Thursday, November 17, 2016

Flash Sale Saturday

Join us for bagels & bicycles this Saturday from 9:00am - noon. The entire store will be on sale!

There are big savings on some models we've had for a while that need to find their "forever homes". If you've ever wanted a cool road bike, touring rig, or fat bike, we've got some crazy deals waiting, but this is only for three hours this coming Saturday. 

We will also have clothing deals, accessory deals, and more. So much there is to little room to write about it all here.   

Plus, ask about our service specials we are running for the month of November.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Bikepacking/Endurance Seminar This Saturday!

The cycling phenomenon called "bikepacking" may be something you've heard about, but do not quite understand. Is it something for you? Well, this weekend at Ingawanis Woodlands at their Eagle Lodge, you can come for free and find out. There will be cyclists there with set ups on their bikes showing what the concept is and answering any questions you may have.

Bikepacking doesn't have to be all about some far flung adventure in some exotic place. You could use the concepts for going on a picnic, for example, and haul it all on your bicycle to George Wyth. Or you might even use some of these concepts to camp by bicycle, or even use the ideas for a RAGBRAI trip.

There will also be some talk about how to ride and use the extensive network of gravel roads in Iowa. The types of bicycles used, techniques for riding, and more will be discussed. The venue is at Ingawanis Woodland, a Bremer County park. To get there take County Road C-50 from Janesville toward Denver and turn Left/North on Hawthorne Avenue. (Gravel road) Proceed North until you reach the wooded area at the top of a hill. Look for a driveway to the left #2588. If you go downhill and to the right you went too far!

We'll be there from 4:00pm Saturday until 7:00pm with the bikes and experts talking about bikepacking and gravel road riding. There will be chili and a campfire. Feel free to bring a beverage and a lawn chair. Camping over night in tents is also optional. Keep in mind that Ingawanis Woodland is a primitive site and that there are no amenities.

Hope to see ya there!
It is easy to access this area by C50.  Take county road C50 from Janesville toward Denver and turn north on Hawthorne Ave.  You will find a hidden driveway (2588) that takes you in to Eagle Lodge. There is a second parking lot that is always open on 260th. - See more at:
It is easy to access this area by C50.  Take county road C50 from Janesville toward Denver and turn north on Hawthorne Ave.  You will find a hidden driveway (2588) that takes you in to Eagle Lodge. There is a second parking lot that is always open on 260th. - See more at:
It is easy to access this area by C50.  Take county road C50 from Janesville toward Denver and turn north on Hawthorne Ave.  You will find a hidden driveway (2588) that takes you in to Eagle Lodge. There is a second parking lot that is always open on 260th. - See more at:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Time To Ride Gravel

Europa Cycle's own Lauren on the left riding with two of our customers.
here at Europa Cycle & Ski we like to explore all manner of fun and adventure on our bicycles. Paved trails in Waterloo and Cedar Falls, plus the surrounding area, add up to 100 miles or so. These are probably the most used and obvious of the ways one can do bicycling in the Cedar Valley. We also have our mountain biking opportunities. Places like George Wyth State Park and up at Ingawanis Woodlands, not to mention the Green Belt and some other areas where dirt ribbons can be ridden and explored. That's all really great stuff, but did you know that there is a cycling opportunity right at your fingertips that most rarely consider and that there are more miles of this than anything else in the Cedar Valley? Well, let me tell you about gravel roads then.

Gravel roads? Who'd want to bicycle on gravel roads? 

Fair enough question, but when you consider the opportunities to do gravel road cycling around here, and what the benefits are, you may end up thinking, "Why not bicycle on gravel roads!

Iowa has somewhere around 70,000 miles of gravel and dirt roads, at least one third more miles than we have of pavement. Of course, we all know how stressful and dangerous riding on even the secondary paved roads can be, and highways are usually out of the question. Really, how many miles we can safely use versus gravel and dirt roads is probably more like one half as many paved roads or less.  The cool thing is that out in the country, on gravel, there are barely any worries at all. On many a 40+ miler I have done over the years, it is rare to see over five automobiles during a single ride, and many times we never see any cars or trucks! Plus, these vehicles often are slower, make way for you, and the drivers actually wave hello!

I know! Amazing, right? 

You can enjoy the beauty of Iowa at bicycle speed in the country.
 The gravel roads can reveal Iowa's beauty and splendor like no paved road can. Check out the miles of wild flowers in the ditches during Spring, Summer, and Fall, or surprise a pheasant, quail, or grouse while cruising a gravel road. See quaint Iowa farms, homes, rural churches, and even a marina in the middle of nowhere! You'll never know what you can find out there in the country that you'd never see from your car.

Here at Europa Cycle and Ski, we're "gravel experts". Many of us enjoy riding gravel. Europa Cycle and Ski is also the birthplace of Trans Iowa, the 300+ mile long ultra-distance gravel road race now in its 13th year. In fact, the whole "gravel bike' scene can trace its existence in modern times back to Trans Iowa. Europa is also home to Guitar Ted,otherwise known as Mark Stevenson, who is part owner of, the first calendar of gravel road events in the nation, and a site where reviews, a forum, and more exist to support the gravel and back road scene in America and abroad.

So yeah......we know about riding gravel roads. 

Gravel road riding is fun, adventurous, and quite the experience and it is readily available to you in the Cedar Valley. You should check it out. For more on routes, gear, and bicycles good for your gravel road experience, look us up at the shop. And check out one of our latest rides in this report here. 


Saturday, August 6, 2016

Salsa Cycles Demo August 15th

Image courtesy of Salsa Cycles
Model year 2017 bikes have been released by Salsa Cycles for our viewing pleasure, and many of you have seen these bikes splashed all over the innergoogles. Okay, so when could you actually see one of these unicorns? 

Well, as it turns out, you can not only see one, or many other 2017 Salsa Cycles models, you could ride them. 

That's right, Salsa Cycles has a demo van stuffed with new 2017 bikes and it is showing up at George Wyth State Park between 4:00pm and 7:00pm at the "turn around" at the end of Wyth Road at the Josh Higgins Shelter/Lodge site. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Europa Cycle & Ski at 319-277-0734. Business hours at the shop are as follows: Mon-Fri: 9:00am - 8:00pm, Saturday: 9:00am -5:00pm, and Sunday:12:00 noon - 5:00pm.

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Crazy Daze

Ask about special pricing on some cool fat bikes!!
Often times in smaller cities they have what we used to call, "Crazy Daze", or maybe "Sidewalk Sale" days, where merchants would slash pricing during the Summer months for one day to move old inventory. Well, at Europa Cycle & Ski, we have some bikes we need to move. Prices will never be better on items like these, (limited to in store stock), so get yerself on in to find out what great deals are to be had. I cannot even list the prices here, but if you want to know, give us a call at 319-277-0734. There are some fat bikes, a few nice road bikes, and maybe an odd deal here or there, but ya gotta call. Business hours are Weekdays: 9am-8pm, Saturday 9am -5pm, and Sunday Noon to five.

The next crazy thing coming up is Saddledrive, which is when we will find out what Salsa Cycles has cooked up new for 2017 and beyond. I know there will be a fat bike introduction, some "plus" bike madness, and more. But if you want to know the coolest thing about these new bikes, well, read on....

Europa Cycles will be welcoming Salsa Cycles' demo truck on August 15th at Geo Wyth State Park, and guess what? That truck will be stuffed with the newest bicycles for you to try out. Look for a more detailed announcement coming soon!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Tire Air Pressure Settings For The 21st Century

 Recently new research by several independent sources has shown that, in all likelihood, your ideas about what is "right" for air pressure is wrong in terms of your bicycle. There is also a long history of repair related to poor air pressure maintenance that could easily be rectified by doing a couple of simple things. The long and short of it is this: Your tire air pressure is probably too high or too low.

Too High: There has been a lot of research recently that points to how tire air pressures for road cyclists is affecting the rolling resistance and ride quality of their bicycles. Traditionally, the recreational cyclist has assumed that a higher pressure, or shall we say highest pressure allowable, is going to yield the lowest rolling resistance and thus, the fastest, less energy sapping ride. This has been proven to be far from the truth in reality.

Research recently published on the Silca site suggests that what we assumed about bicycle tire air pressure is all wrong. Read it starting HERE. There are about ten entries in all, and it is pretty technical, thick reading, so this may not be for everybody, but if you demand "science" then this is for you.

The short version is that while there is no "right" air pressure, there are wrong choices, and it would appear that by going to the highest allowable air pressure settings riders are actually increasing rolling resistance, work load, and lowering speeds by a dramatic amount. Conversely, low air pressures, (those just below what many would consider rideable), seem to have a less deleterious effect than previously thought, and in many cases actually will increase not only speed, but comfort levels while simultaneously reducing work load. There is much more to it than this, but there are the main talking points so far.

Too Low: On the other end of the scale we are seeing a lot of riders that do not understand tire air pressure maintenance. They typically are running far too low on air pressure and usually end up causing themselves pinch flats as a result. In the Europa repair area, we see more failures due to pinch flats than we do punctures from foreign objects. Far more pinch flats and they are almost always caused by folks that do not maintain air pressure settings on a regular basis, or know that they even need to do this.

Tubes, found in most bicycles today despite all you hear about tubeless tires, are bladders that reside inside the casing of your tire and are typically made from butyl rubber. These tubes used to be pretty thick walled back 50 years ago, and required little air pressure maintenance. This was because the thicker tube was more resistant to the passage of air molecules through its walls. The downside was that these tubes were heavy. Really heavy!

Today tubes are much lighter, and the wall thicknesses of inner tubes are really thin these days. This allows for an easier escape for air molecules. This results in as much as a 10% decrease in tire pressure in a 24 hour period on a high pressure road tire. Hybrid bike tires lose pressure at a slower rate, but they still will end up flat after several months of no air pressure maintenance. We recommend the following:
  • Road tires from 23mm-30mm (typically run from 90psi to 110 psi) Check pressure before every ride!
  • Hybrid/Gravel Road/Dual Sport tires from 30mm-45mm (typically from 30psi to 80psi) Check pressure every other ride and at least once a week.
  • Mountain Bike from 2" to 3" wide (typically from 15psi to 30psi) Check once a week minimum.
  • Fat Bike from 3" to 5" tires (typically run from zero to 20psi) Check once a week minimum. 
  • It is best to check any bicycle tire before every ride for proper air pressure!
This may seem like nit-picking, but tire pressure is one of the single most effective ways to tune your bicycle to operate at its highest potential. This gives you the power to be in control of how easy, fun, and safe your bicycle can be, Neglect air pressure maintenance and proper use and you will be working harder, have less comfort, and suffer more failures than you need to.

The choice is yours.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Salsa Cycles Marrakesh: Adventure Machine!

The flat bar version of the Marrakesh
Salsa Cycles surprised many by introducing a new, touring specific bike, in two formats, dubbed the Marrakesh. This is kind of a first, as far as I am aware, that a bicycle company would give you the opportunity to choose drop bars or flat bars and make the geometry work in the best possible way for either choice.

Okay, so there is a lot going on here. Let's break this down into what the differences really are. Make no mistake here folks- both bikes, the drop and flat bar versions- are COMPLETELY different in fit and feel. 

So, how can that be, really? Well, it is quite simple to just say the following, which best describes what Salsa did, in my own words: The drop bar bike is a traditional, drop bar, touring specific fit. If you are used to Trek 720's and 520's, Surly Long Haul Truckers, or Cannondale T-800's or any of their old touring bikes, you will completely understand the drop bar version of the Marrakesh. It fits the mold of the predecessors quite nicely.

The flat bar Marrrakesh, however, is a completely different animal. It doesn't fit like the same sized drop bar Marrakesh at all. We compared the flat and drop bar bikes, and if you simply cross from one size to Salsa's same size on another, the top tube of the flat bar Marrakesh is much longer. We measured a full 1 1/2" between Larges. That's a lot of front/center difference!

I didn't quite have the rack leveled here yet, but this is the drop bar Marrakesh.
In our estimation, and again- these are my own words- the flat bar Marrakesh fits best if you size it like a mountain bike. I ended up fitting best on the Medium versus how most 29"ers are Larges that fit me best. I'm a bit over 6', by the way, with a 34" "cycling inseam". So, if you've got a hankering for a flat bar Marrakesh, be prepared to look at a size smaller than you might typically take. The front/centers are long on these, and the top tube lengths are more like a mountain bike's.

So- why have both types of Marrakesh models? I think this is a fair question, and I would answer it as follows- Many folks don't use drop bars, don't like them, or if they do have them, wish they were higher and maybe would never venture to using drops at all. The flat bar Marrakesh is definitely for them. If you have shorter legs/longer torso, the flat bar version may fit you perfectly. If you want swept back bars, higher rise bars, or- and this would be my choice- Jones type bars, the flat bar Marrakesh would be great. Finally, if you want to go into rougher terrain, get the flat bar one. Here's why......

We mounted Panaracer Driver Pro 2.1" 29"er tires on one of our display Marrakesh flat bar bikes, and they fit beautifully. If you want a gravel going, dirt road going, fire road tackling touring bike, the flat bar Marrakesh would be great with 2.0" and maybe some versions of other 2.1"er 29"er treads. Oh yeah.......the drop bar Marrakesh has the same clearances. 

You can also check out the sturdy rack, spoke holder, bottle mounts, front fork with Three Pack bosses, fender mounts, and kickstand plate. Every Marrakesh has those and a beautiful Brooks B-17 saddle. The drive train is smartly spec'ed and there are disc brakes, good, solid wheel spec choices, and sharp, understated graphics. There are even constellations on the top tube to inspire a little navigation by the stars!

Come check out our selection of Marrakesh bikes soon!