, with temps in the 20s and some snow in the forecast for Thursday and Friday. Expect perfect conditions for the race! 

You can see who is signed up for what by checking out the current registration list here. 

The fun keeps going Saturday night with live music from The Bootstrap Boys in the Bear Creek Room at Cannonsburg from 7-10pm!

Don't stay up too late, though, because Sunday is just as action-packed. Winter Rush brings you another day of racing at Cannonsburg starting at 11am. Multiple categories and distances to choose from, and all on a course packed in from the previous day. 

You can stay up to speed with Winter Rush at Cannonsburg on the

Registration for Sunday's races is open here. 



Bike Love: 20% Off Service Special Through Valentine's Day!

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We're rolling into Februry, the month of love, passion, and Fat Bike Nationals. 

It's also a great time to get your bike tuned up. Whether you're trying to dial your winter rig back into shape after snow miles or salty commutes or getting your fair-weather bike ready for spring, February is perfect. It's a quicker turnaround, and now, we're making it even better with 20% off our Level 3 Tune Up! 

-Washing crankset, chain, cassette, front and rear derailleur in an industrial parts cleaner

-Also includes installation of new chain and cassette
-Bike wash
-True and tension wheels
-Adjust front and rear hubs
-Check and adjust Bottom bracket
-Check and adjust headset bearings
-Adjust brakes and gears
-Wipe down the frame and lube chain.
-Check and tighten all bolts
-Check and inflate tires

There's plenty to get ready for this month, too. Of course, we're really excited about USA Cycling's Fat Bike Nationals on February 10, followed by Winter Rush at Cannonsburg the following day. It's a full weekend of fat bikes, and such a cool opportunity to bring our cycling community together in the dead of winter. 

And it looks as though winter is coming back, too. After two weeks of unseasonably warm weather, there is snow in the forecast and consistently cold temperatures that should make our weekend of racing a big success, as well as our daily riding much more fun. If you're still looking to get out on a fat bike this winter, you're in luck. We have all 2017 fat bikes up to 35% off, with even a select few 2018 models on discount as well. In the snow and all summer long, you'll love your Rocky Mountain or Kona fat bike, and we've got some sweet rigs to get you out there. 



Support The Trails with Central District Cyclery and WMMBA

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It's a new year, and we're really looking forward to so many rides, races, and unforgettable days on the bike. We're extremely fortunate to have some many different and diverse trail systems in West Michigan, and one organization to thank for it. West Michigan Mountain Biking Alliance helps build, maintain, and protect trails all over our region, and in doing so, they give us places to go out and ride year-round. 

WMMBA is our local International Mountain Bike Association chapter and works to advocate in the interest of mountain bikers at the local, state, and federal level. They also play a huge role in growing our mountain bike community through events and clinics. WMMBA's efforts are maintained primarily through membership dues and donations from people who just really love riding. 

In 2018, we've pledged to donate $15 for every mountain bike sold straight to WMMBA. We proud to join a number of local business that work to keep our trail builders building, and help to protect the unity of our mountain bike community by coming together to support the folks who support our trails. 

Any mountain, any time this season, and your new bike day will do everyone just a bit of good. 

You can help today by buying a bike, but if that's not happening soon enough, you can become a member of WMMBA and add your voice to the community. 

To learn more about WMMBA head here. Be sure to join us at Cannonsburg on Friday, February 9 to meet IMBA Executive Director and mountain bike legend Dave Wiens. 



No Tubes, No Problems: Tubeless Tires and YOU!


Tubeless is everywhere; from fat bikes, mountain bikes, and road bikes, fewer and fewer riders rely on tubes when they ride. Believe it or not, just how tubeless rims and tires work is a bit mystifying. Don't worry! Bob breaks it down here, and he'll show you how it works in real life at this week's tubless clinic! 

What makes a rim tubeless ready?

A tubeless ready rim will have a sidewall with a hooked design, which helps catch and hold the bead. Older rims will appear rounded without a hook shape. The shape of the rim will force the bead up snug against the outer hook, and will have a deep section in the middle to make it easier to remove.

The most reliable tubeless systems are those marked UST (Uniform System Tubeless standard). Rims and tires must meet a certified standard to use the UST label. A UST tire will have a square shaped bead to match the UST rim. Inside the tire carcass will be a butyl liner, basically inner tube material formed into the inside carcass of the tire body. This extra material does make the tire heavier compared to non-UST tires.

UST rims will have either no nipple holes in the rim tire bed, or these holes will be completely sealed. The UST rim bead seat is designed to accept and hold the beads of the UST tires. UST tires can be used on a UST rim without tire sealants. The most common brand to use UST rims/tires is Mavic.

You must use a tubeless ready/UST tire and rim for the appropriate seal.

Best tubeless rim tape?

The best rim tapes will vary from person to person. In the end, I think that any company that produces specific tubeless rim tape will work just fine. I prefer a more pliable tape when setting up a new wheel. My preferred tape isn’t actually tape at all. I love using the Effetto Mariposa Caffelatex rim strip. Made using a proprietary polymer blend, Caffélatex Strip has very high mechanical strength and resistance to punctures. It’s also very stable from a chemical standpoint and cannot be damaged by water or sealant. They are also reuseable. Because they have don’t have a memory, changing the strips from different wheels have very little effect on the sealing properties. This method is by far my choice when setting up fat bike wheels. Because of the exposed spoke nipples, using tubeless tape can be very tricky to get a proper seal. With the Caffelatex strips, they set flush to the rim with very few imperfections. If I had to use tape, I’d either use the Velocity tape or Stans. The Stan’s tape is slightly more pliable than the Velocity, to help reduce creasing in the tape. However, I don’t feel as the Stan’s tape holds up as well as the Velocity tape.

Tubeless tire choices?

Pretty much every company in the bicycle tire industry offers some sort of tubeless tire. In my experiences, if a company makes a tubeless specific rim and tire, using the same brand for both applications is ideal. Obviously, you can mix and match but the easiest tubeless setups are when I use the same company for rim and tire choices. Mavic’s UST system, in my opinion, is the least problematic, and the easiest to set up.

A very useful tip when setting up and new tire to a rim is to unpackage the tire and lay it flat on the floor for a few hours to let the tire take shape. New folding tires can be a pain to set up, because of the way they’re packaged.

Tubeless sealant?

There are a ton of sealant options. I really like the Orange Seal, but they do have a tendency to clog the valve stems far more often than other sealants. Orange Seal Sealant consists of multiple sizes and shapes of solid particles or what they call "nanites". When a puncture occurs, the nanites quickly seal the hole keeping the air in the tire and you rolling down the trail or road. They mix the nanites with their proprietary latex sealant to co-exist with the nanites and prevent added clotting.

The Stan’s sealant (preferrably the Extreme sealant) works well for most conditions. Instead of the “nanites” Stan’s uses something more similar to fine grit sand. I think that it dries up more quickly than other companies. I also feel that I have to add a decent amount more during the initial set up than other brands.

Our preferred sealant here is the Serfas Tire Medic sealant. It works very similarly to Orange Seal and Stan’s, the one exception is that the clotting particle is more similar to tiny fibers.

Tubeless valve stem?

There are a billion different companies making tubeless valve stems. I’ve not found any that really work better than others. The only exception that I’ve found is the Mavic UST valves when used with the Mavic rims. Velocity valve stems work very well as long as the inner channel of the rim allows for proper fitment. DON’T FORGET TO TIGHTEN THE LOCKNUT!



Riding into the New Year! with Courtney Joesel


We're way into 2018, and it's time to look up and look ahead to what we want to do this year. Courtney took a look at what has her motivated to ride, improve, and be happier this season, and her thoughts might jump start your ambitions! 

Now that the holiday season has passed and I am able to take a breath from the stress, it is time to start getting into my new routine.  I made a decision this past November/December, I was going to focus on getting my body healthy and honing in on some of my mountain biking skills.  I took time to look back at my riding season last year.  What did I like about it? What did I not like about it? What do I want to accomplish with my riding this coming year?   So let's explore….

What did I like about my riding season last year? I loved that amazing places I was able to travel to and the amazing people I was able to meet.  My goal last year was to just ride and figure out what the definition of fun would be for each ride because that changes constantly. Sometimes I just wanted to be outdoors and try to figure out the different trees in the trail, just laugh and talk with another rider cruising around, or maybe it was just to feel like bike moving below me as I tried to corner in different ways, or maybe it was pushing my self up some climbs to see if I could beat my previous time.  Fun was different for every ride.

What did I not like about my season last year? I let fear take over.  The thing I say over and over again about what mountain biking does for me is that it pushes me out of my comfort zone.  Well, I seemed to lose sight of that a bit this past year.  Maybe it was because I was stressed in lots of other places in my life and I needed that comfort zone….who knows.  I found myself avoiding things that I had done before that had been no big deal, but I just felt scared. I let excuses be my MO. 

What do I want to accomplish with my riding this coming year? Finding that confidence and work on my bike handling skills.  That is a pretty loaded goal.  But so what do I think that will look like for me? I want to be able to go on a ride and be comfortable with the idea that I am capable and that I do belong there.  I want to be able to feel like the bike is also an extension of my body and I can understand more of what I am feeling and manipulate it.  I feel like for me this year, those to concepts go hand in hand.  To understand my body and bike handling will hopefully increase my confidence that I can push myself.  

Now it’s time to ask yourself those same questions:  What did I like about it? What did I not like about it? What do I want to accomplish with my riding this coming year?  



Warm Mitts For Any Weather: Serfas Subpolar Glove Review


James put the Serfas Subpolar glove through the rigors of a frigid few weeks in Grand Rapids. Thi is his story. 

BRRRR!!! It sure has been cold lately and that can make it difficult to get out for a ride. Difficult but not impossible, all depends on the gear you suit up in to brave those frigid days. There are so many different options out there for all the parts of the body to be covered but the part that counts the most is your sweet little hands that do all the things you want done. So why not make sure they’re nice and cozy? Exactly what a lot of people think which is why that body part gets the most options on ways to stay warm!

Even though there are so many options out there to talk about I want to focus on one particular one, the Serfas Subpolar glove. I’ve been using these gloves for a couple winters now and I gotta tell ya, they are fan-freakin-tastic! As a matter of fact, they’re so good that I actually use them for everyday winter use and not just riding. These babies keep my 10 little digits feeling warm even done into single digit temps like we’ve been experiencing for like the past month. Granted there is some slight cold when I first start moving on a ride but once the blood is pumping away with my vigorous efforts my hands are perfectly fine for the duration.

You may be asking “what makes these gloves so great?” Well for starters they’re windproof and waterproof (2 things that are quite necessary this time of year!), fleece lined for extra warmth, gel padded like regular cycling gloves for comfort, and they’re touch screen compatible. Now for the real kicker, they’re less than $50!! All those great features and a great price!? Sounds like a win to me! Oh and remember how I said I’ve been using them for a couple winters? Yeah, they’re still full of life and will probably see a couple more (barring I don’t eat it and destroy them, fingers crossed) so they’ve got an incredible life span on top of those already great features. The one downside to these amazing gloves is that they’re not waterproof in a downpour rain situation like during the 2017 Barry Roubaix but that was more a personal lesson learned and not the fault of the gloves.

Maybe thick gloves aren’t your thing for winter riding. Maybe you’re a person that likes to wear a thin glove while having poogies on your bike. Maybe you like the lobster claw style glove. Maybe you like to wear mittens and use chemical warmers in them. Whatever you’re flavor may be, its never a bad idea to keep your mitts warm! There are many different options out there. The Serfas Subpolar glove just happens to be my go-to gloves for winter conditions. If you want to ride in the cold, but can’t keep your hands warm during a ride, I strongly suggest giving these a try!



Back to Big M: Snow Church, Part Deux


With Winter Rush's Big M Fat Bike Race just two weeks away, we're loading up and heading north again this Saturday, January 6 for one final recon of the course. 

The first of one, two, THREE Great Lakes Fat Bike Series events in the Mitten, it's Big M's big debut. The 17 mile lap has a bit of everything; fast flats, big climbs, and stunning scenery. After some heavy snow over the weekend, much of the forest looks like something out of a postcard. The local groomers are hard at it to make sure the course is fast and fun, and we'll be doing everyone a load of good by getting some additional traffic on the trails. 

We'll be meeting at the shop at 9:30 and working out carpool options, packing up, and grabbing any last minute supplies. On the road by ten, we should see the parking lot by noon. Depending on numbers, we may split into two groups, or the more adventurous among us can take off. We'll meet back at the lot at around 2 pm and make a family decision on more riding or more getting-in-the-car. 

There is PLENTY more about the Big M race at You should also check out GLFBS for more about the whole series, the other Michigan races, and make sure you support the folks who support fat bike racing in your neck of the woods. We'd also love to see some Grand Rapids and Central District colors do well at the Farmhand Fat Bike Race at Cannonsburg on 1/27, and again in February at Polar Roll! 

To stay in the proverbial loop, RSVP on MyFace and let us know if you can make it. That will make carpool coordination a bit easier, and it'll make Mitch feel even cooler. 



Santa Forgot The Good Stuff? We've Got A Sale To Make It Okay


Look, Santa is a busy guy. He can't be perfect all the time, and he may have lost your new fat bike, new helmet, or other gear on his mad dash around the globe. Don't begrudge the lucky kid who ended up with your dream present; go get it yourself. 

We're making that a little easier. This week, we're picking up where Santa left with 20% off all fat bike accessories. From hats to pogies, boots to gloves, get what you didn't get on Christmas so you're ready for a full winter of outdoor fun. 

But, there's more. We have just a few 2017 Rocky Mountain Suzi Qs that need to get out the door. The A30 is a SRAM NX set-up with Maxxis tires with a climb-anything 11-42 cassette. It's the perfect drivetrain for creeping and crawling up steep and snowy trails, exploring new places like Big M or the Winter Sports Singletrack, and riding all year long! 

Need something a bit more spicy? There's a Shimano flavor Suzi Q as well, the A50! All sorts of XT bits, plus an 11-46t cassette with a 28t crankset that's ideal for backwoods exploring. It also boasts a SMOOTHWALL carbon fork that takes off just a bit of weight to keep your rig nimble and snappy. 

The Suzi Q offers big floatation without the wide stance of other fat bikes. The narrower Q factor makes it feel more like your normal mountain bike; it's more traditional, comfortable, and efficient. It's an especially good option if you plan to ride it year-round, or for big rides where comfort becomes more and more of a factor as the miles add up. 

That's 30% off two killer fat bikes that will get you outside and off Watopia a bit this winter. We've got the full spec sheet of both Suzis below to drool over. 

Give Santa a break. Grab what you need this winter and kick off 2018 with a memorable ride. Questions? Give us a call, or stop by and swing a leg over any of our fat bikes, including great options from Fatback and Kona. 




Merry Christmas from CDC!


We're really thankful for another great year in Grand Rapids, slinging bikes and being a part of an incredible community of cyclists and human beings. 

This is the time of the season where we look back and reflect on another great spring, summer, and fall. We've enjoyed killer riding this year, and with winter in full swing, it's going to be an exciting winter to get us rolling into 2018. 

First, we want to wish anyone and everyone taking on the Festive 500. Rapha and Strava have partnered again to promote this annual challenge, with riders attempting to put in 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. In July, it's not too tough. Between work, the holidays, and frigid temperatures, it's a monumental task in Michigan. On Instagram and Twitter, watch the #Festive500  to see riders from all over the world stacking up the miles any way they can...including by fat bike here in West Michigan! 

Make sure you take a look at our freshly updated list of events, too! Plan to join us for some fat bike racing, dirt jumping in Louisville, and some memorable trips north between January and July. Which event are you looking forward to the most this winter and spring? Is there anything we need to add to our busy calendar?

Heading into Christmas and New Year's Eve, we'll be closed Sunday and Monday for Christmas Eve and Christmas, as well as for NYE and New Year's Day. Our winter hours are:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 10-6
Thursday 10-7
Friday 10-6
Saturday 10-3
Sunday Closed

Stop by, say hello, and let us make sure your Christmas shopping is all set before Sunday! 



Don't Be A Randy: Dress Right For Winter Riding


It's winter. For those looking to get outside, cold weather riding is not nearly as masochistic as it's often portrayed by cycling publications or your buddies who'd rather stay on the couch. This season, mix in outdoor rides the right way with just a few easy tips that the more experienced cyclist already knows. 

Of course, the gear is half the battle. Winter riding apparel can get expensive, but there are a few pieces that are truly worth investing in, but that might change from person to person. Stop and think about how and what gets cold on you. For example, I've got no trouble with my feet; wearing winter riding boots with normal socks is almost too much, and I've ridden with normal MTB shoes and covers in temperatures well below freezing. My hands, however, are cold all the time. They go purple in late September and don't look return to a normal skin tone until May. For me, investing in good heavy gloves, especially lobster-style, was the best money I've spent for riding in the cold. 

Before you get dressed, think of where you're riding. If you're hitting frozen gravel roads, you may want to focus on wind-proof gear for higher-speeds and a great wind chill factor. A thinner rain jacket might actually be a great idea, just remember that it isn't going to breathe like normal material. It's always a good idea to avoid hills in cold weather. Climbing might be too hot, but you're going to freeze on the downhill. Flat gravel roads are ideal because you can control your effort and, in effect, your heat. 

More folks fat bike this time of year, and that's a very different thing to dress for. Slower speeds (except for Nate, he's so fast all the time) mean wind chill is rarely a factor, and you'll need jackets that breathe to stay comfortable. Try different clothes to see what works best for you at different temperatures and different efforts. If your fast friends are going, you can probably wear less as you'll be riding harder. If your buddy is making his first fat bike attempt ever, maybe dress a bit warmer so you stay comfortable while cruising or stopping. A fleece-lined jacket or long-sleeve jersey, a thermal vest, a neck gaitor, or a mix of all three should cover you down until the most frigid days. 

No matter what outer jacket you pick, having the right base layer can make a big difference. Your base layer helps trap heat while also getting sweat off your skin. Having a breathable jacket is useless if you're wearing your Allendale High School Footbal cotton t-shirt underneath; cotton will soak up your sweat, and we promise that at some point you will go slow enough to get cold and then you'll be absolutely frozen. 

When in doubt, bring more. For big rides, I bring a second long sleeve jersey and a second pair of gloves in my frame bag. It's overkill nine times out of ten, but for that one time you or a friend really needs something dry or warm, it's like having a team car following you deep in the woods at just the right time. It's always great to keep a few snacks, plenty of CO2, a multi-tool, even a spare battery for your light in there, just in case. 

Maybe the biggest thing to remember when you head out is not to over do it. You're going to be exercising; you don't need to look like a 'tick about to pop'. Wear what you'd wear to run, ski, or hike, then wear a helmet. Vests, thin jackets, and other light pieces that are easy to peel off and pack away can be great to have, especially if you're starting early and the temperature is expected to rise while you're out there. 

When you've got the right stuff and you know how to wear it, riding all winter long isn't a huge deal. You'll find out what works for you in what temperatures and be able to adjust to any weather. In truth, the hardest part of winter riding is just getting yourself to step out the door; after ten minutes, you won't even be thinking about it! 

SAMPLE Clothing List. Perfect for a steady two-hour ride at 21 degrees in the woods. 

Socks: Normal
Boots: Lake MXZ303
Bibs: Normal
Pants: Louis Garneau Baggies
Base Layer: Pearl Izumi Thermal
Jersey: Pearl izumi Long Sleeve Fleece
Jacket: None
Vest: Castelli Thermal
Neck Gaitor: Castelli or Buff
Head: Same
Gloves: Pearl Izumi Lobster




All I Want For Christmas Are These Half Dozen Things: A CDC Christmas List

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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and that means our list of cycling needs and wants gets a little longer...and a little bit more visible to ensure they all get checked off the list. Here's our in-house blogger/cyclist/bike nerd, Cody Sovis, wish list for December. 

1. Kona Rove NRB DL. It may not be completely realistic to stick a new bike right at the top of the list, but I'm going to do it anyway. The Kona Rove NRB DL makes this list for a couple of reasons. First, I really do think this bike is the best value out there right now; for $2k, you've got an all-day road bike that, with another wheelset, can hop in a crit or do 100 miles. The stock wheels are 650b do-anythings that cover your bases for gravel, pavement, and a splash of trail. The WTB Horizons might be perfect for the new 100 mile gravel races in West Michigan next spring, namely Lowell's 100 mile option and the Psycho Killer and Barry-Roubaix. 

Secondly, this whole line up of bikes just makes more sense for how we ride today. There aren't many road or crit races left, and odds are that you already have a bike for those. I really can't imagine buying a drop bar bike that doesn't fit at least 40c tires on 700c wheels, or 2.1" tires on 650b MTB wheels. For the gravel, adventure, commute and majority of riding, having the flexibility to swap between two sets of wheels and invest more in a single bike with a nicer drive train simply makes sense. That's why I'd secretly love to nab the steel 'bling ship' version of the Rove, the LTD

2. WTB Byway 47c. Right along with the Kona Rove, the Byway is a tire that blurs a lot of lines. Mounted to 650b wheels, it's a slick tire with just enough bite to be a capable and trusty rubber for tying in more trails to your normal gravel route. Especially for folks who love to ride to the ride, it's fast on the pavement and still a blast to toss around at Cannonsburg or other singletrack systems that aren't too rocky. 

3. Serfas TSL-1200. Alright, full disclosure, I already have one of these. It's on here because it's been one of the best investments I've made for night riding, especially during cold and snowy fat bike rides. The external battery packs last longer than a single unit light/battery combo not just because they have more juice; being able to keep that battery warm in a frame bag or jersey pocket makes a huge difference. I leave my light on the bars and the pack in the frame bag almost all season, just grabbing the pack to charge up. Even on the coldest days, I can get 1.5-2 hours or two rides on a single charge at the second highest setting. 

That external pack also has some other good uses. It has a USB port, so you can charge your bike computer, phone, even your camera. I use it for traveling a lot, especially to bike races where I may not be in my car before, during or after the race and want to keep my phone with me. For big rides, such as my five hour epics during the #Festive500 during the holidays, I'll usually plug my phone in to make sure I can listen to my tune and make an emergency call for a ride home, should worst come to worst. 

3. Winter Rush Registration. This would be a great thing to unwrap! Get your fat bike friend all signed up for a fat bike race this winter and keep them motivated to put some miles in even in some colder weather. There are dozens of fat bike races and rides all over the state, and even across the Midwest with the Great Lakes Fat Bike Series. Of course, we're a bit partial to Winter Rush, which will include a race at Big M on January 13, plus the USA Cycling Fat Bike National Championship at Cannonsburg in February. 

4. Velocity Aileron US Build. You can never, ever, ever have too many wheels. I've had a ton of luck with the Velocity Ailerons, but I've never gotten my mitts on a USA build. It's about as American as you can get, with Aileron rims laced up to Industry 9 hubs. Tough, light, and they set-up tubeless exceptionally well. 

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5. Snacks. Seriously. I go through a ton of Hammer Fizz in a week, and nothing would jingle my bells like getting a pack of grape Fizz that would have be set for a few months. Having a few gels, bars, or bloks on hand are always nice, and if you've got a cyclist with a special favorite, grab 'em a box. You'll totally make their day. 

6. A Get Out Of Jail Free Card. This one doesn't cost you a dime. Give your cycling spouse or pal one coupon to let them skip something in favor of a ride. It could be dinner with the in-laws, watching a romantic comedy, or a visit to your Aunt Mertyle's. Here's the thing about this card, though; you don't get to hang it over their heads after they use it! 

7. A Tune-Up. Especially once the snow flies, it's a great time to get your road, gravel or mountain bike in the shop for a well-deserved overhaul. CDC is offering 20% off all parts and labor, so if you book your big tune now with a gift card in that amount, it'll still be a surprise under the tree that will make them happy all spring long. 

What are you hoping for this Christmas? Let us know in the comments and we'll make sure we get it in stock! 



James Cleans Up: Muc-Off For A Clean Bike

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Late fall and early winter here in the mitten can mean all sorts of different weather in a short time. Sometimes times that random weather can leave your favorite riding surface a little wet which can make your favorite bike pretty messy. That sucks. Good news is it doesn't have to stay that way! It can shine like new again after a good cleaning with my favorite line up of Muc-Off products! Check em out!

I like to start off with the bike cleaner so I get all the big nasty stuff off the bike before moving on to the more intricate parts. Give the whole frame a good misting of water; it just needs to be damp but not sopping, then give it a spray with the magical pink stuff. Let it sit for a couple minutes, then give it a gentle scrub with an old toothbrush or something of the sort. Then, rinse off the bike. At this point, you can either let it air dry or wipe it down, dealer's choice.

Now that the frame is done, it's time to tackle that gross drivetrain. This time, you start right off spraying that wonderful fluorescent green stuff all over the chain, chainring, cassette, and jockey wheels. Gotta let it sit a couple minutes again then start in with whatever cleaning brush you prefer to scrub out that grime. Give it a rinse and wipe down with a rag and you're ready for the final phase, lubing that chain. My preference is the ceramic lube but have been known to use the wet or dry kind from time to time.

Now that the bike is looking good as new it's time to go get it dirty all over again! For the right sprays and lubes, stop by and we'll show you what we use every day in the shop. Cleaning your bike is the best way to get more life out of parts and to avoid expensive replacements and repairs. It helps you keep an eye on wear and tear, and it's a great use of five minutes whenever you ride.  



Welcome Back, Bob!



I’m Bob.

I started out riding bikes like most kids.  At first just around my neighborhood as a mode of transportation. I grew up in the small town of Allendale where there isn’t much to do. To entertain myself I started making jumps in my parents’ driveway and yard. It wasn’t until I was fifteen when I started getting hooked on BMX bikes. A friend from school raced at the old BMX track in Wyoming and around that time started making bigger jumps. Every day after school, we’d get together and ride our bikes until it was too dark to see. 

My first bike shop job was in 1998 where I started at Village Bike Shop. I was fresh meat and would do the jobs that included tasks no one else wanted to, but I also did new bike assembly and sales. 

I eventually moved to Cycle Therapy in the Standale area.   It was there that I started to really get involved with more of the service side of bicycles.  I learned a ton from Scott, and many of the things I learned there are still necessary for the repairs I do today.

In late 2011, I heard that Nate was going to open a shop in the downtown area, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. We got together and figured out a plan. The shop opened in February of 2012 and provided service to the downtown Grand Rapids area.  In February 2013 we parted ways on good terms.

I started at Alger Bikes in March of 2013 where I became the service manager. Since bikes were getting more and more technologically advanced, I decided I wanted to learn to do everything myself. To me, bikes should not have to be sent out to have work done when services can be done locally.

In January 2015, I attended a week long, intense schooling at SRAM Technical University in Colorado Springs, CO. It was there that I earned certification in the service of all SRAM, AVID, and RockShox parts. I now have the knowledge to diagnose, overhaul, and tune all of their components. Repairs can now be completed in-house which not only saves time on service work, but also makes it so I am able to bond with customers and make sure their bikes are working perfectly.

I also developed a great understanding of the Lefty fork. I pushed for several years to become a Lefty service center. Although the service center never came to fruition, we were able to service all our customer’s forks in-house.

After nearly 5 years, I’m back at Central District Cyclery, which is where I met my wonderful wife Emily in 2012. We got married in 2014 and reside in the Midtown neighborhood of Grand Rapids with our son, Miles, and our two insane dogs, Frank and Ramona. We all love riding bikes as a family, especially at our favorite vacation spot — the Leelanau Peninsula. 

I love riding bikes and want others to enjoy it as well.  I primarily ride BMX and commute to work, with some single track thrown in there for fun. I started riding DJ bikes a little over a year ago and having been having a lot of fun doing that, when I’m not crashing super hard.

It is because of this love and knowledge for bicycles that I treat every repair as if it were my own.  I assure you that the quality of work that comes out Central District Cyclery is one of the best, and I aspire to make it the destination of service work in the Grand Rapids area.



Thanksgiving Week at Central District Cyclery


Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays because it gives you all morning to ride and work up an appetite. We're very thankful for every single ride we get to enjoy, and every single customer that has supported us since we opened. It's been an incredible year, and we are grateful for each and every one of you. 

We'll be closed Thursday to eat and stay closed Friday to ride it off. Spending time with friends and family is always a treat, and having both days to enjoy are really a treat. We hope you can skip the lines and sales and do something outside. Take a new friend or family member biking! Go for a wintry hike. Whatever you love to do, share it with someone special. If you're lucky enough to have the day off, make sure you do spend it wisely. 

Don't worry, we've got you start on holiday shopping figured out. The crew will be back in action on Small Business Saturday from 10a-5p. And we're making it worth your while to step away from the leftovers and swing by. We're really doing you a favor and letting someone else eat that last slice of pie. 

This Saturday, support local and shop our special of the day. Everything in the store is 10%! Even our "Clearance Conifer", which is already stacked up with clearance items and special deals. Whatever a sale item is listed at, take an additional 10% off, this Saturday only! 

Not sure what to grab that cyclist of yours? That 10% is good for gift cards, too; your $100 gift card is just $90! 

If we don't see you before Thursday, have a fun, safe, and delicious Thanksgiving and a great turkey-burner of a ride after. We appreciate all of our Grand Rapids cycling community, and we can't wait for more adventures. 



Lighten Up, Folks: Carbon Fat Bike Rim Special at CDC


Our pals at Velocity just rolled out the most highly-anticipated product since the quick release (thanks, Campy!), and that gave us a really, really good idea. 

Like any good bike shop, we've always got some carbon hoops bouncing around for a rainy day. We've had some Sarma 80mm carbon fat bike rims in our back pocket just waiting for a good reason to get them laced up. Then, Velocity made our dreams come true with new fat bike hubs! They're like their MTB hubs, but available in 177/197 widths and with a bit of a bonus. Instead of 3 pawls, they've got 6. Do the math, and that's twice as much! The front hub weighs in at 198 grams, with the 177 rear 258 grams. We have HG and XD drivers in stock, too, so if you're running Shimano or 11/12 speed SRAM, we've got you covered. 

We're kicking off winter fat bike season (fat is always in season) with a hot deal for cold weather. We'll build you a set of Sarma rims (650 grams each) on Velocity hubs with DT Swiss spokes for $800. Yep, Carbon fat bike wheels of under $1k. Gotta be 150 mm front hub, and we can build 177 or 197 rear hub, just let us know which you need! 

Carbon rims will take a solid pound or more off your aluminum rims, especially if you're still running tubes and rim strips. Lighter wheels are the best investment you can make on your ride. Even if you aren't worried about racing, it's so much more fun to shoot out of corners, fly up hills, and feel a lot more snappy out on the trail. With lighter wheels, your fat bike might just become your go-to year-round bike...if it isn't already. 

There's a catch because of course there is! We've only got five sets of Sarma rims in stock, so it's first come, first serve, and when they're gone, they're gone forever. With that little splash of mortality, stop by or give us a call. Not sure what spacing you need? We'll look for you, no problem. 




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Welcome Courtney to the Central District Cyclery Crew!


Courtney began mountain biking in her mid-twenties where she fell in love with the variety of physical and mental challenges involved in the sport.  She began traveling and experiencing new trails on a regular basis. Attending skill clinics and festivals around the country is one of her favorite ways to meet new riders/friends and explore new areas.  Courtney is an IMBA ICP Level 1 Instructor and Ride guide, First Aid Certified and previous Dirt Dawgs coach. When not on her bike, Courtney is a speech therapist in the Grand Rapids area, finds herself outdoors, and loves spending time with family, friends, or her cats. 

Our gal is going to be a huge help out on the trails! She'll be running events and demos, plus plenty of rides year-round. Watch for an ambitious calendar of FUN to pop up next week here on the site and on Facebook. What kinds of rides do you want to do this winter? Let us know! 

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