The Trails Are Calling  – Steps to Transitioning from Road to Trails 

July 20, 2017

Peak Cycles/Bikeparts.com enjoys the evening views off Lookout Mountain

Do you hear the call of the mountain bike trails? Maybe you’re a bike commuter or you mostly ride the road and are curious about riding some of the popular mountain bike trails on the Front Range.  

Oftentimes, those making the transition from concrete to dirt experience a little trepidation in knowing what to expect and how to make the move with ease. However, with our tips, you’ll be shredding trails in no time!

First and foremost, you need to decide what mountain bike to ride.  Our post, Which Mountain Bike Should You Buy, walks you through all the options available, the pros and cons of each and help dial that in for you. Granted, you’ll need a mountain bike but what size wheel, bike components, hard tail or full suspension, and all the bike parts associated with your mountain bike of choice is up to you. Obviously, we’re here to help you so stop in Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to test ride some mountain bikes, as well as, get all of your questions answered.

Notably, after you have your bike – or get a rental bike – you’ll need to get the right cycling apparel.  If you’re a road cyclist or a commuter, you can wear some of the same clothing.  For instance, your helmet, jersey, and shorts will work. However, you may consider full finger gloves to protect your hands.  Also, mountain bike shoes are helpful.  Unlike road riding, when riding trails it isn’t uncommon to jump off the bike, walk or jog through a section, and then jump back on. Surprisingly, you may also want to swap out your road sunglasses for transition lenses. Mountain bike trails are exposed and also heavily covered with negation and trees making visibility different than when riding the road.  Protecting your eyes is one thing but being able to see the trails and ride comfortably is another. 

The next question is, where to ride? Trail difficulty ranges from easy to hard. The best part about harder trails is that if it seems to challenging to ride, you can walk that section. On the plus side, seeing challenging terrain gives you something to aim to achieve later. All of Golden’s trails can be found on the City of Golden website. For your convenience, however, we thought we would highlight some of our favorite cycling trails.

Chimney Gulch Trail – Skill Level: Moderate – Advanced
Not too far away from downtown Golden, Chimney Gulch is a visitor and local favorite because it ascends the well-known Golden landmark — Lookout Mountain. Chimney Gulch is mostly an uphill climb which winds through the Golden foothills and emerges at the top of Lookout Mountain. At the summit, you can park your bike to enjoy gorgeous mountain and city overlooks or visit the Lookout Mountain Nature Center and Preserve. And the way down is all downhill!

Apex Trail – Skill Level: Moderate – Advanced
Similar to (but less popular than) the Chimney Gulch Trail, the Apex Trail winds up and up into Golden’s western foothills. For much of the way, the track is surrounded by pine forests, giving you a feeling that you are far away from the bustle of city life. The Chimney Gulch and Apex trails can actually be connected for an extended ride up one and down the other. If you are combining the trails, you may want to consider stopping at Buffalo Bill’s grave at the top of Lookout Mountain.

North and South Table Mountain – Skill Level: Easy – Moderate
Both North and South Table Mountain (located on the east side of Golden) offer a unique mountain biking experience. The flat-top mesa makes for relatively easy cycling, which gives riders the chance to enjoy the open prairie. Both mesas have multiple access points and extensive trails that weave on top and along the side of the mountains, just out of reach of urban Golden. We find that morning and evening light glancing off the prairies make for an especially special ride on these trails.

White Ranch Trail – Skill Level: Moderate – Difficult
If you are looking for solitude, this is one of your best bets. On the north end of Golden, the White Ranch Park offers a different type of beauty from the rest of town and encompasses meadows, pine forests, views of buttes, and unique rock formations. It has about 20 miles of trails that wind through both rugged and gentle terrain.

With all this in mind, it’s important to note that before taking your mountain bike for a spin, it’s important to be prepared. Having plenty of waterfood and nutrition, extra tire tubes, and repair kits, as well as the right tires and maps will ensure you have an enjoyable and stress free experience. So what are you waiting for?  Answer the calling of the trails – ride them! 

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Wet Weather? No Problem! 5 Essentials for Riding in the Rain

March 30, 2017

Waterproof Jackets for Spring Cycling @ BikeParts.com

There is no such thing as “bad biking weather”, just ask those happy folks cycling around the Front Range every day of the year. Most cyclist have experienced a sprinkle, shower, or torrential downpour at some point during their cycling career—but with the right gear and attitude, riding in wet weather can be acceptable, and maybe even fun. Here’s what you need.

Rain jacket – Cycling rain jackets are optimized to be fully waterproof and breathable while allowing for a range of movement, and they often have subtle (or unsubtle) reflective accents. The thing to be mindful of when choosing one is the hood. If you ride in a helmet, is the hood big enough to fit over it? If not, opt for a head cap. A cycling cap, worn underneath your helmet, will help keep the rain from running into your eyes while you ride, and help shield your face from the rain.

Shoe covers or waterproof shoes – Shoe covers, also known as booties, cover the exterior of your shoes and protect from wet, cold, and wind. There are several options: some that cover just the toes and others that encompass the entire foot. Sometimes, even shoe covers aren’t enough protection. Waterproof cycling shoes and boots can be a very smart investment, especially if you’re determined to ride in the rain frequently.

Gloves – Perched out on your handlebars your hands face the brunt of the weather. As your hands become numb from the constant rain, their temperature quickly cools, and before too long you can have some very frozen fingers to deal with. Frozen fingers aren’t much good at changing gear, braking or clinging to the handlebars, and they’re extremely uncomfortable. Opt for full finger / windproof gloves and waterproof gloves.

Lights – Even if it’s daylight out, you should ride with lights—for the same reason cars turn their lights on in the rain.  The sky is darker, rain can obscure your outline, and drivers are already distracted. Using lights will make you more visible, and help you stay safe.

Maintenance – Experiencing mechanical difficulties in wet conditions is not fun!  A well maintained bike is a fun bike to ride – even in the rain. While bike maintenance can be a chore, having the right set of bike components and bicycle tools can make all the difference.  Good reminders for riding in wet conditions is to wipe down and inspect the frame.  Then, follow that up by applying lube your chain and pivot points.  

Finally, adjust your attitude!  Learn to love riding in the rain.  Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop or visit us at BikeParts.com to select the cycling apparel that matches your riding style and wet riding needs.