The holidays are just around the corner, and it may be daunting to find the right gift for the cycling enthusiast or bike racer in your life. Cycling is an expensive sport; while the wish list typically emphasizes big ticket items like new bikes, the smaller things can also just as, if not more, appreciated.
Not to worry – I’ve complied a list of my favorite items that would be thoughtful gifts (hint, hint) for any occasion, and would not only benefit, but please any cyclist:
- ESI Grips RCT Wrap or Racer’s Edge MTB Grips. Nothing freshens up a bike like new grips or bar tape! ESI Grips are made in the USA and 100% Silicone; they are lightweight, incredibly shock-absorbing, don’t slip in wet conditions and they are easy to clean.
- Bicycle Repair Kit: I prefer the reflective Planet Bike Little Buddy seat pack and fill it with my Planet Bike Red Zeppelin inflator and CO2, Pedro’s Folding Hex Set, Pedro’s Tire Levers, and Continental Tube. I have a lot less to worry about whenever I have this set on my bike!
- Planet Bike Blaze 500XLR and Superflash Micro USB Lights. Especially during the winter when daylight is decreased, increased safety is invaluable; these lights are shockingly bright and best of all, they are rechargeable!
- A gift certificate for a tune-up at a local bike shop! Winter is the time of year that most bicycles get neglected or set aside; it also provides the harshest conditions to ride in. This is the best time to overhaul/maintain equipment and prepare for the season ahead.
- Pedro’s Pig Pen Drivetrain Maintenance Kit. The Chain Pig has made my life so much easier; it is a quick, hands-free, no-mess way to get your chain sparkling. While you can choose the plant-derived Pig Juice degreaser or Chainj chain lube à la carte, this kit includes the basics.
- Pedro’s Green Fizz Foaming Bike Wash and Degreaser 13. I use the bike wash on my frame, wheels, and cockpit; while I use the degreaser on my drivetrain (primarily on the cassette, chainrings and pulleys). Like the Pig Juice and Chainj lube, these are safe to use, as they are plant-derived, biodegradable, solvent-free and zero-VOC.
- Pedro’s Ice Wax Dry Lube, Bio Grease and Bike Lust provide the perfect finishing touches for a freshly cleaned bike. Ice Wax is my favorite lube for any road or trail conditions; it keeps the chain clean for a looong time. I use the Bike Lust to protect my frame, dropper post, and suspension fork stanchions, and the Bio Grease to prevent seizing on component interfaces or threads of my pedals and cleats.
- ESI Grips Silicone Tape. This tape is amazing and I’ve replaced any electrical tape I may have used otherwise. It is shock-absorbing and makes an excellent chainstay protector. The tape only fuses to itself (or other silicone products, making repairing silicone bar tape or grips a breeze), so it is not sticky, nor does it leave behind an adhesive mess. It has a nice feel and once it cures, it has to be cut off.
- Pearl Izumi X-Project Shoes: I have the previous 2.0 model which has changed a bit, but the features I love have stayed the same in their current offerings: The multi-density insoles are adjustable with varus/valgus inserts; the carbon sole is stiff, yet flexible enough for run-ups or hike-a-bikes, while the EVA heel cup and rubber outsole offer even more off-the-bike function; the offset straps and attached tongue are comfortable and stay in place. These are by far the most comfortable cycling shoes I have worn and my feet never slip.
- Handup Gloves. These gloves offer hand and finger protection with fun colors and patterns. They feature minimal padding, which allows for better feel and control of the bars, while a silicone print adds extra grip.
- Socks. Yes, while socks are a popular, yet sometimes tiring holiday gift, cycling socks are a different story. Few other sports favor sock expression as cycling does; DeFeet, Tenspeed Hero, and The Athletic have some pretty exciting patterns that are sure to stand out!
- Osprey Rev 1.5 Hydration Pack. This pack is super light, low-profile and offers a ton of features. I use it for mountain biking and short hikes, but it is the only pack I would also consider using for trail running. What I love about Osprey is the company’s attention to details. Their products are incredibly well-thought out and functional.
- Osprey Porter 46 Pack. A gear-hauling pack may not be the first cycling gift that comes to mind, but I can guarantee than any cyclist would be grateful to receive one. I have taken mine to just about 50 races this year, and I wouldn’t travel anywhere without it. The 46 is the largest size that will fit as a carry-on, and the straps stealthily pack inside when it is stowed away.
- Osmo Nutrition PreLoad Hydration, Active Hydration, and Recovery Protein. I find these formulas easy to digest, love the subtle flavors, and as a lady, prefer the women-specific products that cater to women’s physiology and shifting hormone levels, as well as recovery (there are also men’s products available). Optimizing hydration and maximizing recovery leads to better performance.
- Threshold Provisions Bars. These incredible energy bars are produced by hand and made with love in Asheville, North Carolina. The bars come in four delicious flavors and are easy to digest; they are gluten, dairy, and soy-free, non-GMO, and contain minimally processed and organic ingredients. They pack a punch and will keep you fueled! I am especially fond of their newest offering, Pineapple Ginger. Threshold Provisions also produces incredible Salmon Jerky.
- Honey Stinger Gels and Organic Energy Chews. These delicious, effective energy gels and chews are easy to eat on the go. They offer a natural and sustainable source of energy from honey and minimally processed, organic ingredients.
- I’ve saved the biggest and best for last: the best performance upgrade you can make to a bike is the wheels. If you really want to blow someone away with an amazing gift, get them an upgrade with Industry Nine. This season I have been riding the Torch Ultralite 29 on the mountain bike, the C41 TL on the road, and the i25 tubular for cyclocross. Industry Nine makes the best wheels in the market entirely in their Asheville, North Carolina facility. The wheels are incredibly lightweight, yet stiff, with amazingly quick engagement-a huge bonus when accelerating out of corners or getting over obstacles. With 11 vibrant colors to choose from, these wheels look as amazing as they feel.
I hope that this guide proves useful for this holiday season or any occasion. The cyclist in your life (or you) will be a very lucky one!