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  • Dec 31 2016

    Thank You!

    Storefront Wrapping up 2016 brings me to a thankful place. A year ago the shop was getting close to a name change that left a lot of unknowns and concerns about the upcoming season at Perennial Cycle. No matter how sure I was about the name change being the right thing to do, it's hard to whack nearly 25 years of branding off the shelf and not have some concerns about the transition. Well, the new sign went up last week and this nearly finalizes the transition away from Calhoun Cycle and onto our newer, better Perennial Cycle. All I can say is Thank You!! The transition has gone very well and the grumbling trolls moved on quickly while the supporters of the name change continue to show their support by joining our customer base. We all really appreciate the support. It's a fun place to work and thanks to our customers, we get to keep our jobs : ) You have all shown me that hope is a reasonable feeling to have. I cannot thank you enough for that. Storefront
  • Mar 31 2016

    Calhoun Cycle is now Perennial Cycle


    Calhoun Cycle is proud to announce that we are changing our name to Perennial Cycle.

    The name Calhoun Cycle was inherited decades ago when it originated as Calhoun Cycle Cellar, a modest bike rental shop with a cigar box for a cash register. Over the years the name Calhoun Cycle has served us well. To our cycling commuter customers we love so dearly, it has come to represent our goals for the bicycle as a pragmatic and sustainable means of alternative daily transportation. Given these goals, we have found the ethics of Calhoun Cycle at odds with the unethical history of the Calhoun name. We can no longer turn a blind eye to the history and heritage of Mr. John C. Calhoun, and feel an undeniable need to separate ourselves from that history.

    The name Calhoun represents a shameful past of institutional racism perceived as a “positive good”, and the misguided cultural colonialism of renaming a lake after an undeserving man. We cannot go back and change our past, but we can learn from it and from our mistakes, and attempt to right our wrongs.

    Therefore, we are consciously removing Calhoun from our company name and have chosen the new name Perennial Cycle to best represent our values. When something is perennial it is enduring, it is sustainable and it lives in an unending cycle. Perennial is the flora that surrounds us, which we depend on for our own sustainable existence. And like the tulips, crocus, and basque flowers pushing their way up through the snow, nothing gives us more pleasure in the Minnesota springtime than to also see our robust perennial cycling community bloom to life once again.

    We thank you all for your support over the years we’ve spent together, and for supporting us in our strategic decision to kill Calhoun.


  • Feb 20 2016

    Leather Saddle Care

    leather saddle care   Last month, we covered a variety of ways to protect a leather saddle from rain. Through the course of researching for that article, we came across many other articles and forum posts on leather saddles. The overall landscape of information out there is disheartening. There is a lot of confusion, fear, and mystical speculation around the subject. Apparently us children of post-industrial economics have trouble thinking about natural materials, and tend to relegate them to the same bin as things like weather prediction, the Tarot, and alchemical processes. But it’s really not that complicated. Yes, you can ruin a leather saddle. You can also ruin anything else if you start poking at it without any guidance. So we’ve harvested a small heap of saddle wisdom for you to get you started.

    There are a handful of manufacturers making leather saddles in 2015, some surviving since the dawn of cycling, others started on Kickstarter in the past few years. The pattern is somewhat similar to that of preserved foods, anything made of waxed canvas, hipster hatchets, and wool athletic clothing. The hype of plastic is burnt out, and we are realizing that sometimes the most technically advantageous material happens to already grow on the back of some living creature, or a tree. Our favorite manufacturer is Brooks, who have been making their saddles for a very long time indeed and, thanks to their wide distribution and eternal status, produce a multitude of shapes, sizes, and colors (and special editions, and unique editions, etc, etc…). But how to pick?! Well, we can’t help you decide which shade of brown will suit your frame color best*, nor can we tell you which saddle will fit you! Only your own body can guide you, and it usually turns out, if we may borrow the old wizarding adage, that “the wand chooses the wizard.” Stop by your LBS with the hugest selection of Brooks saddles (big hint if you live in Minnesota) and test out some saddles. Start with something appropriate for your general riding style: narrower for leaned-in drop bar riders, wider for the laid-back cruiser. Put it on a chair and take a seat, and try a few! Brooks saddles are gendered (“S” for women’s fit). It’s a little old fashioned, don’t feel weird if you feel better on the “other” type, many do! We’ll help you out if you are confused, disparaged, or lost.


    So you've found a saddle. Now we are going to give your brand new $200 leather-and-steel throne a shove down its path of decay. But we are going to control it, hold its hand, massage it, give it compliments and play it Mozart. You could just throw it on the seat post and start chugging, feeding the leather off your own oily skin and sweat. This works for some, and I salute them. They ride enough and weigh enough to use their calloused Sitz bones as shoe hammers, carving themselves a dwelling into the stone-hard surface of Brooks leather. This is what Brooks recommends, by the way. But Brooks leather is tough, and bone dry. It is shaped with heat and baked at high temperatures until the fibers set, similar to the process used to make medieval leather armor. A new Brooks saddle is a tabula rasa, waiting for your personal "touch". It requires input to selectively soften the areas that need softening, thus:

    1. Acquire some Brooks Proofide.
    2. Load a good helping onto the middle-rear section of the seat. Think of the saddle in two parts: the nose, and the seat. You are aiming for the front portion of the seat area, where your Sitz bones land. Get some on the raw underside of the saddle in the same area. Spread a very light coat on the rest of the top surface.
    3. Let the Proofide soak into the leather for a bit, until dry. It soaks in surprisingly fast. Like we said, these saddles are bone dry.
    4. Polish off the excess with a clean polishing rag. This will unseat any dye left on the surface of the saddle that would otherwise end up on your shorts.
    5. Ride hard, ride often.
    6. The saddle should start to deform, and should be very comfortable in 100 - 200 miles.
    Here's what it looked like when we treated one of our store demonstrator saddles: After the initial break-in period, an occasional treatment with Proofide will keep the leather supple and reasonably protected from water damage, but it will not be waterproof†. Proofide is made of waxes and oils, which don't mix with water, but if enough Proofide were used to waterproof the saddle, it would become too soft and would stretch beyond usefulness. Don't do it! And a final word: should you be tempted by that nice little chrome tensioning tool stamped with the Brooks logo, don't touch it! You will have plenty of experience with your saddle before it is necessary. Now go ride your magic carpet of velo-human friendship!     * - actually we can! Stop by and we’ll give you our refined and well-informed opinion. † - see our previous post, "Seat Thoughts: Saddle Covers".
  • Nov 18 2015

    Seat Thoughts: Saddle Covers

    Brooks Leather Saddles & Saddle Covers

    The quickest and often most economical upgrade to any bicycle is a better saddle. The most important factor in your ability to enjoy longer rides more often isn’t your bike’s weight or how many gears you have, it’s your comfort. And a good quality saddle, if taken care of, can last you decades! Of course, good quality usually (not always, but usually) means leather, and leather means taking a little more time and care, the “old fashioned" way if you will. You may hear overcautious talk of leather saddles being easily “ruined” or “hard to maintain”,  but if you can handle a pair of leather boots, you will have no trouble providing for your throne, and it will in turn thank you with years of peaceful human-bike unity.

    Of course, the most important consideration with leather is rain, and for that we have saddle covers! They all have their perks, otherwise we wouldn’t stock so many of them. Let’s take a look at the options, shall we?

    Brooks Saddle Covers

    The Large Brooks Saddle Cover on a B67The Brooks Saddle Cover stashed. The Brooks Rain Cover comes in two sizes: Medium and Large. The larger accommodates the wider sit-down shape of the B67, etc. B17 and others of the type fit into the “medium”. If you ride a cruiser/comfort/dutch style saddle, the large ought to do. These photos are of the “large” cover on a B67. The cover is made of a nice-quality waterproof nylon material and fits rather baggy on the saddle. It is super-easy to take on and off, thanks to the elastic band closure.  

    A velcro strap helps keep the cover rolled up burrito-style, and doubles as an attachment device, looping around the rails under the leather upper. Perfecto fit, and looks nice. We don’t recommend making a habit of riding on this cover, and neither does Brooks, but it’s not exactly delicate.


    Carradice Saddle Cover

    Reinforced Bag Loop Slots on the Carradice B17 cover.The Carradice B17 Cover

    Carradice, a modest British manufacturer of very-high quality and practical cycling baggage, makes a cover specifically sized to the Brooks B17. It also fits the Flyer (B17 with springs). This cover fits rather taught, and is meant to be ridden on, making it an excellent choice for tough conditions. This cover provides leather-reinforced slots for bag loops, so a Carradice (or other) saddle bag hangs unimpeded. An excellent choice for a 3-month trek on your beloved Brooks saddle. This is the Saddle Cover that randonneurs most often choose to protect their leather saddles.

    North Street Saddle Cover

    Red!North Street Color Options North Street Saddle Cover with mesh pouch. The pouch attaches to the saddle rails with Velcro.North Street Bags from Portland, Oregon, makes lovely and impressive cycle baggage. Their saddle covers are of the same durable, coated ripstop nylon that they use for their waterproof liners, and unlike most saddle covers, come in colors! North Street is part of a burgeoning movement in Made In USA gear that is equally at home amongst at the coffee shop and the mountain trail. Their saddle covers are designed to be used, and will fit just about any saddle thanks to their draw-string closure (both B17 S and B67 were covered adequately and snugly).

    Aardvark Saddle Cover

    Aardvark Neoprene Saddle Cover Aardvark Cycling Accessories doesn’t have a website, but they make this ultra-generic and ultra-awesome saddle cover. Made of neoprene (wetsuit material) instead of nylon, so it’s a little squishy. Waterproof, but will hold water, so remember to take it off before sitting on it after a rainstorm! It's stretchy so it fits any saddle just fine. Awesome 80’s Aardvark-on-a-mountain-bike logo indicates these folks aren’t kidding around. Made in Richmond, UT, where there are definitely more mountain bikes than aardvarks. This one is an old favorite for making an expensive saddle look not-so-expensive in thief-prone zones. See ALL the saddle covers HERE

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