Sloppy Weather – Easy Tips to Show Your Bike Some TLC  

March 7, 2019

Peak Cycles / BikeParts.com Training Ride up Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado

It’s that time of the year when road rides alternate between dry pavement and sloppy slush.  And, with the warmer temperatures gracing the Front Range, riding MTB trails is a treat but there is the complication of dealing with mud, slush and a mixture of dry trail. What does this mean to cyclists? it means your bike needs some TLC. Bike maintenance isn’t always fun to do, but obviously, it is a necessity. 

While there are countless recommendations on keeping your road bike or mountain bike in good, working order, these are our top 3 picks for bike maintenance during this transitional season. 

  1. Pay Attention to Your Chain. If you’ve been training regularly then no doubt your chain is showing some wear and tear. Take time to actually clean your chain. For an easy clean, scrub your drivetrain parts with a brush and eco-friendly degreaser and re-lubricate the chain when you are done. For something more thorough, you could buy a chain cleaner like Park Tool’s Cyclone Chain Scrubber, fill it with a non-aerosol degreaser like Pedros Oranj Peelzturn your crank 15-20 revolutions and let your scrubber do the job for you. As for the best chain lube, check out our post, Dry Pavement, Sloppy Slush, and A Muddy Trail: Which Chain Lube Works Best? for options.
  2. Check your Wheels and Tires. Both your wheels and tires are essential for bike safety.  Accompanying the snow and wet riding conditions are salt, debris, and miscellaneous items found in the cycling lanes and roads. Have you checked your tires lately? They may actually need replacing. Begin by cleaning the wheels with rubbing alcohol and dry with a cloth. Check the rims for damage and examine for loose spokes. Your wheel should run smoothly without any side-to-side wobble. Next, replace your tires. If you aren’t up for doing this yourself, let us help you. For the month of March, receive 20% off any tire with the purchase of installation in the shop! 
  3. Inspect Your Brakes. When you are shredding down a long, winding road or a steep trail grade, what’s going to stop you? Your brakes! Bike brakes use brake pads to stop your wheels from turning. Brake pads wear down over time and especially so under wet and grimy conditions. Be mindful to examine your brake pads for any uneven or extensive wear. If you do find uneven abrasions, you probably need to get your brakes adjusted and/or replaced.

As you ride more through the early season, some worn bike parts that weren’t visible upon your first bike inspection may become apparent as the season progresses.  Regular maintenance is essential. Preseason bike maintenance and training paves the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable cycling season.  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to pick up the cycling accessories you need to maintain your bike or let us help you!

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Gear Review: Camelbak Chase Vest

March 1, 2019

chase1Tested- Dirty Kanza, Monarch Crest Trail, Cycle to Saturn, + a solo bikepacking trip and most rides in between!

Price: $100

Pros:

  • Stays in place
  • Comfortable throughout the ride
  • Price
  • Small part storage

Cons:

  • Reservoir
  • Large item storage
  • Jostles against armpits when empty

 

Overall- 4.5/5

Just over a year ago, in January of 2018, Camelbak announced their new Chase bike vest– dubbed as a minimalist hydration pack perfect for everything from enduro riding, to full days on the saddle. Over the course of a year, I had the opportunity to test this pack in nearly every condition, mixed with several styles of extreme riding.chase2

 

Three days before driving out to Kansas, I purchased this vest. On the morning of June 2, I committed a crime I swore I wouldn’t commit again- use a vital piece of gear for the first time during a mentally exhausting endurance event. Leading up to the Dirty Kanza, I had been using a Deuter Race EXP- the same pack that I used in the 2017 Colorado Trail Race. Although this pack is phenomenal as a loaded up work horse, I simply just didn’t need the 3 liters of water or extra carrying capacity that makes the Deuter excel as a backcountry cycling backpack. After seeing a few people I trust swear behind the new Chase vest, I decided to give it a go. 10 months later, odds are that if I’m leaving for a ride, the vest comes with me.

 

It stays in place, and stays comfortable

Runners have known this for decades- the design of this bag doesn’t move when you do. While this makes a difference in long road rides and gravel races, nothing puts a bag through a better “shake test” than a proper mountain bike ride. My biggest qualm with most backpacks, is that they tend to jump around and smack your neck when riding over rough, loose terrain. This bag, is different. Much different. When weighted down not only does it stay in place, it gets forgotten about all together. Bonus: You still have access to all rear pockets!chase3

 

Price and pockets

 

Coming in with an MSRP of $100, this is on the lower end of the Camelbak price sheet. With basic packs starting at $50 and going past $200, the features and storage available on this pack make it a worthy investment. Although it holds a relatively small 1.5L(50oz) of water, it seems to have plenty of spaces to stash away everything from well over a day’s worth of calories, to an emergency rain jacket. Two chest pockets give the ability to stow snacks, and even a Camelbak Stow Flask, should you want an extra 17 oz of water easily and quickly accessible. I find it to be the perfect size for a large pickle, seen here.

Poorly designed reservoir

This bag is so close to perfection, with one large but fixable problem. In my opinion, the reservoir is worthless. It fails at two points- the fixation to the inside of the bag, and the refill closure. Using a hook and loop system, the bag is supported near the top. While functional when affixed properly, getting it in and out can be a slippery slope to hurt finger tips (and the questioning of your ability to succeed at seemingly simple tasks). There’s no reason why the loop can’t be any bigger, and seems to cause more trouble than it needs to.chase4

 

The second issue, is the closure of the reservoir. No matter how careful I am, it rarely seems to thread on correctly the first (or second or third) time. I felt slightly better after realizing I wasn’t the only person having issues, following several customers returning to the store wondering why the closure was so difficult to thread back on.

Storing larger items

 Since the Camelbak Chase Vest isn’t necessarily designed around the ability to store larger items, it seems unfair to knock it for that reason. That being said, the stretchy stow-away stuff pocket that encompasses the back seems to provide few benefits. At first, this seems like the only place to store things such as a rain jacket, or extra layer. In reality, the stretch is nominal, and the position of it makes storing any larger, bulkier item a bit of a nuisance, throwing off the way the bag naturally sits on your back (due to the compression of the reservoir, and in turn, pressure on your back).

Jostling around when empty

 My last critique is the movement of the bag when the bladder is completely empty. Without micro-adjusting the straps to an almost painful amount of cinch, the bag tends to jump up and down and rub the inside of the armpits- due to the harness system not having a waist belt. That being said, the point of this pack is to carry water, so this problem should rarely happen (and when it does, congrats! You should be nearly done with your ride)!chase5

Overall

 The only valid shortcoming to this pack is the reservoir- all other negatives can be overlooked, as they’re nitpicky problems that can be easily solved. While slightly annoying, this can be fixed relatively easily buy purchasing a different bladder. When the cost is considered and weighed against how stable of a pack this is, it jumps to #1 on the list of hydration packs that I’ve used over the years. Go grab on, and get out for a ride!


Lacking Cycling Inspiration and Motivation? Try This! 

February 28, 2019

In between the New Year and the spring cycling season, there seems to be something like a Bermuda triangle affect taking place in terms of motivation, training, and sticking with goals.  They all seem to disappear. Even the best of intentions seem to dissolve into thin air.  

Granted, the weather doesn’t help. Cold days followed by warmer days and then again, snow or wet days.  Training outdoors proves to be inconsistent. Training indoors consistently, can be maddening. Add the frustrations up and it’s easy to see why those New Year goals may have fallen by the wayside.  

Yet, on the bright side, spring is right around the corner. And while there are some wet and sometimes snowy days ahead of us, now is the time to dig a deep and set those training goals in motion.  So when you are experiencing a lack of motivation to train, try some of these tips to get you going. 

One of the reasons training year round is to maintain a base level of fitness.  Also, training year round helps to reduce injuries.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit. The benefits of a professional bike fit will not only help improve your riding position, but it will also help motivate you to ride your bike and perfect the mechanics of your pedal position and body posture.  The results of a professional bike fit will leave you feeling more confident in your bike parts, bike set up, and inspire you to reach your potential – which translates into riding more.  And that is the objective! To ride more regularly and frequently during the pre-season. 

Another option is to trade saddle time for gym time to gain core strength.  The primary focus when it comes to strength exercises for cyclists is to train in a similar motion to cycling with the lower and upper body while increasing overall core strength and muscular endurance. Check out The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists or 7 Hip and Core Exercises for Endurance Athletes to get you started and also – to keep you motivated through the winter months.  

If those two options don’t get your motor running, then sit down and revisit your 2019 cycling goals.  What is it that you wanted to accomplish in 2019? Get back on track.  Check out our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling.  The post dives into the benefits of training with power meters.  Maybe to spark some motivation you need to invest in new cycling accessories like a power meter or heart rate monitor.  

Quite frankly, we’ve found one of the best motivators for riding is purchasing a new bike! Whether you choose a road bike, mountain bike, hybrid/ commuter bike, or even a fat bike, getting a new bike turbo charges motivation and inspires a sense of adventure. There is just nothing quite like the feeling of purchasing and riding a new bike! 

When all else fails, remember something is better than nothing. Meaning, some training is better than no training at all.  Give yourself a break for those days missed and shift your focus towards being consistent in your training.  Spring will be here sooner than you think!  


Celebrate Fat Biking at the Staunton Fattie Frenzy: A Fat Bike Celebration

February 21, 2019

Fat bikes are awesome! Riding a fat bike gets you outside during the winter months, improves your cycling endurance, and well, puts a huge smile on your face! There’s no question that riding a fat bike ups your giggle factor! And that is why all of us a Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop are delighted to be part of the Staunton Fattie Frenzy! It’s this Sunday, February 24th at Staunton State Park.  

The Staunton Fattie Frenzy is a celebration of front range fat biking featuring a fast-paced and spectator-friendly circuit race. Racers can go solo or in teams of 2 or 4 on the 1.5-mile loop so gather your friends, plan your costumes (optional), and get ready for some fat fun. The race is 90 minutes plus one lap.  While fun is the name of the game, we are also offering prizes.  Our primary motivation for the Staunton Fattie Frenzy is twofold: 

1. We love fat biking and we want others to love it too! Because we know great trail conditions can make a good day into an awesome day, Big Ring Cycles and Peak Cycles have partnered with 285 Nordic and Staunton State Park to raise money for grooming equipment at Staunton. Join us in building a great location for fat bike riders for years to come, right here in the front range.

2. We believe in supporting and encouraging young cyclists in this great sport so we will also be raising funds for the High School Cycling League. In 2018, the High School League had 1383 riders building strong minds, bodies, and character one pedal stroke at a time. Join us in supporting the future of cycling!

Make plans for some fun! Register today to join in the fun this Sunday. Your registration fee includes: 

• Park entry fee

• Race timing and awards

• Cold brew coffee by High Brew

• Contests and general silliness

• Delicious lunch

• Beer and beverages

• Donation to 285 Nordic for trail grooming at Staunton State Park and to the High School Cycling League.

If we have snow, the trails will be groomed for fat bike use.  This is a fat bike race only. A minimum 3.8″ tire size is required for all racers. 

Visit us in Golden, Colorado for your bike parts and cycling accessories prior to the event.  Be sure to register for the Staunton Fattie Frenzy: A Fatbike Celebration.  See you this Sunday, February 24th at Staunton State Park at 8:30 AM! 


10 Ways to Show Your Bike You Love it This Valentine’s Day 

February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re big fans of Valentine’s day and not for all the traditional reasons.  

Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate what you love.  And we love bikes! Road bikes, mountain bikes, cyclocross bikes, bike tools, cycling accessories and all different kinds of bike parts! We pretty much love them all!

Our passion for cycling is boundless! And while most people share their love for their devoted others with roses, chocolates and other goodies, we’re encouraging you to share your love and appreciation for all your bike does for you. Show some love to your bike this Valentine’s Day in these loving ways. 

  1. Get your bike a mate. As in, get a new bike! We have a huge selection of road bikes and mountain bikes. Take your pick! 
  2. Upgrade or replace older bike parts.  Some good items to have on hand include chainscassetteschainringsbrake pads, and cleats.
  3. Get your bike a new wheelset.
  4. Make your ride more comfortable and schedule a bike fit.
  5. Show your bike some TLC. Take advantage of our February tune-up special of $50.  Or, perform some bike maintenance yourself with our bike tools.
  6. Make your bike shine! Light it up! Purchase a new light system.
  7. Upgrade your training. Invest in a new heart rate monitor and power meter to take your fitness to a new level.  
  8. Swap out your saddle bag for a new one. While you’re at it, make sure you have the tire levers, tires, and air you need in case you get a flat.
  9. Consider donating unused or older bike parts to someone or an organization in need.  
  10. Pledge to support bike programs like People for Bikes or Bike Denver.  

Stop in and see us in Golden, Colorado or visit us online at BikeParts.com to get Valentine’s Day ideas for you and your bike.  We offer a huge selection of road bike parts, mountain bike parts, BMX bike parts and more. If you need it for your bike, then we have it! Be generous with your love this Valentine’s day! Let your bike know you love it! Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us a Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop!


The Hidden Benefits of Riding A Fat Bike

February 7, 2019

If you’re a winter cyclist, you know how challenging riding indoors can be. Instead of facing another indoor ride, you muster up your deep love for cycling to overcome your excuses and head out to ride in the cold, windy, and snowy winter weather. And while it’s not always easy to ride outside in winter, you enjoy the chill on your face, the wind whipping through your helmet holes, and the satisfaction of completing your training ride.  

Yet, winter cycling doesn’t have to be a tough experience. No doubt, having the right cycling apparel can make an otherwise grueling outdoor ride into a much more enjoyable experience – especially when you have a fat bike! 

While we’ve written about the joys of riding a fat bike, you may not know the hidden benefits of riding a fat bike.  

Although obvious, riding a fat bike actually gets you outside!  Wave goodbye to the trainer and the perils of riding indoors during the winter months and say hello to a fresh, new training experience that reconnects you with your passion for riding.  Riding a fat bike is fun!  And, while you are giggling and exploring the trails on your fat bike, your overall cycling endurance and stamina is improving.  

The simple fact that riding regularly and consistently is building your overall cycling endurance and agility too! One of the first things you’ll notice when riding a fat bike is how much you use your body english (the way you control your shoulders, hips, and legs) to move the bike where you want it to go.  Depending on snow and trail conditions, you may find yourself playing with the way you distribute your weight and experimenting with different body positions.  You will also be working on your balance and core strength. 

A bonus of riding in soft conditions is that it requires more power, more strength, and more torque, to ride the same terrain.  This requires a higher expenditure of energy in a short period of time making a great whole body workout. All in all, this translates to improved fitness, strength, and renewed training motivation which sets you up nicely for the spring cycling season

If you haven’t ridden a fat bike and you want to, now is the time to do it! Demo a fat bike at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado.  Make sure to check out our fat bike selection of cycling apparelbike parts, and cycling accessories too. Welcome to the fat bike club! 


Weather Inspired: Why Try a Fat Bike

January 31, 2019

Snow! Cold weather! More snow! Wind! Ugh! The last few weeks the weather has played havoc on the cyclists along Colorado’s Front Range.  Sure, we have had a few good days here and there to get some decent road rides in but for the most part, it has been a juggling act with the weather to maintain any commitment to getting in extra miles.  

Yet, there are a few cyclists that are thoroughly enjoying this time of year and our weather.  Who might they be? Those that ride fat bikes! According to singletracks.com*On average, fat bike owners ride 76 times per year, that is double the amount that they expect to ride before they purchase a fat bike! Why not double your fun? Increase your rides and actually enjoy riding in the winter and the snow!  Now is a perfect time to check out a fat bike for yourself.  Here’s what you can expect.

Surprisingly, one of the most noticeable things about riding a fat bike is that they are easy to ride. Comfortable, in fact!  The large tires provide more balance and control, which gives a beginner rider the confidence to seek more adventure.  Also, because the large tires absorb a lot of the vibration from riding, there is less stress on your hands and lower back.  And as deceiving as it might be, the larger tires do not equate to difficulty managing the bike. Maneuverability is just as easy as on a regular mountain bike

Fortunately, fat bikes are versatile.  Right now, they are great for riding in snow.  Having a fat bike may actually motivate you to ride more in the winter conditions.  However, they aren’t just for snow riding.  Fat bikes can be ridden year round and in varying conditions. They do really well on dirt and many even race fat bikes for 100-mile mountain bike events.  That may sound crazy but not so if you’ve ridden a fat bike.  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 new freedom to ride off-road.  

Get in on the fat bike action! Demo a fat bike at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado and get ready for our upcoming Staunton Fattie Frenzy event.  It’s a Fat Bike Celebration!  Enjoy these extra posts on fat bikes, fattie bike parts, and fat bike cycling accessories.