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! 


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! 


2016 Bike Sale Galore! 

August 25, 2016

Sale at Peak Cycles / BikeParts.comIf you are a cyclist, you don’t just own a bike. At a minimum, you have a helmetbike pump, and water bottle; you might 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. Fortunately, it is that time of year again when we have fantastic deals on all the bikes and cycling gear you love! Yay for bike sales, right?!

Everything 2016 is marked way down.  Consider these killer deals:

  • Up to 35% off new 2016 Stumpjumpers!  
  • ’16 S-Works Stumpjumper 650b Medium $5590 (from $8600)
  • ’16 Stumpjumper Expert 650b Medium & Small $4000 (from $5900)
  • ’16 Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 650b Med & L $2540 (from $3800)
  • ’16 Stumpjumper Comp Carbon 29 Large & XL $3040 (from $3800)
  • ’16 S-Works and Expert Stumpjumper FSR bikes $5590 (from $8600) 

Additionally we can special order any remaining 2016 bikes at crazy discounts.  

Not looking for a new bike?  No worries – we’ve got you covered on cycling accessory closeouts – everything from gloves, jerseys, bike parts, hydration packs, bicycle tools – you name it!  Think about it.  There aren’t many better upgrades for your road bike than a new set of wheels. Now is the time to get them.  Do you wear a helmet every time that you ride? Probably. Well, now’s the time to replace that helmet. Replace worn out pedals, chain rings, and saddles without spending a ton of money.  

If these bikes tantalize your bike senses, stop into Peak Cycles in Golden, Colorado to see what you might find at our sale. We’re confident you’ll like what you see!  

Note on bike sale: Bikes must be picked up at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado.  Bike cannot and will not be shipped. No exceptions. This applies to all Specialized, S-Works, Praxis Works and MSW products.  


Drinking During a Cyclocross Race?  It’s Not What You Think!

September 17, 2015

Did you hear that?  That was a cowbell ringing!  Because somewhere in the world, there’s a cyclocross race going on!  As customary to the cyclocross culture, there’s lively banter, cheering, cowbell ringing, and festivities accompanying a cyclocross race.  As many who participate in either cyclocross racing, heckling (or both)  know, the cyclocross culture is rich with enthusiasm.  It’s a crazy fun cycling discipline inspiring cyclist to an all-out mad dash through the dirt, pavement, grass, mud, sand, snow and/or ice that will leaves athletes sucking wind, barely able to see straight…and desperately seeking fluids!  

Traditionally, drinking fluids during a cyclocross race was an unheard of activity.  This was partially due to mounting/ dismounting the bike to jump over obstacles as well as shouldering the bike for run ups; however, this was also related to the UCI rules and regulations for professional athletes.  However, just recently, the UCI has clarified their stand.

“Riders may carry fluids on their bicycles and install bottles on their spare bicycles in the pit area. Hands-free water carrying systems such as backpacks are permitted, and riders may also carry water bottles in their jersey pockets. However, it is forbidden to receive a bottle from anybody along the course. Extra fluids can only be obtained during the race when a rider takes a spare bicycle, already equipped with a bottle, from the pit area.”

So yes, that means you can drink during cyclocross races.  While you might think of it an an opportunity to consume adult beverages, we’re actually talking about water and other nutritional products.  Because racers can now drink while racing cyclocross, what are the best options: bottles or a hydration pack?  Your choice may come down to individual preference but there are several factors to consider.  Weather conditions play a factor as well as course considerations.   If the course is slick with mud and minimal safe passing zones, then bottles may be undesirable. The same applies for tricky descents in which a bump tosses the bottle right out of its cage.  Then again, if the course dictates multiple run ups requiring shoulder mounts, then having a backpack may be limiting.  At a minimum, it’s important to have water bottles and containers available pre-race that can be tossed aside before the start. Equally important is having bottles and nutritional support available immediately post race for adequate refueling and recovery

Regardless of how you take in your fluids, hydration is important.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’re all about supporting good cycling habits – whether that is proper hydration, having a bike that fits, access to the right bike parts, or availability to the best cycling accessories for you. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, cyclocross has something to offer everybody and so do we.  Check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com.  

Wait! Did you hear that?  There’s that cowbell again!