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! 


Do You Know These 5 Important Bike Fit Tips?

July 13, 2017

Get the Right Bike for You at BikeParts.com

If you’re riding for an hour or less at a time on a properly-fitted bike, you probably won’t be riding for long enough for that to matter. A bike that fits well and is right for your height, flexibility and riding style is a bike you’ll love riding and you will find yourself looking for reasons to ride your bike.  

However, a bike that fits poorly can lead to inefficient riding, muscle aches and pains, and general discomfort that might discourage you from riding as long or as far as you want.  Whether you are buying a new bike, switching between bikes, or simply installing a new saddle, bike fit is important.  

As you know, bikes come in all sizes and shapes, and there are endless bike parts and cycling accessories that can be added or swapped to make bikes a better fit for you. When considering a bike that will actually fit you, most bike experts consider things like frame size, frame dimensions, saddle height, top tube and stem dimensions, knee and cleat position, handle bar size, crank length and body angle.  Following are the 5 important bike fit tips to help you dial in your ride. 

  1. Get the correct bike for your needs.  Getting a bike whose frame matches your body is the most important part of bike fit . If the frame size is wrong, you probably won’t be able to adjust the seat and handlebars enough to compensate. Some adjustments can be made easily with the bike’s existing components (seat height, angle, etc.) and some may require swapping out a component (as in, a new stem can change the location of the handlebars for a more comfortable riding position).
  2. Seat height. When you’re pedaling and your leg is all the way down, your knee should be slightly bent. If your leg is straight (knee locked), your seat is too high. If your knee is very bent,  your seat is too low. Either problem can hurt your knees, and a seat height that’s too short robs you of power and makes it harder to ride.  To get the proper seat height, you want the saddle to be high enough that your heel barely touches the pedal at the bottom of the pedal rotation, but not so high that your heel comes above your toes at the bottom of the pedal stroke. 
  3. Seat position. Saddle setback another important measurement to get right. The front of your kneecap should be directly over your pedal spindle when you’re mid-pedal stroke. Most bike fitters dangle a piece of string with a small weight at the bottom (a plumb line) from the side of the rider’s kneecap to see if it lines up directly with the spindle—you may need to enlist a friend to help get this exactly right.  Or better yet, schedule a bike fit at our shop and we’ll help you do it! 
  4. Reach to your handlebars.  Handlebar reach is simply the distance you reach from your saddle to your handlebars. Aim for a riding position that gives you a modest amount of shock-absorbing bend in your arms without forcing you to reach too far to apply the brakes.
  5. Handlebar height. Your handlebars should be at least as high as your seat.  

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we believe that there is much more to fitting a cyclist to his/her bicycle than just the physical dimensions of a bike. Each cyclist has a different history, experience, comfort level, and goal on the bike; each of these variables are important to the bike-fit process. 

If you’re still struggling to nail these three measurements, you may want to consider a bike fit. With eleven years of fitting experience and over over two-thousand fits, George Mullen at has the experience, the tools and the advanced training to handle any fit scenario. Stop by the Peak Cycles bike fitting studio to schedule a fit.  Also, order any bike parts you need from a recent fit online at bikeparts.com.  We offer a  huge selection of road bike parts, mountain bike parts, BMX bike parts and more. If you need it for your bike, then we have it!


Our First Hot Weekend of Racing! Managing the Heat and Optimizing Performance

June 1, 2017

Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com Team Racer

Bye bye snow and rainy days. Hello blue skies and warm temps!  Finally, we’re getting some rideable weather here along the Front Range in Colorado.  Great timing too!  This weekend, June 3-4th, marks the beginning of June racing and there are quite a few mountain bike and road bike events taking place: 

Not too long ago, we shared in our Peak Cycles blog post 5 race day strategies to prepare for the Spring races in Colorado highlighting the importance of setting goals, knowing the race route, establishing race day rituals and getting into the proper mental state for racing.  The post, 5 Steps to Being Race Ready, reinforces the need for mental and physical preparation, as well as nutrition and bike parts checks, but part of racing is using your energy effectively – especially during the summer heat.

Since it’s early season and most of us have been accustomed to the cooler temperatures, it’s important to take note and prepare accordingly for the warm weather this weekend.  Managing the heat while riding and racing is critical not only to comfort, but also performance.  Many cyclist, whether recreational or competitive, find dealing with the heat an issue.  Suffering from some degree of cramps at one time or another or heat related stomach issues, the heat brings on specific challenges to overcome in the summer months.  What, if anything, be done to help you train and race best in the heat?

When it is hot, especially when temps are in the 90-100F (36-40C) range, your body needs to work harder to keep your core temperatures in a safe range to allow the organs to function normally.  There are numerous heat–coping strategies to consider when planning a high-intensity workout or doing a race, like those mentioned above, in hot weather.

If you can, acclimate.  It takes about 10 to 14 days of frequent exposure to heat for your body to adapt. During this period of time workout daily in hot conditions at a lower-than-normal intensity. After a couple of weeks of near-daily exposure to hot conditions you will begin perform better in the heat than prior although performance will still likely be diminished from what you might have done in cooler conditions.

Focus on nutrition. You want to eat “quality” carbs leading up to, and including, a hard effort or race day.  That includes eating plenty of fruits, veggies, etc.  Watermelon is a great fruit (carb) to consume even during race day.  Also, remember to stay away from the simple carbs. i.e. sugars, sweets, prior to the race or training in hot conditions.

This is obvious, but an often overlooked component. Hydrate. Water is 60% of your body weight and the number one concern on any athlete’s intake list. For both performance and health, the importance of your water intake exceeds that of your vitamin, calorie, and electrolyte consumption. For your road racing needs, be sure to carry the water bottles and containers that you need on your bike but have extras available for bottles that are tossed and extras for immediate refueling post race. If you’re a mountain bike rider, you know tricky descents can bump a bottle right out of its cage.  This time of year, it’s best to wear a full camelback as well as have extra bottles on hand.

To train and compete at your best during this upcoming events, it is important to understand how your body copes with heat, and what you can do to keep cool.  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 cyclist to see what works for them. Maybe you’ll learn some new heat-coping strategies that will keep you cool when the racing and riding gets hot!


Managing Early Season Race Day Jitters

May 18, 2017

BikeParts.Com Team Rider Racing in Colorado

Course strategies, break aways, riding in a small group or a large peloton – these are the thoughts and questions of cyclists wondering how to perform their best during in the first races of the 2017 cycling season.

The cycling season is just starting in Colorado and many are filling up their calendars with the big events.  While not a comprehensive list, following are some of the favorite Colorado May road and mountain bike races: 

Sounds good, right? Absolutely! So many different road and mountain bike events to choose from.  The main question is how to prepare? How do you know if you are race ready? Do you have a comprehensive checklist for Spring racing?  Early season races can bring on the nerves like nothing else!  After all, it’s been a while since you raced.  For the most part, experiencing those sensations is normal. Yet, oftentimes, early season jitters can exasperate the problem.

At Peak Cycles Bicycle shop, we’ve found that a little preparation can aid in reducing race day jitters. The post, 5 Simple Strategies for Overcoming Race Day Nerves, guides us through easy ways to shift the perspective of nervousness to be an enabler of positive sports performance. And there are other ideas for managing pre race nerves too.  

As you approach your first race of the season, you may want to read the post, A Guide to Race Day Nutrition to dial in your preferences as to get your fuel – whether that nutrition is in bars, gels, and liquids.  Also, while it may seem obvious, give your race bike a once over.   Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. 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. 

Whether you’re entering your first event or you’re a seasoned racer, you’re always likely to suffer from some race day nerves. However, with a little planning you can gain confidence. The best part about early season races is the opportunity to assess your fitness level.  Enjoy the May cycling races in Colorado and use them to catapult you into a great 2017 cycling season. 


5 Awesome Cycling Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day 

May 11, 2017

Mother’s Day Cycling Gifts at BikeParts.com

You love your Mom and your Mom loves to ride. So what do you do for Mother’s Day? Celebrate it with cycling gifts. We’ve pulled together our best Mother’s Day gift ideas, with recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!

Get a New Bike! Surprise your Mom with a new road bike or mountain bike.  If you aren’t sure which one to get her, read up on our post, Here’s How to Buy a New Bike. It will guide you through the process of dialing in the type of bike your Mom wants for the type of riding she will be doing.  

Get New Bike Parts!  If a new bike isn’t an option, then opt for upgraded bike parts.  Help your Mom spin faster with a high quality wheel set.  A good wheel set impacts ride quality, ease of pedaling, reliability, and functionality.  Or, consider purchasing some new, lighter tires for your Mom’s wheels. A third option is to reconsider the current crank set and pedals setup.  Wheels aren’t the only bike parts to upgrade.  Look for worn parts to be replaced with newer, lighter cycling components.  

Get Cycling Apparel! Every woman wants to ride in style. With that in mind, you can never go wrong in getting your Mom cycling apparel!  She can’t have too many 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!  

Get a Bike Fit!  If your Mom has a bike but doesn’t ride as often as she would like, ask her if her bike is comfortable.  Maybe a bike fit would help.  A bike fit isn’t just for professional riders – they are for anyone who rides whether they are a beginner or advanced rider. A bike fit helps ensure riding comfort but it also impacts technique which is crucial to preventing overuse injuries and how an athlete rides. Give your Mom the gift of riding comfortably.  Give us a call (303) 216-1616 or stop by the shop in Golden to schedule your bike fit.

Get Gift Certificates!  If all else fails, get your Mom a gift certificate.  It can be used for purchasing bike parts and cycling accessories and allows your Mom to select the precise gift that will make her the happiest.  

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, you couldn’t pick a better time to shop for a new bike, cycling accessories, or bike parts. There are so many attractive choices today. Visit us at Peak Cycles in Golden or online at bikeparts.com and we can help with your decision making and offer advice you need to make this Mother’s Day the best ever! 


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!


5 Ways to Cross Train for Fitness Gains in 2017 

February 16, 2017
Cross train with a Fat Bike from BikeParts.com

Cross train with a Fat Bike from BikeParts.com

Whether you’re recovering from an injury, giving your body a break, or just finding a way to stay fit through the winter months, diversifying your activity is a great way to keep things interesting and your body bike-ready.

It’s important to fuel your desire for your sport.  One way to do that is by not losing interest in your routine—or even the sport itself. You need variety, and you need to have fun.  Hence, enter the picture for cross training!   Following are our cross training tips for fun and fitness gains. 

  1. Running – Some question if running is good for cyclist. Fortunately, it is!  Running is good for you whether you are a road cyclist, mountain bike cyclist, or cyclocross cyclist.  The post, Is Running Good for Cyclist shares more in detail, but the bottom line is, running adds extra gains when used as a cross training aid. 
  2. Yoga – Some of the most elite cyclists use yoga as part of a successful training program, including 2012 Tour De France winner Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins’ benefits from the focus it brings to his cycling, while others, such as pro mountain biker and Olympian Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, use yoga to gain strength. From power to endurance, athletes at all levels are incorporating yoga to gain an edge over the competition, and prevent injury.  The next question – how to get started? Check out our post, Yoga and Cycling: What’s In It For You? for ideas and inspiration. 
  3. Hiking – Hiking is a great way to get your nature fix while mixing in a little exercise.  Hiking helps build up your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, core, and hip muscles—crucial muscles that can help your riding.  As a bonus, it helps with bone density because it’s a weight-bearing exercise. Aim for shorter and longer hikes to mix it up. 
  4. Strength training – For some cyclists, strength training is a welcomed part of the training process; however, for others, it is a necessary evil. Many cyclist wonder if they should train year round?  Answering these questions, the post, Year-Round Strength Training for Cyclists  states , “one of the main goals with sport-specific strength training is to target your prime movers as well as the assistance muscles that support your prime movers. With proper strength training, each time you press on the pedal, your primary group of muscles (those that take on the majority of the load) will be stronger and have a stronger group of assisting muscles to help produce power. Since you are only as strong as your weakest link, the stronger system you build as a whole, the more potential you have for cycling specific gains.  For ideas and inspiration on strength training, read our post, Why Year-Round Strength Training for Cyclists Matters.  
  5. Bike parts – Hmmm? You might be wondering, how does cross training apply to bike parts? Well, consider doing different types of workouts and rides on different bikes.  Use your road bike for intervals, your mountain bike in the nastier weather and to do drills to improve bike handling, and race your fat bike on the snowy days.  Mixing it up keeps it fresh!

Get started cross training to make 2017 one of your best years yet!