15 Tips for Bike Commuting in the Cooler Months

October 12, 2017

Stay Warm all Winter Long with Cycling Apparel from BikeParts.com

Autumn is upon us. And while the weather is still looking similar to our old friend summer, it is bound to drop in temperature very soon.

Many cyclist grieve the loss of summer; yet, fall bike riding offers the chance to enjoy cooler temperatures, view the changing colors of the leaves, and enjoy the fitness gains achieved over the summer months.

Many cyclist commit to bike commuting through the cooler months as a new goal. Yet, when faced with shorter days and cold, unpleasant weather, they find their motivation waning. Following are our tips to riding your bike the whole winter season through. 

  1. Have a good route.  Learn how to pick a route you like. Google maps for cycling is a good option.
  2. Invest in a good set of lights. A set of small, modern LED lights is sufficient.
  3. Consider getting a specific helmet for bike commuting.  A brighter color and one that is easy to place a helmet light on top is a good choice.
  4. A repair kit.  It’s good to carry a small multi-tool, a patch kit, a small pump, and a spare tube for those inevitable roadside repairs.
  5. A lock. You should always carry a secure lock whenever you plan to leave your bicycle unattended. The U-locks have proven to be most effective, but like all locks they can be defeated. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have bicycle locks, U locks, and U lock combination kits.  Depending on your bike parts and components, you may opt for one lock or multiple ones.
  6. Make sure you have a secure and safe way to carry things. This could be as simple as a messenger bag or as elaborate as a set of touring panniers.
  7. Be visible. Think Bright colors and reflective materials on your person and on your bike. In fact, staying warm, dry, and comfortable is key to riding during the fall and winter season. Lucky for you, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can help you with all of your cycling apparel needs. 
  8. 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.
  9. Arm warmers are a must during the Fall season.  While they don’t take up much room, they are great for temperature control.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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
  13. Wool Socks – Keeping your feet dry and warm can be a challenge in the cold weather, but nice wool socks are your best bet.
  14. 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. 
  15. Last but not least – you need to have motivation!  Stay motivated and keep after it! The more you do it, the more you love it!

If you are looking for great fall and winter gear that is super durable, then stop by the shop and check out all of the Endura cycling apparel we have in stock.  And remember, Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop has the ability to special order items. Come and ask if you want something! We’re here to support your riding all the way through Spring! 

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Late Season Training Tips to Keep the Season Fun!

October 5, 2017

BikeParts.com Team Rider Enjoying a Fall Ride

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 ñ or skip them all together.

Perhaps missing a day or two of riding doesnít 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 doesnít include missing rides. It means shifting your mindset to embrace fall cycling while actually boosting your cycling performance for next year.

Focus on Fun!
The key to late season racing and bike events is really to have fun! Earlier in the season, the focus is on improving fitness or achieving goals. Now is the time to enjoy the gains of your hard work. With fitness levels high, late season bike events offer a chance to experiment with race strategies and new cycling accessories. If experimentation isn;t your thing, then at least replace worn out bike parts or catch deals on bike close outs, bike parts and components. Having a fun, relaxed attitude combined with a celebratory bike event is a great way to finish your season.

Focus on Fat! Fat bikes that is!
Instead of missing rides and potentially getting fat, just get a fat bike! Fat bikes are the hottest trend in the mountain biking world right now and not surprisingly now is the time to get on board with them. This year there is more competition in the fat bike market than ever which means lower price tags. In addition to more complete bikes, there is a huge selection of fat bike parts available which makes it easy to customize your ride with wheels, tires, and other components that fit your riding style.

Focus on Off-Bike Activities
Other suggestions for late season gains include strength training and yoga. Year-Round Strength Training for Cyclists Matters. Since you are only as strong as your weakest link, the stronger system you build as a whole, the more potential you have for cycling specific gains. And there is a lot to be said for yoga. Cyclists need to focus on leg strength, which many poses in yoga target, but they also need to focus on flexibility and lower back strength. All key elements in extending the fitness gains you’ve made through the current year.

Finally, keep it fresh and fun. During the season, the focus is on riding; whereas during the Fall, there is more time for mental wanderings and fun!


How to Embrace Riding in the Rain

September 28, 2017

Cycling Apparel for Wet Weather Riding at BikeParts.com

 

 

 

 

Riding in the rain is part of life on two wheels – no matter the time of year.  There are ways to prepare, survive and recover from cycling in the rain.  

In fact, there is no such thing as “bad biking weather”, just ask those happy folks cycling around the Front Range every day of the year. Most cyclist have experienced a sprinkle, shower, or torrential downpour at some point during their cycling career—but with the right gear and attitude, riding in wet weather can be acceptable, and maybe even fun. Here’s what you need.

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.  

Finally, adjust your attitude!  Learn to love riding in the rain.  For more information, or to get a bike check-up after a sloppy ride, stop into our store – Peak Cycles in Golden, Colorado. We have tons of advice, as well as bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel.


The Ultimate Cyclocross Resource

September 21, 2017

While the cross country mountain bike and road bike race seasons may be winding down, the cyclocross race season is just starting. After finishing a full cycling season, you might wonder –  why continue racing?

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 is 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.

When you think of it, the fall season is a great time for experimentation. It can be a great opportunity to get test out new bike parts or even a new cyclocross bike! With that said, if you are new to cyclocross, you’ll enjoy all the resources we have at Peak Cycles and BikeParts.com:

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!


Tips to Riding the Tour de Vineyards 

September 14, 2017

Kicking off the fall riding season is the Tour de Vineyards.  

The Tour de Vineyards offers recreational and competitive cyclists alike the opportunity to cycle by beautiful and lush vineyards, enjoy foods and beverages authentic to the region, all while being treated to some of Colorado’s finest western slope hospitality.   How do you make the most of it? First, online registration is closed but the day of the event you can register for either the 23 mile or 58 mile event. 

To make sure you enjoy the event and also ride your best, there are a few ways to prepare.  As we’ve mentioned before in older posts, you’ll want to remember these important tips: 

  • Prepare your bike in advance. Give your road bike a once over. Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. 
  • Know the course and aid stations. Primarily, you want to anticipate your needs as you tick off each mile. For instance, learn or write down on a card to put in your jersey the mile markers for the aid stations. You may also make note of the mileage between aid stations. You may end up passing through the earlier aid stations only to stop more frequently at the the aid stations later in the event. 
  • Consider taking a rain jacket and extra chain lube in your jersey pocket or seat bag. 
  • Lay everything out the night before. This includes your every day cycling apparel: helmet, gloves, shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, sunglasses, water bottles, food, and sunscreen.
  • Go easy at the start and ease into the ride. It’s tempting to go too fast at the start, but holding back some energy will allow you to finsih feeling strong. 
  • Recover smart! At the completion of your ride, be mindful to cool down appropriately. Spin your legs out and get your heart rate down. Consider wearing compression garments or using a nutritional aid to accelerate the recover process.  After all, the fast you recover, the faster you can ride your bike again! 

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have a lot of suggestions and advice on making the most of your ride.  Stop in the shop to pick up the bike parts you need to have the best Tour de Vineyards ride. In face, our online store, Bikeparts.com, has lots of different types of nutritional supplements, cycling accessories, and cycling apparel all in one place to help you make the most of your riding.  So, enjoy the ride and the scenery!  The Tour do Vineyards is exceptional in that you get to usher in the fall with a scenic and leisurely tour of Colorado’s Wine Country. Take in the beauty of the Western Slope, explore the wineries, vineyards, orchards and mesas. 


Cyclocross Newbies – Tips to Prep for Your First Cyclocross Race

September 7, 2017

Cyclocross bikes at BikeParts.com

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. Surprisingly, this is addictive and you’ll be excited to do it again.

The course is 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?  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. If you are new to the discipline, then where do you start? Following are our tips to get you racing your first cross race.

  • Get a cyclocross bike. If you are new to cyclocross, you’ll want to check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com. Equipment choices matter! Things to consider for cross racing includes the best bike parts and and tire choice for the types of races you’ll be doing. While bike setup and having the right cyclocross bicycle parts matters, one of the most important parts of all is tire selection and their pressure.
  • Get a bike fit.  As you know, bikes come in all sizes and shapes, and there are endless bike parts and cycling accessories that can be added or swapped to make bikes a better fit for you. When considering a bike that will actually fit you, most bike experts consider things like frame size, frame dimensions, saddle height, top tube and stem dimensions, knee and cleat position, handle bar size, crank length and body angle. Cyclocross is a little different than road or mountain bike riding. Cyclocross is a sport based in technique, and while much of technique is based around handling and body position, both of those factors are determined by the fit of a bicycle. Do yourself a favor and get a bike fit.  
  • Attend a clinic.  If your new to the sport, a formal clinic can be a great way to get acclimated to the sport while making some racing friends. Attending a clinic can help improve your technical skills and help you to confidently navigate your first cross race. 
  • Make a cyclocross gear bag. Although cross races are short, because of the time of year and the variability of the weather during the races, racers need to be ready to deal with wind, rain, snow, hail, ice, mud, fog, etc.  The gear preparation and the cycling apparel adds up.  Granted, it will take time to nail down the packing system that works best for you; however, we have compiled a checklist for you in our post, Race Prep: What to Bring to a Cyclocross race.

Now that you have the tips to preparing for your first cyclocross race, put your skills to use! Get your cowbell ready and plan your cross racing season.  See you at the races!


Labor Day – 20 Labor of Love Bike Rides 

August 31, 2017

Happy Labor Day from Peak Cycles / BikeParts.com

Ah, Labor Day! Time off from work. Time to kick back, enjoy time with friends and family.  Time to really have fun on the bike!  Earlier in the season, the focus is on improving fitness or achieving goals.  Now is the time to enjoy the gains of all your hard work. 

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? Following are our top 20 Front Range bike rides to celebrate Labor Day on your bike. 

  1. Historic Lariat Loop
  2. Deer Creek Canyon
  3. Bergen Park or Idaho Springs to Guanella Pass
  4. Red Rocks Park Loop
  5. Bergen Park or Idaho Springs to St. Mary’s Glacier (Alice)
  6. Idaho Springs to Loveland Pass
  7. Golden to Cold Springs Campground via Golden Gate Canyon
  8. Bergen Park to Echo Lake
  9. Idaho Springs to Juniper Pass
  10. Manitou Springs to Pike Peak Summit Parking Lot (Pikes Peak Hill Climb)
  11. Morgul-Bismark Route
  12. Jamestown Canyon Ride
  13. Flagstaff Hill Climb
  14. NCAR Hill Climb
  15. Lookout Mountain Hill Climb
  16. Sunshine Hill Climb
  17. Magnolia Hill Climb
  18. Mt. Evans Hill Climb
  19. Pikes Peak
  20. Trail Ridge Road

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!