How to Keep Riding Through the Time Change

November 2, 2017

With the time change this upcoming weekend, darkness will fall earlier each day making it more challenging to fit training rides in the schedule. You’ve worked hard all year long, it seems a waste to let your fitness fall off.  Given that the days with long sunshine hours are ending, what are the best strategies for continued training and maintaining fitness?   

Time management – It all begins with time management. Scheduling your workouts in your calendar; shifting meetings and family obligations to early morning, late afternoon and early evening; and optimizing your lunch hour as ride time,  are three areas that can assist in getting your scheduled training in during the daylight hours.  Again, the idea here is to create a plan and stick to it.  If you plan a ride during the daylight hours and miss it, then it creates stress on how to make that ride up.  So, if you do, then night riding becomes your option.

Night riding – To begin, don’t be afraid of the dark!  Get the right bike parts and cycling apparel to ride and you’ll be inspired to do it.  Remember, visibility is crucial – for you and your bike. Outfit your bike with a good light system.  You will want lights for the front of your bike.  Consider having multiple lights for the front of your bike.  One on your helmet so you can shine side roads and traffic and have a second light on your handlebars so you can see at least 10 ft. or more in front of you.  For the rear of your bike, opt for a rear red light-particularly one that blinks. A blinking red light is much more likely to get the attention of a passing motorist who might otherwise not notice you.  

Don’t forget to wear cycling apparel that is visible.  There are options to choose from including vests and ankle bands.  Also, reflective tape is a good idea. 3M makes black reflective tape that is great to put on black wheels.

Indoor riding – Maybe you just can’t swing riding during the day and night riding isn’t your thing.  You can maintain fitness with indoor training on the trainer.  Most cyclist have a love / hate relationship with the trainer. Yet, there are ways to make it work.  Check out our post, Trainer Techniques for Winter Training for tips and suggestions on getting the best out of your indoor rides.

Now that the time change is upon us, it doesn’t mean you have to put your cycling regime on the shelf!  With an enthusiastic attitude and a few bike part changes, you can shift your end of season cycling experience to be the best one yet! 

 

 

Advertisements

Trainer Techniques for Winter Training

January 19, 2017

Trainers at BikeParts.comAs a cyclist, you can either hate the winter, or make the best of it. Some bundle up and dress to embrace the winter chill while others opt for the dreaded 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!  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.  

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.  

If you find yourself really averse from riding the trainer.  Break your workout in half.  Spend half as much time on the trainer and the other half running, hiking, or doing another sport. One way to do this is to avoid long rides on the trainer all together. Year round strength training for cyclists matters and substituting your indoor rides with strength training will do more for your cycling later on in the season than doing another trainer session.  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 accordingly.

Indoor rides are not a replacement for outdoor rides but with the right bike parts, cycling apparel, and equipment, indoor rides can be fun and beneficial. 


The Best Ways to Enjoy Winter Cycling

January 21, 2016
S-works Stumpjumper FSR Comp 6Fattie at BikeParts.com

S-works Stumpjumper FSR Comp 6Fattie at BikeParts.com

January is prime winter cycling time. The holidays are behind us and all that’s left on the cyclist’s mind is, “when can I get out on those chilled, hard-packed trails that I love”. With winter races just on the horizon, we at Peak Cycles wanted to provide you with a guide to the best ways to enjoy winter riding. 

  1. Plus-size Tires: Plus-size tires are a relatively new trend in winter riding this year. They are popular because the 3” tires handle snow really well but have a reasonable tire weight so you aren’t compromising speed performance. As a result, bikes with plus-size tires turn out to be an ideal all-season mountain bike and a purchase you won’t regret. The S-works Stumpjumper FSR Comp 6Fattie is our top-performing and most popular plus-size tired bike right now. Come to our store to check it out! 
  2. Fat Bikes Are Still Fun: Fat biking is still a favored activity in the winter. You can’t beat the feeling of control on snow with big fat tires. We were excited to see that our well-liked Specialized S-Works Fatboy Carbon made the top of Outside Magazine’s Best Fat Bikes of 2016 and the top of The MTBGuide’s 2016 Top Fat Bikes list. 
  3. Introduce Kids to Mountain Biking: Fat bikes are also a great way to introduce your kids to mountain biking. In a Fat-Bike.com post, a cycling-enthusiast father talks about his son’s experience on a 24” Specialized Fatboy. The father proudly claimed that after riding the Fatboy, his son “changed from a timid kid who would put up with going out to ride with a lot of coaxing to asking to go mountain biking on more and more challenging trails.” We have found the Specialized Riprock Plus-size Kids’ Bike to be an excellent all-season starter for younglings. 
  4. Get Your Winter Cycling Accessories: If you’re going to be comfortable riding in the winter, you’re going to need the right bike parts and cycling accessories. For you fat bikers, Kenda released its Juggernaut Pro tires that are lightweight (only 767 grams!) and serve as an excellent racing tire. Some of our other most loved winter riding accessories include the Specialized Defroster cycling boot, Pogies, and long-lasting Endura jackets
  5. Enter a Race: There are a number of winter races/rides coming up including: 

Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop wishes you the best with your winter cycling! And don’t forget that if you ever need advice, don’t hesitate to stop into our store. 

       


Riding in the Snow – 5 Ways to Make it Work for You

December 17, 2015
BikeParts.com Rider Enjoying Winter Cycling
The snow is here! And lots of it!  Many cyclist wonder, can I ride in the snow?  And the answer: of course you can!
The important thing to remember about riding in the snow isn’t whether it’s possible—everything is possible.  It’s simply a matter of being smart about riding in uncertain weather conditions. Here’s how to make snow riding work for you.
  1. The more tread on your tires, the better. You can ride in snow on slicks, but we wouldn’t recommend it.  At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have a large selection of tires for road bikes, mountain bikes, and cyclocross bikes.  Stop in and pick up a new set of tires just for your winter cycling adventures.  Speaking of tires, let some air out of your them, whatever sort they are. Ride them soft: you’ll get more grip.
  1. Focus on a relaxed and responsive riding position.  Sure, it’s natural to tense up with icy or snowy conditions, but if you focus on relaxing your hands and arms, while keeping your weight back on the bike, you may find it easier to steer the bike from your hips and less from your upper body. This makes directional changes smoother and easier with your whole mass on the bike, rather than by sudden sharp steering inputs at the handlebars.
  1. Don’t be a speed demon! Slow down and enjoy the views! Celebrate the adventure of riding in different weather conditions.  A good rule of thumb to remember is to keep your bike in good working order, maintain care of your bike parts and don’t be too ambitious about your speed.  All this allows you to truly enjoy the experience.
  1. Go fat! Fat bike that is!  Fat bikes are wonderful for riding in the snow.  Many fat bike models today are similar to “normal” mountain bikes, which have slacker head tube angles, lower stand-over heights, thru axles, and tapered head tubes. The main difference is the tires. The wider tires have more traction in both dirt and snow. They climb better than almost any mountain bike. If you’re new to fat bikes, you may enjoy reading about some Top Fat Bike FAQ’s or Why Go Fat. Or, stop by the shop and demo a fat bike!
  1. Dress for the occasion.  Because it’s cold out, it is tempting to overdress.  Avoid that temptation! Depending on the type of ride, the duration of your ride, and the elements, your cycling apparel options make the difference between a suffer fest or a great ride. Take an inventory of your cycling clothing and ask yourself, what clothing do you need to wear in different weather conditions?  Do you have waterproof and wind resistant clothing? Do 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!  Or, check out our How to Dress for Winter Cycling –Video for ideas dressing warmly for your winter rides.
Your experience will correlate directly to your level of preparation.  It’s true, winter riding requires more diligence and commitment; but the flip side is a sense of wonder and adventure that accompanies the wintertime cycling scene.

2016 Fatboy Comp Carbon

October 23, 2015

Have you checked the forecast lately? Fat bike season is right around the corner! This year there is more competition in the fat bike market than ever which means lower price tags. In addition to more complete bikes, there is a huge selection of fat bike parts available which makes it easy to customize your ride with wheels, tires, and other components that fit your riding style.

2016 Fatboy Carbon Comp

2016 Fatboy Comp Carbon (small)

One of the best deals this year is the Specialized Fatboy Comp Carbon. At $3200, this generously spec’d bike features a carbon fiber frame and fork, Sram 1×10 drivetrain, and 26 x 4.6″ Ground Control tires. The 2016 Fatboy Comp Carbon is currently on the floor at Peak Cycles in downtown Golden waiting to be ridden. Check out the full post for all the details!

Read the rest of this entry »


A Different Take On the Benefits of Training Indoors

February 26, 2015

2014 Giant Trance Adv. 1 27.5-1It’s winter. It’s cold. There’s snow on the ground.  And, when the snow melts, it’s still cold – and wet. Many brave winter cycling and enjoy it with layering and a designated winter bike to ride. But, most of us suffer inside.  The first few weeks of indoor training seems to be bearable; however, as the weeks continue without any hopes of prolonged outdoor riding in sight, the indoor workouts get shorter.  Or, they don’t happen at all.  The problem is, consistency in training is critical to prepare your body for the physical stresses of the season ahead.

How do you make peace with indoor training?  How can indoor training actually support consistency in training?

It may seem obvious, but scheduling workouts on the same day every week will help with consistency.  By creating a repeating schedule that you know works for you you minimize the chances to missing a workout. The post, 4 Habits to Increase Your Consistency, offers more suggestions on increasing consistency, such as, being purposeful, following your plan as best as possible, and getting in shorter rides when you have less time to train.

But motivation is key to maintaining consistency.  When lack of training motivation rears its ugly head, you don’t have to be a victim to it, take action.  The post, Surviving the Winter as a Cyclist, shares some great “fortune cookie wisdom” in that the hardest part is just getting started.  “Whether it’s starting your workout for the day, or jumping back into training after you’ve been “off the wagon” for a while, getting going is tough. That’s the law of inertia. An object at rest wants to stay at rest. But on the flip side, once an object is in motion, it wants to stay in motion.  The key here – start pedaling.  Make a time commitment to stay on the bike for 30 minutes to see how you feel.  By then, most likely you’ll be into the ride and lack of motivation is disappearing.

If cycling indoors just isn’t your thing, accept it.  But don’t give up! Trade saddle time for gym time to gain core strength.  The primary focus when it comes to strength exercises for cyclists is to train in a similar motion to cycling with lower and upper body, while increasing overall core strength and muscular endurance. Check out The Best Strength Exercises for Cyclists or 7 Hip and Core Exercises for Endurance Athletes to get you started and also, to keep you motivated through the winter months.

You may also consider doing yoga.  In cycling, the quadriceps, hamstrings, and hips never rest. As a result, riders often have overdeveloped quadriceps and tight hamstrings, which can pull the hips out of alignment. Also, a cyclist’s spine is constantly flexed forward. If proper form isn’t maintained, it can result in muscle pain and strain in the back and shoulders. Yoga helps ease the tightness, creating core strength, and aligning the spine.  Even if you aren’t into yoga, there are 3 poses you should practice.

When you think about it, indoor training doesn’t have to be as bad as you think.  Options are available.  And, you may just give winter riding another chance too!  Winter riding can be equally as fun as Summer riding given you have the right cycling apparel, you know how to dress for winter riding, and you have the right bike parts in your winter toolkit.


Top Fat Bike FAQ’s

February 19, 2015

Fatboy at BikeParts.comFat bikes – they’re all the rage! While many consider fat bikes to be a trend, they are, in fact, here to stay!  The hottest trend in the mountain biking world right now is the oversized bike that can accommodate tires up to 5 inches wide.  Yet, as popular as they are, many have yet to experience this cycling bliss!  Following are the top frequent asked questions we get at Peak Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado.

Why should I ride a Fat bike?  Fat bikes behave much like a mountain bike but, in many cases, they are much more versatile. You can practically ride them anywhere and they are particularly useful during winter rides in snowy conditions. They are also great beginner bikes and will make you feel like an 8 year-old again, bouncing  gleefully all over the trails.

How are fat bikes different than other mountain bikes?  Many fat bike models today are similar to “normal” mountain bikes, which have slacker head tube angles, lower stand-over heights, thru axles, and tapered head tubes.  The main difference is the tires. The wider ties have more traction in both dirt and snow. They climb better than almost any mountain bike and the fit tires provide greater cushion that feels like extra suspension.  But what makes them special is they entice you to ride outside when it’s cold! According to the post, Fat Biking 101: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Biking in the Snow, most people do not ride when it is cold because, well, it’s cold. 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 a new freedom to ride off-road.

In what kind of conditions can I ride my fat bike? Fat bikes can ride pretty much anywhere. They do really well on dirt but they are also very capable in the snow. Packed snow will feel very much like riding on dirt. Pushing through heaps of freshly fallen snow will provide more of a challenge and there will be some days when riding is simply impossible. Remember, while sliding around on ice may be fun, ice is ice. The bike will still go down if you are not careful riding on slippery substances.

How do I stay warm on my fat bike in the winter?  You have to think a little bit harder before and during your fat bike rides in the cold. Generally the most important tip for keeping warm is to layer, and to carry a pack to put your extra layers away. Some people prefer to wear ski goggles and a ski helmet, and lots of people wear winter boots.  Poagies, insulated hand covers that slip over your handle bars, are also very useful for keeping your hands warm.   Keeping your feet warm is key. Wearing arm boots, preferably water proof, with thick socks on flat pedals or clipless boots with multiple pairs of socks will help to keep your feet comfortable.

How do I keep my water from freezing?  Even though you might not feel the urge to drink as much when riding your fat bike in the cold, it is still important to drink fluids. There are a couple of tricks your water from freezing. During shorter rides, carry an insulated water bottle and start with really warm water. You can also add electrolytes or other ingredients to change the freezing point of the fluid, but may find limited success. When using a CamelBak or something similar, stick the bite valve in your jacket and blow out all the water in your hose. You can also buy neoprene insulators for the hydration hose to help keep water as a liquid substance.

Should I use clipless or flat pedals on a fat bike?  It’s your choice! The biggest problems people have making this decision is deciding how to best keep their feet warm. Having flat pedals will allow you to wear thick winter boots, which are more conducive to keeping your feet warm. However you can buy clipless boots that are designed to handle colder temperatures. Using a clipless pedal could prove annoying in snowy terrain if you have to dismount and remount frequently during your ride.

What kind of tires should I use? How wide? What pressure do I run? Tube vs. Tubeless?  You have to match tire pressure with conditions. Softer snow conditions: 6psi. Harder conditions: 8-10psi. (much lower than the normal bike). Fat-bike tires are typically marked as 26 x 4.0 though most are really more like 26 x 3.7 or 3.8. The actual size of the mounted tire will vary depending on the rim width used for the wheel.  Many riders prefer tubeless because they reduce over a point of rotation weight and they provide better traction.

What kind of fat bikes are on the market?  The fat bike market has exploded in recent years. Brands include Specialized, Mongoose, Polaris, Kona, Gravity, Kawasaki, Borealis and more! Manufacturers are creating frames out of tons of different materials including aluminum, carbon, titanium, bamboo, real steel, and Wal-Mart steel. Most fat-bikes that you will come across have a fully rigid frame. However fat bikes with front fork suspension and full-body suspension have started to emerge.

Finding the fat bike that works for you will depend on the type of riding that you do and, more importantly, your budget.  However, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we are all big fans of the Specialized Fatboy Bike. We have found the Specialized Fatboy to be a highly rated, mid-range fat bike that is usable for a wide range of ages and skill-levels.   In fact, the Fatboy was rated as the best mid-range fat bike in 2014 by Gear Patrol, a magazine that covers the best in gear, adventure, and design.  

Where can I ride my fat bike? Fat biking is abuzz in Colorado. Colorado is already a favorite state for cyclists due to the mountainous terrain, rugged trails, scenic views, and outdoorsy population. But now, Colorado is a hot destination for the fat bike phenomenon.  There are also a ton of really fun fatbike events across the nation.

Whew! Lots of questions but one final one.  Are you feeling the urge to take on this fun fat bike phenomenon? Demo a fat bike at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop in Golden, Colorado.  Check out our fat bike bike selections, cycling apparel, hydration strategies, fat bike bike parts, and accessories.  Plus, get even more of your questions answered in person!