Wheel Upgrades 101 – What You Need to Know

July 19, 2018

Wheel Sets at BikeParts.com / Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop

Wheel upgrades – they are one of the biggest differences you can make in your bikes performance. Obviously, wheels matter!  They impact ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  

The question is, once you’ve decided it’s time for a wheel upgrade, how do you know how to select the best ones?  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. And for mountain bike wheel upgrades, there is the added question of what wheel size should you buy?  Since mountain bikes now have three wheels sizes to choose from – 26er, 27.5 and 29er – what makes sense for you?  Decisions! Decisions!

Before diving into any bike parts upgrades, you need to make sure you have a comfortable bike setup. No amount of money invested anywhere else on you bike will make a difference if you don’t feel comfortable and confident. With that said, bike fit comes first. Check out our post, Do You Know These 5 Important Bike Fit Tips? to get an idea of the 5 important bike fit tips to help you dial in your ride. And if you need help with your fit, look no further than Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop. We have a private, dedicated room designated for bike fits. We offer Specialize’s branded fit system, Body Geometry, accompanied by the newest technologies to give you a comfortable and professional bike fit experience. Not only can we help you with your fit, but we carry all the bike parts you may require to get your bike in the very best setup for your riding needs. Give us a call at (303) 216-1616 to schedule.

Now, back to the topic at hand. Aside from a bike fit, the single most effective upgrade you can make is the wheels you ride. A new wheel set will transform your current ride.  Specifically, upgrading the stock, entry-level wheels your bike came with can provide huge performance gains on the road. Rotational weight and aerodynamic design of a wheel set can make a huge difference in your ability to accelerate, your overall climbing speed and the ability to hold high speeds on flats. If you decide later to get a new bike, they will be transferable to your next bike. Definitely a good worthwhile investment.

So the question remains – which wheel set and what wheel size is right for you?  We have two great resources to help you decide.  Read our post, Answering the unanswerable: What wheel size should I buy? (And what’s the difference, anyway?) and check out our Wheel set Buyer Guide video.  The wheel sets demonstrated in the video are available in our shop or on the bikeparts.com website.  

If you need more help figuring out which wheel set is right for you, let us help! We answer these questions on a day to day basis in our Peak Cycles Bike Shop in Golden, Colorado.  Whether you are thinking about road bike wheel sets, mountain bike wheel sets or just getting some thoughts together on wheel buying parameters and how your wheel set will affect your overall ride and other bike parts, we’re here to help! 

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Scared of Riding Solo in Remote Locations? Fear No More! Tips for Solo Rider Adventure Seekers

July 12, 2018

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.  Fears of “things happening” when you are by yourself.  Fears about getting lost or getting hurt or even fears of bike mechanicals and having to walk a long distance.  Sometimes, things do happen but with a proactive approach, you can easily navigate riding solo in remote locations with confidence.  

Map it out.  Sometimes it is fun to just get on the bike and see where the ride takes you.  That is all well and good but when you are riding in a new location, it really is better to have some sort of a plan.  Either scout out your ride on the internet, carry a map with you, use your Garmin or cycling navigation tool to have an idea of the distance and terrain you will be covering.  The easiest way to ruin a ride is to get lost and spend countless, unnecessary hours trying to find your way back. You don’t need the stress of it all! 

Carry more than you need.  While you have an idea of what to expect on your adventure ride, expect the unexpected.  It’s a good idea to have an oversized pack. Carry more water than you normally would and pack for a variety of weather conditions.  A good rule of thumb is to carry a rain jacket, arm warmers, ear covers, extra food, and maybe a SPOT device if you are really headed to a remote location.  Don’t forget basic bike maintenance tools and chain lube to combat any mechanical issues you may encounter.

Be safety minded.  Obviously you want to be safe, but what does that really mean? Before you head out, check the weather and plan accordingly.  Also, inform others of the direction you are headed and what time you expect to return. While it may be tempting to deviate from the plan when actually riding, avoid the temptation to do it.  If something were to happen, it is wise to have others have a general awareness of your whereabouts.  Also, check your bike frame and bike parts for a good inspection. It’s easier to ride new and unknown trails and routes with the confidence that your bike is in good working order.  Besides, who wants to fix broken bike parts or cycling accessories on a ride? No one! So, give your bike a quick once over before heading out. 

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. 

Finally, relax! Enjoy the views! Bask in the thrill of exploration! 


Cycling Health: How to Remain Injury Free 

July 5, 2018

Staying healthy is important to our overall well being and happiness. Everyone knows this, but cycling health is a matter of staying healthy and injury free so that continuous fitness gains can be made and basically, you can just do more of what you love! Ride that is!   Fortunately, with some simple, routine actions, it’s easy to remain healthy and injury free. 

Bike fit: In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit. Whether you’re just starting to ride or you’ve been cycling for a long time, consider the benefits of a professional bike fit.  Fit impacts comfort but also technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries.  If you aren’t sure what to look for, you may want to notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. Saddle injuries are the result of poor seat position, height, angle or design.  While your saddle may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving. Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible.  Also, neck, shoulder, and bike pain can result of an improper fitting bike. Handlebars, stems, and bike position all contribute to a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety.

Bike Inspection:  Just because your bike may not be making noises or shifting poorly doesn’t mean it doesn’t need some TLC.  Noises are obvious signals for inspection yet, regular bike maintenance is a necessity.  As you ride more through the summer season, some things that weren’t visible upon your first bike inspection earlier in the year may become apparent as the season progresses.  Regular maintenance is essential.  There are several things you want to do to keep it in good working order.  For starters, wipe down and inspect the frame. Remember to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity.  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, inspect your brake pads. 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.

Wheel Inspection: Obvious inspections includes tires, rims, and spokes. 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.  But maybe you’re considering a new wheel set?  Or perhaps going tubeless on your mountain bike.  Sometimes making changes to your current setup can inspire motivation to get out there and ride.  Check out our video on Wheelset Buyer Guide for What You Need to Know.  Whether you are thinking about road bike wheel sets, mountain bike wheel sets or just getting some thoughts together on wheel buying parameters and how your wheel set will affect your overall ride and other bicycle parts, this video will guide your way.

Biofeedback: Remember, it’s not all about the bike!  Be mindful of bio feedback.  What is your body telling you? Have you recovered from your last training ride or training block? Do you need rest? Or, are you ready to get out there and put some major miles and efforts in?  If you’re not sure of the messages your body is telling you, read our post, Overtraining? How Nutrition and Sleep Play a Role in Recovery for insights as to the stages of training and what to do about them for best performance.  Fortunately, due to the advancement of technology, there are countless apps available to help dial in bio feedback measurements and evaluations on the fly. 

In a nutshell, if you take care of your bike and yourself, then you will remain healthy and injury free. Sounds simple, and it is, but you have to remember to do it. Safe pedals friends! 


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! 


How to Make the Most of the BIKE MS: COLORADO

June 21, 2018

The Bike MS: Colorado ride is this weekend. If you aren’t up to speed on this ride, you’ll learn that it is unique.  

Not only will riders travel through quaint towns and backroads where they will enjoy rolling terrain or tackle great Colorado mountain climbs, but also, riders will enjoy choosing different routes as each day has multiple route options, all of which are fully supported with stocked rest stops every 10-12 miles.

What makes the event special is that it riders participation will drive MS research forward faster, and deliver services to those who face the challenges of MS every day so they can live their best lives.  That is inspiring and motivating!  

To make sure you capitalize on your motivation and also ride your best, there are a few ways to prepare.  As we’ve mentioned before in older posts, you’ll want to remember these important tips: 

  • Prepare your bike in advance. Give your road bike a once over. Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. 
  • Know the course and aid stations. 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 aid stations later in the event. 
  • Consider taking a rain jacket and extra chain lube in your jersey pocket or seat bag. 
  • Lay everything out the night before. This includes your every day cycling apparel: helmet, gloves, shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, sunglasses, water bottles, food, and sunscreen.
  • And remember – go easy at the start and ease into the ride. It’s tempting to go too fast at the start, but holding back some energy will allow you to finish feeling strong.
  • Finally, recover smart! At the completion of your ride, be mindful to cool down appropriately. Spin your legs out and get your heart rate down. Consider using a nutritional aid to accelerate the recovery process.  After all, the fast you recover, the faster you can ride your bike again! 

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have a lot of suggestions and advice on making the most of your ride.  Stop in the shop to pick up the bike parts you need to have the best MS Colorado ride. In fact, our online store, Bikeparts.com, has lots of different types of nutritional supplements, cycling accessories, and cycling apparel all in one place to help you make the most of your riding. 

So, enjoy the ride and the scenery!  After all, you are pedaling for a good cause! Remember, your participation will drive MS research forward faster, and deliver services to those who face the challenges of MS every day so they can live their best lives.


Get Ready! Saturday is Take a Kid Mountain Biking at Valmont Bike Park

June 14, 2018

Team Bike Parts. com

If celebrating Father’s Day this weekend wasn’t a special enough occasion, adding take a kid mountain biking at Valmont Park makes it extra special. Cycling Mom and Dad’s have a chance to share their love of the sport with their kids in the 6th annual bike festival that will feature family-friendly activities.  Anyone up for short track races? A rock climbing wall? Face painting? And, other bike related activities? Sounds like a great way to kick start a super charged fun weekend to celebrate Father’s Day. 

To make the most of the weekend, we have some tips to help you to encourage your kids to ride bikes. 

This is a no brainer, but often overlooked – have the right bike! This means having a bike that fits. If purchasing a new toddler or youth bike, make sure you avoid the common mistake of buying a bike that they’ll “grow into.” Doing so can set your child back a couple of years. When shopping, be aware that children’s bikes are measured by their wheel size (not frame size). The right size is one where your child can comfortably get on the bike and stand with his or her feet on the ground. If you have questions on the right size bike for your child, visit our staff at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop. We’re happy to help answer all the questions you may have.

We can also help you to have peace of mind with your child riding by sharing info and tips to keep them safe.  Bike maintenance is the first thing that comes to mind. We can service your child’s bike to make sure it is in good working condition. Or, if you want to do the bike maintenance yourself, we have the bicycling tools to help you do that. Safety also means preparing ahead for the weekend – it is going to be hot!  Have waternutritional items and food available. Remember to have sunscreen in case you are out longer than expected. 

Now for the good stuff – dress for the part! Kids love clothes, gear, and bike parts too! Dress your kids for cycling success. Investing in a well fitting helmet, along with a jersey, cycling shorts, and a good pair of gloves inspires your kids and affects enjoyment levels and performance. If your child is comfortable, they are going to want to ride. Did you know that Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, CO has a wide variety of kids cycling apparel?  We have bike parts and cycling accessories that includes windbreakers, gloves, shorts, jersey’s, chamois, pedals, hats, backpacks, and bikes that kids love.  

Stop by the shop or visit us online at www.BikeParts.com to pick up some bike parts or cycling accessories for a fun weekend at Valmont.  And, while you’re at it, you might as well pick up a few Father’s Day gifts too! 


Tips to Conquering Colorado’s Climbs 

June 7, 2018
BikeParts.com Team Rider Getting Ready to Climb

BikeParts.com Team Rider Getting Ready to Climb

Colorado has some of the best road bike and mountain bike hill climbs. Additionally, there are countless rides and events like Ride the Rockies, Leadville100, and the Colorado Summit Cycling Series that challenge riders to either push on or blow up.  No doubt the suffering imposed by climbing may cause us cyclist to fret, but the the post, Why You Should Love Climbing, suggests otherwise.  

“Hills also make you happier. Longer, sustained efforts trigger the release of mood-lifting chemicals like endorphins and cannabinoids, which, as the name suggests, are in the same family of chemicals that give pot smokers their high, kick in. Research also shows that regular efforts in the lactate threshold range, which incidentally is where you climb, may help ward off mood disorders like depression. Additionally, research also shows all that the fresh air, sunshine, solitude, and sweeping vistas that you soak in as you make your way up and over hills and mountains provide their own unique benefits.” 

With that motivation, how can we learn to love climbing?  

Ride Hill Repeats
Hill repeats are a foundation of any good training plan.  Basically, the plan is to riding up the hill as hard as you can, recovering on the way back down and then doing it again. A good heart rate monitor and power meter can aid in bio feedback and motivation and help you to judge your effort better.  However – remember that whilst power numbers respond immediately to increased effort, heart rate takes time to accumulate – so expect it to take a few minutes for your heart rate to reach your target zone.

Decide to Sit or Stand
To sit or stand while climbing – that is the question.  Actually, it depends on rider preference; however, we’ve found lighter riders prefer to stand while heavier riders prefer to sit.  Regardless, you may want to train doing both. Opt to sit on one climb or hill repeat, then stand on the next. Testing the limits of your ability to climb in both positions will make you a stronger all-around climber.

Focus on Your Breath
Obviously while climbing, you are excepting more effort. That requires more oxygen.  So, a simple way to to maximizing your oxygen uptake is learning to take deep breaths.  Avoid shallow ones and breathe to your belly. This may require you to straighten up to allow your belly and ribs to actually expand.  Given your bike fit, you may or may not need to adjust bike parts so be mindful of your body position when climbing so that you can inhale for optimum oxygen intake.

Gear Adjustment
Gears can be a complicated thing. In fact, many people buy a road bike or mountain bike and never modify their gears.  Yet, depending on the climbs you are doing and your aspirations, you may consider swapping the cassette or chainset.  If you’re struggling to turn the pedals on the climbs, changing your gear set up – going for a smaller chainset and wider ratio cassette – will help as you’ll be able to spin more quickly.

Relax
A deathtrap on the handlebars, swinging your body around, and tense muscles make climbing much more difficult.  Also, it’s a waste of precious energy!  Just relax! Find your rhythm and get into a groove that you can sustain.

Pick one or all of these tips and try them out.  Give yourself some time to evaluate your progress.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, our bet is after a few weeks of one or all of using these tips, you’re climbing performance will increase.  Whether or not you actually fall in love with climbing is another matter – but at least you will be better at it!