What to Look For When Buying a New Bike 

May 3, 2018
Bikes at BikeParts.comIt’s getting warmer outside, there’s a change in the air, and chances are you’re feeling the itch to ride your bike. As the new road bike and mountain bike models make their way into the shop, it’s tempting to purchase a new bike.  And why not?
The pleasure of buying a new bike includes a process of joy, smiling, and endless thoughts that stimulates your pleasure receptors that leaves you tingling with anticipation of the adventure ahead.  Making sure you up your giggle factor, here’s our guide to help you make the best of your new bike purchase.
First off, build your bike profile.  Decide what type of riding you will be doing, how often, and the types of terrain you plan to ride. Because there are so many bike parts to build a new mountain bike or road bike, it’s important to get clear on what you are looking to do.  Here are some questions you need to get you started:
  • What type of bicycle do I want?  Will I be mountain biking, road cycling, or is comfort my biggest factor in a bike?
  • Am I interested in casual riding? Entry level competitive cycling? Full on racing?
  • How many miles might I log per week, or year?
  • What type of tires should my bike have?
  • What size bike do I need?
  • Do I want a bike with gears? If so, How many?
  • What kind of seat do I want?
  • Cycling accessories – what matters to me most: high-tech gadgets or are simpler designs?
  • What kind of handlebars do I want? Straight or curved?
  • Am I interested in the highest quality bike parts?  Or, can I get by with industry standard bicycle accessories?
  • Most importantly, how much am I willing to spend on a bike? This will determine alot of the questions asked above.

Next, consider the bike fit and how the bike feels when you ride it.  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.

Fortunately, now is the best time to shop for a new bike. There are so many options available today. Visit us at Peak Cycles in Golden or online at bikeparts.com.  We can help with your decision making and offer advice you need to get you rolling on your new bike just in time for summer riding.

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Cycling Inspiration for Earth Day

April 19, 2018

April 22nd is Earth Day! Yay! And, you might be wondering how bicycles benefit the environment? Or why ride them on this special day?

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we are big supporters in our local community and race teams, and as such, we know bike commuting is a win-win for our local community. Basically, for anyone looking to save money, embrace a green or sustainable lifestyle, and promote healthy, livable cities, cycling is important.

To kick off your Earth Day preparations, you will want to read our post, Pedal Power for Earth Day, to explore the many benefits of bike commuting. As a next step, you will want to decide how you want to celebrate the day and keep the Earth Day mojo going thereafter. The magic in Earth Day is making every day Earth Day. Bike riding is a natural fit! The key is inspiring others to keep riding.

Inspire others with bike education programs. No one likes riding a poor fitting bike. Having the right bike setup, cycling accessories and gear makes all the difference. Consider hosting a get together of friends and review bike safety. Or, participate in a bike maintenance class. Bicycle tools are different than regular tools and all tools aren’t created equal – some are good for mountain bike parts while others are designed for road bike parts. Knowing which tools to use on the appropriate bike components can make all the difference in making bike maintenance easy inspiring others to enjoy bike maintenance in addition to riding.

Inspire your friends with a list of rides and events. Colorado has some of the greatest road bike rides in the country. Some are shorter, convenient rides whereas others offer steeper, longer climbs and extended distances. Certainly you have your favorite list. Invite your friends for a special Earth Day ride and make it an annual celebration.

Inspire others with a bike-friendly shopping program. Everyone likes to shop, right? Inspire friends with bike parts bling! Many aspiring bike riding enthusiast appreciate a shop that offers quality bike components along with solid advice on bike parts and cycling apparel. Stop by the shop to check out our specials, discounts, and new cycling accessories for the season. Who says you can’t ride in style for Earth Day?

Inspire through reading. Maybe you just can’t make it out on Earth Day for a ride. No worries. Check out our posts for inspiration:
– Get Your Kids Bike Commuting – Here’s How!
– Summer Bike Commuting – Making it Work For You
– The Smart Cyclist’s Guide to Preventing Bike Theft

All in all, the most important thing to remember for Earth Day is that bike riding is fun. Fun includes enjoying the adventure of cycling solo and with friends. Fun also means riding a well fitting bike and feeling confident in riding the bike paths and the roads. This way, your Earth Day bike ride becomes an environmentally friendly activity you can do every day!


Cycling Success: A Guide to Launch Your 2018 Spring Cycling Season

March 8, 2018

BikeParts.com Team Rider Racing

Spring riding and racing is just around the corner and athletes everywhere are starting to think about their “A” races as well as secondary races to use for training and motivation. A given rule of thumb is that all races provide experience, training benefits, and act as a stage to assess your form. Because of that, targeting a handful of high and low priority races and events throughout the year can be useful as learning experiences and opportunities to dial in nutritional needs and race strategies. The question for many is, where to start?

Begin by committing to an event! This March and April, there are many tours, races, and events to choose from in Colorado. While this isn’t a comprehensive list, following are some of our upcoming favorite March and early April cycling events.

– Leadville Winter Bike Series 50k
– Pedaling for St. Pats
– Staunton Spring Fattie Frenzy
– Great Divide Grinder
– Louisville Criterium
– Buff Gold Road Race
– Oredigger Classic – Chad Young Memorial TT

Now, using your chosen event, set some goals. For some, early season races are just about getting harder efforts in and saddle time. However, having defined goals can help reduce prerace anxiety and also help you better evaluate your performance post race. So, begin by identifying what you want to accomplish with this event whether it be a targeted Heart Rate or Power zone, a solid nutrition plan, or attacking certain areas on the race course and use that to benchmark your success.

Next, evaluate the race route. Specifically, get to know the course and the conditions. Spring weather can alter race course conditions considerably. Take into consideration the bike parts you’ll be racing and confirm you have the bike components and gear needed to successfully race the course. For mountain bike components – consider tire selection carefully when riding wet and muddy trails.

Keep in mind, last racing season was some time ago. Your race day preparations might be stale so begin to prepare some race day rituals that you can use and build upon throughout the 2018 season. Give it some thought: does having a checklist of race day activities help structure your preparation to the start line? Include items such as nutrition, hydration, clothes, gear, extra bike parts and basic bicycle tools. This way, you won’t be forgetting anything as you prepare for your start. Maybe visualization, mantras, and breathing exercises are your thing. Regardless, early season races offer a chance to build on race day rituals that have helped you in the past and also enhance your support for the season going forward.

Remember to include in your race day rituals how you want to start the race! It seems simple enough to show up on the line and be ready for the gun to go off, but your start line mental state makes a difference – especially in early season races when nerves are running high. Your thoughts, emotions, and prerace behaviors are components of your mental state, so take inventory of your mental state and align them with your goals. It’s easy early season to compare your training and fitness to others. This is where having your race plan and goals specific to this event comes in handy. Stay true to your goals – not others.

Finally, evaluate your results based on your goals. What worked? What didn’t? What can you do next race to get a better result? Be objective and explore how your mental and physical training helped prepare you for this event. Remember to evaluate your bike and cycling accessory selections. Did you race the right bike? Would a different wheel set make a difference? Did you suffer from mechanical issues? Now is the time to dial in, replace, and buy the bike parts that you need going into your next event.

Whether you’re entering your first event or you’re a seasoned racer, planning your early season events can lay a foundation for confidence and physical fitness in which to build upon for the cycling season. Enjoy the March cycling events in Colorado and use them to catapult you into a great 2018 cycling season.


Optimization: Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Spring Cycling 

March 1, 2018

Early Season Training for Peak Cycles Race Team

The winter months aren’t very conducive to maintaining a solid level of fitness and keeping in shape.  Yet spring is right around the corner and with the warming temperatures and the start of daylight savings time it’s fair to say we’re seeing the first signs of spring.  This can be both hugely exciting, and also slightly nerve racking for cyclists who have spent the winter months working towards spring or summer goals. So, what are the best ways to optimize your cycling to prepare best for the upcoming season? Rest assured, we’ve got you covered.  Read on. 

Optimize your fitness with a power meter:
Whether you plan to ride a century, multi-day rides, race or aspire to longer or more frequent rides in 2018, monitoring your early season training and racing sets the stage for a successful year ahead.  Key points to keep in mind include training intensity, duration, and frequency.  Our tip to do this? Use power meters and heart rate monitors to guide you. Given that 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 2018 cycling season goals.  Check out our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, to dial in which training aid is best for you. 

Optimize biological feedback with a heart rate monitor:
Speaking of heart rate, heart rate monitors are a funny thing – they can be completely useless or extremely valuable depending on how you use them. Heart rate training has been viewed in many ways over the years, from very precise to not so precise. Now, a growing number of coaches and exercise physiologists support the use of heart rates as an important part of biological feedback, as heart rates are a direct reflection of what is happening internally.  If you’re new to training with heart rate monitors, the post, The Variables and Trends of Heart Rate Training,  walks you through the steps of learning your “threshold” heart rate range, setting up heart rate training zones, and identifying the daily variables that affect heart rate.  But before you begin to analyze data, you actually have to have a heart rate monitor to get started!  Visit us at Peak Cycles Bike Shop or BikeParts.com to check out the heart rate monitors for the 2018 cycling season. 

Optimize your riding position with a 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.

Optimize bike mechanics with regular inspection:
Bike maintenance can be a chore, but a necessity.  As you ride more through the early season, some things that weren’t visible upon your first bike inspection may become apparent as the season progresses.  Regular maintenance is essential.  There are several things you want to do to keep it in good working order for the early season cycling months.  For starters, wipe down and inspect the frame.  Rain, snow, mud, 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.  If you are concerned about how to maintain and clean carbon frames, check out this video for best suggestions.  Don’t forget to lube your chain and cables.  As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity.  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, inspect your brake pads. 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.  Remember, pre season bike maintenance and training paves the way for a long, healthy, and enjoyable cycling season.

There you have it! Plan for a successful cycling season by training right early season.  A good bike fit, steady riding, and the use of training tools paves the way for a healthy, injury free 2018. 


2017 Year in Review: The Best of Peak Cycles/ BikeParts.com Blog

January 4, 2018

Happy 2018 from Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com

As the New Year unfolds and before we fully embrace 2018, reflecting and reviewing upon the previous year is a great way to close out and move forward.

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop / BikeParts.com, we’re delighted to look back at the year’s most succesfful blog post and what we’re looking forward to in 2018. 2017 Year in review: What our readers enjoyed most!

Training Indoors
Trainer Techniques for Winter Training

Motivation
How to Stick with Your 2017 Training Plan

Strategy
How to Develop a Winning Mindset for Early Season Races
Managing Early Season Race Day Jitters
Effective Training Techniques for Cycling in the Heat
3 Essential Cycling Training Tips for Winter Training
How To do a Cycling Year End Review

Fat Bike
Fat Bike Essentials for First Time Fat Bike Riders

Cyclocross
Cyclocross Newbies – Tips to Prep for Your First Cyclocross Race
Prepare for a Great Cyclocross Season with These Tips

Cross training
5 Ways to Cross Train for Fitness Gains in 2017

Training Aids
Fitter, Faster, Stronger – with Power Meters

Race Checklists
Ready to Race? A Comprehensive Checklist for Spring Racing
What Do You Carry With You When You Ride?

Bikes!
What mountain bike should you buy?
Answering the unanswerable: What wheel size should I buy? (And what’s the difference, anyway?)
Do You Know These 5 Important Bike Fit Tips?

So, what’s ahead for 2018? We’re looking forward to helping our customers get fitter and faster on the bike! Whether that is outfitting others with the best cycling apparel or improving bike efficiency with new bike parts or a bike fit, at Peak Cycles Bicycle shop, we’re all about creating the ultimate ride experience. Happy 2018 to all!


Cyclocross Newbies – Tips to Prep for Your First Cyclocross Race

September 7, 2017

Cyclocross bikes at BikeParts.com

Cyclocross is one of the fastest growing sections of cycling – it’s an all-out mad dash through the dirt, pavement, grass, mud, sand, snow and/or ice that will leave you sucking wind, barely able to see straight. Surprisingly, this is addictive and you’ll be excited to do it again.

The course is held on a relatively short track (2 miles or less) making it spectator-friendly as well. Cyclocross is also one of the few sports where heckling is not only carried on by the spectators but encouraged, even by the top-level touring elites.

Sounds fun, right?  It is!  Cyclocross is a wonderful way for road cyclists and mountain bikers to extend their competitive seasons and get a head-start on training for next season. If you are new to the discipline, then where do you start? Following are our tips to get you racing your first cross race.

  • Get a cyclocross bike. If you are new to cyclocross, you’ll want to check out our cyclocross bikes online at bikeparts.com. Equipment choices matter! Things to consider for cross racing includes the best bike parts and and tire choice for the types of races you’ll be doing. While bike setup and having the right cyclocross bicycle parts matters, one of the most important parts of all is tire selection and their pressure.
  • Get a bike fit.  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. Cyclocross is a little different than road or mountain bike riding. Cyclocross is a sport based in technique, and while much of technique is based around handling and body position, both of those factors are determined by the fit of a bicycle. Do yourself a favor and get a bike fit.  
  • Attend a clinic.  If your new to the sport, a formal clinic can be a great way to get acclimated to the sport while making some racing friends. Attending a clinic can help improve your technical skills and help you to confidently navigate your first cross race. 
  • Make a cyclocross gear bag. Although cross races are short, because of the time of year and the variability of the weather during the races, racers need to be ready to deal with wind, rain, snow, hail, ice, mud, fog, etc.  The gear preparation and the cycling apparel adds up.  Granted, it will take time to nail down the packing system that works best for you; however, we have compiled a checklist for you in our post, Race Prep: What to Bring to a Cyclocross race.

Now that you have the tips to preparing for your first cyclocross race, put your skills to use! Get your cowbell ready and plan your cross racing season.  See you at the races!


Labor Day – 20 Labor of Love Bike Rides 

August 31, 2017

Happy Labor Day from Peak Cycles / BikeParts.com

Ah, Labor Day! Time off from work. Time to kick back, enjoy time with friends and family.  Time to really have fun on the bike!  Earlier in the season, the focus is on improving fitness or achieving goals.  Now is the time to enjoy the gains of all your hard work. 

With fitness levels high, late season rides offer a chance to experiment with ride routes, different bikes, and even different cycling accessories. Without the pressure of training or getting into shape, the freedom of late season riding brings a fresh approach and a relaxed casual ride attitude.  So, why not have an adventurous Labor Day? Following are our top 20 Front Range bike rides to celebrate Labor Day on your bike. 

  1. Historic Lariat Loop
  2. Deer Creek Canyon
  3. Bergen Park or Idaho Springs to Guanella Pass
  4. Red Rocks Park Loop
  5. Bergen Park or Idaho Springs to St. Mary’s Glacier (Alice)
  6. Idaho Springs to Loveland Pass
  7. Golden to Cold Springs Campground via Golden Gate Canyon
  8. Bergen Park to Echo Lake
  9. Idaho Springs to Juniper Pass
  10. Manitou Springs to Pike Peak Summit Parking Lot (Pikes Peak Hill Climb)
  11. Morgul-Bismark Route
  12. Jamestown Canyon Ride
  13. Flagstaff Hill Climb
  14. NCAR Hill Climb
  15. Lookout Mountain Hill Climb
  16. Sunshine Hill Climb
  17. Magnolia Hill Climb
  18. Mt. Evans Hill Climb
  19. Pikes Peak
  20. Trail Ridge Road

As a reminder, our shop BikeParts.com offers a huge selection of road bike partsmountain bike partsBMX bike parts and more. If you need it for your bike, then we have it! Because we sell our bicycle parts online, we are able to help customers all over the world. Stop by our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado to pick up the cycling accessories you’ll need for your Labor Day ride adventures or visit us online at BikeParts.com.  Happy Labor Day friends!