The Perils of Training Indoors and What to Do About It

November 8, 2018

It’s tough this time of year figuring out how to get training rides in. The warm, summer days are gone. Winter is not quite here, yet there are blasts of cool days followed by warmer days and yet the days themselves are shorter.

Combine those variables with the fact that the holidays are right around the corner and training rides seem to get shorter or skipped all together.  Perhaps missing a day or two of riding doesn’t seem like much but it does. According to the post, What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Riding, within a relatively short period of time, undesirable consequences result. As in, your metabolism stagnates. Your blood pressure rises. Your blood sugar surges. Fitness declines. And, inevitable wait gain surfaces. Not fun! The goal this time of year is consistency.  It is consistent training that helps prepare your body for the physical stresses of the season ahead. Given the constraints many face this time of year, indoor training becomes the most reliable source.  

Now tell the truth. How do you really feel about training indoors? Most have a love/hate relationship with trainers and rollers but you can find ways to embrace riding indoors to support your cycling training now and all the way through to next season.  Here is how. 

Apps – Fortunately, there are now many apps that make your time on the trainer more productive and entertaining. Additionally, these apps record your workout so you can analyze your effort and get your best bang for the buck workout wise. The post, Choosing the Right Indoor Cycling App, offers a list of apps and a description of how they function to help you decide which is best for you.  Some of our favorites from the list include ZwiftCycleOps Virtual Training, and TrainerRoad.  

Bike Setup – Granted, apps can make your ride more enjoyable; yet, having the right equipment can make a difference too. When we’re talking about equipment, 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.

Maximize Your Time – 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 time on the trainer or rollers accordingly.

If you haven’t found yourself on the trainer yet this season, you’re lucky! The indoor riding season is fast approaching.  When you think about it, indoor training doesn’t have to be as bad as you think.  Options are available. It’s all about how you approach it.  

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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


How to Make the Most of the BIKE MS: COLORADO

June 21, 2018

The Bike MS: Colorado ride is this weekend. If you aren’t up to speed on this ride, you’ll learn that it is unique.  

Not only will riders travel through quaint towns and backroads where they will enjoy rolling terrain or tackle great Colorado mountain climbs, but also, riders will enjoy choosing different routes as each day has multiple route options, all of which are fully supported with stocked rest stops every 10-12 miles.

What makes the event special is that it riders participation will drive MS research forward faster, and deliver services to those who face the challenges of MS every day so they can live their best lives.  That is inspiring and motivating!  

To make sure you capitalize on your motivation 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 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.
  • And remember – 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 finish feeling strong.
  • Finally, 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 using a nutritional aid to accelerate the recovery 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 MS Colorado ride. In fact, 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!  After all, you are pedaling for a good cause! Remember, your participation will drive MS research forward faster, and deliver services to those who face the challenges of MS every day so they can live their best lives.


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.


Make the Most of Your Ride Time This Memorial Day Weekend 

May 24, 2018

Happy Memorial Day Weekend Riding from BikeParts.com

Wondering what to do with your day off this upcoming Memorial Day weekend? Ride, of course! Get ready for a fun weekend of riding by swinging by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to stock up on all things cycling related! 

You can ride in style this Memorial Day weekend by getting a new road or mountain bike.  One option is to shop our latest mountain bike and road bike close out items and our discounted collections of bike parts online.  Or better yet, have one of our expert crew help you select the best bike for you.  Stop by the shop and we can help you identify what to look for in buying a new bike and get you scheduled for a bike fit in the process.  

Making the most of the holiday weekend, you’ll want to stock up on essential items to carry with you. Make a note to stock up on: Food, gels, and on the bike nutrition; Tubes, lube, a pump or C02; chain and multi toolRain jacketSunscreenHydration pack and extra bottles for fluids. 

And don’t forget bike maintenance! With a little extra time off from work, many cyclist enjoy performing much needed bike maintenance over the holiday weekend.  Replacing worn bike parts and cycling accessories without the stress of added work and family pressures makes bike maintenance a pleasure and not a chore.  If the kids are around, engage them in the process and teach them a thing or two about bicycles.  Who knows? You might inspire them to ride too! 

And, as a little teaser to whet your appetite for Colorado’s finest, enjoy the cycling videos, pics, and trail reviews. 

Happy Memorial Day to All! We look forward to seeing you at the shop or visit us at bikeparts.com to get all of your cycling apparel, accessories, and bike parts.