Category: Deals

As many of you may know, I left Florida back in April for the wilds and chill of the midwest…Dayton, Ohio to be exact. Just before I left, I asked our readers to recommend bike shops and routes in the area. As I was unfamiliar with the “lay of the land” when I got here, I still didn’t have a good grasp of what shops were local to me.

Enter Performance Bike — I had been a mail-order/online customer of theirs for literally decades (I remember the first printed catalogs in the mid-80s), and I stumbled across one of their retail shops on one of my family’s first forays around town. My local Performance shop is in Kettering and is overwhelmingly the most convenient (and closest) shop to my house.


I stopped in periodically to chat and to browse the sale racks…desperately scrambling to get a cold-weather clothing set for the winter soon to follow. Heck, Performance even heard about my move and sent me a $25.00 gift certificate to encourage me to stop in more often!


On the whole, I have been extremely impressed with the staff at my local Performance. I had been to one other Performance shop just after the company started building retail locations…this one was in the D.C. Metro area back in the late 80s. Suffice it to say I was underimpressed at the time. Also, I had heard a variety of horror stories about the quality of the repair staff at the retail locations…many of them on bike forums I frequent.

That’s simply not the case at my local outlet…manager Kevin Sintz is dead-serious about running a tight ship, with trained and certified mechanics and friendly salespeople. They treat me like a minor Internet cycling celebrity when I go in there (ha!)…they even remember my children’s names and help entertain them while I shop. Kevin has some flexibility in tailoring his shop’s wares to reflect local needs, and he and his staff are very active in local cycling events and advocacy initiatives. I have gotten so much good information from the employees there…good mountain biking trails to try, invitations to cyclocross training clinics, suggested routes around the region. It is always a pleasant experience going in there, and I am very appreciative of their nature in welcoming me to the community.


The retail store here is gigantic…and has examples from throughout Performance Bike’s massive online catalog. There are literally hundreds of bikes racked up, ready to sell, and a huge variety of clothing, shoes and accessories to choose from. The place is always clean and the staff is ALWAYS friendly — never hesitating to welcome my family to the store and answering questions. No matter how busy it is in there, someone is always ready to chat for a while. I like that a lot. Oh, and they have a clearance table back near the mechanic’s station…lots of goodies at rock-bottom prices if one is willing to dig a bit!


I’ve since discovered other bike shops in the area, but I keep coming back to Performance — with the exception of one tiny bike shop far away from my house, Performance is the only other local place that hasn’t given me a bad experience. I am VERY particular about the bike shops I do business with, and a good shop is worth its weight in gold.


Don’t be afraid…if there’s a Performance Bike in YOUR area, you might want to give it a try. You might be as surprised as I was!

Before the clock ticks down on Christmas shopping, we thought we’d share some gift ideas for that favorite cyclist in your life. This was a group effort, with lots of good suggestions from Miriam, Noah, Vince, Elizabeth and RL. Some of the products listed below were reviewed here, and that will be noted in the descriptions. Other items are on our own wish lists or are items we’ve seen and think are worth sharing.

Don’t forget about yourselves as you shop…with all that gas and parking money you’re saving, you deserve some bikey treats, too!


— Redline 9-2-5…one of the staff favorites around here. Reviewed here. Get ’em while they’re hot, as Redline drops them from the lineup for 2012.


— Jamis Commuter 4 — Vince’s favorite, and on special if you’re in the Portland area. Swing on over to River City Bicycles Outlet for a screaming deal on this machine.


— Urbana Bikes — Reviewed here, and the electric version here.


Torker Graduate. Or, if you prefer a sensible drop-bar bike, check out our review of the Interurban.


Lots of lights to choose from…many that we have reviewed and others that simply caught our fancy.

— Portland Design Works Spaceship/Radbot light set. Reviewed here.


— PDW Cosmic Dreadnought headlight.

Supernova Lighting Systems…both battery- and dynohub-powered.

Blackburn USB/Solar Flea Lights. Reviewed here.


Niterider MiNewt 600.

Revolights wheel lights…one of the many Kickstarter projects.

MonkeyLectric M210. Review coming soon.

LED By LITE directional lights…shown here.


Flashbak safety light. We reviewed this in 2009 but it is one of those products that’s worth a second look.


O2 Rainwear’s Calhoun jacket…review coming up soon now that the rainy season is in full swing.


Chrome Vanya knickers. Reviewed here.

Pryme Trailhands gloves. Reviewed here.

Pryme V2 Helmet. Reviewed here.


Nutcase Gen 2 helmets.

DZR shoes. Reviewed here.


Accessories and Stocking Stuffers:

— Anything by Banjo Brothers…it’s no secret that we have an unabashed “bromance” going on with Eric and Mike of Banjo Brothers, and we’ve been extremely pleased by everything we’ve tried from the cargo-carrying offerings there. Rather than overwhelm you with a string of links, simply type in “banjo brothers” in the search box at the top right of our site and you’ll see just how much we love their products.

Planet Bike “Captain Safety” reflective stickers…so much fun!


— Bags by Po Campo — made in Chicago. Yay! We reviewed their rack tote and Po Campo offers a ton of other choices.

po campo

Onetwothreespeed’s Reflective Helmet Bows.

Planet Bike Superflash/Superflash Turbo…a perennial favorite here at, and a perfect stocking stuffer. You can never have too many of these (disclosure: I have about ten of them).


— Gift Certificates to your local bike shop. Yeah, you should support your local shops.

Chainspirations Bicycle Jewelry…. review coming soon, and here is a sneak peak at a necklace. chainspirations necklace

Resource Revival’s recycled bicycle picture frames, bottle openers, clocks and keychains. So cool!

— Cobra Tire Tool — reviewed here. Naysayers be damned; this is a useful tool and one that fits nicely in your sweetie’s stocking (or saddlebag)!


Got a gift idea for the cyclists in YOUR life? We’d love to hear about them…drop them in the comments below.

I was recently at Home Depot and to my surprise I saw Hi-Vis T-shirts with reflective stripes being sold there. The price was around $19 for a shirt, not bad if you ask me, but if you order it on, its only $12.97!


Here’s the description:

Cordova’s Hi Vis T-Shirt is excellent for construction, road work, utility work and recreational use. The lightweight polyester is soft and durable. The 2 in. reflective tape and Hi Vis Lime Green color provide high visibility day or night.

* Meets ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 class II
* 2 in. Silver reflective tape vertical over each shoulder and horizontal around the waist
* Chest pocket
* Machine washable, hang dry,100% lime green polyester


This Saturday, February 26, 2011, the Chicago Cycle Swap returns for a second year, proceeds directly benefiting Chicago’s nonprofit the Active Transportation Alliance and Chicago’s Bike Winter. The event is open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse. Admission is $10 (cash only) at the door, but print out this coupon a $5 savings.
chicago cycle swap
OR – take advantage of a special deal from the Active Transportation Alliance: “In the spirit of our community building goal, we are offering a special on Active Trans membership to support our nonprofit work improving biking, walking and transit in our region…$20 gets you into the Swap plus a one-year Active Trans Premium membership including the Chicagoland Bike Map and all the other benefits.

More than 50 bike shops, merchants, nonprofits and individuals will be at this cycle swap offering great deals and all are previewed online to help you plan ahead. Individuals looking to buy or sell a bike will have the opportunity to do just that. The event will host a bike corral where bike shops and individuals can sell bikes along with what’s available at their booths. “Our guess is that there will be at least 120 bikes for sale at the Swap and that’s probably a low-end estimate,” said Ethan Spotts, Director of Marketing & Communications at Active Trans. Want to sell a bike? If there’s space available, attendees can pay admission plus $5 per bike, limit of three bikes, to place them in the corral with a price tag.

This year’s cycle swap is being held at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse which can easily be reached by bike and public transportation. Please note that this venue is different from last year’s inaugural swap which was held at Jak’s Tap. Spotts says of the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse that “It’s a classic Chicago Park District venue that’s been used by groups like Break the Gridlock for their conference in the past and it’s close to major bike routes, great transit and the highway for people coming from outside of Chicago. Another key venue requirement for us was to be able to work with Goose Island Catering to offer food, coffee and beer (and soda).”

Don’t feel like shopping all day? A full lineup of presentations and demos are scheduled to give you (and your wallet) a break throughout the day.

Unlike other bike swaps, “We’ve built it as a grassroots community event bringing together local bike shops, merchants, vendors, nonprofits and the public instead of a corporate-style bike show,” says Spotts. “We wanted to keep it low cost for everyone, vendors and attendees, while ensuring we could cover our costs enough to make a donation to our partner Chicago Bike Winter.”

If you’re riding, be mindful that bike racks may fill quickly (especially if the weather is decent); bring your lock.

See you at the Swap.

Clever Cycles and nutcase are offering a chance to design your own helmet, See Below:

In coordination with Portland-based Nutcase Helmets, Clever Cycles invites you to take part in our “Design a Nutcase? helmet design contest.

The winning design will receive a $500 Clever Cycles gift certificate! We’ll also give a $5 gift certificate to everyone who drops off a design at our shop. Limit one certificate per customer.

We like Nutcase helmets because their thick shells and fewer vents make them more durable and protective than sport-oriented helmets, perfectly suited to the lower intensity of everyday urban riding in our cool climate. Instead of the usual faux-aerodynamic alien insectoid styling, Nutcases feature whimsical, ironic, sometimes loud, other times just plain pretty designs. Go nuts; any design can win. Mixed media, limitless themes — no subject is off-limits (as long as it’s family friendly). Just let it happen. Totcycle has the spirit!

  1. Download your entry form and create your design using the blank helmet on page two of the form.
  2. Print and drop off at Clever Cycles at SE 9th and Hawthorne before January 22nd, 2011.                 You can also email your designs to
  3. Come to our Winter Cycle party at Clever Cycles from 3-6pm on January 22 and see if your design wins you a $500 Clever Cycles gift certificate. Remember, every design submission will get a free gift card.

Download your entry form now!