6 Ways Cyclist Are Celebrating the 4th of July on Their Bike 

June 29, 2017

Happy 4th of July from BikeParts.com

While most Americans celebrate the 4th by grilling, outfitting themselves in the American flag, and watch fireworks, cyclists around the country seem to agree with the notion that July 4th should be celebrated on a bike.

Family barbecues, warm weather, and a feeling of freedom convert flawlessly into an invigorating, fun cycle. What are the most common ways cyclist are celebrating the 4th with their two wheeled friends? Following are the top ideas we’ve heard at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop: 

  • Race – Celebrate the 4th of July by racing!  Whether it is racing on a road bike or a mountain bike, you’ll want to check out the races that are going on this holiday weekend on 303 Cycling’s Race Calendar.
  • R&R – If you are up for some “active” rest and relaxation, then sit back and watch the Tour de France! Beginning July 1 – 23rd, the daily stage races offer your daily fix of cycling drama! No doubt, watching the tour will get your adrenaline will be pumping!
  • Drink – and it’s not what you think!  While you might think of the 4th of July as an opportunity to consume adult beverages, we’re actually talking about water and other nutritional products. It’s hot out there folks -hydration and proper fueling for riding is important! Many cyclist have different preferences as to how they prefer to get their fuel while riding – whether that is in nutrition bars, gels, and liquids.  Some of our favorite nutritional products for summer are: Oslo nutrition ,  Scratch Labs, and Honey Stinger products. Stock up now and be ready to roll for the entire month of July. 
  • Bike commute – Maybe hanging out with friends and your family is your thing for the 4th of July.  That doesn’t mean you have to forgo your bike ride.  Bike commute to the farmer’s market, to see fireworks, to see a music festival, or a local restaurant.  A casual stroll on the bike is enjoyable for everyone. Plus, you get to see the local sites without the heavy breathing and fatigued legs you may experience when doing a full blown ride. 
  • Bike maintenance – With a little extra time off from work, many cyclist enjoy performing much needed bike maintenance over the holiday weekend.  Replacing worn bike parts and cycling accessories without the stress of added work and family pressures makes bike maintenance a pleasure and not a chore.  If the kids are around, engage them in the process and teach them a thing or two about bicycles.  Who knows? You might inspire them to ride too! 
  • Last but not least, if you are looking for additional ideas on celebrating the 4th with your two wheeled friend, check out our post, Red, White, and Blue: 5 Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July on Your Bike

As a reminder this 4th of July, 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!  Visit us in in Golden, Colorado to pick up your 4th of July cycling accessories or visit us online at BikeParts.com.  

Happy 4th of July friends! 


Effective Training Techniques for Cycling in the Heat

June 22, 2017

Peak Cycles/ BikeParts.com Team Rider cooling off after a ride

Heat is the ultimate enemy for a cyclist, because after a point, the hotter you get, the slower you’ll go.  Unfortunately, to generate pedal power means your body exerts itself and generates heat. With the temperatures climbing, is there a way to beat the heat and still make gains with effective training? You bet! Read on for our strategies to beat the heat.

Exposure: According to the post, 4 Keys to Effective Training in Hot Weather, states that exposing yourself to warmer temperatures on a consistent basis is key to acclimating to hot temperatures.  Also, “Acclimating typically takes two weeks of consistent heat riding. While you don’t need to ride every day in high temperatures, when you’re trying to acclimate, don’t go more than two or three days between hot training sessions.”

Hydration: This is obvious, but an often overlooked component. Hydrate. Water is 60% of your body weight and the number one concern on any athlete’s intake list. For both performance and health, the importance of your water intake exceeds that of your vitamin, calorie, and electrolyte consumption. For your road racing needs, be sure to carry the water bottles and containers that you need on your bike but have extras available for bottles that are tossed and extras for immediate refueling post race. If you’re a mountain bike rider, you know tricky descents can bump a bottle right out of its cage.  This time of year, it’s best to wear a full camelback as well as have extra bottles on hand.

Recover: After a long day in the saddle and the heat. Cool off. Get your legs up. Stay in the shade or AC. It is important to get your core body temperature down so you can recover. We all know that recovery is a critical element of preparing for the next bout of exercise.  One of our favorite recovery products at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop is PhysioPhyx.  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 ands peed 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. 

With that said, training in the heat doesn’t have to be so bad.  Wear cooling cycling apparel.  Ride a bike with proper functioning bike parts to avoid over excretion. Stay hydrated and recover. Ride on friends! 


Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Cycling Dads 

June 15, 2017

Father’s Day cycling gifts at BikeParts.com

Are you a last minute Father’s Day shopper looking to give your Dad a different kind of Father’s Day gift this year?   If  you’re stuck wondering what to get your cycling Dad for Father’s day, then look no further!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have all the  cycling apparel and cycling accessories, your Dad wants. 

A no brainer for Father’s day are bike parts! Think new drivetrain parts, brakes, saddle, and wheel set.  We have it all!  Top that off with some extra water bottles, nutrition items like gels and waffles and your Dad is all set.  Granted, you might not know the precise bike parts your Dad wants, so opt for a gift certificate. He can pick out his favorite items and you get the credit for being a great kid! 

Next up – gift a Bike fit.  Does your Dad complain of hands falling asleep while riding? Or shoulder or neck pain after a long ride? A bike fit isn’t just for professional riders – they are for anyone who rides whether they are a beginner or advanced rider. A bike fit helps ensure riding comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how an athlete rides. Consider giving your Dad with a bike fit for Father’s Day. This will your Dad ride pain free all year long.  Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

Finally, gift your Dad with some super powers!  Well, not exactly super powers but you can gift your Dad the gift of power – power meter that is! 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.  

See how easy it is to get your cycling Dad a great gift for Father’s Day? If by chance you are still in need of ideas for creative Father’s Day gifts, stop by the shop in Golden, Colorado or give us a call at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop (303) 216-1616 and we’ll gladly help you out!  Happy Father’s Day!


Answering the unanswerable: What wheel size should I buy? (And what’s the difference, anyway?)

June 11, 2017
Wheel Size Post-4

Former Specialized Racing rider Todd Wells competes in the short track race at USA Cycling Cross-Country Mountain Bike National Championships in Bear Creek, Pennsylvania, in July 2013. Wells rode an S-Works Epic 29 full-suspension in the cross-country race and an S-Works Stumpjumper 29 hardtail in short track. 

Recent events in the 2017 UCI Downhill World Cup series have once again thrust the never-ending debate over mountain bike wheel sizes into the spotlight: Greg Minnar won the Fort William Downhill World Cup on a 29er.

It’s up to downhill purists and park rats in chairlift lines to decide what it all means for downhill racing, but one thing is certain – the limitations of big wheels might not be where the industry thinks they are. And if 29ers can race World Cup downhill, what can’t they do? Well, for one, 29ers probably won’t make an appearance at Red Bull Rampage anytime soon, nor will they feature in slopestyle or dirtjumping. But then again, people said the same about 29ers and downhill racing until just a few weeks ago, when images of prototype 29er race bikes appeared on top downhill riders’ Instagram feeds.

So, now that there are three wheels sizes – 26er, 27.5 and 29er – to choose from, what makes sense for you?

There is no “best wheel size” or “right wheel size,” but, like the genre of mountain bike you ride, there is a wheel size that’s best for you and for what you do.

Wheel Size Post-2

This 2013 Giant Reign 1 is an example of one of the company’s last 26-inch bikes before switching almost exclusively to 27.5. The Reign remained 26-inch though 2014, but went 27.5 the following year. 

For starters, let’s review some technical details. The wheels and tires referred to as 26, 27.5 and 29 inches do not actually measure those dimensions. Although the outer diameters of the tires, when mounted and inflated, are roughly those sizes, the rims and tire beads are smaller. According to the website of the late, great cycling expert Sheldon Brown, which still serves as a definitive source for mechanics today, ISO measurement, the technical standard for categorizing rims, is the diameter of a rim from bead seat to bead seat. In other words, ISO is the rim diameter in millimeters from where the tire bead rests within the rim. Due to varying rim wall heights, the overall outer diameter of a rim is generally 5-10 millimeters greater than ISO diameter.

Wheels referred to as 26 inch are ISO 559, meaning the rim is actually 22 inches across from bead seat to bead seat and, correspondingly, the tires are 22 inches across from bead to bead. Wheels called 27.5 inch, also called 650b, are ISO 584, or 22.99 inches. Wheels called 29 inch are ISO 622, or 24.48 inches.

But, of course, that’s the diameters of the rims and tires where the tire bead interfaces with the rim – the outer diameter of tires mounted and inflated on those rims is much closer to the common names of 26, 27.5 and 29 inches.

One of the few things more difficult than picking a wheel size in 2017 is trying to find a 26er bike on the floor of a bike shop. Just like punk, 26 isn’t dead, but it’s not what it was in the ’80s and ’90s. For the purpose of this piece, we’ll stick to the two sizes found on nearly all mountain bikes today: 27.5 and 29.

In the mid-2000s, 29-inch wheels began showing up on ungainly cross-country hardtails, and the size didn’t make too much of a splash until almost 2010, when hardtail 29ers began dominating U.S. cross-country races. Full-suspension 29ers soon became the norm, and in 2011, Jaroslav Kulhavy was the first rider to win the UCI Elite Men Cross-Country World Championships on a 29er, blasting to a commanding victory on an S-Works Epic 29.

Wheel Size Post-3

Lea Davidson of Specialized Racing rides a (likely final prototype) 2014 S-Works Epic 29 at USA Cycling Cross-Country Mountain Bike National Championships in Bear Creek, Pennsylvania, in July 2013

But as 29ers quickly grew to be the dominant wheel size on 4- and 5-inch travel mountain bikes, many riders contended that big wheels and big suspension didn’t mix – at least not yet. Companies satiated the demand for slightly  larger wheels on longer-travel bikes by fully supporting what used to be an oddball wheel size: 27.5 inch.

At 22.99 inches in ISO diameter, 27.5-inch rims are just 0.99 inches larger in ISO diameter than 26-inch rims and a full 1.49 inches smaller than 29er rims. So, despite the name, 27.5-inch wheels are not halfway between 26- and 29-inch wheels; they’re closer to 26 and further from 29. They provide a slight traction and angle-of-attack advantage over 26ers while accelerating quicker and being more easily maneuvered than 29ers.

Wheel Size Post-5

The 2014 Giant Trance Advanced 1 is an example of a 5-inch-travel, 27.5-inch-wheeled trail bike, a common combination of suspension travel and wheel size. 

 

If you’re a rider who charges straight through rough terrain, preferring to ride over obstacles rather than around, then 29-inch wheels will better suit your riding style than their smaller counterpart. It comes down to angle of attack, or how easily a wheel can ride over an obstacle. Think of it this way, just like a bicycle rolls over a pebble better than a skateboard does – because the bicycle’s wheels are bigger – a bicycle with bigger wheels will roll over an obstacle better than a bicycle with smaller wheels.

The larger wheels also provide a longer contact patch of tread on the ground as the bike rolls forward, creating more traction. More traction is good, well, everywhere: climbing, cornering and descending.

Wheel Size Post-1

With 29-inch wheels and 4 inches of suspension travel front and rear, the S-Works Epic was the first 29er (and first full-suspension) to establish itself atop cross-country race podiums at the UCI World Cup level. Pictured here is the 2014 model.

But some riders would rather pick lines through technical sections and between obstacles, rather than over them. And some riders don’t like the marginally larger turning radius 29ers have, or that they can be a bit more to handle in the air. For riders who want supreme flickability and snappy acceleration over all else in a bike, 27.5-inch wheels provide all that while still giving a small rollover and traction advantage over 26ers.

Also, some riders’ belief is that big suspension and big wheels together are simply too much bike.

Aside from handling, another decision point between 29 and 27.5 is rider height. Just like kids bikes have progressively larger wheels for taller kids, starting with 12-inch wheels and progressing to 24 inch, adult bikes can now be tailored the same way. Many shorter adults find that 27.5-inch-wheel bikes fit them naturally, while 29ers feel too big. For many taller riders, 29ers are a godsend – finally they have a bike that fits!

Wheel Size Post-6

Sina Solouksaran races an extra-small Giant XTC carbon hardtail with 27.5-inch wheels in Golden, Colorado, in the fall of 2015. A shorter rider, Solouksaran sticks to 27.5-inch wheels. 

And these trends are common in what we see on the market today. Cross country bikes, like the  Specialized Epic hardtails and full-suspensions, come with 29-inch wheels. Enduro bikes with 6 inches of travel, such as the Specialized Enduro and Giant Reign, come with 27.5-inch wheels.

But brands get creative, too, often pushing the limits and providing options.

The five-inch travel Specialized Stumpjumper FSR is offered with both wheel sizes, as is the Enduro. Giant, arguably the brand most committed to 27.5, offers models with options of 27.5 or 29, such as the XTC hardtail and Anthem cross-county full-suspension.

There’s no right answer to the wheel size debate. Some riders have different wheel-size bikes for different applications, such as a 29er for cross-country and a 27.5 for trail. The only way to discover which wheel size is right for you, given the riding you intend to do, is to head to your local shop, tell the guys and girls there how you ride and what kind of bike you’re seeking, and take a few bikes out for a spin.

Peak Cycles bike shop has demo bikes with 29- and 27.5-inch wheels, both trail and cross-country. We also have dozens more on the sales floor.

Not even sure what kind of bike you want – full-suspension or hardtail, cross-county, trail or enduro? All of that is broken down in this post: What mountain bike should you buy?

 


The Do’s and Don’ts to Completing Your First Big Charity Ride

June 8, 2017

Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com Riding

If you are a casual bike rider and have opted to push your personal limits and go for a big event, have you found yourself perplexed about preparations?

Oftentimes, those making the jump from one level of fitness to another find themselves wondering about what to expect.  Most riders just want to make it to the end of the ride.

Yet, we are here to offer our tips to help you to not only finish your big charity ride – but also, enjoying every pedal stroke of it.  Enjoy our do’s and don’ts of mastering your charity ride.

Do prepare your bike in advance.  This is an obvious but overlooked first step. Give your road bike a once over.   Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced.  As an example, your saddle  may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving.  Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible.  Consider replacing worn bike parts and purchasing new cycling accessories you may need. 

Do know the course and aid stations.  Review the course.  Identify aid station sand watch the weather.  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.  Having this knowledge is helpful mentally and helps you gauge your energy during the ride.

Do pack extra cycling accessoriesIf the event offers drop bags, you may consider placing extra gloves, a rain jacket, lube, and maybe even a small towel in your drop bag.  Pack your nutritional and clothing needs to pair with the aid stations so that you ride with the items you need and can gather extra when needed.  These necessary items can make all the difference in avoiding discomfort in poor weather and /or poor riding conditions.

Don’t forget the basic essentials. Lay everything out the night before. Basic essentials include your every day cycling apparel: helmet, gloves, shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, sunglasses, water bottles, food, and sunscreen.

Don’t go out too fast.  Pace yourself. It’s tempting to go out too hard when you are feeling fresh and the enthusiasm is high.  You’re going to be in the saddle for a long day; so be mindful of your pace, as well as, your ongoing nutrition needs.  Eat and drink as needed and avoid consuming too much at the aid stations.

Don’t compare yourself with other riders. If this is your first big event, most likely, you won’t be in the front group.  Sometimes that can be discouraging; other times that can be comforting. Regardless, it is important to benchmark your success based on your own achievements.  Be inspired by fitter and faster riders and celebrate in your achievement of finishing your big event at your pace and in your way.

Most of all, enjoy the ride!  Take these do’s and don’ts and create your own guidelines to successfully master all of your big, epic rides!


Our First Hot Weekend of Racing! Managing the Heat and Optimizing Performance

June 1, 2017

Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com Team Racer

Bye bye snow and rainy days. Hello blue skies and warm temps!  Finally, we’re getting some rideable weather here along the Front Range in Colorado.  Great timing too!  This weekend, June 3-4th, marks the beginning of June racing and there are quite a few mountain bike and road bike events taking place: 

Not too long ago, we shared in our Peak Cycles blog post 5 race day strategies to prepare for the Spring races in Colorado highlighting the importance of setting goals, knowing the race route, establishing race day rituals and getting into the proper mental state for racing.  The post, 5 Steps to Being Race Ready, reinforces the need for mental and physical preparation, as well as nutrition and bike parts checks, but part of racing is using your energy effectively – especially during the summer heat.

Since it’s early season and most of us have been accustomed to the cooler temperatures, it’s important to take note and prepare accordingly for the warm weather this weekend.  Managing the heat while riding and racing is critical not only to comfort, but also performance.  Many cyclist, whether recreational or competitive, find dealing with the heat an issue.  Suffering from some degree of cramps at one time or another or heat related stomach issues, the heat brings on specific challenges to overcome in the summer months.  What, if anything, be done to help you train and race best in the heat?

When it is hot, especially when temps are in the 90-100F (36-40C) range, your body needs to work harder to keep your core temperatures in a safe range to allow the organs to function normally.  There are numerous heat–coping strategies to consider when planning a high-intensity workout or doing a race, like those mentioned above, in hot weather.

If you can, acclimate.  It takes about 10 to 14 days of frequent exposure to heat for your body to adapt. During this period of time workout daily in hot conditions at a lower-than-normal intensity. After a couple of weeks of near-daily exposure to hot conditions you will begin perform better in the heat than prior although performance will still likely be diminished from what you might have done in cooler conditions.

Focus on nutrition. You want to eat “quality” carbs leading up to, and including, a hard effort or race day.  That includes eating plenty of fruits, veggies, etc.  Watermelon is a great fruit (carb) to consume even during race day.  Also, remember to stay away from the simple carbs. i.e. sugars, sweets, prior to the race or training in hot conditions.

This is obvious, but an often overlooked component. Hydrate. Water is 60% of your body weight and the number one concern on any athlete’s intake list. For both performance and health, the importance of your water intake exceeds that of your vitamin, calorie, and electrolyte consumption. For your road racing needs, be sure to carry the water bottles and containers that you need on your bike but have extras available for bottles that are tossed and extras for immediate refueling post race. If you’re a mountain bike rider, you know tricky descents can bump a bottle right out of its cage.  This time of year, it’s best to wear a full camelback as well as have extra bottles on hand.

To train and compete at your best during this upcoming events, it is important to understand how your body copes with heat, and what you can do to keep cool.  Everyone adapts differently to heat stress.  

Need more tips?  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to chat with our racers, mechanics, and other cyclist to see what works for them. Maybe you’ll learn some new heat-coping strategies that will keep you cool when the racing and riding gets hot!


Best Front Range Trails for Riding this Memorial Day Weekend 

May 25, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend 2017 starts Thursday, May 25 and goes to Monday, May 29. Kick off the Colorado summer with a concertfestival, and of course bike rides! The question many ask is, where should I ride?  Provided your committed to the Golden, Colorado area, staff picks include: 

  • White Ranch Trail
  • Dakota Ridge and Red Rocks Trail
  • North Table Mountain
  • Green Mountain Park
  • South Table Mountain
  • Chimney Gulch Trail
  • Apex Park Trail
  • Golden Gate Canyon State Park
  • Lair O’ the Bear

Before you head on any of these rides, be sure to be prepared!  Be especially considerate if you are taking young ones with you out on the trails. or other riders that may not have been riding for a while.    

  • Know the profile – How much climbing and descending should you expect?
  • Know the route – Where  is the trailhead?  How long is the route?  What is the technical difficulty? What type of terrain will you be riding?  And, What are the current trail conditions?
  • Know the weather conditions before, during, and soon after you expect to ride.  Colorado weather changes quickly and sometimes, radically.  Be prepared.
  • Know what cycling apparel to wear.  Being over or under dressed makes for an uncomfortable ride.
  • Know which bike components are best for the terrain type and the right mountain bike tire to use.

While these may seem like common sense things to address,  you’ll want a checklist of essential items to carry with you.

Get ready for a fun weekend of riding! Stop by the Peak Cycling Bike Shop or visit us at bikeparts.com to get all of your cycling apparel, accessories, and bike parts.  And, as a little teaser to whet your appetite for Colorado’s finest, enjoy the cycling videos, pics, and trail reviews. 

Happy Memorial Day weekend!