Gifts for Your Favorite Cyclists
Wondering what to get your bike-riding friends and relatives for Christmas? Well, let me help you out with that. Here are a few of my favorite things, which stand a pretty good chance of becoming your cyclist friends' favorite things as well:
1. Bar-ista Coffee Cup Holder and a Travel Mug
I have this little get-up on my hybrid, also known as my farmers market bike, also known simply as Stella. The Bar-ista Coffee Cup Holder is made by Portland Design Works and is available locally over at Tern of the Wheel, priced at about $20. The mug was purchased at Kroger. I chose this particular mug to match the green on my panniers, but in choosing the right mug, besides looking for proper fit, choose one that seals tightly to prevent spillage/leaking when riding. I like that this one has a handle as well; it makes it easier to grab.
2. Po Campo Six Corners Bag
This isn't my bike, but I have this little handlebar bag. I use it mainly on my road bike that doesn't have any racks/baskets, etc. I like this bag because it is both fashionable and functional. It is just the right size for a cellphone and small wallet/change purse/ID holder. Plus, Po Campo is a small, woman-owned company based in Chicago. I tend to like to support the little guy, or in this case, the little gal. Lots of other bags and designs to choose from for both men and women.
3. Sunlite Amplified iSpeaker Bag
Take your music with you with this little speaker system that attaches to the handlebars. I have mine attached to the basket on my farmers market bike, and I use my iPod Nano with it. It really adds a bit of fun on a casual summer solo ride or adds just the right touch on a holiday-themed group ride. I, in fact, have a special Christmas music playlist on my iPod just for that purpose. You can find this item over at Tern of the Wheel as well.
4. Gift Card to Local Bike Shop
I really don't know a cyclist who doesn't have a wish list a mile long at their favorite bike shop. You just can't go wrong with a gift card, and if the bike shop doesn't have a wanted item in stock, more than likely they have a business relationship with the vendor and can order it in.
5. Cool Bike Helmet
Helmets are cool. Enough said. The brands shown in the above picture are (from top right clockwise) Bontrager, Nutcase, Bern, Trek, Giro, and Bell.
6. Books on Cycling
You might now be thinking, "Are there really that many books about biking out there?" You bet. Tons and tons. You might want to start with the type of cycling your bike friend enjoys most: touring, racing, mountain biking, etc. You will find a million, zillion titles, fiction and nonfiction alike, with an Amazon search, and hopefully customer reviews will help you further narrow your search. Or you can just ask the friendly folks at your local bike shop or advocacy group or bike club for their own personal favorites.
7. ChicoBag Daypack 15
I seriously love this little bag and use it all the time. It is lightweight. Who wants the heaviness of a backpack on top of the heaviness of the items inside? It is super durable. I have (over)filled this bag with heavy groceries (including bottles of wine and jars of pasta sauce), and it is still serving me well after several years. And it is compact. This little bag zips right up into its own little pouch and can be tucked into another bike bag or a pocket or clipped onto the bike for those times when you run out of storage space and suddenly need another bike bag. You know those times... you decide at the last minute to stop off at the grocery store, or you ride your bike to a local festival or event and purchase a few things that you hadn't planned to, or you fill your panniers or rack bag too full at the farmers market and need another option. Of course, we aren't talking about you but rather your bike friend. You can always buy one for him or her and one for yourself. That's how I like to do it. :)
8. Advocacy Organization Membership
Consider purchasing a membership to a cycling advocacy group. My favorites are Ride Illinois, Adventure Cycling Association, League of American Bicyclists, and Rails to Trails. There are many ranges of memberships and benefits within the organizations. Pictured above is the very cool Ride Illinois bike jersey. You don't even have to be a member to buy it, but it triples the coolness if you are.
9. Waterproof Socks
If your cyclist friend does any cold-weather riding, these socks are a must-have and something that he or she might not want to spring for because as far as socks are concerned these are pricey at $35, but, let me tell you, so worth it. Cold, numb toes make for a really miserable ride. I hear cyclists say they will simply try duct tape over their shoes or wrap their feet in plastic grocery bags. No. Get the proper gear and you won't regret it. These socks will last forever, or close to it, and keep your feet much warmer. For winter riding, I usually first put on a pair of Surly wool-blend socks, then these waterproof socks, then my Shimano winter cycling boots.
10. I Bike Kankakee T-Shirt
I would be remiss to not put in a personal plug for my own "I Bike Kankakee" t-shirts and not for my benefit but to further the local movement toward awareness and a more bike-friendly community. I have both men's and women's cuts. Cost is $20. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope whatever you get your bike-loving friends and family (and yourself) is a hit. Most of all, I hope you have a wonderful, festive, peaceful Christmas.