Best Cycling Training Tools  to Improve Performance

March 28, 2019

If you’ve been looking to get faster on the bike, then most likely you have explored cycling training tools, as in power meters, heart rate monitors and the like. No doubt, today’s technology provides instant biofeedback and structure to workouts.  And over time, this aggregated training data offers visibility to your training program and progress. The ultimate goal of using training tools is to get faster, stronger, fitter, and optimize athletic performance.  Given that, which training tools are best for you? Read on to find out. 

Heart rate Training – Heart rate training has been viewed in many ways over the years, from very precise to not so precise. Now, a growing number of coaches and exercise physiologists support the use of heart rates as an important part of biological feedback, as heart rates are a direct reflection of what is happening internally.  The post, The Variables and Trends of Heart Rate Training,  walks you through the steps of learning your “threshold” heart rate range, setting up heart rate training zones, and identifying the daily variables that affect heart rate. If you do not have a trainer or coach to keep you disciplined during your workout, a heart rate monitor can be a great substitute. It can tell you when your exercise is falling below your ideal intensity so you can instantly improve your performance.  It can be a great biofeedback tool and also help you to monitor your fitness, prevent overtraining, and take your performance to the next level.

Power meters – Training with a power meter is one of the most effective ways to get results. The more power you can produce, the faster your bike will go. Unlike a heart rate monitor that is subjective, watts or power output is not. Watts are watts. Training with a power meter helps establish a baseline fitness and eliminates the guesswork out of measuring fitness gains.  The data provided also helps to get a better handle on overreaching and overtraining during training blocks.  There are different power meters available based on your fitness goals and budget. So be sure to stop by the shop to dial in which power meter is best for you. 

Bike Fit – While a bike fit isn’t necessarily a training tool, it is your first defense in injury prevention.  It’s also one of the quickest ways to get faster on the bike. Leg strength, endurance, and fitness are at the heart of cycling speed, but without a proper bike fit, you are sabotaging your training efforts.  As you know, bikes come in all sizes and shapes, and there are endless bike parts and cycling accessories that can be added or swapped to make a bike become a better fit for you. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we believe that there is much more to fitting a cyclist to his/her bicycle than just the physical dimensions of a bike. Each cyclist has a different history, experience, comfort level, and goal on the bike; each of these variables is important to the bike-fit process.  Take advantage of our bike fit studio and schedule a bike fit to align your bike with your body posture and improve your cycling

Use power meters and heart rate monitors to guide you through you.  By monitoring your training efforts with specific data, you objectively know when you are pushing beyond your targeted indicators, as well as when you aren’t pushing hard enough.  This allows your body to adjust to increased training load over time and in a manner that meets your 2019 cycling season goals.

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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!  


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!


Santa’s Naughty or Nice List for Cyclists

November 29, 2018

The holidays are here!  Santa is making his list and he is checking it twice.  The real question is, have you been naughty or nice this year?  As you think of your answer, consider these questions: 

  • Have you ridden nicely with others? 
  • Have you keep your bike clean?  All of them? 
  • Have you used hand signals while riding on the roads? 
  • Were you kind to the trails and left no trace while riding on mountain bike trails? 
  • And finally, a bonus question: What snacks are you leaving for Santa this year? Here’s a hint: Leave something good like Cytomax, EFS, or Hammer Nutrition to support Santa and his crew through the night! 

Surely most of us have been nice cyclist, right?  Well deserving cyclist deserve the best cycling gifts. Splurge a little with these great holiday ideas. 

Gift yourself a Bike fit – Do you find your hands falling asleep while riding? Do you experience 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. Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

Demo a fat bike!  Up your giggle factor and book a fat bike demo. You are guaranteed to discover another level of enthusiasm for your normal winter riding program. 

And last but not least, what is a cyclist dream gift?  Bike parts! What cyclist doesn’t love bike parts? Whether it’s a new shiftersbrakesseatpost, or fork, you know you want it.  So stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to find get all of your cycling needs.  

But hang on a minute….nice cyclists don’t just think about themselves! Has your bike been nice too?  Show it some love this holiday season.  Get it some presents! Your bike’s #1 holiday wish would be to drop the weight – on bike parts that is!  You might be wondering where to start. A good place to start is purchasing a high quality wheel set.  A good wheel set impacts ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  So, get the best you can afford.  Add some new, lighter tires on your wheels and your bike will thank you for the bling! 

Speaking of bling, Santa’s slay isn’t the only thing that lights up! Light up your bike! Whether you are bike commuting, going for a holiday stroll, or getting in base miles, being visible is critical. Here are some tips to getting the right bike parts. You will want lights for the front of your bike.  Consider having multiple lights for the front of your bike.  One on your helmet so you can shine side roads and traffic and have a second light on your handlebars so you can see at least 10 ft. or more in front of you.  For the rear of your bike, opt for a rear red light- particularly one that blinks. A blinking red light is much more likely to get the attention of a passing motorist who might otherwise not notice you. Add festive holiday cheer with a bike bell or outfit your hydration pack with holiday lights. 

Here at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we feel that the true Christmas spirit of cycling is the love of the bike – whether you have been naughty or nice.  It’s the adventure cycling brings – the challenge of a new ride, the experimentation with new or different bike parts, the joy of connecting with friends in meaningful ways, and the building of camaraderie with teammates.  Here’s to all the nice cyclist out there!  These are all the very blessings we wish for you and your family this holiday season.  Happy Holidays from Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and BikeParts.com!


The Cyclists’ Ultimate Guide to Daylight Savings Time 2018 

November 1, 2018

With Daylight Savings time ending this upcoming weekend, darkness will fall earlier each day making it more challenging to fit training rides in the schedule. You’ve worked hard all year long, it seems a waste to let your fitness fall off.  Given that the days with long sunshine hours are ending, what are the best strategies for continued training and maintaining fitness? Fortunately for you, we’ve written about this topic in previous post and we’ve gathered all of our time tested and results proven strategies together to share our best approaches for making the most of the time change. Here’s what to keep in mind. 

Have a goal. The goal can be big, small or in between but having something to shoot for between now and the New Year can inspire you to ride.  Goals can be off the bike or bike specific.  Meaning, setting nutrition or weight goals can support your motivation to ride.  Or, having a goal to ride a certain number of times a week can get you off the sofa and on to the bike.  Pick a goal that inspires you and is manageable.  The last thing you want to do is set a big, unattainable goal which deflates your motivation for maintaining your cycling training. 

Fine tune your fitness.  Leverage the tools available to you to promote motivationUse a heart rate monitor or power meter to benchmark your efforts. Sure, heart rate monitors and power meters have been around for a while now, but how effectively are you using them?  Learning what what you need to know about the nuances, ranges, and data interpretation can make a difference in just getting a workout in versus targeting a specific workout in which you hit numbers and are motivated to get after it again the next day. 

Time management – It all begins with time management. Schedule your workouts in your calendar.  Consider shifting meetings and family obligations to early morning, late afternoon and early evening.  Think about optimizing your lunch hour as ride time.  These are areas that can assist in getting your scheduled training in during the daylight hours.  Again, the idea here is to create a plan and stick to it.  If you plan a ride during the daylight hours and miss it, then it creates stress on how to make that ride up.  So, if you do, then night riding becomes your option.

Night riding – To begin, don’t be afraid of the dark!  Get the right bike parts and cycling apparel to ride and you’ll be inspired to do it.  Remember, visibility is crucial – for you and your bike. Outfit your bike with a good light system.  You will want lights for the front of your bike.  Consider having multiple lights for the front of your bike.  One on your helmet so you can shine side roads and traffic and have a second light on your handlebars so you can see at least 10 ft. or more in front of you.  For the rear of your bike, opt for a rear red light-particularly one that blinks. A blinking red light is much more likely to get the attention of a passing motorist who might otherwise not notice you.  Don’t forget to wear cycling apparel that is visible.  There are options to choose from including vests and ankle bands.  Also, reflective tape is a good idea. 3M makes black reflective tape that is great to put on black wheels.

Night ride options: Riding in the dark makes the riding of any technical section immediately harder than in the day.  It takes a good while to overcome this, so don’t set yourself a task to ride the most demanding trails you have.  Ease yourself in as the nights start earlier and downgrade your expectations.   Remember, you will inevitably ride and travel more slowly than in daylight.  With that being said, be mindful that your route doesn’t exceed your lights battery capacities.

Bike maintenance: Experiencing mechanical difficulties in the cold and at night is not fun!  A well maintained bike is a fun bike to ride.  Yet, for some, bike maintenance can be a chore.  Having the right set of bike components and tools can make all the difference.  When prepping your bike for for the colder temps and night riding, there are several things you want to do to keep your bike in good working order.  A good thing to always do is to wipe down and inspect the frame.  As the weather changes, rain, snow, ice, and road elements pose different cleaning challenges to your frame and bicycle parts.  Consider using a stiff, soft-bristled brush to knock off any chunks of dried-on mud that may be on your frame or wheels. Then, follow that up by taking a rag to your bike, wiping it down generally all over to get off any remaining dust or dirt.  

Also, remember to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity for winter riding.  It will keep your bike parts in working order and squeak free! There are many lubes to choose – wet vs dry lube.  As conditions vary, you may want to have a couple of different choices on hand.  Finally, since you can’t see what you are rolling over in the dark, it’s a good idea to frequently inspect tires, wheels, and brake pads.  Check that there is adequate air pressure in the tires. Check that there aren’t any cuts or nicks in the sidewall or tread of the tires. You’ll want to make sure the brake pads are not worn. And, remember to inspect where the brake pads hit the rim; they should contact the rim evenly on both sides and not rub the tire in any way that may cause a flat.

Indoor riding – Maybe you just can’t swing riding during the day and night riding isn’t your thing.  You can maintain fitness with indoor training on the trainer.  Granted, nobody likes riding the trainer much less riding it for consecutive days in a row, but there are ways to overcome trainer woes  to eliminate boredom and support your training.  Try different approaches, times of day, and lengths of workouts to keep your trainer workouts fresh.Most cyclist have a love / hate relationship with the trainer. Yet, there are ways to make it work.  Check out our post, Trainer Techniques for Winter Training for tips and suggestions on getting the best out of your indoor rides.

Dial it in!  Your body and your bike – that is! Get a bike fit.  We’ve heard about them, talked about them, but somehow, most of us don’t get one.  And why not?  They say the quickest way to get faster on the bike is with a bike fit.  Sure, fit impacts comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how you ride. Meaning it directly affects how much power you can efficiently deliver to the pedals. Dialing  in your body and your bike parts will keep you motivated as you discover how the new changes positively affect your time on the bike. Use the time change to your advantage to experiment with bike parts, adjust your riding position, and dial in your most efficient riding position. 

Ultimately, adjusting to the time change is a mindset shift.  The time change can mark the end of the season or bring on a new adventure.  Embrace the challenge! Find the right strategy or combination of approaches mentioned and make the time change work for your benefit. Happy Riding! 


The Importance of Having the Right Bike Parts for Cycling

October 18, 2018

Cyclists generally subscribe to the idea that having more than one bike matters.  Who couldn’t agree with that?! But on the flip side, have you ever wondered if bike parts matter? Sure, bike parts make are part of a complete bicycle but does one particular bike part matter than another?  

When you think about it, bike parts do contribute to your riding comfort. If you don’t feel comfortable, safe, or in control of the bike you are riding, chances are you aren’t going to ride it very often.  Also, bike parts do make a difference in injury prevention.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is having a proper saddle with aligned seat position, height, and angle – not to mention a few other important factors like handlebarsstems, and the correct bike position.  All of these factor in to a comfortable riding position as well as a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety. 

But what other bike parts are important?  First and foremost would be the bike frame itself.  Whether it is a road bike, mountain bike, or cyclocross bike, the frame provides strength and rigidity and largely determines the handling.  In fact, Triathlete magazine provided the following advice to one of its readers: “When it comes to how your bike fits, rides, handles and reacts, the frame is the most important physical part of the bike. The frame is also usually the most expensive part of the bike and the most involved to replace. Buying a bike with the right frame the first time can not only help you enjoy the benefits of a better riding and performing bike now, but can also save significant money down the road as you will only need to buy some new parts, instead of buying a whole new bike, to upgrade.”  At the end of the day, it all comes down to fit. The frame needs to be the right size for you. 

Following the frame, other considerations include bike components and wheels.  Regarding cycling components, we’re talking about the drivetrain, gearing, and braking systems.  Focus on getting bike parts of a level that are designed for your riding style and frequency.  And wheels – they matter! They can make a basic bike ride a lot better while sub-par wheels can make an otherwise exceptional bike feel mediocre.  There are different wheel types, a variety of options for tube or tubeless wheels, and ideas to consider in tubular wheels, rim shape, spoke count, and hub options. While wheel options may seem overwhelming, it’s really straightforward. To make it easier to understand, check out our post and video, Wheelset Buyer Guide: What You Need to Know

All in all, bike parts do matter. They keep you safe and comfortable and out riding your bike.  Fortunately, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we believe that there is much more to fitting a cyclist to his/her bicycle than just the physical dimensions of a bike. Each cyclist has a different history, experience, comfort level, and goal on the bike.  Stop in to see our road and mountain bikes. Check out any bike parts you want to upgrade or replace. Better yet, schedule a bike fit and dial in your optimum riding position.  Happy Riding! 


5 Uncommon Bike Buying Questions

October 4, 2018
So you want to buy a bike?  Who wouldn’t want to get a new bike?! Actually, now is the best time of year to purchase a new road bike or mountain bike because this year’s bikes are on sale and we’re clearing the way for next year’s models.  With so many bike choices available, there are quite a few questions to dial in when considering purchasing a new bike.  In fact, we’ve written about many of those questions in the following blog posts and you can check them out here:  
But, what about the uncommon questions?  You know, the ones you might be a bit shy to ask the salesperson.  No need to hesitate with your questions, we’ve got you covered.  
 
Question #1 Let’s get the first question out of the way.  Do you need to buy your bike at a bike shop?  You can buy anything on the internet these days including bike parts, cycling accessories, and complete bicycles from us at BikeParts.com.  However, we do encourage you to purchase your bicycle at a bike shop.  Here’s why. Bicycle Magazine sums it up best, “When you buy a bike from an authorized retailer, you know that the bike was assembled by a professional mechanic, and you begin to build a rapport with that shop—a great way to find out about new routes or group rides or maintenance clinics and events. You also ensure you’re not getting a counterfeit product, which is a continuing problem in the bike industry.” 
Question # 2 How do you know if a bike fits you? Test ride it!  Bring your cycling apparel with you, including your cycling shoes and helmet, when test riding a bike.  Before heading out on your test ride, take time to visit with your salesperson about shifting, brakes, and any particular feature of the bike you are testing out.  A bike that feels good and is comfortable to ride is one you will ride often.  So, go with feel. And then, after your purchase, schedule a bike fit with us to dial in the specific bike parts you may need to achieve optimum comfort, power, cadence, and fit for you.  
Question #3. Do I have to dress like a cyclist like the riders you see on the Tour de France?  Well, you can if you want to!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have a wide variety of cycling apparel to match your style.  Some prefer jerseys and lycra shorts and other prefer a more casual ride style.  Again, go with what is comfortable to you. We have cycling apparel on sale and new items coming in for the winter months. Stop by and see what works best for you. 
Question #4 Should I use clipless or flat pedals? Note, clipless pedals are the ones you clip into with cycling shoes with cleats on the bottom.  Flat pedals are simply pedals, like you would have on a BMX or kids bike. They are not popular with many racers or road riders because clipless pedals help improve your performance in racing, especially for road disciplines. But don’t rush to use clipless or exclude flat pedals from your practice completely. Start with what you are most comfortable and make changes as you see fit. 
Question #5 How do I maintain my bike?  Bike maintenance may seem overwhelming to the new rider and even to veteran riders too.  Some cyclist really enjoy doing their own bike maintenance and others prefer for our shop mechanics to do it for them.  Again, do what is best in your comfort zone.  As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to follow some of these guidelines that we’ve written about in our post, 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road.
 
What other questions might you have that we missed? Don’t be shy! Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to test ride a bike, check out our winter cycling apparel, and get all of your questions answered.