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! 

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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!  


New Year, New You – Strategies to Keep your 2019 Cycling Goals

January 3, 2019

Welcome to 2019!  Does the New Year have you inspired, motivate, and excited to take on more in the coming year?  It’s a new year and a fresh start to actually doing all the things you want to do. Yet, as you may know, not all New Year’s resolutions and goals are created equally. Some are lofty and while you have good intentions, you know you aren’t really going after it. Then, there are other goals. The ones that would feel rewarding, satisfying and meaningful if you were to meet them. These are the heartfelt goals and resolutions that we’re talking about! The ones that inspire you and light you up!

What are those goals? How do you plan to achieve them? And how will you know when you have met them? Start 2019 off right by having a plan.

Define your intention. This is important. What do you intend for yourself? How committed are you? What are you willing to change in your schedule, your training, your bike setup, and even your approach towards meeting your goals.  Without having a clear intention and determining your level of commitment, you won’t reach your goals.  

Define your goals.  Identify specifically what you want to accomplish in 2019.   Make a list.  The more specific the better because vague goals can’t be quantified.  When you list out specifically what you want to accomplish and a time frame in which to do this, you make your goals SMART.  Making SMART  (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound) goals not only boosts your chances of attaining your goals, but you also become a better cyclist in the process.  What might these goals look like? For example, a goal to consistently hit target heart rate zones or power zones for specific workout.  Leverage cycling accessories that are available to you – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors to provide objective feedback.  Based on your goals, you can then get an action plan together by defining your training objectives.

Define your training objectives.  Now that you have your goals set for 2019, it’s time to take inventory of your abilities to meet your goals for training and events. What are your strengths?  What are your weaknesses?  For every area of improvement, decide what activity is needed to improve that.  If you have poor bike handling skills, then schedule time each week for bike drills.  If your core is weak, schedule time for yoga or strength training. And, if you are like most cyclist, you could use a little stretching. Make time for stretching to improve your flexibility.

Define your approach.  Get a game plan together of how you plan to train and race.  Take stock of last year’s performances, where can you improve?  Check in with your commitment level again. What is it going to take to make manageable changes to your lifestyle to support your goals?  Take time now to review and plan ahead.  Take a fresh approach to 2019! Experiment with new ideas, products, and approaches. As in, maybe try a new on bike nutrition product. Experiment with different bike parts and bike components.  Consider designing and refining a pre-event routine, like a race day ritual.  This thoughtful process brings a fresh approach to 2019 and keeps you motivated through the winter months.

Define results: How will you know that you reached your goals? It’s important to have this dialed in so that you can celebrate your success and feel rewarded for your commitment.

Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it the first place, your odds of success are considerably reduced. Start the year off right with small, manageable changes to your lifestyle to reach your goals. Stay focused. Be consistent. And, keep your eyes on the prize! Here’s wishing you the very best in 2019! 


The Trails Are Calling! Where to Ride for the 4th of July 

June 28, 2018

From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.  

While many American’s hang an American flag from their home, car, or work building, why not celebrate the 4th from your two wheels?  You can decorate your bike with bike bells, streamers, and the like; but why note take it a step further and include your bike riding in your holiday festivities? The question for some is, where to ride?  Ride trails of course!  Some of Colorado’s finest trails and beautiful views are in our backyard. Check out: 

  • 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 

Now, 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.  Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • 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?  Considering it has been so hot and dry lately, you’ll definitely want to bring along hydration options. Think water bottles and hydration packs.  
  • 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.

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

What else would you add to the list?  Oh yes! A well maintained bike!  Before heading out on your holiday adventures, be sure to conduct a bike maintenance and safety check. Notice any worn out bike parts to be replaced. Lube the chain and other bike components. For extra tips on getting ready, read our post, Spring Cleaning, 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road

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! Because we sell our bicycle parts online, we are able to help customers all over the world – even if you don’t celebrate the 4th. Stop by our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to pick up your 4th of July cycling accessories or visit us online at BikeParts.com.  Happy 4th of July friends! 

As a 4th of July bonus, read on for more ways to celebrate the holiday on your bike! 


Cycling Inspiration for Earth Day

April 19, 2018

April 22nd is Earth Day! Yay! And, you might be wondering how bicycles benefit the environment? Or why ride them on this special day?

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we are big supporters in our local community and race teams, and as such, we know bike commuting is a win-win for our local community. Basically, for anyone looking to save money, embrace a green or sustainable lifestyle, and promote healthy, livable cities, cycling is important.

To kick off your Earth Day preparations, you will want to read our post, Pedal Power for Earth Day, to explore the many benefits of bike commuting. As a next step, you will want to decide how you want to celebrate the day and keep the Earth Day mojo going thereafter. The magic in Earth Day is making every day Earth Day. Bike riding is a natural fit! The key is inspiring others to keep riding.

Inspire others with bike education programs. No one likes riding a poor fitting bike. Having the right bike setup, cycling accessories and gear makes all the difference. Consider hosting a get together of friends and review bike safety. Or, participate in a bike maintenance class. Bicycle tools are different than regular tools and all tools aren’t created equal – some are good for mountain bike parts while others are designed for road bike parts. Knowing which tools to use on the appropriate bike components can make all the difference in making bike maintenance easy inspiring others to enjoy bike maintenance in addition to riding.

Inspire your friends with a list of rides and events. Colorado has some of the greatest road bike rides in the country. Some are shorter, convenient rides whereas others offer steeper, longer climbs and extended distances. Certainly you have your favorite list. Invite your friends for a special Earth Day ride and make it an annual celebration.

Inspire others with a bike-friendly shopping program. Everyone likes to shop, right? Inspire friends with bike parts bling! Many aspiring bike riding enthusiast appreciate a shop that offers quality bike components along with solid advice on bike parts and cycling apparel. Stop by the shop to check out our specials, discounts, and new cycling accessories for the season. Who says you can’t ride in style for Earth Day?

Inspire through reading. Maybe you just can’t make it out on Earth Day for a ride. No worries. Check out our posts for inspiration:
– Get Your Kids Bike Commuting – Here’s How!
– Summer Bike Commuting – Making it Work For You
– The Smart Cyclist’s Guide to Preventing Bike Theft

All in all, the most important thing to remember for Earth Day is that bike riding is fun. Fun includes enjoying the adventure of cycling solo and with friends. Fun also means riding a well fitting bike and feeling confident in riding the bike paths and the roads. This way, your Earth Day bike ride becomes an environmentally friendly activity you can do every day!


Cycling Success: A Guide to Launch Your 2018 Spring Cycling Season

March 8, 2018

BikeParts.com Team Rider Racing

Spring riding and racing is just around the corner and athletes everywhere are starting to think about their “A” races as well as secondary races to use for training and motivation. A given rule of thumb is that all races provide experience, training benefits, and act as a stage to assess your form. Because of that, targeting a handful of high and low priority races and events throughout the year can be useful as learning experiences and opportunities to dial in nutritional needs and race strategies. The question for many is, where to start?

Begin by committing to an event! This March and April, there are many tours, races, and events to choose from in Colorado. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, following are some of our upcoming favorite March and early April cycling events.

– Leadville Winter Bike Series 50k
– Pedaling for St. Pats
– Staunton Spring Fattie Frenzy
– Great Divide Grinder
– Louisville Criterium
– Buff Gold Road Race
– Oredigger Classic – Chad Young Memorial TT

Now, using your chosen event, set some goals. For some, early season races are just about getting harder efforts in and saddle time. However, having defined goals can help reduce prerace anxiety and also help you better evaluate your performance post race. So, begin by identifying what you want to accomplish with this event whether it be a targeted Heart Rate or Power zone, a solid nutrition plan, or attacking certain areas on the race course and use that to benchmark your success.

Next, evaluate the race route. Specifically, get to know the course and the conditions. Spring weather can alter race course conditions considerably. Take into consideration the bike parts you’ll be racing and confirm you have the bike components and gear needed to successfully race the course. For mountain bike components – consider tire selection carefully when riding wet and muddy trails.

Keep in mind, last racing season was some time ago. Your race day preparations might be stale so begin to prepare some race day rituals that you can use and build upon throughout the 2018 season. Give it some thought: does having a checklist of race day activities help structure your preparation to the start line? Include items such as nutrition, hydration, clothes, gear, extra bike parts and basic bicycle tools. This way, you won’t be forgetting anything as you prepare for your start. Maybe visualization, mantras, and breathing exercises are your thing. Regardless, early season races offer a chance to build on race day rituals that have helped you in the past and also enhance your support for the season going forward.

Remember to include in your race day rituals how you want to start the race! It seems simple enough to show up on the line and be ready for the gun to go off, but your start line mental state makes a difference – especially in early season races when nerves are running high. Your thoughts, emotions, and prerace behaviors are components of your mental state, so take inventory of your mental state and align them with your goals. It’s easy early season to compare your training and fitness to others. This is where having your race plan and goals specific to this event comes in handy. Stay true to your goals – not others.

Finally, evaluate your results based on your goals. What worked? What didn’t? What can you do next race to get a better result? Be objective and explore how your mental and physical training helped prepare you for this event. Remember to evaluate your bike and cycling accessory selections. Did you race the right bike? Would a different wheel set make a difference? Did you suffer from mechanical issues? Now is the time to dial in, replace, and buy the bike parts that you need going into your next event.

Whether you’re entering your first event or you’re a seasoned racer, planning your early season events can lay a foundation for confidence and physical fitness in which to build upon for the cycling season. Enjoy the March cycling events in Colorado and use them to catapult you into a great 2018 cycling season.


Late Season Rally – Tips to Maintain Your Fitness and Motivation

August 10, 2017

BikeParts.com Team Rider Racing in Colorado

With school starting and only about a month and half left of the Colorado cycling racing and touring season, many are filling up their calendars with the last big events of the season hoping to capitalize on the fitness gains made during the season.

Some of the popular Colorado races and tours on tap for August include:

Yet, as we transition from summer to fall, many cyclist find their enthusiasm for riding dwindling.  Have you noticed that at the beginning of the race season, enthusiasm and energy is high!  About the mid-season point, accumulated season fatigue catches up with most racers and cyclist. Recovery rate from workouts and from races slows down and finally, by the end of the season, some find their motivation just plain lacking.  With that in mind, what are the ways to maintain motivation while also capture added gains towards next year’s goals? 

The key to late season racing and bike events is really to have fun! Try new events, ride routes, and races. 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. Venture out of your comfort zone and try racing a new road bike or mountain bike for one of the events mentioned above.

If experimentation isn’t your thing, then at least replace worn out bike parts or catch deals on bike close outsbike parts and components. Stock up on cycling apparel for the fall and winter months to keep motivation high through the transitioning season.

Or, maybe training is too grueling for you this time of year. Switch from training to riding to work.  Bike commuting helps get in the miles while offering up time for other fun activities. Other fun activities include strength training and yoga.  Both of these activities help to extend the fitness gains you’ve made through the current year.

Another option for fun is adding in some skill training. During peak training periods, bike skills and technique is often overlooked.  Why not spend some time improving your bike skills? The video: Five key skills to improve your bike handling offers great visuals and the post, Body Position on the MTB, dials in where you need to be on the bike to ride your best.  Experimenting late season avoids the risk of injury during peak races but also can offer a new challenge – like learning how to do a track stand.

Enjoy the fitness gains you have made through the season. Have fun!  Having a fun, relaxed attitude combined with a celebratory bike event is a great way to finish your season.