Weather Inspired: Why Try a Fat Bike

January 31, 2019

Snow! Cold weather! More snow! Wind! Ugh! The last few weeks the weather has played havoc on the cyclists along Colorado’s Front Range.  Sure, we have had a few good days here and there to get some decent road rides in but for the most part, it has been a juggling act with the weather to maintain any commitment to getting in extra miles.  

Yet, there are a few cyclists that are thoroughly enjoying this time of year and our weather.  Who might they be? Those that ride fat bikes! According to singletracks.com*On average, fat bike owners ride 76 times per year, that is double the amount that they expect to ride before they purchase a fat bike! Why not double your fun? Increase your rides and actually enjoy riding in the winter and the snow!  Now is a perfect time to check out a fat bike for yourself.  Here’s what you can expect.

Surprisingly, one of the most noticeable things about riding a fat bike is that they are easy to ride. Comfortable, in fact!  The large tires provide more balance and control, which gives a beginner rider the confidence to seek more adventure.  Also, because the large tires absorb a lot of the vibration from riding, there is less stress on your hands and lower back.  And as deceiving as it might be, the larger tires do not equate to difficulty managing the bike. Maneuverability is just as easy as on a regular mountain bike

Fortunately, fat bikes are versatile.  Right now, they are great for riding in snow.  Having a fat bike may actually motivate you to ride more in the winter conditions.  However, they aren’t just for snow riding.  Fat bikes can be ridden year round and in varying conditions. They do really well on dirt and many even race fat bikes for 100-mile mountain bike events.  That may sound crazy but not so if you’ve ridden a fat bike.  Fat bikes offer a unique experience and allow you to explore familiar trails in a new light. Fat biking lifts the winter doldrums by giving you new freedom to ride off-road.  

Get in on the fat bike action! Demo a fat bike at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado and get ready for our upcoming Staunton Fattie Frenzy event.  It’s a Fat Bike Celebration!  Enjoy these extra posts on fat bikes, fattie bike parts, and fat bike cycling accessories.

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Boost Your Cycling Power With These Supplements

January 24, 2019

Every hour of cycling adds an hour to your life, according to a study at Cambridge University. The benefits of cycling are indisputable; cycling can protect you from heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers, and even depression. The next question is how to make the most of your cycling experience. Many people use nutrition and supplements to give their bodies extra power to muscle up a hill or go that extra mile. Supplements infuse the body with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and phytochemicals that help support cellular repairs and upkeep. Supplements are a great way to give your body a boost both before and after cycling. However, all supplements are not created equal.

Increase Your Endurance
Cycling takes a lot of endurance from the body. While cycling, you breathe more deeply and the heart and blood vessels work overtime to perform an aerobic activity. You perspire, and your body temperature increases. Luckily, there are certain supplements that can help a cycler perform at their best. One such supplement is Beta Alanine. This supplement is good for a strong burst of energy, needed by track cyclists for a jolt of energy on the road or while riding a mountain bike. Make sure to take it in smaller doses of 0.8 grams for a total of 3 grams a day to start. Larger doses may result in the unwanted side effect of paraesthesia – tingling of the skin. Creatine can also help to build strength, as it increases levels of phosphocreatine, which is used by the muscles during high-intensity activity. Hydration is another important component of cycling that shouldn’t be overlooked. Minerals and carbohydrates in hydration and energy drinks help to balance out electrolytes lost in sweat and give energy for athletic performance.

Recovery Routine
After cycling, the fibers in the muscles have been broken down and need to recover to become stronger. Whey protein contains all nine amino acids that exist outside the body. It is absorbed very quickly into the body to help muscles rebuild. Whey protein is a byproduct of milk and can be consumed in a smoothie or even in a bowl of oatmeal. To prevent delayed onset muscle soreness, a vitamin C supplement can help. A study from the University of North Carolina Greensboro states that 3 grams of vitamin C per day drastically reduces post-workout soreness. The supplement L-carnitine L-tartrate can also help. It transports fatty acids into the mitochondria of the cells. These fatty acids are a fuel source for the cells. It cleans the blood of lactic acid, which produces the soreness that can be experienced post-workout. 

Be Aware of What You Buy
Just because a supplement says it is for a cyclist or for post-workout recovery, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s full of beneficial ingredients. Watch for these ingredients in your supplements to make sure that you’re doing right for your body. Hydrogenated oils are sometimes used as a cheap filler in vitamins. These oils contain harmful trans fat that can prevent the beneficial chemicals from working to reduce inflammation. Sodium benzoate is a preservative that can cause allergic reactions, and is particularly harmful to blood health when taken in conjunction with vitamin C. Sibutramine is another chemical sometimes used in supplements to increase energy. However, it has been known to increase the chances of heart attack and stroke.

Supplements are a great way to make the most of your cycling experience. They can help with energy, endurance, and recovery. However, it’s important to read all the labels thoroughly to make sure that anything you put in your body is truly beneficial to your health.  

Liked reading this post? Enjoy more posts on the subject of nutrition and recovery in these Peak Cycles / BikeParts.com posts: 


What Does Your Bike Want for Christmas? 

December 13, 2018

 

You’re making your list and checking it twice, but have you remembered everybody on your list? As we’re officially into the holiday shopping season,  you have about two weeks to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list:

– Spouse – check

– Parents – check

– Siblings – check

– Children – check

– Bike –   ???

You haven’t forgotten about your two wheeled friend, now have you? Let’s think about this.  The holidays are for sharing gifts celebrating the special relationships you have with others.  Doesn’t your bike create fun, fitness, and basically, the greatest feeling in the world for you?  Show some love to your bike this holiday season.  Get it some presents!  If you’re stuck wondering what to get your bike for Christmas, then look no further!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’ve put together a list of spin worthy list of holiday gift suggestions.  

Super Plush Gifts:
For those going all our for their bike, nothing beats a companion for your bike.  Yes! That’s right – get a new bike! You might think, your bike already has one – maybe two- or even three bikes…how could your bike need another? You and your bikes always need another bike. We all know this truth. One can never ever have enough bikes. Consider a new road bicycle or mountain bike.  Even better, opt for a fat bike!  

Maybe a new bike is a bit of a stretch, but you really want to treat your bike to something, consider purchasing a power meter.  A power meter is a great training tool and helps optimize performance as it relates to specific goals and objectives. Our post, The Best Training Aids to Launch into Spring Cycling, dives into the benefits of training with power. As for which power meter to purchase, consider our most popular one, Stages Power Meters. Another option is the Pioneer Power Meter and a third option is a company that’s been around for a while now – PowerTap Power Meter. 

Plush Gifts on a Budget:
Gift giving for you bike doesn’t necessarily mean going all out financially. There are plenty of thoughtful gifts available to show your bike just how much you care. Some great ideas include some of these. 

Tubes: This is one gift you absolutely positively will get used. Make sure you get the right size of tube. If you aren’t sure, stop in the Peaks Cycling Store and ask one of our friendly staff to help you. Or, visit us online at bikeparts.com

A good bottle: Every cyclist has a ton of bottles and your bike likes them too! Buy a good bottle and stuff it with other goodies.

Tires: Treat yourself to bike to some new rubber! We have a ton of tires for road and mountain bikes. 

Lube: Bikes like to be seen – not heard! Every bike enjoys a smooth bike chain with just the right amount of lube. Get some now and stock up for the 2019 season while you’re at it!  

See how easy it is to get your bike a great gift for Christmas? If by chance you are still in need of ideas for creative Christmas gifts, stop by the shop in Golden, Colorado or give us a call at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop (303) 216-1616 and we’ll gladly help you out!  Happy Holidays Friends!


The Importance of Having the Right Bike Parts for Cycling

October 18, 2018

Cyclists generally subscribe to the idea that having more than one bike matters.  Who couldn’t agree with that?! But on the flip side, have you ever wondered if bike parts matter? Sure, bike parts make are part of a complete bicycle but does one particular bike part matter than another?  

When you think about it, bike parts do contribute to your riding comfort. If you don’t feel comfortable, safe, or in control of the bike you are riding, chances are you aren’t going to ride it very often.  Also, bike parts do make a difference in injury prevention.  In a sport based on such a highly repetitive action, like pedaling, the first line of defense against injury is having a proper saddle with aligned seat position, height, and angle – not to mention a few other important factors like handlebarsstems, and the correct bike position.  All of these factor in to a comfortable riding position as well as a rider’s stability, endurance, and safety. 

But what other bike parts are important?  First and foremost would be the bike frame itself.  Whether it is a road bike, mountain bike, or cyclocross bike, the frame provides strength and rigidity and largely determines the handling.  In fact, Triathlete magazine provided the following advice to one of its readers: “When it comes to how your bike fits, rides, handles and reacts, the frame is the most important physical part of the bike. The frame is also usually the most expensive part of the bike and the most involved to replace. Buying a bike with the right frame the first time can not only help you enjoy the benefits of a better riding and performing bike now, but can also save significant money down the road as you will only need to buy some new parts, instead of buying a whole new bike, to upgrade.”  At the end of the day, it all comes down to fit. The frame needs to be the right size for you. 

Following the frame, other considerations include bike components and wheels.  Regarding cycling components, we’re talking about the drivetrain, gearing, and braking systems.  Focus on getting bike parts of a level that are designed for your riding style and frequency.  And wheels – they matter! They can make a basic bike ride a lot better while sub-par wheels can make an otherwise exceptional bike feel mediocre.  There are different wheel types, a variety of options for tube or tubeless wheels, and ideas to consider in tubular wheels, rim shape, spoke count, and hub options. While wheel options may seem overwhelming, it’s really straightforward. To make it easier to understand, check out our post and video, Wheelset Buyer Guide: What You Need to Know

All in all, bike parts do matter. They keep you safe and comfortable and out riding your bike.  Fortunately, 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.  Stop in to see our road and mountain bikes. Check out any bike parts you want to upgrade or replace. Better yet, schedule a bike fit and dial in your optimum riding position.  Happy Riding! 


5 Uncommon Bike Buying Questions

October 4, 2018
So you want to buy a bike?  Who wouldn’t want to get a new bike?! Actually, now is the best time of year to purchase a new road bike or mountain bike because this year’s bikes are on sale and we’re clearing the way for next year’s models.  With so many bike choices available, there are quite a few questions to dial in when considering purchasing a new bike.  In fact, we’ve written about many of those questions in the following blog posts and you can check them out here:  
But, what about the uncommon questions?  You know, the ones you might be a bit shy to ask the salesperson.  No need to hesitate with your questions, we’ve got you covered.  
 
Question #1 Let’s get the first question out of the way.  Do you need to buy your bike at a bike shop?  You can buy anything on the internet these days including bike parts, cycling accessories, and complete bicycles from us at BikeParts.com.  However, we do encourage you to purchase your bicycle at a bike shop.  Here’s why. Bicycle Magazine sums it up best, “When you buy a bike from an authorized retailer, you know that the bike was assembled by a professional mechanic, and you begin to build a rapport with that shop—a great way to find out about new routes or group rides or maintenance clinics and events. You also ensure you’re not getting a counterfeit product, which is a continuing problem in the bike industry.” 
Question # 2 How do you know if a bike fits you? Test ride it!  Bring your cycling apparel with you, including your cycling shoes and helmet, when test riding a bike.  Before heading out on your test ride, take time to visit with your salesperson about shifting, brakes, and any particular feature of the bike you are testing out.  A bike that feels good and is comfortable to ride is one you will ride often.  So, go with feel. And then, after your purchase, schedule a bike fit with us to dial in the specific bike parts you may need to achieve optimum comfort, power, cadence, and fit for you.  
Question #3. Do I have to dress like a cyclist like the riders you see on the Tour de France?  Well, you can if you want to!  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have a wide variety of cycling apparel to match your style.  Some prefer jerseys and lycra shorts and other prefer a more casual ride style.  Again, go with what is comfortable to you. We have cycling apparel on sale and new items coming in for the winter months. Stop by and see what works best for you. 
Question #4 Should I use clipless or flat pedals? Note, clipless pedals are the ones you clip into with cycling shoes with cleats on the bottom.  Flat pedals are simply pedals, like you would have on a BMX or kids bike. They are not popular with many racers or road riders because clipless pedals help improve your performance in racing, especially for road disciplines. But don’t rush to use clipless or exclude flat pedals from your practice completely. Start with what you are most comfortable and make changes as you see fit. 
Question #5 How do I maintain my bike?  Bike maintenance may seem overwhelming to the new rider and even to veteran riders too.  Some cyclist really enjoy doing their own bike maintenance and others prefer for our shop mechanics to do it for them.  Again, do what is best in your comfort zone.  As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to follow some of these guidelines that we’ve written about in our post, 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road.
 
What other questions might you have that we missed? Don’t be shy! Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to test ride a bike, check out our winter cycling apparel, and get all of your questions answered.  

What to Know Before Buying a Hybrid Bike

August 16, 2018

Image Source: Depositphotos.com

Hybrid bikes are a combination of road and mountain bikes which is ideal for regular commuting to school or work. These environmentally-friendly vehicles can be used on both city roads and different types of terrain. Buying a hybrid bike is not much different than the purchase of a regular one, but you should focus on your needs more.

Hybrid bike models vary depending on the resemblance to the road or mountain bikes. While the latter focus on speed, the former offers comfort while riding on an uneven off-road terrain. Tires, disc brakes, and handlebars are adjusted to ensure both speed and comfort depending on your needs. Here’s what every cyclist enthusiast should know before buying a hybrid bike.

Tires

Tires can have a diameter ranging from 11 to 16.5 inches. Hybrid or city bikes take the 700c tire standard from road bikes, but also come with extra acceleration on uneven terrain and are compatible with road climbing.

As there is no rule with no exception, the best such bike is equipped with 8-inch wheels for easy speeding. You might notice that these bikes’ tires have high air pressure for extra speed and long rides. Seats are sleek and soft to make you feel comfortable during long-distance cycling.

If you don’t know where to start, you can take a look at this list of the top hybrid bikes 2018. There you will find the description, pros and cons, and standout features of five of the highest-rated hybrid bikes this year, according user and expert reviews.

Brakes

Hybrid bikes from reputed brands come with linear or direct-pull brakes that integrate into the front and sometimes rear wheel hubs. There are models with disc brakes if you look for more control when descending and riding on muddy trails. Disc or hub brakes ensure quick braking even in extreme conditions and require little maintenance.

Frequent users usually prefer linear-pulls as they are powerful and adapted to challenging weather conditions. You can find the breaks at the ends of flat handlebars to allow you a straight back position.

If you haven’t picked up cycling as a hobby yet, consider all its health benefits. According to a study, regular cyclers stay very healthy well into old age.

Suspension

The suspension fork is quite standard in hybrid bikes to minimize the impact of road obstacles and give you a comfortable ride. Whenever you ride on rough terrain or uneven roads, you will have more control over your bicycle.

Even if your favorite bike doesn’t come with suspension in the seat post, you can independently ask for one to be added in a repair shop.

Weight

The bike’s weight is linked to the material that the frame is made of. Typically, hybrid bikes have either corrosion-resistant but heavy aluminum frames or light carbon-fiber which ensures a smooth ride and higher costs. There also are aluminum-carbon mixes.

Hybrid bikes are lighter than mountain bikes and heavier than road bicycles. They are designed to handle most obstacles, but you should choose a mountain bike if you plan many off-road rides and little city commuting.

Gears

You can get 1 to 27 gears in an average hybrid bike. Choosing the number of gears depends on your desired fitness level and the most commonly used terrain. More gears mean more climbing. Fewer gears gives you a smooth ride on flat ground. Bikes with a single speed usually have a freewheel mechanism in the rear hub for coast cycling. 

Gears are, however, easy to change thanks to the standard button-style levers with screens that show you the speed.

Seats

The most comfortable features that hybrid bikes borrowed from road bikes are the seats. Hybrids’ seats are versatile and optimized to support weight distribution when you are climbing. There are countless anatomical shapes, flexible frames, cutouts, and gel padding or cushioning springs to choose from. All of them are meant to keep you comfortable and safe.

Deciding on a type of seat is a personal choice that you can make after testing the bike. Highly-reputed manufacturers design seats for general purpose with additional equipment to make them fit for off-road circumstances as well. So, if you don’t truly enjoy a position at first, give it a few more days. You might change your mind.

Handlebars

The size and shape of handlebars are versatile and aerodynamic so that you can add more pressure onto the pedals for faster riding. You can choose from:

  • Drop bars from road bikes which are the most popular ones as they are lightweight and allow the largest number of hand positions.
  • Mustache bars are similar to drop bars but also feature a little drop model. They let you sit upright on most types of terrain.
  • Raiser bars are quite standard as they extend up and backward. By sitting both upright and on the back, you have more vision of the road ahead.
  • Flat bars are quite common and a bit heavier than drop bars. You sit in relaxed positions to see the road and reduce hand and wrist strains.

What to Consider when Buying a Hybrid Bike

  • Budget: Money is critical. However, any model below $500 might not offer long-term quality. But for most bikes, you will spend two-thirds of the total bike budget on the product itself and the rest on the accessories.
  • Fit: The bike should fit your weight and height. You can adjust seat and handlebar height. However, you’ll never know if a bike fits you unless you test it.
  • Look: You will need to be pleased with your bike in order to use it. No one wants a bicycle in color or model he or she get distracted by. See what you like about your current bike and look for those features in the hybrid one. 
  • Service: Any reliable brand should provide you with personal service options and warranty. Notice how the brand communicates with its clients and even observe if they organize events for the local cycling community.

Buying a Hybrid Bike

Hybrid bikes are excellent choices for both weekday use and leisure cycling. Having such a bike means commuting to work and going to the woods or a national park while saving big on transport and staying healthy. Just find the right hybrid bike for your needs and ride it whenever you have the chance!

Post Author: Frankie Lawrence


5 Step Plan to Make the Most of Your 2018 Cycling Season 

May 31, 2018

June is here! Welcome blue skies, sunny days, and longer days!  All the perfect ingredients becoming us to ride, race, and enjoy being on our two wheeled friends.
Whether you are a recreational cyclist or a competitive one, no doubt you have some cycling goals in mind for the season.  

As we’re just launching into this year’s cycling season, it’s important to make the most of it by planning now. When you plan, goals get met.  You don’t want to look back over the season at the end of the year with regrets. So, 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.  And at year end, you can look back with satisfaction with your achievements.  Here’s how to do it.  

#1 Think strategy first.  High level. What are your goals for the season? Are there races or events you have always wanted to do? Register – mark it on your calendar – and plan! We’ve written extensively on strategic planning.  Check out these posts for good ideas: Cycling Success: A Guide to Launch Your 2018 Spring Cycling Season and Keys to a Successful Cycling Race: Think Smart, Eat Smart.

#2 Next, prepare.  Preparation means alot of things.  Research your ride route. Identify the bike you will be riding. Replace old bike parts. Dial in your nutrition needs. Decide on your training plan.  Preparation paves the way for success.  And not to be overlooked, is dialing in your cycling accessories.  Get a checklist ready to have on hand for all your events.  We have a handy one here: Ready to Race? A Comprehensive Checklist for Spring Racing.

#3 As most living in Colorado know, weather conditions can change rapidly.  This means you have to be agile with your bike maintenance and cycling apparel.  You might want to read our popular posts Dry Pavement, Sloppy Slush and A Muddy Trail: Which Chain Lube Works Best? and Effective Training Techniques for Cycling in the Heat. Both offer useful information for making the best of your ride.  As for those afternoon rain storms, we suggest reading the post: Wet Weather? No Problem! 5 Essentials for Riding in the Rain.

#4 After a long or hard ride, recover.   it’s important to note that during the summer months it is easy to get swept away in the joys of riding. The temps are great – the trails are great- riding a new mountain bike or road bike is great!  But, with all the bike riding accompanies fatigue and over doing it. Be mindful to build in recovery to your training plan.  Some post worth reading include: Recovery: Ride Hard – Recovery Harder: Ways to Speed Up Recovery and Avoid Early Season Training Injuries with Rest and Recovery.

#5 Finally, take care of your bike!  Bike maintenance keeps you riding. You can either do bike maintenance yourself or bring your bike to us and we can do it for you.  Either way, some basic maintenance is necessary and to make sure you’re covered, you’ll want to read: 4 Essential Bike Maintenance Tips to Get Your Bike on the Road.

When you’re working toward a goal that’s important to you, the last thing you want is to face an obstacle or unexpected challenge.  There you have it – a 5 step plan to kick off your 2018 cycling season! Set up your 2018 right by planning ahead, getting your road bike or mountain bike in order, and getting the gear and resources you need.  With the right mental attitude and the best bike parts, your successful training and race prep is well underway.