Riding in the Cold and the Rain Requires a Strategy! What’s Yours? 

October 11, 2018

BikeParts.com Team Riders Training in Spring WeatherIt seems the warmer days of summer are gone!  Just this past weekend Colorado cyclists along the Front Range were greeted with cold and chilly temperatures.  Those caught off guard by the swift change in winter conditions suffered mightily during their weekend rides.  Now the week has progressed and we are over three days in to rain, cold, and light snow. Many cyclists are wondering how to salvage their fall training plans and make the most of this cold and wet fall weather.  Generally, it requires a shift in focus from longer rides to perhaps shorter, more intense rides.  

When faced with poor weather, the primary “go to” option for cyclists is the trainer.  Granted, most cyclist have a love / hate relationship with the trainer.  As a training aid, cyclist love it because it offers training options during poor weather and winter months.  Yet, on the flip side, trainer rides can be boring, lead to muscle- specific fatigue, and basically, offer uninspired riding. Usually, most cyclist aren’t getting on the trainer this time of year.  With hesitation, many are asking, “Is there a way to make it work?”  Yes! It’s important to have the right trainer setup.  When we’re talking about setup, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a trainer tire, a riser block, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, and indoor riding clothes.  If you are using a basic trainer, you may also want a cadence sensor, a power meter, and a heart rate monitor.  You might not think all of these cycling accessories  add up to a great trainer workout, but  if you’re looking to exchange a longer, more intense ride with a shorter one because of weather related restrictions, then yes, having the right bike parts helps support motivation and training consistency.  Our post, Making the Most of Winter with Trainers, Rollers, and Indoor Riding offers more detail strategies for making the most of indoor riding. 

While the trainer is definitely a training option, you don’t want to miss riding outdoors all together.  So, it’s important to dial in your cycling apparel for the type of riding you will be doing.  Specifically, when you are riding, you want to balance your warmth and comfort with the intensity of your bike ride. If you are really bundled up when you start riding, you will likely want to start shedding layers. It may feel good to sweat in 25 degree weather, but you want clothes that are both breathable, wind-stopping, and sometimes waterproof. You also want to evaluate the type of ride you are doing? Is this a training ride? Will you be working really hard? Or are you just going to work? With all that in mind, get clear on the type of cycling apparel you have in your existing wardrobe and identify the clothing you need purchase to enable you to ride in a variety of weather conditions.  Fall cycling apparel usually includes the following: 

Rain jacket – Cycling rain jackets are optimized to be fully waterproof and breathable while allowing for a range of movement, and they often have subtle (or unsubtle) reflective accents. The thing to be mindful of when choosing one is the hood. If you ride in a helmet, is the hood big enough to fit over it? If not, opt for a head cap. A cycling cap, worn underneath your helmet, will help keep the rain from running into your eyes while you ride, and help shield your face from the rain.

Shoe covers or waterproof shoes – Shoe covers, also known as booties, cover the exterior of your shoes and protect from wet, cold, and wind. There are several options: some that cover just the toes and others that encompass the entire foot. Sometimes, even shoe covers aren’t enough protection. Waterproof cycling shoes and boots can be a very smart investment, especially if you’re determined to ride in the rain frequently.

Gloves – Perched out on your handlebars your hands face the brunt of the weather. As your hands become numb from the constant rain, their temperature quickly cools, and before too long you can have some very frozen fingers to deal with. Frozen fingers aren’t much good at changing gear, braking or clinging to the handlebars, and they’re extremely uncomfortable. Opt for full finger / windproof gloves and waterproof gloves.

Lights – Even if it’s daylight out, you should ride with lights—for the same reason cars turn their lights on in the rain.  The sky is darker, rain can obscure your outline, and drivers are already distracted. Using lights will make you more visible, and help you stay safe.

Maintenance – Experiencing mechanical difficulties in wet conditions is not fun!  A well maintained bike is a fun bike to ride – even in the rain. While bike maintenance can be a chore, having the right set of bike components and bicycle tools can make all the difference.  Good reminders for riding in wet conditions is to wipe down and inspect the frame.  Then, follow that up by applying lube your chain and pivot points.  

Rest assured, the rain and cooler temps won’t be around for long.  While the days of summer have ended, no doubt we will experience warmer and dryer days before winter sets in.  In the meantime, have a strategy to approach the transitional weather conditions that supports your training schedule and stock up on your cold weather cycling apparel.  Fortunately, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can help you with all of your cycling apparel needs! In fact, we’ve got quite a lot of new cycling clothing in store right now. Visit us at BikeParts.com, follow us on Twitter, and keep in touch on Facebook

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5 Uncommon Bike Buying Questions

October 4, 2018
So you want to buy a bike?  Who wouldn’t want to get a new bike?! Actually, now is the best time of year to purchase a new road bike or mountain bike because this year’s bikes are on sale and we’re clearing the way for next year’s models.  With so many bike choices available, there are quite a few questions to dial in when considering purchasing a new bike.  In fact, we’ve written about many of those questions in the following blog posts and you can check them out here:  
But, what about the uncommon questions?  You know, the ones you might be a bit shy to ask the salesperson.  No need to hesitate with your questions, we’ve got you covered.  
 
Question #1 Let’s get the first question out of the way.  Do you need to buy your bike at a bike shop?  You can buy anything on the internet these days including bike parts, cycling accessories, and complete bicycles from us at BikeParts.com.  However, we do encourage you to purchase your bicycle at a bike shop.  Here’s why. Bicycle Magazine sums it up best, “When you buy a bike from an authorized retailer, you know that the bike was assembled by a professional mechanic, and you begin to build a rapport with that shop—a great way to find out about new routes or group rides or maintenance clinics and events. You also ensure you’re not getting a counterfeit product, which is a continuing problem in the bike industry.” 
Question # 2 How do you know if a bike fits you? Test ride it!  Bring your cycling apparel with you, including your cycling shoes and helmet, when test riding a bike.  Before heading out on your test ride, take time to visit with your salesperson about shifting, brakes, and any particular feature of the bike you are testing out.  A bike that feels good and is comfortable to ride is one you will ride often.  So, go with feel. And then, after your purchase, schedule a bike fit with us to dial in the specific bike parts you may need to achieve optimum comfort, power, cadence, and fit for you.  
Question #3. Do I have to dress like a cyclist like the riders you see on the Tour de France?  Well, you can if you want to!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have a wide variety of cycling apparel to match your style.  Some prefer jerseys and lycra shorts and other prefer a more casual ride style.  Again, go with what is comfortable to you. We have cycling apparel on sale and new items coming in for the winter months. Stop by and see what works best for you. 
Question #4 Should I use clipless or flat pedals? Note, clipless pedals are the ones you clip into with cycling shoes with cleats on the bottom.  Flat pedals are simply pedals, like you would have on a BMX or kids bike. They are not popular with many racers or road riders because clipless pedals help improve your performance in racing, especially for road disciplines. But don’t rush to use clipless or exclude flat pedals from your practice completely. Start with what you are most comfortable and make changes as you see fit. 
Question #5 How do I maintain my bike?  Bike maintenance may seem overwhelming to the new rider and even to veteran riders too.  Some cyclist really enjoy doing their own bike maintenance and others prefer for our shop mechanics to do it for them.  Again, do what is best in your comfort zone.  As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to follow some of these guidelines that we’ve written about in our post, 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road.
 
What other questions might you have that we missed? Don’t be shy! Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to test ride a bike, check out our winter cycling apparel, and get all of your questions answered.  

Essential Cycling Apparel for Fall Riding 

September 27, 2018

While we welcome cooler temps and colorful foliage that fall cycling offers, the shorter days and fatigue of the cycling season can beckon cyclist to cut their rides short – or skip them all together.  Perhaps missing a day or two of riding doesn’t seem like much but it does.  

According to the post, What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Riding, within a relatively short period of time, undesirable consequences result.  As in, your metabolism stagnates. Your blood pressure rises. Your blood sugar surges. Fitness declines.  And, inevitable wait gain surfaces.  Not fun!

Fall is actually the best time to transition from peak cycling form to a relaxed one.  Doing so doesn’t include missing rides.  It means shifting your mindset to embrace fall cycling while actually boosting your cycling performance for next year. The trick is making sure you are comfortable during transitional weather.  If you feel comfortable riding, then you will do it.  

Ask yourself, what clothing do you need to wear in different weather conditions to remain comfortable?  Do you have waterproof and wind resistant clothing? Do you have enough of the basic cycling necessities, as in leggings? Arm warmers? Knee warmers? Scull cap? What about your base layers?  Do you have enough of them or do you need to add in some fleece lined clothing?  Staying warm, dry, and comfortable is key to riding during the fall season.  

Lucky for you, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can help you with all of your cycling apparel needs.  In fact, we’ve got a great end of the year sale on 2018 bikes and cycling apparel in store right now!  At a minimum, these are the essential fall riding clothes you need to have on hand.

1. Wind Vest – The wind vest is one of the most used pieces of cool weather gear. It keeps your core body protected from frontal winds, but vents in the rear to keep you from overheating. The wind vest is also very versatile and can be added to different clothing combinations, using it with regular jerseys, winter jerseys, and arm warmers. It’s also easily stowed in a pack or shirt pocket.

2. Wind / Rain Jacket – It’s always a good idea to keep a water resistant jacket handy when rain is in the forecast.

3. Arm Warmers – Arm warmers are a must during the Fall season.  While they don’t take up much room, they are great for temperature control.

4. Full Finger / Windproof Gloves – When riding in cooler temps, one of the first things to get cold are the fingers. Protect your hands with full fingerers and / or windproof gloves. A popular item to consider are the Endure gloves. 

5. Knickers, Knee Warmers, and Pants – As the temperatures drop, it’s a good idea to cover your knees. Many cyclist prefer tights whereas others prefer leg warmers.  There are also knickers which allow more airflow over the legs, and they are good for those in-between days. Consider trying out each option and experiment to dial in your preference.

6. Head Band or Skull Cap – The vents in your helmet that are such an asset during the summer months become a major liability when the temperatures begin to drop. To prevent from losing heat from your scalp, be sure to wear a thin skullcap or headband under the helmet

7. Wool Socks – Keeping your feet dry and warm can be a challenge in the cold weather, but nice wool socks are your best bet.

8. Shoe Covers – Shoe covers, also known as booties, cover the exterior of your shoes and protect from cold and wind.  There are several options: some that cover just the toes and others that encompass the entire foot. Toe covers are great for Fall but as you transition to Winter riding, you may wish for a pair that covers your entire foot.  If you’re not a fan of shoe covers, opt for a warmer shoe all together! We have two favorite options.  The Giant Sojourn cycling shoes have a stiff and grippy bottom which are good for walking.  A great option for bike commuters.  The other favorite is the Defroster cycling shoe.  It’s a great option for fall and winter riding and especially on the cold days because these shoes doesn’t require shoe covers.  

9. Lights – At the end of this month, the days will be much shorter! Plan ahead and get your lights ready. Get a red blinker for the rear that mounts to the bike or your pack, and a decent headlight for the front.

10. Tool kit – The bicycle tools needed to have on hand in inclement weather matter.  Discover what the best bike parts for fall commuting and build a tool kit that meets your needs.

Which essential items are missing from the list? Let us know! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.  Better yet, stop in the shop to say hi and browse our fall cycling apparel. 


3 Ways to Enjoy Fall via Your Bicycle 

September 20, 2018

Each season has its own ups and downs.  Spring and summer seasons are marked with event registrations, travel, and enjoying the cycling lifestyle.  The winter season is the least exciting if you are inside riding on your trainer; yet winter can be fun if you are experiencing the joys of riding a fat bike. However, the fall season is somewhat of a mixture of all this.  As Saturday is the first day of fall, many cyclists are wondering how best to enjoy the season on their bicycles.  What are our suggestions?  Read on! 

If you haven’t noticed yet, the leaves on the trees are beginning to change colors.  One of the very best ways to enjoy the changing landscape is riding your mountain bike.  Consider making a bucket list of mountain bike trails to ride before winter comes.  Some of our favorite mountain bike trails include: 

  1. Buffalo Creek
  2. Centennial Cone
  3. White Ranch
  4. Mount Falcon
  5. Lair O’ the Bear
  6. Green Mountain
  7. Apex + trails
  8. Golden Gate Canyon 
  9. Hall Ranch 

Another great option for enjoying the fall season, while also maintaining fitness, is to bike commute.  Fall bike commuting offers the chance to enjoy cooler temperatures, view the changing colors of the leaves, and reinvigorate our spirits with the freedom riding a bike inspires. If you’re new to bike commuting, you’ll enjoy our post, What Are The Best Bike Parts for Fall Commuting and 15 Tips for Bike Commuting in Cooler Months.  Both posts offer tips and suggestions for route selections, necessary bike parts, and cycling apparel to make fall bike commuting fun and enjoyable.

If you still have some competitive energy left in you after the summer race season, then a third option to enjoying fall on your bicycle is to try a cyclocross race.  Last week we wrote about Why Race Cyclocross, and this week, we’re encouraging you to do it. It’s fun! It’s addicting! And we have all the bike parts and cycling accessories you need to get you into this cycling discipline.  

When you really think of it, fall is a transitional season. From a cycling perspective, fall isn’t the end of the summer cycling season, it is the beginning of next season.  Keep in mind that just as much as the spring cycling season inspires us to get in shape, tackle new challenges, and reach new cycling heights, the fall season can inspire us too. Discovering new ways to nurture our bodies, maintain the gains we’ve made during the season, and re-energize for the season ahead.  Celebrate the fall season by riding your bike! 


Why Race Cyclocross? 

September 13, 2018

You may be asking, “What’s with all the hype?” or “Why would I want to race in the mud?” or “What makes cyclocross the best kind of bike racing?”

Cyclocross is one of the fastest growing sections of cycling – it’s an all-out mad dash through the dirt, pavement, grass, mud, sand, snow and/or ice that will leave you sucking wind, barely able to see straight…and excited to do it again. It’s held on a relatively short track (2 miles or less) making it spectator-friendly as well. Cyclocross is also one of the few sports where heckling is not only carried on by the spectators but encouraged, even by the top-level touring elites. Sounds fun, right?  And it is!  

Cyclocross is a wonderful way for road cyclists and mountain bikers to extend their competitive seasons and get a head-start on training for next season. The intensity of cyclocross racing provides a training stimulus that’s very difficult to replicate with standard interval training during the fall and winter, especially as the temperatures fall and athletes turn primarily to indoor cycling.  As the season is just now getting underway, what do you need to know?  

Transition: If you’ve been racing throughout the summer season, recognize that there is going to be a transition phase.  Moving from one form of racing to another takes a bit of adjustment.  This generally takes 4 – 6 weeks to fully adjust to a new cycling position, frame geometry, gear ratios, and race tactic specific strength.  

Running and Drills: You’ll want to plan time for running and cyclocross specific skills training.  Running prepares your body to handle the stress of runs and dismounts at the beginning of cross season.   Skill training is essential for safe riding and also, efficiency during the race!  The better your skills are, the faster you will go!  Skills to focus on include practicing starts, dismounts, remounts, shouldering, cornering, and riding through different conditions, as in, mud and sand. All play an important factor is racing efficiently.

Training: As for training for cyclocross, the best approach is a comprehensive one.  Meaning, now is the time to begin planning your season  using goals, monthly progressions, and setting a weekly schedule. For those athletes who want to focus their efforts and manage their time, a good plan is to structure your cyclocross training week. While training time, heart rate and power zones vary, a typical training week usually includes a variety of focused activity. As an example, the post, Preparing for Cyclocross Season, shares more on what you need to include in your training plan.

It’s easy to catch the cyclocross vibe! If you are new to cyclocross, check out our  cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com.  Equipment choices matter! Dial in the best bike parts and and tire choice.  While bike setup and having the right cyclocross bicycle parts is important, one of the most important parts of all is tire selection and their pressure.  

Why not discover YOUR reason for racing cyclocross this season?!  Check out the many resources we have at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to inspire and motivate you to race cyclocross this season:

So why wait? Join in the cyclocross fun! Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to pick out your bike parts and cycling accessories for your cross season!


Creative Ways to Get Your Cycling Fix

September 6, 2018

With school starting and only about a month and half left of the Colorado cycling racing and touring season, many are filling up their calendars with the last big events of the season hoping to capitalize on the fitness gains made during the season.Many cyclist are also looking for ways to get their cycling fix as the days come to an end. With less time to ride, what are the ways to get the cycling endorphins flowing?  We have some creative suggestions for you. 

Podcast
How do you stay motivated and stoked to get out and ride? Podcasts can be a great resource because you can listen to them anytime, anywhere. If you haven’t already jumped on the podcast train, it may be time.  The post, The Best Cycling Podcast, offers 7 great podcasts to listen to on your commute or while cleaning, cooking, doing maintenance, lazing around and pretty much anything else.  Who knows, after listening to a favorite episode, you may find yourself inspired to try something new! 

Apps
Whether you are striving for peak performance or to shed a few pounds, apps are a great way to inspire positive behavior and keep you on track towards your goals.  Check out our post, Top Apps for Cyclist in 2018, for cycling and health related apps. You will also want to read The Best Motivation Apps of the Year for inspirational quotes, motivational videos, or everyday reminders.  These apps are fun and engaging way to help you become a better version of yourself.

Bikes and Bike Parts
The easiest way to get your cycling fix is to get a new bike. Or, expand your horizons and try a fat bike. Experiment! Play! Embrace your inner child and let it ride!!!  Okay, maybe you are not be in the market for a new bike but end of season is a great time to experiment with new bike parts and replace worn cycling components.  Our cycling accessory closeouts  has everything from gloves, jerseys, bike parts, hydration packs, bicycle tools – you name it!  Think about it.  There aren’t many better upgrades for your road bike than a new set of wheels. Now is the time to get them.  Do you wear a helmet every time that you ride? Probably. Well, now’s the time to replace that helmet. Replace worn out pedals, chain rings, and saddles without spending a ton of money.  

Bike Commute
Fall bike commuting offers the chance to enjoy cooler temperatures, view the changing colors of the leaves, and reinvigorate our spirits with the freedom riding a bike inspires. You can even listen to your podcast while riding your new bike when bike commuting! If you are curious as to the best bike parts for fall bike commuting, check out our post, 15 Tips for Bike Commuting in the Cooler Months, for route ideas, bike suggestions, and preferred cycling apparel.  

During the racing and cycling season, the focus is on riding; whereas at the end of the season, there’s more time for mental wanderings, experimentation, and fun! Get creative and enjoy those endorphins! 


Great Ways to Celebrate Labor Day on Your Bike 

August 30, 2018

Labor Day weekend is the last chance to enjoy summer for the year.  Most celebrate the holiday with cookouts, family get to gathers, and parties.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we encourage you to get the most out of your Labor Day by riding your bike!  

With fitness levels high, late season rides offer a chance to experiment with ride routes, different bikes, and even different cycling accessories. Without the pressure of training or getting into shape, the freedom of late season riding brings a fresh approach and a relaxed casual ride attitude.  So, why not have an adventurous Labor Day?  

The obvious way to experience adventure is to ride a new route or trail. Our post,  Labor Day – 20 Labor of Love Bike Rides offers the top 20 Front Range bike rides to celebrate Labor Day on your bike.  Another option is to check out 303 Cycling Calendar for events and rides or investigate some Front Range Cycling groups on Facebook to explore new ways of engaging with others.  

Experimenting with new bike parts is fun and doesn’t have to be expensive.  You can Save Big with Peak Cycles Summer Bike Blowout Event.  Whether you need a new bike, cycling clothing, bike parts or cycling components, you’ll find the best deals at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop. Maybe you don’t need anything “new” per se, but you need to stock up on bike parts that wear out with regular use.  Don’t wait until you hear odd little noises or you notice that your bike is taking too long for the brakes to engage before replacing worn parts. 

Speaking of replacing bike parts, the long weekend provides some extra time to do bike maintenance.  Our post, Spring Cleaning! 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road, offers tips for bike maintenance.  When in doubt, stop in the shop and ask one of our bike mechanics for maintenance suggestions or schedule time to service your bike.

If you are too spent from the season to ride, then take the time to do some 2019 goal planning.  Consider doing a year end review and plan for the year ahead.  This may inspire you to dig a little deeper at the end of this season and prepare you better for next year.  

As a reminder, our shop BikeParts.com offers a huge selection of road bike partsmountain bike partsBMX bike parts and more. If you need it for your bike, then we have it! Because we sell our bicycle parts online, we are able to help customers all over the world. Stop by our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to pick up the cycling accessories you’ll need for your Labor Day ride adventures or visit us online at BikeParts.com.  Happy Labor Day friends!