Your Holiday Gift Guide
A Cycling Wish List for the Holidays
Gifts Starting at $25 that Any Cyclist Would Love
Richard Fries is the Director of Cycling Experience for the Best Buddies Challenges. With more than 40 years experience, he has been a racer, commuter, tourist, promoter, advocate, journalist and commentator on the sport and lifestyle of cycling. Having raced at the professional level both in America and Europe, Fries is well known as a race announcer having called countless USA Cycling National Championships, World Cups, and UCI World Championships. But he is also a tireless advocate having recently served as the executive director of MassBike. You can follow him on Strava to learn more.
My theory on buying gifts is to splurge on something the recipient would never buy on their own.
In cycling, form follows function. As the goal of the rider is to get everything down to the bare basics, there are few things in the sport that are frivolous or opulent. Cyclists typically will wear out their favorite items. We are a parsimonious bunch. But, in certain categories we’ll have several. Even getting a second or third of something as critical as a Merino wool base layer is appreciated.
As a general rule, a cyclist cannot have too many pairs of tights, gloves, good socks, vests, knee warmers or arm warmers. There are some items, especially as we go into the off-season with early sunsets and cooler temperatures that are can’t-miss gifts to give or receive. (Or just buy for yourself to keep riding this time of year!) Below is a list of gifts, with basics at a lower price point and then the more expensive item in the category, if you want to splurge.
While these are some suggestions, our number one suggestion is to head to your local bike shop and see what they’ve got. They can hit any price point and offer a wider set of ideas if none of these fit the bill.
Let’s go shopping.
These are the industry standard. Durable, effective and essential. And they don’t accidentally get bumped on inside your bag, leading to a discovery of a dead battery right when you need lights the most. You can never have enough of them.
Cyclic Fly 6
While it provides the user a red rear-facing LED light, this product provides something way cooler for road riders. The Cyclic offers a camera that is continually recording. If you hit the deck for any reason the camera saves the data before and after the incident. Whether you just want to record your friends getting left behind or that road rage incident, the Cyclic covers you.
DeFeet DuraGlove ET Hi-Vis
I cannot have too many sets of this product. They provide sufficient warmth down to around 40 degrees for most folks (we all vary), provide dexterity with rubber dots, and ball up conveniently to be tossed in a pocket or backpack without one of the pair being lost. Plus, the hi-vis colors are great for signaling your intent out on the roads.
Named in honor of the latitude at which they ride in Minnesota, 45 Nrth is all about cold weather cycling. Glove liners are the secret to super cold conditions. Wear these Merino wool liners inside of a larger glove and you’re good riding below zero. They offer some grippy rubber sections but also work with your mobile device. And yes, you can wear them alone down to about the freezing mark (depending on one’s climate resilience).
We cannot get enough of great base layers, especially in the winter. Good base layers keep you dry, which is the secret to keeping warm. This Swedish company practically created the product category in their support of winter sport Olympians. Their synthetics are super warm and well made with their new seamless designs that eliminate the pesky chafing around the neck where many products create “zipper stack” around one’s Adam’s apple. When wearing three or even four layers, comfort is a key factor.
Nothing performs as well as Merino wool…I don’t mention this in public, but I will wear my wool base layers for day after day after day as they do not absorb odors as do synthetics. Trust me, your family, friends and coworkers will appreciate you wearing wool. Velocio, designed by cyclists, truly scored with this product which can be worn alone without the superhero look.
Apps + Training
Indoor training systems have come a long, long way from the basic set of rollers racers used for decades (which remain kind of cool).The gadgetry- which can simulate climbing, measure power, and plug into all sorts of proprietary programs – is space age. For the money, BKool has the best indoor trainer on the market. With magnetic resistance and Bluetooth connectivity, BKool enables you to plug into a whole range of roads, customize routes, ride with friends from all over the world, and use their compete training systems. You can simulate climbs up to 8 percent and push watts up to 800 (which is far more than this writer has posted this year).
This is reportedly the cat’s spats of trainers. There are loads of cool features and adaptability, including an available Kickr Climb kit that simulates elevations of up to 20 percent (like steeper than anything you’ll hit on most roads) and wattage simulators that can measure up to 2200 watts (think Olympic sprinter). Compatible with all sort of apps and training systems, this can also be rigged up with other neat add-ons including weather simulations! Because the rear wheel is taken out of this system, you need not elevate the front wheel. But for those neighbors and family members, the Kickr’s greatest asset is how quiet it runs. Mind you, this does not muffle the grunts and groans coming from you.