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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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!  


10 Best Father’s Day Gifts for Cyclists

June 13, 2019

Father’s Day Gifts at BikeParts.com/ Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop

For Father’s day, your dad doesn’t need a tie. He doesn’t need a gift with ribbons, fluff, or something that is going to sit on his desk.  What he needs are no fluff gifts that make your dad’s cycling experience better!

As in – bike parts, cycling accessories, and cycling apparel! These are the gifts that keep on giving! If you’re stuck wondering what to get your cycling Dad for Father’s day, then look no further!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have all the cycling apparel and cycling accessories, your Dad wants. 

  1. New Bike: For those going all our for their cycling Dad, nothing beats a new bike! You might think, he already has one – maybe two- or even three bikes…how could he need another? Truth is, you can’t ever have enough bikes. Consider a new road bicycle or mountain bike for your Dad.  Even better, opt for a fat bike!  
  2. Bike Fit: Does your Dad complain of hands falling asleep while riding? Or shoulder or neck pain after a long ride? Ease your Dad’s discomfort with a bike fit. 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 Dad’s bike fit. Not only can we help him with the fit, but we carry all the bike parts required to get the bike in the very best setup for his riding needs.
  3. Tubes: This is one gift you absolutely positively will get used. Make sure you get the right size of tube. If you aren’t sure, stop in the Peaks Cycling Store and ask one of our friendly staff to help you. 
  4. Bottles or hydration packs: Every cyclist has a ton of bottles, but that’s not the same as having good bottles. Buy a good bottle and stuff it with other goodies.
  5. Socks: Did you know Dad likes to wear their cycling socks even when he isn’t riding?  Why? Because they are so comfortable.  Pick out a pair of socks you like for your Dad and maybe even get a pair for yourself!
  6. Tires: Treat yourself to Dad to some new rubber! We have a ton of tires for road and mountain bikes. 
  7. Bike Parts: So many bike parts – the question is what to purchase?  Consider getting your Dad a high-quality wheelset.  A good wheelset impacts ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Maybe purchase some new, lighter tires for your Dad’s wheels. Another option is to reconsider the current crankset and pedals setup.
  8. Power Meter: Is your Dad a data junkie?  Then, this is the ideal gift for him!  The main idea behind using cycling training tools is to dial in training to optimize performance as it relates to specific goals and objectives. Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. Stop in the shop for help to dial in the best power meter to purchase for your dad. 
  9. Cycling Accessories: So what do you get a Dad that has everything?  Cycling apparel!  You can’t have too many jerseys, shorts, tights, jacket, sunglasses, and cycling shoes!  Cycling apparel is much better than just getting another tie!
  10. Gift Certificates: Renew your Dad’s cycling enthusiasm by trying out new bike parts. Whether it’s a new saddleshiftersbrakes, seat post, forkpedalshubs or wheels, your Dad probably wants it.  The usual problem is how to know exactly what to get. Our answer, get a gift certificate.  Gift certificates can be used for purchasing all kinds of bike parts and cycling accessories. 

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


Why Cycling is so Good For You in Later Life

June 6, 2019

We are spoiled for choice when it comes to cycling options in Colorado.  We have the Colorado Bicycles and Byways map helping people find a bike route to suit their cycling experience. And at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have our regular group shop rides that help cyclists of all abilities to gain confidence in the saddle and meet people. For seniors, in particular, cycling can be an invaluable way of staying active and healthy. The varied routes in Colorado also provide great training opportunities when it comes to taking part in the many cycling events offered. Whatever your reasons for cycling, its physical and mental benefits make it the ideal form of exercise for seniors.

Cycling slows down the aging process

Not only is cycling an affordable way of exercising in retirement, but research shows cycling regularly can keep you young. Studies published in the journal Aging Cell revealed that seniors who cycle regularly have the immune systems of people decades younger than them. This is thanks to the increased activity of T-Cells, which are responsible for combating illness and infection. This provides a good incentive for older adults to train well for a race, or attend one of the regular Wednesday night shop rides at Peak Cycles.

Cycling is good for the brain

Not only can cycling keep you physically healthy, but studies show that it is good for the mind and brain. The repeated motion of pedaling prompts the production of new brain cells, helping to offset the decline of brain health that comes with age. As well as providing a natural morale boost thanks to the release of endorphins, the studies have also shown that cycling can make us more mentally resilient. This is something that stands you in good stead when on a challenging bike ride or race. In fact, we wrote a blog post on this subject worth reading: Train the Brain. The Power of Mental Suffering.

Cycling is accessible and easily incorporated into daily life

Finding ways of fitting in the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week may seem daunting to many. However, the versatility of cycling makes this very achievable. For example, you can go for short road rides over the course of the week, whether as part of a training ride or when running errands. If motivation is an issue, team up with a friend and arrange a regular road or mountain bike ride with them. Ride to local friends’ houses and social events, instead of taking the car or bus. These strategies will help you keep active without having to think too much about it (especially as it becomes a habit). If you are concerned with how to effectively bike commute, you may want to read our post, Summer Bike Commuting – Making it Work for You for tips and ideas on much-needed bike parts, cycling routes, and cycling accessories to have on hand for bike commuting. 

It may seem harder to exercise as you get older, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The many bike routes in Colorado, together with the various cycling events offered in the state, ultimately means that there are several ways to embrace cycling in your later years. Doing so will help keep your emotional and physical health in good shape.