Staunton Blizzard: The 2nd Annual Front Range Fat Bike Race – January 20, 2019

January 17, 2019

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we love fat biking and we want others to love it too!

Because we know great trail conditions can make a good day into an awesome day, all of us at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop and Big Ring Cycles have partnered with 285 Nordic and Staunton State Park to raise money for grooming equipment at Staunton. Join us in building a great location for fat bike riders for years to come, right here in the front range. Here’s what you can expect. 

The event is this Sunday, January 20th at Staunton State Park. So, register today and you’re all set to join in the fun for the Second Annual Staunton Blizzard, the Front Range Fat Bike Race! There are two courses to choose from.

Amateur course: A beautiful 12.1-mile loop that includes the following trails: Staunton Ranch – Borderline – Mason Creek. Fatties rollout at 8,100 feet for a route that includes 2,000 feet of breathtaking elevation gain
Elite Course: A challenging 18-mile route. Trails to be announced.

The race categories:
• Masters Men’s (age 46 and above)
• Masters Women’s (age 46 and above)
• Senior Men’s (age 21-45)
• Senior Women’s (age 21-45)
• Junior Men’s (age 20 and under)
• Junior Women’s (age 20 and under)
• Elite course

The schedule:
Check-in begins at 8:15.
Races begin at 9:00

What if you are interested but not racing? After the race categories, join a “Smiles and Miles” group to ride this beautiful course.

Great! You’re IN! Now what? 

Well, get prepared! In our post, Fat Bike Essentials for First Time Fat Bike Riders, we give you the lay of the land of what you need to know. The quick rundown is to have the right cycling apparel! Stay warm and you will ride in comfort. Generally, the most important tip for keeping warm is to layer and to carry a pack to put your extra layers away. Some people prefer to wear ski goggles and a ski helmet, and lots of people wear winter boots. Poagies, insulated hand covers that slip over your handlebars, are also very useful for keeping your hands warm. Keeping your feet warm is key. Wearing boots, preferably waterproof, with thick socks on flat pedals or clipless boots with multiple pairs of socks works.

Are you wondering about drinking, and staying hydrated in the cold? Well, we have a few tips for you. First off, even though you might not feel the urge to drink as much when racing or riding your fat bike in the cold, it is still important to drink fluids. During the shorter race, you may opt to carry an insulated water bottle and start with really warm water. You can also add electrolytes or other ingredients to change the freezing point of the fluid but may find limited success if you think you’ll be out there riding for a while. When using a CamelBak or something similar, stick the bite valve in your jacket and blow out all the water in your hose. You can also buy neoprene insulators for the hydration hose to help keep the water as a liquid substance. 

What about pedals? There is the clipless/flat pedals debate for fat bikes. Ultimately, it’s your choice! The biggest problems people have making this decision is deciding how to best keep their feet warm. Having flat pedals will allow you to wear thick winter boots, which are more conducive to keeping your feet warm. However, you can buy clipless boots that are designed to handle colder temperatures. Using a clipless pedal could prove annoying in snowy terrain if you have to dismount and remount frequently during your ride. 

Finally, there’s tire preparation. What kind of tires is recommended? How wide? What pressure? Tube vs. Tubeless? It’s no different than the usual configuration – you have to match tire pressure with conditions. Softer snow conditions: 6psi. Harder conditions: 8-10psi. (much lower than the normal bike). Fat-bike tires are typically marked as 26 x 4.0 though most are really more like 26 x 3.7 or 3.8. The actual size of the mounted tire will vary depending on the rim width used for the wheel.  Many riders prefer tubeless because they reduce over a point of rotation weight and they provide better traction.

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we are all big fans of fat bike riding. We sure hope you are feeling the urge to take on this fun fat bike phenomenon and join us this Sunday, January 20th at Staunton State Park, 12102 South Elk Creek Road, Pine, CO 80470 for the Staunton Blizzard: The 2nd Annual Front Range Fat Bike Race

Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to get ready for the race.  Check out our fat bike selections, cycling apparel, hydration strategies, fat bike bike parts, and cycling accessories.  Plus, get even more of your questions answered in person!  Be sure to register for the event and we’ll see you on Sunday! 

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Christmas Count Down  – What to Get For Everybody on Your List   

December 20, 2018

Imagine this: Your heart rate increases. Your blood pressure spikes. You hit a sudden wall of fatigue. Are you racing at the front of the pack? Trying to close the gap on the rider in front of you? Sprinting to the finish line? Actually, no. You are holiday shopping! We’ve got 5 days left before Christmas! Are you feeling the rush? Have you checked off everyone on your list? We’ve got tips to making the shopping stress easier and getting your checklist complete. 

Husband – Hmmm…you might be thinking your cycling husbands has all the bike parts and cycling accessories he needs. That is never the case! Think a little outside the box. Add a little giggle factor to your holiday and get your husband a fat bike!  fat bikes in the winter months but they can actually be ridden year round! And if getting a new bike isn’t in the budget, then splurge on a fat bike demo so he can try it out himself! Consider gifting your husband bike maintenance tools, lube, and other items to help him take care of his bike (and yours!). 

Wife – Are you not sure what to get your wife for Christmas? Maybe she has hinted at some new cycling apparel? Every woman wants to ride in style.  She can’t have too many women’s jerseys, shorts, tights, jacket, sunglasses, or cycling shoes!  Having a variety of cycling apparel to wear keeps cycling fresh and makes it fun to get out and ride!  Perhaps you are looking more for a stocking stuffer idea. Surprise her with a gift certificate.  She can use it for purchasing the precise gift that will make her the happiest.  

Children – We all know, the best Christmas Gift for a Kid is a bike! But what you may not know is that we have a huge selection of kids bikes, children’s cycling apparel, helmets, and  cycling accessories. This includes windbreakers, gloves, shorts, jersey’s, chamois, pedals, hats, backpacks, and all the cool things that kids love. 

Your Bike – Do you know what your bike wants for Christmas? You can’t leave your bike off the list!  There are plenty of thoughtful gifts available to show your bike just how much you care. Think new bottles, bike parts and components, saddle, and wheel sets. Any of these items will make your bike happy! 

Whew! Are you feeling that endorphin high yet from just finishing your whirlwind of shopping? Maybe not just yet…head on over to BikeParts.com or stop by and see us at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to finish up your last minute holiday shopping. Merry Christmas! 


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! 


Obvious Yet Worth Repeating: Why Bike Lights Are Important 

October 25, 2018

Bike Lights at BikeParts.com

 

 

 

 

If you have been cycling for a while, chances are at some point in your cycling career you have had an unpleasant experience with a car.  No one enjoys that!  And, while it is a given that vehicle and motorcycle drivers understand that there are certain rules that make things safer for everyone on the roads, they may not know that there are specific guidelines for dealing with cyclists. Likewise, riders must obey certain traffic laws to keep things safe for themselves and motorists. However, you don’t need a license to ride a bike. That’s why it’s even more important to educate both drivers and cyclists about safety on the road.  

This time of year, some cyclist forgo their rides in fear of lack of visibility and poor road conditions to avoid the potential conflicts of not being seen by drivers.  Yet, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we encourage you to keep riding.  Safety equates to being seen by drivers, as well as, pedestrians. So to continue riding through the fall and winter months, forgo your fear of the dark! Invest in the right bike parts and cycling apparel to ride in the dark. As a result, you will have the confidence 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. 

Commit to regular bike maintenance.  Fall weather conditions create a bit more havoc for your bike. With that in mind, we encourage riders to be mindful of having a well maintained bike with properly working bike parts to maintain safe riding conditions.  We also support mindful bike riding.  As in, not riding on the sidewalk, not riding to close to the curb, maintaining eye contact with pedestrians and motorist, and always wearing a proper fitting helmet.   

Being seen and staying safe on the bike is easy.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we provide cycling accessories and cycling apparel to keep cyclist safe.  While having a bike belllights, a safety vest, and a helmet are all helpful, we also encourage riders to know the rules of the road. The post, An Essential Cyclist Safety Guide for Riders and Motorists, shares more details on bike safety.  Additionally, the post How to Not Get Hit by Cars shares important lessons in bike safety.  Be an informed and safe rider – know the rules of the road, ride safe, and be seen. 

Lucky for you, we have lights on sale right now! LED, rechargeable, and affordable. Check out BikeParts.com for our wide variety of light options.  Or, stop by the shop and see which ones are best for your bike setup and type of riding.  See you soon! 


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.  

Essential Cycling Apparel for Fall Riding 

September 27, 2018

While we welcome cooler temps and colorful foliage that fall cycling offers, the shorter days and fatigue of the cycling season can beckon cyclist to cut their rides short – or skip them all together.  Perhaps missing a day or two of riding doesn’t seem like much but it does.  

According to the post, What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Riding, within a relatively short period of time, undesirable consequences result.  As in, your metabolism stagnates. Your blood pressure rises. Your blood sugar surges. Fitness declines.  And, inevitable wait gain surfaces.  Not fun!

Fall is actually the best time to transition from peak cycling form to a relaxed one.  Doing so doesn’t include missing rides.  It means shifting your mindset to embrace fall cycling while actually boosting your cycling performance for next year. The trick is making sure you are comfortable during transitional weather.  If you feel comfortable riding, then you will do it.  

Ask yourself, what clothing do you need to wear in different weather conditions to remain comfortable?  Do you have waterproof and wind resistant clothing? Do you have enough of the basic cycling necessities, as in leggings? Arm warmers? Knee warmers? Scull cap? What about your base layers?  Do you have enough of them or do you need to add in some fleece lined clothing?  Staying warm, dry, and comfortable is key to riding during the fall season.  

Lucky for you, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can help you with all of your cycling apparel needs.  In fact, we’ve got a great end of the year sale on 2018 bikes and cycling apparel in store right now!  At a minimum, these are the essential fall riding clothes you need to have on hand.

1. Wind Vest – The wind vest is one of the most used pieces of cool weather gear. It keeps your core body protected from frontal winds, but vents in the rear to keep you from overheating. The wind vest is also very versatile and can be added to different clothing combinations, using it with regular jerseys, winter jerseys, and arm warmers. It’s also easily stowed in a pack or shirt pocket.

2. Wind / Rain Jacket – It’s always a good idea to keep a water resistant jacket handy when rain is in the forecast.

3. Arm Warmers – Arm warmers are a must during the Fall season.  While they don’t take up much room, they are great for temperature control.

4. Full Finger / Windproof Gloves – When riding in cooler temps, one of the first things to get cold are the fingers. Protect your hands with full fingerers and / or windproof gloves. A popular item to consider are the Endure gloves. 

5. Knickers, Knee Warmers, and Pants – As the temperatures drop, it’s a good idea to cover your knees. Many cyclist prefer tights whereas others prefer leg warmers.  There are also knickers which allow more airflow over the legs, and they are good for those in-between days. Consider trying out each option and experiment to dial in your preference.

6. Head Band or Skull Cap – The vents in your helmet that are such an asset during the summer months become a major liability when the temperatures begin to drop. To prevent from losing heat from your scalp, be sure to wear a thin skullcap or headband under the helmet

7. Wool Socks – Keeping your feet dry and warm can be a challenge in the cold weather, but nice wool socks are your best bet.

8. Shoe Covers – Shoe covers, also known as booties, cover the exterior of your shoes and protect from cold and wind.  There are several options: some that cover just the toes and others that encompass the entire foot. Toe covers are great for Fall but as you transition to Winter riding, you may wish for a pair that covers your entire foot.  If you’re not a fan of shoe covers, opt for a warmer shoe all together! We have two favorite options.  The Giant Sojourn cycling shoes have a stiff and grippy bottom which are good for walking.  A great option for bike commuters.  The other favorite is the Defroster cycling shoe.  It’s a great option for fall and winter riding and especially on the cold days because these shoes doesn’t require shoe covers.  

9. Lights – At the end of this month, the days will be much shorter! Plan ahead and get your lights ready. Get a red blinker for the rear that mounts to the bike or your pack, and a decent headlight for the front.

10. Tool kit – The bicycle tools needed to have on hand in inclement weather matter.  Discover what the best bike parts for fall commuting and build a tool kit that meets your needs.

Which essential items are missing from the list? Let us know! Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.  Better yet, stop in the shop to say hi and browse our fall cycling apparel. 


3 Ways to Enjoy Fall via Your Bicycle 

September 20, 2018

Each season has its own ups and downs.  Spring and summer seasons are marked with event registrations, travel, and enjoying the cycling lifestyle.  The winter season is the least exciting if you are inside riding on your trainer; yet winter can be fun if you are experiencing the joys of riding a fat bike. However, the fall season is somewhat of a mixture of all this.  As Saturday is the first day of fall, many cyclists are wondering how best to enjoy the season on their bicycles.  What are our suggestions?  Read on! 

If you haven’t noticed yet, the leaves on the trees are beginning to change colors.  One of the very best ways to enjoy the changing landscape is riding your mountain bike.  Consider making a bucket list of mountain bike trails to ride before winter comes.  Some of our favorite mountain bike trails include: 

  1. Buffalo Creek
  2. Centennial Cone
  3. White Ranch
  4. Mount Falcon
  5. Lair O’ the Bear
  6. Green Mountain
  7. Apex + trails
  8. Golden Gate Canyon 
  9. Hall Ranch 

Another great option for enjoying the fall season, while also maintaining fitness, is to bike commute.  Fall bike commuting offers the chance to enjoy cooler temperatures, view the changing colors of the leaves, and reinvigorate our spirits with the freedom riding a bike inspires. If you’re new to bike commuting, you’ll enjoy our post, What Are The Best Bike Parts for Fall Commuting and 15 Tips for Bike Commuting in Cooler Months.  Both posts offer tips and suggestions for route selections, necessary bike parts, and cycling apparel to make fall bike commuting fun and enjoyable.

If you still have some competitive energy left in you after the summer race season, then a third option to enjoying fall on your bicycle is to try a cyclocross race.  Last week we wrote about Why Race Cyclocross, and this week, we’re encouraging you to do it. It’s fun! It’s addicting! And we have all the bike parts and cycling accessories you need to get you into this cycling discipline.  

When you really think of it, fall is a transitional season. From a cycling perspective, fall isn’t the end of the summer cycling season, it is the beginning of next season.  Keep in mind that just as much as the spring cycling season inspires us to get in shape, tackle new challenges, and reach new cycling heights, the fall season can inspire us too. Discovering new ways to nurture our bodies, maintain the gains we’ve made during the season, and re-energize for the season ahead.  Celebrate the fall season by riding your bike!