27.5 Guy Switches to 29er

July 29, 2019

By Hunter Swanson. Peak Cycles. July 2019.

If you asked me a few weeks ago about choosing between wheel sizes, I would have said something like this. “If you are shorter or more into downhill choose the 650B, and if you’re taller and more about the up go 29er.” Honestly, I was pretty sold on this idea. I passed the same message along to many people. How many times had I actually ridden a 29’er though? Embarrassingly, only once. And from that one experience, I pretty much wrote off the 29er and assumed everything I’d heard about them was correct. The 29er wasn’t suited for my riding style and since I’m 5’8″ it wouldn’t work for my height either. That is, until a few weeks ago.

One day after work I decided to take out a 29er from the Peak Cycles demo fleet. One of the mechanics in the shop warned me, “you might end up buying one after this.” I laughed, unconvinced that this would change my mind. I grabbed a Stumpy Expert 29er and headed to Green Mountain outside of Golden. Right when I hopped on the saddle, I was reminded of the 29er’s ability to climb. It’s very capable at smoothing out rocks, bumps, and trail irregularities. Much more so than the 650B, in my opinion. Because it’s not getting caught up, it makes the climb more enjoyable and a bit easier overall. I experienced this the first time I rode one, but this isn’t news to anyone, so let’s cut to the chase.

When it came time to descend my mind was blown almost immediately. I was on a trail I’d ridden many times before. I knew how it normally felt punchy and rough on my 650b. But this time around I knew something felt different. It felt oddly smooth. Almost as if I was on a huge boat cutting through rough ocean chop. Like a freshly sharpened knife effortlessly slicing through a cut of meat. I was in a state of pure bliss as I rolled over the loose rocks and bumps with ease. Then came a few tight corners. I was able to take them with just as much speed as usual. I felt the added traction of the bigger wheel. It just wanted to stay planted. But wait? I thought this wasn’t supposed to corner well?

Unsure of whether or not this was due to the bike being different or just the wheel size, I went back to Green Mountain the next day. This time on the 650b version of the Specialized Stumpjumper Expert. After riding the exact same trail on the 650b version, I arrived at my conclusion. The 29er was, in fact, better at descending than the 650B. I continued to ride the 29er over the next few weeks. I took it to different trails all around Golden, ones that I had ridden many times. The most astonishing results I had were on Chimney Gulch. As my go to ride in town, I had recorded over 40 different rides on this trail. But when I descended on the 29er, I shaved 30 seconds off my fastest descent time. Now that is saying something.

After years of holding a false belief, my attitude towards 29ers changed instantly. It was obvious to me. Aside from going straight into “I want a new bike mode,” I learned something along the way too. Despite whatever a spec sheet, a friend, or your local bike shop employee is saying, the ultimate test is to ride as many bikes as you can. It’s easy to get caught up in the details and forget the fact that no two people, or wheel sizes for that matter, are alike. It’s easy for us to put people in boxes. Short people ride 650b’s and tall people ride 29ers. Downhill riders need the 27.5 and XC riders would be fools not to ride a 29er. Try out both wheel sizes and see which one feels right for you. That is the beauty of doing a demo before making a purchase.

Is one wheel size better than the other? Is there a right answer to that question? I don’t know. All I know is that I felt the advantages of the 29er both on the ascent and descent. Faster ups, faster downs, more traction. It can be as playful as the 650b, it just requires more effort and strength. I did notice the turning radius of the 29er to be wider than the 27.5. It doesn’t love super tight turns, but neither do I. All in all I’ve made the switch over to the…darkside? I’m all aboard the 29er train until the next best thing comes along. Maybe a 30.5. Time will tell.

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Get In On All Our Shop Deals With New Bikes, New Rides, and New Adventures

July 25, 2019

The summer riding season is in full swing here in Golden, Colorado! While there is still lots of riding to do, your bike may be feeling a tad worn down. Think of all the training miles, epic rides, races, and events you have done so far this season. Is it time to replace worn bike parts? Maybe upgrade your bike? Or even purchase a new road bike or mountain bike? Lucky for you, we have a ton of options to make the most of your summer riding. 

In fact, right now, Bikeparts.com, has some epic deals on new and used bikes! The sale includes bikes from Specialized, Liv Cycling, and Giant. Check now because they are going fast!

 



Speaking of new bikes, this new Specialized Turbo Creo SL is sure to turn some heads on the road and make your Strava PR’s envious. Stop by the shop to check it out and take it for a test ride.


 

If you’re happy with your bike but you are hearing some creaks or feel it may need some TLC, then schedule a bike service with us.  Head on down to Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in downtown Golden and have our mechanics take a look at it. A midsummer Standard to Tune will get your bike back in tip-top shape.


 

And don’t forget the kiddos! Did you know? We have a huge selection of kids cycling apparel, helmets, and bikes at PeakCycles? Family riding is fun and gets your kids in on the cycling action.


 

Hmmmm….Back to new bikes again. Are you thinking about upgrading your bike to an #sworks? Maybe thinking about switching from 27.5 to a #29er? We’ve got you covered on that too! Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to discover the difference for your self.


 

Last but not least – whether you purchase a new bike or ride your current mountain bike, join on on Wednesday evenings for our shop ride at 6PM.


 

Don’t miss out on a great summer of riding! Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and check out our deals, get info on questions you have, and up the fun factor for your rides! 


Tips for Safer Solo Backcountry Mountain Biking

July 18, 2019

Adventure – we love it!  That’s why we ride bikes, right? The feeling of freedom riding a bike gives us is intoxicating and liberating.  Seeking adventure on our bikes just ups the game!  

The thrill of riding uncharted territory and exploring new rides and routes is exhilarating.  But sometimes, riding into the unknown can also be stressful – especially if you are doing it solo.   Concerns about changing weather conditions, coupled with the fear of a possible crash or getting disoriented or lost, all contribute to less than the ideal ride.  There are some considerations to take on longer rides and recommended gear to carry, whether it’s just for a big one-day adventure or a much longer bikepacking expedition.

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’ve discovered that by taking just a few extra precautions, you can increase the likelihood of having a great riding experience, as well as,  coming home safe and in one piece to tell your friends and family all about it.  

Prepare your route and know the profile – How much climbing and descending should you expect?  Have you trained appropriately? Plan within your limits. 

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?  All these factors influence your experience and safety while riding in teh backcountry.  An additional consideration is water. Is water available? No doubt, you will definitely want to bring along hydration options. Think water bottles and hydration packs and consider filter options for epic days or routes.  

Know the weather conditions before, during, and soon after you expect to ride.  Colorado weather changes quickly and sometimes, radically.  Be prepared. Plan ahead. Think through what you will do when faced with challenging weather conditions. 

Be mindful of the cycling apparel to wear.  Being over or underdressed makes for an uncomfortable ride. You’ll want to have a rain jacket, maybe a wind vest, and several layering options available to you depending on the length and location of your ride.

Before you head out on your adventure, know which bike components are best for the terrain type and the right mountain bike tire to use.  

In addition to preparing for your ride, you will want a checklist of essential items to carry with you.  By no means is this a complete list but it’s a good starting place for essentials: 

Plan for problems.  Not every ride goes as planned. Think ahead and work through any potential problems you may encounter and prepare in advance accordingly. If you need additional clothes, plan to pack them. If you need spare bike parts, or extra lube, or other cycling accessories, add them to your list to purchase and have available for your adventure. 

Finally, ride conservatively, especially when riding solo. Ride within your limits.  New ride routes and trails have a way of invoking cycling superpowers!  That is, they inspire us to ride fast and get after it! That is all fine and dandy but when riding solo in remote or uncharted territory, it may be a good idea to pull back just a bit. Keep some reserves in your energy stores in case you do get lost or the ride takes you further from your final, planned destination.  Be mindful of changing weather conditions that may tax your energy reserves and be proactive in eating timely and adding/ removing cycling apparel to make sure you keep your energy steady.  Nothing adds more stress to a ride than getting lost and/or being too cold and not knowing if you can even get to your final destination. 

Riding solo in the backcountry can be a fun adventure. Yet remember, it’s safer to ride with a buddy and safer still to ride the backcountry with a group. If you’re going out solo, take extra time to prepare and be conservative. Safe riding! 


Improve Your Cycling Performance with Proper Hydration 

July 11, 2019

Summer weather means more time to ride bikes, but the increased temperatures can bring on the challenge of remaining hydrated.  Any cyclist that has suffered from a muscle cramp or a post-ride exploding headache can appreciate the need to properly hydrate. A proper hydration strategy can have a big impact on your cycling performance, as well, as your recovery. 

One aspect of a hydration strategy that is commonly overlooked is how much fluid you drink before and after your workouts.  Because many cyclists are busy at work, or home, or enjoying other summer activities, it’s easy to fall behind on water intake. To help eliminate that problem is an app iDrated.  iDrated is a hydration monitor, water log, drink alarm designed to keep users hydrated.  The app is easy and simple to use. Thanks to a built-in tutorial, users don’t have to waste their time trying to figure out how to use it. What’s most helpful is that the app informs users how much more they need to drink along with an actual time estimate for when they should drink more water. As a bonus, iDrated keeps track of the current week’s hydration levels, and users earn medals for staying hydrated.  This is a great tool to help you stay properly hydrated in between rides. 

The other aspect of a hydration strategy is your water and fluid intake prior to, during, and post-training on the bike.  Some suggest consuming at least 300 to 500 ml of fluid, water 1 to 2 hours before your cycling workout to get a head start.   This is particularly important on hotter days. Yet, there are many contributing factors that determine your hydration needs.  From our perspective at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can’t dial in your specific needs but we do know that water is 60% of your body weight and the number one concern on any athlete’s intake list for both performance and health.  With that in mind, we focus on offering a variety of ways to get your hydration needs to be met while riding.  

The first and most obvious way cyclist carry their water is with bottles. They are plentiful, easy to clean, and at BikeParts.com we have a huge variety including insulated water bottles that are great for keeping liquids cool in the hot temperatures. In addition, we have Camelbak eddy+ Water Bottles, Camelbak Kids Insulated Eddy Bottle, and Camelbak Podium bottles.  A good rule of thumb is to have a variety of bottles on hand for different types of rides. This is especially true when bottles get lost by bouncing out of their cages. 

Speaking of that, most mountain bike riders are all too familiar with the bottles bouncing out on tricky descents.  As a result,  having a bottle and wearing a hydration pack can be helpful. Again, there are many variables to selecting the best pack for the ride. Do you need a 50 oz? 70 oz? Or 100 oz bladder? Is the option to carry extra clothing, like a rain jacket needed?  Fortunately, we have a large assortment of sizes and manufacturers to choose from including CamelBakAurora, and Deuter Packs.  We even wrote our own review on the Camelbak Chase Vest. 

To train and compete at your best during this summer, it is important to understand how your body copes with heat, and what you can do to stay hydrated.  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 cyclists to see what works for them. Maybe you’ll learn some new hydrating strategies and you can check out our huge selection of hydration options and bike parts too! 


Our Favorite 4th of July Bike Rides along the Front Range in Colorado  

July 4, 2019

Fireworks, food, and patriotic music are part of July 4 festivities throughout the United States, but beyond that, celebration traditions vary. Cyclists especially have their own way of celebrating the 4th and generally, that is with a great bike ride.  Extra time away from work, combined with good weather and improved fitness makes for an epic day in the saddle. The question is, where to ride?  Check out our pick of ride worthy routes for both road and mountain bike riding along the Front Range. 

Mountain bike rides:

  • 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 
  • Buffalo Creek 
  • Centennial Cone 
  • Hall Ranch  

Road rides: 

  • Historic Lariat Loop 
  • Deer Creek Canyon 
  • Bergen Park or Idaho Springs to Guanella Pass 
  • Red Rocks Park Loop 
  • Bergen Park or Idaho Springs to St. Mary’s Glacier (Alice) 
  • Idaho Springs to Loveland Pass 
  • Golden to Cold Springs Campground via Golden Gate Canyon 
  • Bergen Park to Echo Lake 
  • Idaho Springs to Juniper Pass 
  • Manitou Springs to Pike Peak Summit Parking Lot (Pikes Peak Hill Climb) 
  • Morgul-Bismark Route 
  • Jamestown Canyon Ride 
  • Flagstaff Hill Climb 
  • NCAR Hill Climb 
  • Lookout Mountain Hill Climb 
  • Sunshine Hill Climb 
  • Magnolia Hill Climb 
  • Mt. Evans Hill Climb 
  • Pikes Peak 
  • Trail Ridge Road 

A few reminders before you head out on a day of cycling.   

  • 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 underdressed makes for an uncomfortable ride.  
  • Know which bike components are best for the terrain type and the right mountain bike tire to use. 

In addition to preparing for your ride, you will want a checklist of essential items to carry with you.  

Post-ride, recover with a jump in a lake or pool.  Indulge in grilling, spending time with family and friends and eating 4th of July treats guilt-free.  Show your patriotic spirit by enjoying festivals, parades, and fireworks.  Whatever you do, enjoy! Happy 4th of July!  


Best Fourth of July Deals for Cyclists

June 27, 2019

If you are a cyclist, you don’t just own a bike. At a minimum, you have a helmetbike pump, and water bottle; you probably also own bike shoesbike gloves, various sets of tiresbike toolsbike lights…the list goes on!

The fact is that keeping yourself and your bike in tip-top riding condition throughout the year requires the use of various bike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel. And that can get expensive. But this 4th of July, it doesn’t have to! There are ways to save and declare independence from costly bike spending. Celebrate the holiday with our bike sales and closeouts!

That’s 6 easy ways to save money right now. 

As a bonus, if you’ve wanted to try something new, now is the time to do it.  Buy it at a discount and experiment with your bike set up.  With so many bike parts – the question is what to purchase?  Consider getting a high-quality wheelset.  A good wheelset impacts ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.   Another option is to reconsider the current crankset and pedals setup.  Again, you’ll need to stop by or call the shop for details but you never know what is available unless you ask! 

Here’s the catch: to take advantage of all the savings, you actually need to make a purchase. Visit us online at BikeParts.com or stop in Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to get the best 4th of July deals! 


6 Tips to Get Ready for Colorado’s Bike to Work Day

June 20, 2019

June is Bike to Work Month here in Colorado and the big day, Bike to Work Day is next Wednesday – June 26th. While many are regular bike commuters, some are using the day to either “try out” bike commuting or using the day as a commitment to keep a regular practice of it. Either way, the following are our tips to make the most of Colorado’s Bike to Work Day.

Tip #1 – Bike safety comes first. That means, riding a safe and well-maintained bike. Whether that is a road bike, mountain bike, or another type of bike, make sure your brakes are in working order, your helmet fits, your tires are properly inflated, and your bike chain has bike lubrication on it. For a bonus tip on prepping your bike, check out our post, Spring Cleaning! 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road for additional suggestions on easy to do bike maintenance.

Tip #2 – Personal safety matters too. There’s some basic protective gear you want to wear and a few necessities to have with you. The basic essentials include wearing a helmet, sunglasses or other eye protection, and cycling gloves, in case of a mishap. You will also want to have a repair or maintenance tool kit, a lock, a light, and a way to carry personal items. This could be as simple as a messenger bag or as elaborate as a set of touring panniers.  

Tip #3 Know the rules of the road. It’s important to know the rules of the road so that you feel comfortable and safe while riding a bike in traffic. To become acquainted with or to refresh your memory regarding the rules of the road, visit Bicycle Colorado. The site summarizes all you need to know to confidently bike commute on the roads. 

Tip #4 – Dress for success. Plan to wear clothing that is comfortable for your ride, as well as, your planned daily activity. You could celebrate the day by purchasing some new cycling apparel. We have a great assortment of jerseys, shorts and skirts, cycling shoes, t-shirts and more. Either way, consider the weather in your planning. If the day is on the warmer side, you may consider packing a “clean up kit” to freshen up after your ride.  Your clean up kit can be as simple as having some baby wipes, deodorant, a comb, face wash, and sunscreen for your return trip home.  

Tip #5 Route planning. To get the most out of your bike commute it’s best to plan a good route. Knowing a clear path to your destination avoids the frustration of getting lost while also prevents overheating and sweating unnecessarily.  Learn how to pick a route you like before the big day. Google maps for cycling is a good option. If you are new to bike commuting, you will want to give yourself more time than you need.  This allows for a pressure-free experience. You may also want to join the Bike to Work day events and stations happening along your route.  Bike to Work Breakfast stations are open from 6:30 – 9:00 AM. Water stations are open from 3:30 – 6:00 PM, offering water only. Bike Parties may have variable hours in the evening. To find stations of a particular, visit this page and type, use “breakfast,” “water,” or “bike party” in the search box.

Tip #6 Join a group ride. If you aren’t up for riding solo on Bike to Work Day, then consider joining a group. There are group rides scheduled throughout the city.  Visit the Bike To Work Day Group Rides page https://biketoworkday.us/group-rides to find one that best suits your route and location.  Another option is to join us for our regular, Wednesday night shop ride.  Our rides are fun, we learn new skills, and we talk about bikes and all things cycling. You can enjoy Bike Month all summer long by joining us on Wednesday evenings at 6 PM. If you need more convincing, read this: 5 Great Reasons to Join Peak Cycles Shop Rides.

All in all, the most important factor for Bike To Work Day is to have fun! Enjoy the fun of riding your bike to work.  The fun includes enjoying the adventure, as well as, feeling confident in riding the bike paths and the roads. Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop or visit us online at BikeParts.com to pick up the bike parts, cycling accessories, and cycling apparel you may need to make this Bike to Work Day the best one yet!