Stocking Stuffer Ideas That Also Keep Your Favorite Cyclist Safe  

December 8, 2016
Stocking Stuffers at BikeParts.com

Stocking Stuffers at BikeParts.com

Most of us want to give holiday gifts that have value. Not just cute little trinkets but items that really make a difference.  

Unfortunately, oftentimes holiday stocking stuffers fall into the camp of cute but not really useful.  But, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’ve compiled a list of inexpensive bike parts to make your stocking stuffers useful, as well as, coveted gifts.  

Consider this – have you ever thought that what a cyclist keeps in their back pocket of their jersey or their saddle bag as a necessary item of safety?  Cyclist riding road bikes and mountain bikes often find themselves in isolated locations.  With that being said, it’s important to be as self reliant as possible.  Our list of stocking stuffers will bring a grin to their face and also keep them safe! 

  • Tubes: This is one gift you absolutely positively will get used. Make sure you get the right size of tube. If you aren’t sure, stop in the Peaks Cycling Store and ask one of our friendly staff to help you. Or, visit us online at bikeparts.com  
  • Bottles: Every cyclist has a ton of bottles, but that’s not the same as having good bottles. Buy a good bottle and stuff it with other goodies.
  • Warmers: We’re talking about head warmers, ear warmers, arm warmers, leg warmers, and shoe covers – all the necessities to keep your favorite cyclist warm and comfortable out on those chilly winter rides.  They nice thing about these is that they fit nicely in a holiday stocking in as much as they do a cycling jersey!
  • Nutrition: Think energy bars, gels, and chews.  Instead of chocolate, fill the stocking (or water bottle) with nutrition, bars, gels, and drinks that your cyclist can use on the bike.
  • Lube: Every cyclist goes through it and we’ve got tons of it.
  • Bicycle tools: These are much needed for on the fly bike repairs and maintenance.  Key items to include are a patch kit, tire levers, pump, and a multi tool.

Spend your holiday money wisely! Invest in bike parts and cycling accessories that delights your favorite cyclist and also keeps them safe and sound.  Doing this pretty much guarantees that you’ll make Santa’s nice list for next year! 


3 Cycling Strategies to Manage Stress During the Holidays 

December 1, 2016

Happy Holidays from BikeParts.comWhile the holiday season brings times of joy and celebration, it is often tainted with juggling holiday parties, kids events, family gatherings, and travel.  While all fun activities, they can contribute to a stressful experience.  As athletes, we all know that there is only an infinite amount of stress the body can handle.  Holiday stresses of staying up too late, eating tempting treats, and overall training fatigue can create a loss of training motivation or just plain not riding.  Not fun, given exercise can aid in reducing stress.  So, what is the balance during the holidays to reduce stress, maintain fitness, and still hit all the holiday parties and complete those endless shopping lists? 

Manage Expectations!  Are your expectations for the holidays realistic? Asking yourself this question is the first step to managing holiday stress. Make a list of what you expect from yourself and your family during the holidays. Hidden within these expectations you might find your potential holiday stressors — the things specific to you that can cause stress.  Once identified, you can then write down what changes you can make to prevent or defuse stress. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado, we get a lot of input from our customers as to common holiday stressors.  Here’s what we’ve got to say to beat the stress and still maintain your fitness.

Stress #1 – Weight gain.  Obviously, increased caloric intake combined with less exercise is going to add a little weight.  A little gain in the off season isn’t so bad; however, you don’t want  a little weight gain to grow into a lot.  So, focus on eating well. The holidays offer irresistible food temptations adding extra pounds to our waste lines and robbing us of precious energy.  Instead of reaching for the holiday goodies, opt for nutritious snacks. Eating poorly during the holidays can affect mood and motivation towards training.  Focus on good nutrition and choose your bike nutrition when you need it most- on the bike.  Being mindful of your food choices can positively affect your energy levels and help maintain your ability to ride and perform better.  It will help you feel better about yourself too! 

Stress #2 – Too Many Things to Do.  The holidays can make anyone feel scattered and worn out.  Yet, the flurry of holiday activities makes time precious.  Take the time you need to prioritize your ride schedule.  You may not have time for a lengthy ride, so make the most of the time you do have. Employ the strategy of focus and control. Increase your focus on what you can control.  Let go of things beyond your control.  Think about it and write it down. What can you control? Set priorities and let go of impossible goals.  Regarding your cycling training, you can certainly focus the intensity, duration, and consistencies of your workouts.  Using a heart rate monitor or power meter can help. You can also control the elements surrounding your training, as in, your bike parts, bike functioning, and being well prepared nutritionally to get the best out of your workouts.

Stress #3 – Guilt.  Yep, there it is.  As a cyclist, you want to ride. You know you should ride. And yet, you don’t. And, you beat yourself up for not riding.  We’ve all been there.  The strategy for dealing with guilt is just to accept it and move on.  Give yourself a break mentally and physically knowing the holiday season doesn’t last forever.  If you just can’t find the time or motivation to ride during the holiday season, at least feed your velo passion with pictures of new road bikes , new mountain bikes, and cool bike parts.  This will feed your spirit and breathe life into next year’s bike season.  In fact, the post, Missing training – Adjusting the plan, reminds us, “ It’s easy to beat yourself up over missed training, but if you have been steady with training, give yourself a break. Gaining fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days and losing fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days. It takes months of steady training to gain good fitness. A few days missed or logging a fewer less hours than planned for a week is a small blip on the radar.”

While the holiday season can be stressful, it doesn’t have to be.  It’s all in your approach. Try your best to make good food choices, exercise, and relax to restore energy.  Balance is key and you’re in control  Happy Holidays! 


You Want to Get Fat this Thanksgiving. Here’s Why!

November 24, 2016
Fat Bikes at BikeParts.com

Fat Bikes at BikeParts.com

Thanksgiving is prefect for celebrating and sharing gratitude for the blessings in our lives.  Yet, it isn’t exactly an ideal day for healthy eating and staying fit. Fortunately, you can make it through Thanksgiving with your figure and fitness intact. How to do it? It’s no mystery! Get a fat bike!  

This may sound like a trick, but it’s not.  Simply enjoy all the food you want during Thanksgiving while also splurging a bit by riding a fat bike.  Riding a fat bike is so much crazy fun!  

Imagine floating over snow and sand. Gliding over familiar trails discovering how your fat bike handles twists, turns, bumps, and jumps. You can practically ride a fat bike anywhere. And, riding a fat bike brings out your inner kid making you feel like an 8 year-old again, bouncing  gleefully all over the trails.  Maybe the idea of riding a fat bike is new to you. Following are common asked questions and answers about fat bikes.

How are fat bikes different than other mountain bikes?  Many fat bike models today are similar to “normal” mountain bikes, which have slacker head tube angles, lower stand-over heights, thru axles, and tapered head tubes.  The main difference is the tires. The wider ties have more traction in both dirt and snow. They climb better than almost any mountain bike and the fit tires provide greater cushion that feels like extra suspension.  But what makes them special is they entice you to ride outside when it’s cold! According to the post, Fat Biking 101: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Biking in the Snow, most people do not ride when it is cold because, well, it’s cold. Fat bikes offer a unique experience and allow you to explore familiar trails in a new light. Fat biking lifts the winter doldrums by giving you a new freedom to ride off-road.

In what kind of conditions can I ride my fat bike? Fat bikes can ride pretty much anywhere. They do really well on dirt but they are also very capable in the snow. Packed snow will feel very much like riding on dirt. Pushing through heaps of freshly fallen snow will provide more of a challenge and there will be some days when riding is simply impossible. Remember, while sliding around on ice may be fun, ice is ice. The bike will still go down if you are not careful riding on slippery substances.

How do I stay warm on my fat bike in the winter?  You have to think a little bit harder before and during your fat bike rides in the cold. Generally the most important tip for keeping warm is to layer, and to carry a pack to put your extra layers away. Some people prefer to wear ski goggles and a ski helmet, and lots of people wear winter boots.  Poagies, insulated hand covers that slip over your handle bars, are also very useful for keeping your hands warm.   Keeping your feet warm is key. Wearing arm boots, preferably water proof, with thick socks on flat pedals or clipless boots with multiple pairs of socks will help to keep your feet comfortable.

How do I keep my water from freezing?  Even though you might not feel the urge to drink as much when riding your fat bike in the cold, it is still important to drink fluids. There are a couple of tricks your water from freezing. During shorter rides, carry an insulated water bottle and start with really warm water. You can also add electrolytes or other ingredients to change the freezing point of the fluid, but may find limited success. When using a CamelBak or something similar, stick the bite valve in your jacket and blow out all the water in your hose. You can also buy neoprene insulators for the hydration hose to help keep water as a liquid substance.

Should I use clipless or flat pedals on a fat bike?  It’s your choice! The biggest problems people have making this decision is deciding how to best keep their feet warm. Having flat pedals will allow you to wear thick winter boots, which are more conducive to keeping your feet warm. However you can buy clipless boots that are designed to handle colder temperatures. Using a clipless pedal could prove annoying in snowy terrain if you have to dismount and remount frequently during your ride.

What kind of tires should I use? How wide? What pressure do I run? Tube vs. Tubeless?  You have to match tire pressure with conditions. Softer snow conditions: 6psi. Harder conditions: 8-10psi. (much lower than the normal bike). Fat-bike tires are typically marked as 26 x 4.0 though most are really more like 26 x 3.7 or 3.8. The actual size of the mounted tire will vary depending on the rim width used for the wheel.  Many riders prefer tubeless because they reduce over a point of rotation weight and they provide better traction.

What kind of fat bikes are on the market?  The fat bike market has exploded in recent years. Brands include Specialized, Mongoose, Polaris, Kona, Gravity, Kawasaki, Borealis and more! Manufacturers are creating frames out of tons of different materials including aluminum, carbon, titanium, bamboo, real steel, and Wal-Mart steel. Most fat-bikes that you will come across have a fully rigid frame. However fat bikes with front fork suspension and full-body suspension have started to emerge.  Finding the fat bike that works for you will depend on the type of riding that you do and, more importantly, your budget.  However, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we are all big fans of the Specialized Fatboy Bike. We have found the Specialized Fatboy to be a highly rated, mid-range fat bike that is usable for a wide range of ages and skill-levels.   

Where can I ride my fat bike? Fat biking is abuzz in Colorado. Colorado is already a favorite state for cyclists due to the mountainous terrain, rugged trails, scenic views, and outdoorsy population. But now, Colorado is a hot destination for the fat bike phenomenon.  There are also a ton of really fun fatbike events across the nation.

Whew! Lots of questions but one final one.  Are you feeling the urge to splurge this Thanksgiving?  Enjoy mass quantities of food and take on this fun fat bike phenomenon! Demo a fat bike at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado.  Check out our fat bike bike selections, cycling apparel, hydration strategies, fat bike bike parts, and accessories.  Plus, get even more of your questions answered in person! Happy Thanksgiving!  


The Cyclist Guide to Black Friday – Getting the Gifts You Want and Need 

November 17, 2016

11895116_879913045419413_8627429630943288070_oMost cyclists, whether competitive or not, enjoy being at the front of the pack.  Sure, it’s safer, but it’s also cool to be in front.  As the Thanksgiving Holiday is right around the corner, now’s the time to position yourself to be at the front of the pack – shopping that is!

Leading out the shopping season is Black Friday.  From the start, you have a chance to cash in on bike components, cycling apparel, bicycle parts including trainers and all sorts of bike goodies.  Here’s what you’re going to want to stock up on! 

Start small and go for the usual suspects for stocking stuffers including multi tools, tubes, bottles, socks, head warmers, arm warmers, shoe covers, gloves, lube, energy bars, gels, chews and similar items. Add these to your wish list or invite family and friends to purchase them for you. You can never have too many of these items, so indulge! 

Next, evaluate what is missing in your cycling program.  Are you in need of new cycling apparel?  As in jerseys, layering options, or cycling shoes. What about your bike?  Do you need new bike parts?  And, don’t forget about nutrition and supplements!  Now’s the time time to select the cycling accessories and other much needed items that you would like to see show up under the tree.

Yet, let’s not forget for a moment that holiday wish lists and making the most of Black Friday is all about what you need, right?  Isn’t it about dreaming big? Which training elements would you love to have, but don’t?  A new heart rate monitor? Or a power meter?  The main idea behind using cycling training tools is to dial in training to optimize performance as it relates to specific goals and objectives. Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. As for which power meter to purchase, consider our most popular one, Stages Power Meters, beginning at $1000. Stages Power meter is the lightest, smallest, most technologically advanced unit available today.  Another option is the Pioneer Power Meter offered at $2000 and is a bit more sophisticated.  A third option is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter.

Don’t stop there! Drop the hammer and make your wish list epic! Go big! Get a new road bike, mountain bike, or fat bike! Take advantage of Black Friday or Cyber Monday for savings and specials.  Great road bicycles don’t have to come at a hefty price tag either.  Right now, in our Golden, Colorado shop we have a variety of bikes that are light and fast for racing.  If a new bike isn’t in your budget, then start with the basics.  Have good equipment.  Meaning, add some bike parts to your list.   

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 helping them – and you – to get the gifts you want and need. 


The Year End Review: Not Just for Work But for Your Cycling Program Too 

November 10, 2016
Cycling Goal Setting for 2017

Cycling Goal Setting for 2017

While the year may not be quite over, many are already planning their 2017 race and cycling season.  

Sure, it’s fun to have lofty new goals, new ambitions, and new venues to fuel your cycling passions through the winter months and upcoming holiday season, but not pausing to reflect on what has recently come to pass during the previous season is missing a valuable opportunity to make personal gains that only you can make.   In fact, a proper season review is the best way to identify your strengths and weaknesses and develop a comprehensive plan for the upcoming season.   

Too often, we get stuck in the same winter cycle of: strength, base, aerobic work, anaerobic work and repeat this cycle year after year. We never adapt our training because we are creatures of habit. We like sticking to the same routine year after year. Now’s the time to sit down with some paper, a pencil and/or your coach to review how your season went and determine how to improve for next year. Initial questions to ask yourself include the easiest ones.  Did you reach your goals? Where did you excel? What were your weaknesses? How, overall do you think your training paired with meeting your goals?

Now, drill down a bit more.  Before setting your sights on new goals for 2017, it’s important to evaluate the previous season with more detail.  A favorite post, Athlete-Coach Season Review, poses 10 questions to review your past season’s performance:

  • What was the highlight of your season (for example, best race or greatest accomplishment)? Why?
  • What was your greatest disappointment? Why?
  • Review your top three goals for this season. Do you feel these were achieved?
  • What did you do in training this season that you feel made you faster?
  • What did you do in training this season that you feel was not productive?
  • If you could change your training, mental preparation, or race tactics/strategy this past season, what would you do differently?
  • Was there anything missing in your training this season?
  • Do you feel that you trained enough and worked hard enough in training this season?
  • Do you feel that you had adequate rest during training and before races?
  • Do you have any extra comments and insights on this season?

With these personal insights in mind, you are better equipped to plan and execute a rewarding and successful 2017 cycling season.  Granted, most of these questions are performance based questions – not bike related. In as much as evaluating your training, it’s important to take inventory of your bike performance too.  For instance, were you performing well but your bike, bike parts, or gear held you back?  If you have a heavier bike, perhaps now is the time to upgrade to a lighter road bike or mountain bike.  Did you suffer from mechanicals during the season?  That’s an easy fix for 2017 – just replace worn out bike parts with new ones. Maybe your time would be faster with a new wheel set.  

You won’t know what to do to improve for next year until you take stock of the previous season’s performance with an objective mindset. A performance review of your training program, nutritional support, and your bike and bike parts is critical to creating an objective review of the past season so you can prepare best for a fresh, new season in 2017.   


Daylight Savings Ending – Fear Not! Cycling Training Strategies for Daylight and Night Hours  

November 3, 2016
Training Tips at BikeParts.com

Training Tips at BikeParts.com

With the time change this upcoming weekend, darkness will fall earlier each day making it more challenging to fit training rides in the schedule. But fear not, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have training strategies that can help you make the best of the daylight and night hours!

Given that the days with long sunshine hours are ending, there are ways to make the most of the daytime hours.  It requires a little planning and creativity.  Also, time management plays an important role here. Scheduling your workouts in your calendar; shifting meetings and family obligations to early morning, late afternoon and early evening; and optimizing your lunch hour as ride time,  are three areas that can assist in getting your scheduled training in during the daylight hours.  Again, the idea here is to create a plan and stick to it.  If you plan a ride during the daylight hours and miss it, then it creates stress on how to make that ride up.  However, as other bike enthusiasts know, riding at night can be fun, relaxing, and a delightful end to the day.  If you are up for a little adventure, here’s how to make night time riding work for you! 

Be a well lit cyclist. Purchase cycling apparel that is visible.  There are options to choose from including vests and ankle bands.  Also, reflective tape is a good idea. 3M makes black reflective tape that is great to put on black wheels. You do not notice it during the day and it shows up white at night.  And, as the temperature drops, it’s hard to know what to wear when it’s 50 degrees and sunny outside versus 30 – 35 degrees and cloudy.  Riding in transitional weather can be a challenge!  But, with clothing that is versatile, lightweight, and easy to pack down, you can find a cycling wardrobe that works for you. Watch our video, How to Dress for Winter Cycling to get ideas. 

Explore your ride options. Riding in the dark makes the riding of any technical section immediately harder than in the day.  It takes a good while to overcome this, so don’t set yourself a task to ride the most demanding trails or bike paths you have.  Ease yourself in as the nights start earlier and downgrade your expectations.   Remember, you will inevitably ride and travel more slowly than in daylight.  A way to overcome this is to invest in a good set of lights. With that being said, be mindful that your route doesn’t exceed your lights battery capacities.

Become a fan of bike maintenance: Experiencing mechanical difficulties in the cold and at night is not fun!  A well maintained bike is a fun bike to ride.  Yet, for some, bike maintenance can be a chore.  Having the right set of bike components and bicycle tools can make all the difference.  When prepping your bike for for the colder temps and night riding, there are several things you want to do to keep your bike in good working order.  A good thing to always do is to wipe down and inspect the frame.  As the weather changes, rain, snow, ice, and road elements pose different cleaning challenges to your frame and bicycle parts.  Consider using a stiff, soft-bristled brush to knock off any chunks of dried-on mud that may be on your frame or wheels. Then, follow that up by taking a rag to your bike, wiping it down generally all over to get off any remaining dust or dirt.

Also, remember to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity for winter riding.  It will keep your bike parts in working order and squeak free! There are many lubes to choose – wet vs dry lube.  As conditions vary, you may want to have a couple of different choices on hand.  Finally, since you can’t see what you are rolling over in the dark, it’s a good idea to frequently inspect tires, wheels, and brake pads.  Check that there is adequate air pressure in the tires. Check that there aren’t any cuts or nicks in the sidewall or tread of the tires. You’ll want to make sure the brake pads are not worn. And, remember to inspect where the brake pads hit the rim; they should contact the rim evenly on both sides and not rub the tire in any way that may cause a flat. 

Daylight riding or riding at night – it’s all good!  As you can see, there’s no need to fear the time change.  The time change can mark the end of the season and bring on a new adventure.  Embrace creativity and plan your rides during daytime hours.  Or, seek adventure and embrace the challenge and make night riding work for you! 


A Cocktail for Cyclist? Cherry Juice, Beet Juice, and Supplements

October 27, 2016
PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

As athletes, we all want to get fitter, leaner, stronger, and faster!  Regardless of age or athletic ability, inherent in every cyclist wish list is a secret weapon to get faster without expending more effort.  As such, many turn to nutritional supplements.  And, there’s good reason to do so too! As it turns out, many products, including beet and cherry juice, are proving to aid in recovery and providing performance-enhancing benefits for endurance athletes.  Here’s an overview of what you need to know.  

The benefits of tart cherry juice for endurance athletes includes better sleep, ability to fight inflammation, reduced muscle pain, and immunity boosting. Sounds great, right! And drinking tart cherry juice tastes great and is a nice bedtime snack. To maximize its effects, Coach Lynda Wallenfels suggest mixing in 20g of the slow digesting protein casein to boost protein synthesis while you sleep. Also, consider taking another dose of tart cherry juice the following morning to maximize the performance-enhancing benefits it has to offer.

Another natural food worth investigating is beet juice.  A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests adding some nitrate-rich beetroot juice to our workout plan can enhance our stamina, strength, and endurance.   How does it work?  According to the post, Using Beet Juice to Improve Performance, “Beets contain a large amount of inorganic nitrates. These compounds are the precursor to a very important signalling molecule that our body needs to function- Nitric Oxide2. NO is made naturally within our bodies but we can dramatically increase its availability by eating nitrate rich food. Among other roles, NO acts as a vasodilator in functioning skeletal muscle, increasing the size of blood vessels to allow more oxygen flow. “ Granted, beets are not going to make you fast on their own, but for the athlete that cares about marginal gains, they could provide the race winning boost.   

In addition to food based nutrition for enhanced performance, there are cycling specific supplements too.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, a favorite nutritional product available post ride is PhysioPhyx.  Here’s what we like about this product.  PhysioPhyx LPR takes recovery nutrition to a new level of support and performance by delivering a powerful, evidence-based blend of Carbohydrates + Protein + Leucine. This potent combination of nutrients has been precisely formulated to help ensure you rapidly and effectively restore muscle energy (glycogen), minimize muscle soreness, stimulate muscle repair and speed training adaptations after moderate, intense and exhaustive exercise or competition. In fact, recent studies have shown the nutrient trio of Carbs + Protein + Leucine taken after exercise creates an absolute ideal environment for your body to quickly go into recovery overdrive.  Who doesn’t like “overdrive”?!

Overall, a solid training program combined with a healthy lifestyle provide the greatest platform for sustained and improved performance.  Adding supporting elements like these mentioned can help. While you are at it, you can make improvements to your bike too!  Improve bike performance with lighter bike parts. Minimize mechanicals by replacing old drivetrain parts with new ones. Support your body with a bike fit or cycling apparel like compression gear for recovery.  Again, there may not be a single best option for fitness gains but every little bit helps!