Is Your Bike Haunted? How to Rid Your Bike of Scary Squeaks and Creaks this Halloween 

October 31, 2019

Do you hear squeaks and creaks, clanks and clatters, or rattles and clicks coming from your bike? Are you in fear that your bike is haunted? That perhaps a competitor has put a curse on you? Or quite possibly your bike is possessed?  It is Halloween after all! And frightful things can happen! Take it from our bike mechanics here at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, a frightful terror we have seen is the use of WD-40 as chain lubrication!  The horror!

Given our bike maintenance experience, we can help you expel the frightful sounds originating from your bike. Granted, our tips and tricks won’t cover a full exorcism but you’ll be well on your way to fixing those annoying noises and back to peaceful pedaling.

Squeaks and CreeksThese super common sounds are usually due to dirty or dry bearings. You’ll often find that after riding your bike for a while or in harsh conditions these noises start to creep in. Areas to check if you’re hearing these noises would be:
Crankset/ Bottom Bracket
Headset
Pivots (MTB)
Derailleur jockey wheels or chain guide pulleys
Chain
Derailleur “clutch” or lockout area
Saddle rail clamp bolt
Clipless pedals

Clunks and ClattersAnother common noise that sounds a bit scarier is a clunk or clatter. This noise should scare you because it generally means something on your bike is loose! Here are some important bolts to check if you hear this noise:
Headset
Front/Rear wheel axles
Pivots (MTB)
Derailleur bolt
Water bottle cage (ok, this one’s not that scary… but super common!)

Rattles and Clicks – While there are countless recommendations on keeping your road bike or mountain bike in good, working order, try these tips to help with rattles, clicks, and the like.
Pay Attention to Your Chain. If you’ve been training regularly then no doubt your chain is showing some wear and tear. Take time to actually clean your chain. For an easy-clean, scrub your drivetrain parts with a brush and eco-friendly degreaser and re-lubricate the chain when you are done. For something more thorough, you could buy a chain cleaner like Park Tool’s Cyclone Chain Scrubber, fill it with a non-aerosol degreaser like Pedros Oranj Peelzturn your crank 15-20 revolutions and let your scrubber do the job for you. As for the best chain lube, check out our post, Dry Pavement, Sloppy Slush, and A Muddy Trail: Which Chain Lube Works Best? for options.

Check your Wheels and Tires. Both your wheels and tires are essential for bike safety.  Accompanying the snow and wet riding conditions are salt, debris, and miscellaneous items found in the cycling lanes and roads. Have you checked your tires lately? They may actually need replacing. Begin by cleaning the wheels with rubbing alcohol and dry with a cloth. Check the rims for damage and examine for loose spokes. Your wheel should run smoothly without any side-to-side wobble. Next, replace your tires. If you aren’t up for doing this yourself, let us help you.

Inspect Your Brakes. Nothing is more frightening than shredding down a long, winding road and not having brakes! Bike brakes use brake pads to stop your wheels from turning. Brake pads wear down over time and especially so under wet and grimy conditions. Be mindful to examine your brake pads for any uneven or extensive wear. If you do find uneven abrasions, you probably need to get your brakes adjusted and/or replaced.

Replace old bike parts! Don’t wait until you hear odd little noises or you notice that your bike is taking too long for the brakes to engage before investigating.  Some parts of a bike have a set “wear life”. As you put in the miles, they gradually wear out and need to be replaced. Typically, this includes chainscassetteschainringsbrake pads, and cleats.

Finally, if you can’t find the cause of the annoying noises, bring your bike into Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado. We’ll be able to zero in on the source and type of noise fast and efficiently and get you back to riding in peace and quiet in no time. See you soon and Happy Halloween Friends!


Sloppy Weather – Easy Tips to Show Your Bike Some TLC  

March 7, 2019

Peak Cycles / BikeParts.com Training Ride up Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado

It’s that time of the year when road rides alternate between dry pavement and sloppy slush.  And, with the warmer temperatures gracing the Front Range, riding MTB trails is a treat but there is the complication of dealing with mud, slush and a mixture of dry trail. What does this mean to cyclists? it means your bike needs some TLC. Bike maintenance isn’t always fun to do, but obviously, it is a necessity. 

While there are countless recommendations on keeping your road bike or mountain bike in good, working order, these are our top 3 picks for bike maintenance during this transitional season. 

  1. Pay Attention to Your Chain. If you’ve been training regularly then no doubt your chain is showing some wear and tear. Take time to actually clean your chain. For an easy clean, scrub your drivetrain parts with a brush and eco-friendly degreaser and re-lubricate the chain when you are done. For something more thorough, you could buy a chain cleaner like Park Tool’s Cyclone Chain Scrubber, fill it with a non-aerosol degreaser like Pedros Oranj Peelzturn your crank 15-20 revolutions and let your scrubber do the job for you. As for the best chain lube, check out our post, Dry Pavement, Sloppy Slush, and A Muddy Trail: Which Chain Lube Works Best? for options.
  2. Check your Wheels and Tires. Both your wheels and tires are essential for bike safety.  Accompanying the snow and wet riding conditions are salt, debris, and miscellaneous items found in the cycling lanes and roads. Have you checked your tires lately? They may actually need replacing. Begin by cleaning the wheels with rubbing alcohol and dry with a cloth. Check the rims for damage and examine for loose spokes. Your wheel should run smoothly without any side-to-side wobble. Next, replace your tires. If you aren’t up for doing this yourself, let us help you. For the month of March, receive 20% off any tire with the purchase of installation in the shop! 
  3. Inspect Your Brakes. When you are shredding down a long, winding road or a steep trail grade, what’s going to stop you? Your brakes! Bike brakes use brake pads to stop your wheels from turning. Brake pads wear down over time and especially so under wet and grimy conditions. Be mindful to examine your brake pads for any uneven or extensive wear. If you do find uneven abrasions, you probably need to get your brakes adjusted and/or replaced.

As you ride more through the early season, some worn bike parts that weren’t visible upon your first bike inspection may become apparent as the season progresses.  Regular maintenance is essential. Preseason bike maintenance and training paves the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable cycling season.  Stop by the Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to pick up the cycling accessories you need to maintain your bike or let us help you!


A Cocktail for Cyclist? Cherry Juice, Beet Juice, and Supplements

October 27, 2016
PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

PhysioPhyx LPR available at BikeParts.com

As athletes, we all want to get fitter, leaner, stronger, and faster!  Regardless of age or athletic ability, inherent in every cyclist wish list is a secret weapon to get faster without expending more effort.  As such, many turn to nutritional supplements.  And, there’s good reason to do so too! As it turns out, many products, including beet and cherry juice, are proving to aid in recovery and providing performance-enhancing benefits for endurance athletes.  Here’s an overview of what you need to know.  

The benefits of tart cherry juice for endurance athletes includes better sleep, ability to fight inflammation, reduced muscle pain, and immunity boosting. Sounds great, right! And drinking tart cherry juice tastes great and is a nice bedtime snack. To maximize its effects, Coach Lynda Wallenfels suggest mixing in 20g of the slow digesting protein casein to boost protein synthesis while you sleep. Also, consider taking another dose of tart cherry juice the following morning to maximize the performance-enhancing benefits it has to offer.

Another natural food worth investigating is beet juice.  A study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism suggests adding some nitrate-rich beetroot juice to our workout plan can enhance our stamina, strength, and endurance.   How does it work?  According to the post, Using Beet Juice to Improve Performance, “Beets contain a large amount of inorganic nitrates. These compounds are the precursor to a very important signalling molecule that our body needs to function- Nitric Oxide2. NO is made naturally within our bodies but we can dramatically increase its availability by eating nitrate rich food. Among other roles, NO acts as a vasodilator in functioning skeletal muscle, increasing the size of blood vessels to allow more oxygen flow. “ Granted, beets are not going to make you fast on their own, but for the athlete that cares about marginal gains, they could provide the race winning boost.   

In addition to food based nutrition for enhanced performance, there are cycling specific supplements too.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, a favorite nutritional product available post ride is PhysioPhyx.  Here’s what we like about this product.  PhysioPhyx LPR takes recovery nutrition to a new level of support and performance by delivering a powerful, evidence-based blend of Carbohydrates + Protein + Leucine. This potent combination of nutrients has been precisely formulated to help ensure you rapidly and effectively restore muscle energy (glycogen), minimize muscle soreness, stimulate muscle repair and speed training adaptations after moderate, intense and exhaustive exercise or competition. In fact, recent studies have shown the nutrient trio of Carbs + Protein + Leucine taken after exercise creates an absolute ideal environment for your body to quickly go into recovery overdrive.  Who doesn’t like “overdrive”?!

Overall, a solid training program combined with a healthy lifestyle provide the greatest platform for sustained and improved performance.  Adding supporting elements like these mentioned can help. While you are at it, you can make improvements to your bike too!  Improve bike performance with lighter bike parts. Minimize mechanicals by replacing old drivetrain parts with new ones. Support your body with a bike fit or cycling apparel like compression gear for recovery.  Again, there may not be a single best option for fitness gains but every little bit helps!