Pedal Power for Earth Day 

April 20, 2017

Happy Earth Day from BikeParts.com

What’s the best way to celebrate Earth Day?  Ride a bike!  Bike commuting instead of driving alone is one way you can help support the planet while also taking in the joys only a two -wheeled friend can provide!  

Along the Front Range, and in particular, our home town of Golden, Colorado, it’s easy to commute by bike.  Not only do we have a vast network of well maintained bike paths, but at bikeparts.com, we also have all the road parts and mtb parts, commuter bikes, and cycling accessories to make any bike commute or bike ride easy and fun!

Because April 22nd is Earth Day, you might be wondering why is all this important?  As a supporter of our local community and race teams, we know bike commuting is a win-win for our local community. For both businesses and individuals looking to save money, embrace eco awareness, and promote healthy, livable cities, cycling is important. Here’s why:

  • Cycling as alternative transportation helps the environment by reducing carbon emissions.
  • Bicycles emit virtually no pollution when in use; they require far less materials, energy and waste in their production than even the ‘greenest’ car.
  • Cycling offers a certain connection to the open air and the surrounding trees.  It’s amazing how usual surroundings look different when on a bike.
  • Cycling can be done by toddlers, teenagers, youngsters and adults as well.  It can be used as personal time to reflect upon your day or a means to unite friends for regular rides. 
  • Regular participation in a cycling routine naturally shifts your focus to include thoughts of the weather, areas in your community to ride, road safety, and traffic.  Thereby increasing your awareness of the link between the environment and your community.
  • The freedom your bike gives you offers routes and locations that your car can’t.
  • Cycling is a good exercise for overall fitness of the body.  It improves health and reduces stress and tension. 
  • Cycling contributes to a positive work/ life balance. 
  • Bicycles can be produced and maintained locally by local bike shops, like Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop.  This supports local job opportunities and promotes a sustainable economy.
  • Overall, increased cycling commuting reduces air pollution generated from motorized vehicles.

This Earth Day, we encourage you to put your pedal power to good! Get committed and inspire your family, colleagues and others to get on a bike!  Pump up your tires, lube your chain, and put your pedal power to good use!  


Get Your Kids Bike Commuting – Here’s How! 

April 13, 2017

Toddler and Youth Bikes at BikeParts.com

Bike commuting with your children is a fantastic way to introduce them to cycling at a young age. For kids who grow up riding to and from school and sports and friends’ houses, cycling comes to be seen as just a normal, natural way of moving through the world. It’s wonderful to see kids have fun, explore their world, and embrace the wonders only a two -wheeled friend can provide!

As the riding season is upon us, the crew at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop want to encourage all younger riders to get out there and bike with their friends and families. Following are our tips to do just that.

Know the Rules of the Road
Educate your kids on the the rules of the road. Know what the bicycle laws are in your area, and follow them. In most areas, they are going to be very similar to vehicular traffic. Make sure you stop at stop lights and stop signs, signal before turning, and ride on the street. It’s important to model good behavior and teach your children the rules on the road.

Be Safe
Safety means being mindful of the route you are riding. It also includes less obvious items. As in, make sure your child’s bike is in good working condition. Have water, nutritional items and food available. Remember to have sunscreen in case you are out on your ride longer than expected. A good rule of thumb is to carry basic bike tool kit with you too. All of these items contribute to a positive bike commuting experience.

Have the Right Bike
Help your kids feel more excited about trying out something new, and give them the tools they need to keep succeeding as a young cyclist. 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 more than happy to help you select the right size bike for your child.

Dress for Success
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. We have bike parts and cycling accessories that includes windbreakers, gloves, shorts, jersey’s, chamois, pedals, hats, backpacks, and bikes that kids love. Most importantly, we have reflective materials to put on your child’s bike to make sure they are visible.

There are countless benefits of bike commuting with kids. Sure, it does take a little effort to bike commute with children, but most good things in life do. Bike commuting as a family provides quality time together, as well as, exercise in the natural environment. Ultimately, bike commuting with your children allows you to play and experience life together. Enjoy! 


Ready to Race? A Comprehensive Checklist for Spring Racing

March 23, 2017

Race Day Checklist from BikeParts.com

The Spring Racing Season in Colorado is nearly here! With upcoming events like the Louisville Criterium, Ridgeline Rampage, and The Koppenberg, road and mountain bike racers are ready to ride. But, don’t think that just showing up on the line is enough.  Preparing mentally, physically, and being bike ready will ensure a successful start to the season.  Following is the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop comprehensive checklist to showing up to the start line fully prepared. 

Bike Prep
While it may seem obvious, give your race bike a once over.   Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced.  As an example, your saddle  may look and feel fine, looks can be deceiving.  Materials and composition deteriorate beyond what is visible.  Consider replacing worn bike parts and purchasing new cycling accessories you plan to use for your A races later in the season.  This gives you a chance to dial in your needs early season and optimize performance in later events. 

Gear Prep
It will take time to nail down the packing system that works best for you. And, there are lots of individual preferences.  However, we’ve compiled a checklist for you. For starters, plan to use a gear bag that opens up wide and allows you to see everything within quickly. Fill it up with these items.

The basics

  • bike
  • helmet
  • shoes
  • socks
  • racing license
  • membership card
  • timing chip
  • road id
  • driver’s license
  • sunglasses 
  • team kit 
  • chamois cream
  • water bottles
  • food (gels, breakfast, coffee, whatever)
  • a bike pump
  • a spare tube

Things that will make you more comfortable, but they aren’t deal breakers:

  • extra safety pins
  • extra zip ties
  • sunscreen/lip balm
  • extra water/recovery drink for after the race or the ride home (in a cooler if it’s hot)
  • extra dry clothes to change into (if it’s cold, pack a LOT of extra clothes, hat and gloves, etc.)
  • extra food for after (especially for long races or races with a long drive home)
  • baby wipes to wipe away the grime; sunscreen, dirt, grit, sweat, pelts of road kill, etc.
  • towel (to clean up with or to lay on your car seat for the filthy ride home)
  • blanket to stretch on
  • music and headphones to block out pre-race jitters 

Race Route Prep
Know the course and the conditions.  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. Familiarity with the race course and weather conditions aids in having confidence to tackle anything that comes at you during your big event. 

Mental Prep
How are you prepping mentally? What are your thoughts and strategies going into early season races?   Get Your Mental Game On!  Check in with your mental attitude, preparation, and willingness to “get after it.” Develop your mental strategy to overcome pre race jitters, as well as, when race challenges come your way. Your “stick to it” attitude during early season races prepares you for the bigger challenges you will face later in the race year. 

Bike Nutrition Prep
As you approach your first race of the season, you may want to read the post, A Guide to Race Day Nutrition.  Many cyclist have different preferences as to how they prefer to get their fuel – whether that nutrition is in bars, gels, and liquids.   Selecting the right type of fuel depends on many factors such as duration, intensity and what type of activities such as cycling, running or multi sport.” The end result: experimentation during training and early season races will aid in dialing in proper race day nutrition for your “A” races and events.

Whether you’re entering your first event or you’re a seasoned racer, early season races can be tough. However,  now that you have your gear bag ready and a handy checklist, you’re ready for a great 2017 cycling season.  


How to Develop a Winning Mindset for Early Season Races  

March 16, 2017

Team Rider at BikeParts.com / Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop

Planning and preparing for race season is part of a cyclist’s yearly ritual. Looking forward to focused training and racing is what keeps most coming back season after season. However,  a common misconception is that all of an athlete’s time needs to be devoted to the bike when race preparation begins.  Not true.  Having the right pre season mindset can be a game changer for performance and satisfaction.   

Set Goals – Everyone has different goals.  For some, races are just about getting harder efforts in and saddle time.  For others, it’s making the podium. For most cyclist, it’s about achieving personal bests.  The most important aspect of having a goals it that it can help reduce pre race anxiety and also help you better evaluate your performance post race.  Identify what you want to accomplish with early season races –  whether it be a targeted heart rate or power zone, a solid nutrition plan, or attacking certain areas on the race course.

Pre Race Bike Preparations – While you may have been training on your road bike or mountain bike, race conditions may require more from your bike.  Before you head for the start line, you should conduct a bike maintenance and safety check.  Know which bikesbike partscycling accessories, and cycling apparel are appropriate for the trail or road route you will be racing.  Remember, because it’s early season, the weather fluctuates, so consider variable weather conditions and the bike tools and bike parts you may require under different conditions.  Preparation eliminates the frustration of experiencing a mechanical; so while bike maintenance may not always be fun, it’s worthwhile.  

Establish Race Day Rituals – Most likely it’s been a while since your last race; so remembering what your routines and rituals that worked last season may be absent for this seasons first races.  Designing and refining a pre-event routine is an important part of building a successful race season.  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 bike tools.  Consider having a timer count down so you don’t loose track of time.  This way, you won’t forget anything as you prepare for your start.  Use each early season race to build on race day rituals that have helped you in the past and also enhance your support for your next race.

Start Line Mental State – Your thoughts, emotions, and pre race behaviors are components of your mental state.  With that in mind, take inventory of your mental state and align them with your goals.  It’s easy to compare your training and fitness to others.  This is where having your race plan and goals specific to this event comes in handy. 

Mid Race Mental Toughness – Generally at some point during the race, something is going to go wrong – or at least, not quite as ideal as expected.  Either you suffer from a mechanical issue or your race day nutrition is off or you just feel the suffering from a hard effort.  This is the time to dig deep and exercise mental toughness. As described in the post, Developing Mental Toughness: Are you Tough Enough?, “mental toughness is your ability to persevere in the face of challenges, to keep going even when things get hard, and to have an unrelenting commitment to your goals. When you develop your mental toughness, obstacles are only temporary and one bad performance doesn’t shake your belief in your ability.”  Your “stick to it” attitude during early season races prepares you for the bigger challenges you will face later in the race year. 

Post Race Evaluation  – 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.

A winning mindset isn’t a set it and forget it type of thing.  Consistency and flexibility are crucial elements in the ongoing approach to your races as the season unfolds.  Be consistent in your preparations yet build upon what you have learned to fire up the engine and get out there and race better with each race!


How to Optimize Your Pre-Season Cycling Training

March 9, 2017

Peak Cycles Race TeamThe weather has been amazing in Colorado!  The warmer temps are beckoning recreational and competitive cyclist to ride!  Enthusiasm is high;  but, caution should be in order!  Athletes can make early season training errors.  Namely, taking on too much physical activity too quickly. Going too fast, exercising for too long, or simply doing too much of one type of physical activity can strain your muscles and lead to an overuse injury.  

Whether you are planning to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2017, monitoring your early season training sets the stage for a successful year ahead.

Train right:
From a training perspective, key points to keep in mind include training intensity, duration, and frequency.  There are coaches and coaching plans to assist with specific and customized training.  Or, you can create your own training program.

Regardless of your approach, for precise bio feedback to align your training plan, you’ll need to use cycling accessories available to you – as in power meters and /or heart rate monitors.  Early season training lends itself to “false” feedback.  Meaning, because you may be fresh, your perceived effort on the bike may be low causing you to push too hard, too soon, and then training suffers later due to increased recovery time or even injury.  By monitoring your efforts with specific data, you objectively know when you are pushing beyond your targeted indictors, 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 2017 cycling season goals.

Optimize Your Bike Fit:
An often overlooked, yet incredibly powerful tool for improved cycling is a bike fit.   If you haven’t ridden much through the winter, now is the best time for a bike fit.  Why?  Because your body is unaccustomed to the riding position.  You have an opportunity to optimize your position and make needed upgrades to your road bike or mountain bike.  Think of it this way – leg strength, endurance, and fitness are at the heart of cycling speed, but without a proper bike fit, you are sabotaging your training efforts.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is a proper bike fit.  And, a bike fit goes beyond just setting saddle height and bar reach. To get the most enjoyment and reward from your training programs it’s critical to dial in the fit and confirm you have the right bike parts for optimal performance.

Perform Bike Inspections:
Does your bike have cobwebs on it from non use during the winter months?  Now is the time to dust it off, put some air in those tires, and do a thorough bike inspection.  It seems simple enough but there are some critical areas to pay attention.

What do you look for? 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.  Handlebarsstems, and bike position all contribute to a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety. Make sure all is well before embarking on longer rides which could lead to lasting discomfort.

How important are brakes?  Obviously, a lot!  When you don’t have them, or they aren’t working properly, then you know the importance of well maintained brakes for your road or mountain bike.  Another important component to spring riding is checking out your wheels.  Unquestionably, wheels matter!  They impact ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Spring is a great time to upgrade bicycle components. 

With a little preparation and planning, your pre season bike maintenance and training can pave the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable 2017 cycling season.  Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to pick up the bike parts you need to launch your best cycling season ever!


The Smart Cyclist’s Guide to Preventing Bike Theft

March 2, 2017

Bikes are Safe and Secure at BikeParts.com

About 15,000 bicycles have been reported stolen to the Denver police since 2011. That’s about seven bikes a day taken by bike thieves.  

In fact, Denver consistently ranks in the top ten cities nationwide for bike theft. More so, over a million bikes are stolen every year across the United States. Bike theft is on the rise.  Beyond the financial cost of the crime, it’s heartbreaking to find out someone stole your bike.  Cyclist love their bikes.

As much time as cyclist invest in selecting their road and mountain bikes, and choosing the perfect bike parts and cycling accessories, it’s imperative to protect the bikes we love.  Here’s how.

Make it hard to steal
This is obvious and a no brainer; however, how many times have you been on a ride to find yourself dismounting from your bike to quickly run into a corner store for food or water?  Most times, your bike is left without supervision.  Do not leave your bike unattended. For even safer keeping, do not store bikes unlocked inside home garages.  Leave your bicycle in a visible, well lit area.  When commuting, if possible, avoid leaving your bike locked overnight.

Location
There are numerous bike racks strategically located around coffee shops, stores, and workplaces.  These bike racks are typically in public locations where theft is obvious and rarely occurs. If, however, a bike is parked or locked at a location other than these racks—for instance, attached to a tree or street sign—theft is more likely to occur.   Be mindful as to where you leave your bike.

Lock it
You should always carry a secure lock whenever you plan to leave your bicycle unattended. The U-locks have proven to be most effective, but like all locks they can be defeated. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have bicycle locksU locks, and U lock combination kits.  Depending on your bicycle components, you may opt for one lock or multiple ones. 

Lock it correctly
Yes, there is a right way to lock your bike!  When locking any bike on the street, secure both the wheels and frame. (hint – that is why you may want more than one lock and opt for a combination kit.) Remove, or take with you, any easily removed bike parts. Specifically, remove cycling accessories, your helmet, locking skewers on wheels, locking saddle rings and  lights.  If you bike commute regularly, you may consider installing fixed baskets and panniers vs having removable ones.  It’s a good idea to have a messenger bag or something similar to use on a regular basis as well.  These are the basic necessities needed to secure your road or mountain bike while you’re away at work or running errands.  

Register it
No different than a car, it’s important to register your bike.  Start with documenting ownership of your bike(s): take photos and document the bike’s serial number and all bike parts. Retain all purchase receipts.  Next, register your bike with the National Bike Registry.  If you live in Denver you can register your bike at the Denver Bike Registry.   

What if your bike is stolen?
If your bike is stolen, act fast!  File a police report. Bike Denver offers more information including filing a police report.  You may be hesitant, but have an officer come and take down the report.  Alternatively, if you can, or go to the station with your information, including the bike’s serial number, make, model, and photos of the bike for the report. If you have any video surveillance of the incident—or know there were cameras in the area—include that information with the report.  Take action! Spread news about your stolen bike far and wide throughout your social networks. Post a photo of your bike on Facebook and Twitter and get your friends to repost. The more eyes you have on the streets looking for your bike, the far more likely you are to uncover it.

Prevent bike theft by adhering to the above tips. Of course, no one is guaranteed that their bike will be safe, but these tips will help keep you and your bike safe.


Fitter, Faster, Stronger – with Power Meters

February 23, 2017

Power – we all want it! But how do we get it?  Gaining power on the bike isn’t an overnight achievement but one that is obtained through hard work and discipline.  In the past, power was somewhat of a subjective thing but today, with so many cycling training tools available, power is quantifiable.  In fact, the main idea behind using cycling training tools is to dial in training to optimize performance as it relates to specific goals and objectives.  How can using power help you to get fitter – faster- and stronger on the bike? 

Why train with power?  It’s all about “balancing how much work you do with your body’s response.” It’s the best way to measure work and intensity, as in, Power (watts) = Torque (how hard you pedal) x Cadence (how fast you pedal).  “Doing too much work means injury and overtraining risk. Too little means you’re not getting the maximum benefits you want. When power is measured your training becomes that much more effective.”  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’ve found the benefits of training with power include:

•Establishing your baseline fitness

•Accurately measuring even the smallest fitness gains

•Quantifying intensity, duration and frequency – instead of guessing

•Prevention of overtraining

•Accurately measuring energy use for nutrition planning

•Proper pacing for time trials 

Sounds great!  And it is!  But how do you know which power meter is best for you?  With so many bike parts and cycling accessories available, choosing the ideal product for your training and fitness goals is important. Fortunately, the post What to Know Before Buying a Power Meter, offers a breakdown on available power meters. Now, you might be wondering about costs? In the recent past, training with power was outside of the price range for most cyclist.  However, times have changed and power meters are much more affordable.  Our most popular are Stages Power Meters beginning at $1000.  Stages Power meter is the lightest, smallest, most technologically advanced unit available today.  Another option is the Pioneer Power Meter offered at $2000 and is a bit more sophisticated.  A third favorite is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter.

Finally, the next question – how to get started?  Training with a power meter is one of the most effective way to get results. However, to get those results you need to know what those numbers mean and how to use the data to dial in your training. A great resource available via Training Peaks is a Free Ebook: How To Start Training With Power.  The Ebook starts by covering the basics like determining your threshold and setting your zones. It also explains the metrics behind power, how to analyze your data, see long term trends and how to use the numbers to get faster.  

Do you have questions on which power meter fits your fitness needs or budget? Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to dial in your specific needs. You can browse the variety of cycling apparel and bike parts we have in the store while getting all your power meter questions answered.  We hope to see you soon!