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If a cyclist is on your gift list for Christmas, then you may be wondering what to buy. Here are some ideas that range from simple to extravagant.
These are small items in the price range of a few dollars to about $50. Most cyclists can use duplicates.
Get socks that are made of moisture-wicking material. Many people like thin socks; I happen to like thicker ones because my cycling shoes fit better with those. Also, I wear DeFeet wool socks year-round and am comfortable because of wool’s natural wicking capabilitie.
Cyclists usually wear gloves throughout the year: open ones during the summer; and full-fingered gloves during the winter. They can help with your grip and comfort during a long ride; plus, if you happen to fall, gloves protect sensitive skin and prevent injury. My bike shop guy tells me that gloves should fit snugly.
- Blinking lights
One of the best safety products you can buy for your bike is a blinking light. Even if your cyclist has a light, an extra one should be appreciated. The brighter the light is, the better. Start by getting a tail light and then consider getting a headlight. I use a Thunderbolt light, which is very bright (use the low-flash mode or fourth setting to keep this light from depleting its charge during a ride).
- Tire levers
Tire levers are used to remove a tire from a bicycle wheel so that you can replace the inner tube or the tire itself. Some people don’t need levers but they are essential for me. These are cheap but useful gifts.
- Extra tubes
Nearly every cyclist can benefit from having extra tubes. Cyclists should carry these in their bike bags in case they have a flat or someone they are riding with has a flat. Giving a tube to a cycling friend in distress is a kind gesture. So, an extra tube is handy for repairs and friend making.
- Concentrated energy food
Those little packets of food that are easily stuffed into a bike jersey pocket or bike bag are great gifts. Buy your cyclist some of their favorites or let them try a new brand, food, and flavor. I like the Gu Energy Gels, Clif Shot Bloks Energy Chews, and Honey Stinger Energy Chews. Dried fruit is also a great source of energy and often cheaper than the specialized food. Cyclists use these items on longer rides when they have burned off energy and need extra fuel.
- Sports drinks with electrolytes
Single-sized servings of drink mixes are great gifts, especially for a newbie cyclist who is experimenting with various ways of maintaining hydration and electrolyte balance. I typically use the Hammer Heed sports drink mix but have also like the Endurolytes that come in tablet form.
- Special containers for sports nutrition/hydration items
One of my friends bought a special container for drink tablets at her bike shop. You could also make one of these yourself (probably) with supplies from the drug or hobby store. Basically, the container is small enough for a jersey pocket or bike bag, easy to open, and labeled with its ingredients. Having felt uncomfortable carrying around a baggy with electrolytes in the form of tablets, I love the idea of carrying a reusable container instead.
- Tool set
A tool set that you can take on the road with you while cycling is handy; even I was able to use my tools once to help a friend make an adjustment.
- Bike lock
Bike locks are handy for cyclists who are commuters or who occasionally must leave their bikes exposed on their bike racks while shopping or dining out. I rarely lock my bike on a group ride or charity ride but find a lock handy while traveling.
You can pick up these cycling gifts at your local bike shop or order them online at an store like Performance Bike.