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Grand Rapids

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Gravel Time: The Lowell 50

The Lowell 50. Part race, part color tour.

The Lowell 50. Part race, part color tour.

The last gravel race of 2018 is just over a week away, and we didn’t want you to miss it.

We were on hand way, way, way back in March when the Michigan Gravel Race Series kicked off at Melting Mann. It’s hard to say if that feels like just yesterday or a whole lifetime ago; spring, summer, and fall have flown by, but we’ve been able to squeeze in some great rides and a lot of fun memories.

While you can certainly grind all winter, October 27 offers up a decidedly spooky finale to the MGRS at The Lowell 50. With the Rogue 100 replacing the traditional 57 mile course, riders who love the normal route have had to wait a full year since the last time they battled the wind, rolling hills, and tough field the Flat River Class always seems have in store. There’s also a rather testing 34 mile route that, while cutting out some long stretches to the east, still includes nearly all of the punchy hills that start and end the 57 mile route as well. For a race with plenty of farmland, you’ll have to have your climbing legs on at least a few times.

It’s also a great course for a true gravel or cyclocross bike, with riders often switching up their tires based on conditions. Our own Ted Lott says the course was hard and fast to kick off the month of October, so unless things change, normal 35mm tires should be a nice, safe bet for race day. Of course, it also comes down to personal preference; we’ve seen riders on everything from 25mm road tires to the stacked fat bike class on four inch tires, too!

What might be our favorite option is the 47mm WTB Byway. Designed for 650b ‘road plus’ wheels, the 47mm width fits in most all road bikes like the Kona Rove or Sutra, giving you drop bars and road gearing, but a bit more rubber to smooth out rough gravel or to keep a bit of flotation over loose stone or sand. These also offer up just enough tread and sidewall protection to make them rather serviceable on the trails, too, although anything too techy would be more work than pleasure.

Make sure you get your gravel rig in for a quick tune-up and tubeless refresh, and give the Lowell 50 a try! Best of luck to everyone willing to push themselves and enjoy some stunning fall colors in the heat of a chilly fall classic.

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September At Central District Cyclery

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...and all of a sudden, Labor Day Weekend is done and dusted. We're looking ahead to a busy but very fun fall here in West Michigan! There are plenty of cool things going on, and you're going to want to make sure your bike is dialed in and ready to rock. 

Coming up real quick is the first KissCross of the year, and we're setting it up! Our mad scientists are laying out the course at Richmond Park on Sunday, September 17. Racing for fun, racing for beer, and racing for hand-ups starts at 10am with the Kid's Race! 

Just two weeks later, there's a State Championship on the line at Merrill! With the start and finish located just next door at the Art Van Sports Complex, The Michigantuan is September 30. The Short Track race is the following day, October 1! Two days, tons of fun right here in Grand Rapids.

But there's plenty more to look forward to beyond the big races. We've got CX Clinics heading into the race at Richmond, on Thursday, September 7 and on Thursday, September 14. Learn a thing or two, plus have a ton of fun, right at Richmond Park! It's a good way to get a little sneak peek at the actual course, too. 

Stay tuned for some night rides, tune-up specials, and great new tech and gear popping into the shop this month as well. Stop by soon and say hello! 

 

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Kisscross #1 at Richmond Park!

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Cyclocross is almost here! We're excited to bring you the first Kisscross race of the year on September 17 at Richmond Park. 

Kisscross is a darn big deal. The series began with 30 guys and gals, content with someone shouting "Go!" and racing for beer. Over the years, it's grown to include more city and county parks all over West Michigan, with an emphasis on local shops, local businesses, and local racers who just want to have fun. 

There is a full points series over the course of the five race days, starting in September and ending in November. Each stop features a different park, and a different local shop takes on course design. We're excited to highlight Richmond Park in Grand Rapids, and to put on a challenging, unique course that you're going to love. 

Cyclocross is a great way to get into racing. It's fast and intense, but only as intense as you make it. There's no pressure; after a lap or two, most spectators have no idea who is winning or who is last! Most are more focused on food hand-ups, cheering, and simply enjoying the race. And that's easy to do, because cyclocross is by far the best spectator-friendly type of cycling. On a short 1-1.5 mile course, the whole course is easy to see! 

The kid's race starts things off at 10:30, followed by the 30 minute Beginner/Junior race at 11am. The Experts start at noon for a full 60 minutes, with the Sport category capping things off at 1pm. 

We'll have tons of prizes, and the spoils don't always go to the victors! Everyone has a great chance to pick something pretty sweet. 

Check out all things Kisscross right here. 

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Short's Brewing MTB Series: The Michigantuan September 30-October 1

Fall is a busy time for bike racers, but there's one weekend you're going to want to keep wide open! The Short's Brewing MTB Series takes you into autumn proper with two days of racing right here in Grand Rapids with the Michigantuan! 

Join us Saturday, September 30 at the Art Van Sports Complex for the cross-country race. Riders will take on a tough 6 mile loop that includes parts of the Merrell Trail system, as well as a big chunk of the now infamous short track loop. It's a course that demands a strong technical rider that can deal with short, punchy climbs.

Sunday, riders will be back in action for the short track events! There's no more entertaining way to watch a bike race than short track, and Grand Rapids has some of the very best riders in the state in this discipline. Almost all of the action is within sight of the start/finish, and riders can hop in and race twice in a single day, too. 

Short's Brewing is bringing the beer and the fun, with great prizes from Short's and Central District Cyclery. 

You find out more about the race here, plus get yourself signed up for race day through USA Cycling. 

 

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Active Commute Week Tips That Don't Stink

It's Active Commute Week in Grand Rapids, and you're probably one day into five fruitful days of smart commuting. If you're going by bike, we've got some ideas to make it more fun. 

If you're riding your bike to work for the first time, there might be some uncomfortable things you're not digging. From what to ride, what to wear, and how to get there, it's easy to get a bit turned off at the idea of rolling to the office late, sweaty, and tired. But it ain't gotta be that way! We've got a few tips that'll make your roll to work funner-er than ever before. 

1. Get going! Leave two minutes before you think you need to. This is useful on both ends of your journey. Giving yourself a bit more time takes the stress out of the ride, so you can enjoy the pedaling and allows for any issues with stop lights, crosswalks and other travel issues. Since those probably aren't going to slow you up, it also gives you a few minutes to lock up and change before you hit your desk. 

2. Freshen up. If your place of work doesn't have a shower, don't worry. One way to make sure you don't smell is to stash some cooling wipes at your desk. They'll help you cool off and get the worst of your sweat, too. Of course, keeping a stick of deodorant either in your back or at work is also a pretty easy to way to smell like an Irish Spring, rather than a Kent County Ditch. 

3. Two shirts. Pack your nice attire, wear something else. Especially if you're using a backpack, your shirt is bound to get a little perspiration in the pits and back. Wear a light jersey or active t-shirt to stay cool, and toss on your nice Armani dress shirt when you're at your destination. At the end of the day, change again and your snappy shirt stays clean! 

4. Racks vs. Panniers vs. Backpacks. This totally depends on your commute and plans. Having your bike set up with a rear rack or a rear rack with panniers greatly increases your carrying capacity, but also your comfort. It also makes it easier to work in daily errands into your commute, saving you time. Panniers make it easier to stop for a few groceries on the way home, or transport other things you'll need throughout the day. For most day-to-day commutes, a good backpack should be enough, plus it means you can keep your bike nice and light in case you're heading out to train or join a group ride when you leave the office. 

5. Be safe. Wear a helmet, and we strongly encourage daytime lights, especially a rear blinker. If you're riding during morning and evening rush hours, making yourself as visible as possible makes the roads safer for you and for all cyclists. Know the rules of the road and ride defensively...and make sure you smile and wave to everyone. Let's get those good vibes going with everyone on the trail and roads. 

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Love Your Bike?

Love Your Bike?

We do.

We believe in challenging the status quo. Introducing our commitment to customer service:
48 hour turn around on Tune-ups. Simply come in and schedule one of four levels of tune-up service. 

During the Month of March, upgrade a level 2 tune-up to a level 3 tune-up, which includes bike cleaning.        

Just ask at drop-off.  

*Upon drop off please allow time for us to assess your bicycle. Need special timing? Call and schedule a drop off that works with your schedule.