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!


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. 


Making the Most of Winter with Trainers, Rollers, and Indoor Riding

January 25, 2018

Trainers and Rollers at BikeParts.com

While the weather conditions have been warm and dry across the state of Colorado, recently we finally got a hint of Winter with our recent snow fall. No doubt a joyous occasion for those riding fat bikes! But for those forced to ride inside, how do you make the most of winter riding? It brings up the trainer vs roller debate, as well as, how to stay motivated to ride indoors altogether.

When it comes to rollers vs the trainer, the debate is far from over as it really depends on individual preference. Both come with many different levels of resistance and accessories to fine tune the experience.

For most, a trainer will have more appeal. They are good for any type of ride from casual to the all out sprint. Trainers don’t require a lot of concentration either, so the option to flip through channels on the TV, reply to email, send text messages, or take a quick break is easier. And, trainers are great for virtual training tools like Zwift.

On the other hand, rollers offer some advantages too. They create more of a road-like feel than trainers do. Rollers help your cycling form as your legs spinning pattern becomes much more efficient. And, riding rollers keeps you a bit more mindful and engaged so that you don’t fall off!

Some things you want to take into consideration, whether you opt for rollers or the trainer, is to set it up correctly. Having the right equipment and bike parts can make your indoor workouts less boring and more effective. When we’re talking about equipment, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer or rollers, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, indoor riding clothes, a cadence sensor, a power meter, and a heart rate monitor. You might not think all of these cycling accessories add up to a great trainer workout, but it can make all the difference in the world.

Make your indoor riding really count. It’s hard to stay motivated riding indoors for days in a row. So, another way to make riding indoors work is to shorten your ride. In fact, a one hour hard trainer workout will do more to improve your cycling and race fitness than 2 to 4 hours easy on the trainer. So, plan your time on the trainer or rollers accordingly.

Granted, trainer rides will never replace the joy of cycling outside. However, you can take pride in that you are getting your rides in and building your cycling base for the season ahead.


3 Essential Cycling Training Tips for Winter Training

October 26, 2017

Cycling Apparel at BikeParts.com for Winter Riding

Cold, winter weather is right around the corner.  While we are just getting a taste of the cooler temps, not too long from now we’ll be bundled up wondering where the sunshine and dry roads and trails have gone.  The trick to riding through the Winter months is to prepare now. Preparation gets you in the habit before the weather turns poor. Here are our tips how to make the most of it.

#1 Trainer
Most cyclist have a love / hate relationship with the trainer.  As a training aid, cyclist love it because it offers training options during poor weather and winter months.  Yet, on the flip side, trainer rides can be boring, lead to muscle- specific fatigue, and basically, offer uninspired riding.  Ugh. Is there a way to make it work?  Yes!  It’s important to have the right trainer setup. 

When we’re talking about setup, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a trainer tire, a riser block, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, and indoor riding clothes.  If you are using a basic trainer, you may also want a cadence sensor, a power meter, and a heart rate monitor.  You might not think all of these cycling accessories  add up to a great trainer workout, but  if you’re looking to take your training to the next level, having the right bike parts helps support motivation and training consistency. 

#2 Build Your Core
Most everyone agrees that
building a stronger core helps you improve your performance on the bike.  Moving into the cooler months, it is easier to cross train and focus on developing core strength.  But what exercises are best for more core strength?

The best way to train all parts of the body is through working with a full range of motion while strength training. A bench press, for example, will only work your arms and shoulders through a fixed range of motion. A great way to gain core strength and work full range of motion with many repetitions and longer durations is through practices that primarily use body weight such as yoga and pilates, for example. Ashtanga and power yoga are styles of yoga that are faster flowing, continuous, and challenging. Yoga is hands down one of the best way to work for aerobic strength gains throughout the entire body. Not only do you focus on many repetitions such as with pushups, squats, and lunges, you work each joint in a full range of motion while doing so, which focuses on core endurance, stability, and flexibility.

In a nutshell, a core group of muscles that fatigues less will allow you to work with increased power ranges for a longer period of time while riding a road bike or mountain bike. With more range of motion, increased flexibility, and a stronger core, you will not only feel better before, during and after each workout, you will be slightly more productive as well.

#3 Dial in Your Cycling Apparel
You don’t want to miss riding outdoors all together.  So, it’s important to dial in your cycling apparel for the type of riding you will be doing.  Specifically, when you are riding, you want to balance your warmth and comfort with the intensity of your bike ride. If you are really bundled up when you start riding, you will likely want to start shedding layers. It may feel good to sweat in 25 degree weather, but you want clothes that are both breathable, wind-stopping, and sometimes waterproof. You also want to evaluate the type of ride you are doing? Is this a training ride? Will you be working really hard? Or are you just going to work? 

With all that in mind, get clear on the type of cycling apparel you have in your existing wardrobe and identify the clothing you need purchase to enable you to ride in a variety of weather conditions.  Be mindful of having waterproof and wind resistant clothing.  Check do see if you have enough of the basic cycling necessities, as in leggings? Arm warmers? Knee warmers? Scull cap? What about your base layers?  Do you have enough of them or do you need to add in some fleece lined clothing?  Lucky for you, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can help you with all of your cycling apparel needs! In fact, we’ve got quite a lot of new cycling clothing in store right now.

When you think about it, it’s easy to embrace winter riding when you are warm and toasty. So prepare now. Get your trainer setup ready – make plans to cross train and build your core – and figure out your cycling apparel needs to avoid a clothing crisis on a Winter bike ride. 


Tips to Riding the Tour de Vineyards 

September 14, 2017

Kicking off the fall riding season is the Tour de Vineyards.  

The Tour de Vineyards offers recreational and competitive cyclists alike the opportunity to cycle by beautiful and lush vineyards, enjoy foods and beverages authentic to the region, all while being treated to some of Colorado’s finest western slope hospitality.   How do you make the most of it? First, online registration is closed but the day of the event you can register for either the 23 mile or 58 mile event. 

To make sure you enjoy the event and also ride your best, there are a few ways to prepare.  As we’ve mentioned before in older posts, you’ll want to remember these important tips: 

  • Prepare your bike in advance. Give your road bike a once over. Notice any bike parts that need to be replaced. 
  • Know the course and aid stations. Primarily, you want to anticipate your needs as you tick off each mile. For instance, learn or write down on a card to put in your jersey the mile markers for the aid stations. You may also make note of the mileage between aid stations. You may end up passing through the earlier aid stations only to stop more frequently at the the aid stations later in the event. 
  • Consider taking a rain jacket and extra chain lube in your jersey pocket or seat bag. 
  • Lay everything out the night before. This includes your every day cycling apparel: helmet, gloves, shoes, socks, shorts, jersey, sunglasses, water bottles, food, and sunscreen.
  • Go easy at the start and ease into the ride. It’s tempting to go too fast at the start, but holding back some energy will allow you to finsih feeling strong. 
  • Recover smart! At the completion of your ride, be mindful to cool down appropriately. Spin your legs out and get your heart rate down. Consider wearing compression garments or using a nutritional aid to accelerate the recover process.  After all, the fast you recover, the faster you can ride your bike again! 

At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have a lot of suggestions and advice on making the most of your ride.  Stop in the shop to pick up the bike parts you need to have the best Tour de Vineyards ride. In face, our online store, Bikeparts.com, has lots of different types of nutritional supplements, cycling accessories, and cycling apparel all in one place to help you make the most of your riding.  So, enjoy the ride and the scenery!  The Tour do Vineyards is exceptional in that you get to usher in the fall with a scenic and leisurely tour of Colorado’s Wine Country. Take in the beauty of the Western Slope, explore the wineries, vineyards, orchards and mesas. 


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!