The holiday gifting season is just around the corner, so if you’ve got a cyclist in your life, read on!
What snow? Gifts for all-weather commuters
Just like the post office, all-weather commuters won’t be stopped by rain nor snow nor heat nor gloom of night. Here are a few ideas for these warriors.
A USB-rechargeable light
Perfect for commuters, since they’ll never have to worry about getting stuck at the office with a dead battery and no charger. (The rechargeable battery helps cut down on disposable battery use, too.) Stop by your local bike shop to discuss different options; when shopping, keep in mind the number of lumens (the measurement of light output as perceived by the human eye), weatherproofness, and battery life.
- Cygolite has an impressive array of USB rechargeable lights. The Metro series (300 or 400 lumens; $60-75) is weather resistant, with 5 lighting modes and a wide light spread. The Expilion series (600 or 700 lumens; $100-120) has 8 lighting modes and a quick-release battery that can be switched out mid-ride to keep your path well lit. Both have a quick-release handlebar mounting system; Expilion 700 comes with a helmet mount, as well. Because both series have internal battery packs, they’re easy to take off the bike for safekeeping if it gets parked outside for any length of time.
- NiteRider also sells USB rechargeable lights. The Mako (200 lumens; $65) is an internal battery pack light that attaches to the helmet with a quick release, while the MiNewt Mini (350 lumens; $110) has an external battery pack, and can attach either to the handlebars or the helmet. The helmet mount is especially helpful for mountain bikers on a night ride. NiteRider also offers the Solas 2-watt USB tail light, which features 4 modes, including a “group ride mode” for staying visible without annoying other riders in your group.
Quality rain gear
Key to a pleasant commute. Portland company Showers Pass has a great lineup of gear to keep your all-weather commuter out of the elements. Their rainproof jackets and pants all come in mens’ and womens’ styles, including the classy Portland Jacket ($200). It has all the features of a stylish (well, Pacific Northwest stylish) urban look, melded with hidden cycling features like a snap-down reflective rear flap, pit zips and zippered cuffs. Check out their selection of booties and hoods to help keep extremities dry, too.
Solid Waterproof Panniers
These will quickly become a bike commuter’s best friend. Seattle’s Detours Bags makes a large variety of good-looking bags for all types of commuting needs, with a priority on waterproofing, function and style. Go big and gritty with the waterproof Georgetown Dry Pannier ($105), get more lighthearted with the funky Fremonster Flap Pannier ($72), or land somewhere in between.
Commuter stocking stuffers
- Safety first! Look for reflective accessories like pant legs cuffs, decals or buttons. These days you’ll find an array of decorative items that are actually safety accessories.
- Brrring! A novelty bike bell (like these ones from Nutcase – $15) will add some fun to a commuter bike.
- Keep them on the road with a portable pump like the Topeak Mini Morph ($35), extra tube, tire levers and patch kit.
Chic in the rain: gifts for urban cyclists
Skies may be gray, but that won’t keep these classy folks from cycling in style. Here are some gift ideas for the urban cyclist in your life.
A good looking bag
A pannier that looks just as good on the bike as off it is crucial. That’s where Queen Bee Creations comes in. Another Portland company, Queen Bee features a fun collection of cycling bags. Their panniers ($124) are made of waterproof faux leather with cool appliquéd designs (both girly and gender neutral). At 830 cubic inches, they’re pretty spacious, too. Their front rack bags ($76) are made of waxed cotton with straps for securing it to a rack. Best of all? Everything’s handmade in Portland.
For the cyclist-baker, it doesn’t get better than the Pie Box ($35). This reusable pine box has a sliding lid and can transport a standard 9” pie in safety. Just strap it to your back rack and go! (Order by December 17 to guarantee delivery by Christmas.)
Surprise your loved ones with some stylish fenders, a treat they probably wouldn’t buy for themselves. Sykes Wood Fenders (Portland) makes gorgeous sets in a variety of wooden designs ($150 for a standard set), as well as attractive water bottle cages ($65). Some complete sets are for sale at shops around the globe (check the website for local stockists), but your best bet is to order a gift certificate and give the gift of custom fit. That way the recipient can choose their favorite wood species, as well as provide the specs for their bike.
Stocking stuffers for urban cyclists
- Walnut Studios is an Oregon company dedicated to beautifying the world’s bikes, one leather good at a time. In their online shop you’ll find all sorts of quirky accessories, from wine bottle carriers to u-lock holsters.
- Magazine subscriptions always fit well into stockings. Try Momentum Magazine for the latest scoop on the cycling lifestyle ($20 for a year’s subscription).
- Light up any bike with style; Fun Reflectors makes a variety of reflective decals from aliens and sharks to flowers and smiley faces. ($5)
Speed racer: gifts for roadies and racers
Ideas for the roadies and racers in your life.
Fenders, are you kidding me?
Your speedster’s not about to put a full set of fenders on a carbon fiber road bike, but sometimes a little rain protection can be useful. Portland Design Works makes an Origami Fender for both the front and rear ($20 each) that snaps on when you need it and packs down when you don’t. German company SKS makes a lightweight fender, as well. Their XtraDry ($15) features a wide design and an adjustable quick-release strap that fits around any seat post.
Merino Wool Jersey
It’s hard to go wrong with a sweet merino wool jersey. And better yet if it’s from Wabi Woolens, a Portland company who still makes their cycling jerseys in the USA. They have three mens’ styles: the winter weight cycling jersey ($165), adventure jerseys (sans rear pockets – $155) and a lightweight sport jersey in a long sleeve ($175) and short sleeve ($160).
For someone who’s going to spend hours in the saddle, getting a good fit is incredibly important. Give the gift of a pain-free ride with a gift certificate for a bike fit at a local shop (between $100-350). If you’re in Portland, check out Molly at Portland Bicycle Studio, or Jack at EnSelle the Road Bike Shop. Otherwise, call your local road bike store—many offer fitting services as well.
Stocking stuffers for roadies and racers
- Sock Guy socks ($10-13). Really. Can you go wrong with a pair of hot pink ultra-wicking socks with Lucha Libre masks on the ankles? These are the premier socks for bikers – durable enough to hold up well over time.
- Goo packets and gels might help keep cyclists going on a long ride, but Honey Stinger Waffles ($1.40) are by far the most tasty nutrition out there. Inspired by Dutch stroopwafels, they’re made of organic ingredients, and fit nicely in a jersey pocket.
- Chamois cream can mean the difference between a comfortable ride and, well. Chamois Butt’r ($16) and Hoo Ha Ride Glide (for the ladies – $22) are both good brands. Closer to home, Portland-made Cream of the Gods ($15) uses only 100% natural ingredients to keep your nether regions happy.
Jessie Kwak is a writer who loves to type about the good life: travel, outdoor adventures, food and drink, and (of course) cycling. You can find her at Bictoro: Bikes and Crafts.