Radonnee for December 14, 2022 – Affordable (and Practical) Christmas Gifts for the Bicyclist

Graphic of Cycling Accessories from Pixabay.com

Believe it or not, Christmas is a week from this Sunday. Have you completed your shopping yet? Maybe you haven’t even started like me. That said, do you have a cycling enthusiast in your life for who you can’t seem to find a gift?

With inflation affecting everything we buy this year, what can you do to ensure that the cyclist in your life has a gift to open on Christmas day but not overspend? No cyclist to buy for? Well, this time of year is good as any for stocking up on your own essential items for next season while retailers have everything on sale.

Whatever might be the case, there are some affordable (and practical) options out there on the internet, a local retailer like REI, or even a local bike shop to make yourself or them happy.

Restock Essential Consumable Items

One of the biggest expenses for cyclists is consumable items. These are things a cyclist uses all the time (or should have with them) when they go out for a ride. They may use them before, during, or after a ride (or they may not even use them at all like spare innertubes), but they should have them nonetheless. Here’s a quick list of some essential items.

  • Bars, gels, drink mix. Nutrition is as important to a bicyclist as a good set of gloves or socks. Ask them what their favorite is and pick up a box of bars, gels, drink mix, etc. These items come at all price points.
  • Innertubes. A cyclist uses these all the time and they are high-usage items. The nice thing is a tube can be had for less than $10.00 in most cases. But there are different valve types and lengths as well as different types of tubes, so make sure to ask.
  • Tire Levers. When a flat occurs during a ride, some cyclists wrestle the tire off the wheel without any assistance. However, there’s no shame if you need some assistance that a tire lever can offer. Choose the yellow levers made by Pedros, which I’ve found to be the most durable and easy to work with.
  • CO2 Cartridges and Inflator. Even though most cyclists carry a portable tire pump with them on a ride, CO2 is a faster option. It inflates a tube and tire in a few seconds versus the 10 or more minutes it takes to use a hand pump.
  • Chain Lube. Another high-usage item, most cyclists lubricate their chain before a ride or every other ride, so you can’t go wrong with this as a gift. I use a lite chain lube that is resistant to attracting dirt and grime.
  • Chamois Cream. If you are a road cyclist, you may be unfamiliar with chamois cream or its purpose. Most bike-specific shorts and bib shorts have a pad that can, for lack of a better description, creep into the wrong places while on a bike ride. This creep can, if left unattended, cause a rash. Chamois cream is applied to the pad to prevent what cyclists call “road rash.” There are many brands, so ask your cyclist which one they like. I prefer Assos.
  • Sunscreen. During the season (and especially the late spring, summer, and early fall), sun exposure can be dangerous and lead to various forms of skin cancer. Your cyclist most likely uses sunscreen that they apply before going out for a ride. Make sure to get something with a high SPF rating of 30 or above. There are more expensive cycling-specific brands, but I use a brand called Banana Boat, which is non-greasy and stays on during the three to fours I’m out on a ride. It can easily be obtained at the grocery store.
  • Bike Wash and Degreaser. While there are more expensive cycling-specific bike wash brands available, I tend to use dishwashing soap and highly dilute it with water. This works well to treat and clean the dirtiest bike components and the frame itself. For things like chains, cassettes, or cranks, a citrus-based degreaser is best as it will not damage paint, etc. For this item, you’ll have to order it online or go to a local bike shop.

Slightly More Expensive Personal Items for Cyclists

Photo by Pixaline of Cycling Accessories from Pixabay.com

Not satisfied with the options presented above? Do you want to give the cyclist in your life something a little more personal so they might think of you every time they use it? In other words, something they can use year-round and more than one season?

This next list of items, then, might be for you (or even yourself). You should probably ask your cyclist what styles they like or even the brand before purchasing. Price points can vary.

  • Socks. Most cyclists wear some kind of sock when they ride. The trend right now is a calf-length sock. I find these types of socks way too hot for warm-weather riding and prefer socks that go over my ankle. Wool socks are great because they can be used during warm or cool weather.
  • Gloves. Many cyclists wear gloves to dampen bar and road vibration or avoid damaging their hands during a fall. Some are heavily padded and some are thinner, which are called pittards. Some have a closure at the wrist and others can just be slipped on.
  • Water Bottles. Drink containers are a highly personal preference, but a set of plastic bottles is good to have, even as a backup. And they are pretty affordable.
  • Multi-tool. A small but portable tool for doing a quick repair while on a ride is an essential item a cyclist needs to carry. You never know if you’ll need to tighten a bolt, fix a broken chain, or perform some other procedure while out on a ride.
  • Headlight, taillight, or both. The use of lights by cyclists, especially road cyclists, is an important and must-have item. I never utilized a taillight on my bike much in the past, but in the last five years, with more accidents because of distracted drivers, cyclists should do everything to make sure they are seen. A taillight for day use and a headlight for twilight or night riding is essential.
  • Frame pump. As mentioned above, most cyclists carry CO2 cartridges and an inflator to repair a flat while out on a ride. But a small frame pump or one you can pop into your jersey pocket is good to have with you. Pumps can vary in size and price, so I suggest checking at a local bike shop.
  • Gift Card. If you are truly stumped or afraid you might buy your cyclist something they might not want, choosing a preloaded gift card in an amount you’re comfortable with is a good option. You can either go to a local bike shop, someplace like REI, or ask the cyclist what is their favorite online cycling retailer. Even Amazon sells cycling products. That said, here are a few links that are favorites of my own:

Last Thoughts

Christmas gift-giving is an intimidating process. If you have a cyclist in your life and you know they would love that kind of gift, the process becomes even more complicated. However, it doesn’t need to be expensive or break your budget or drive you crazy.

Do you have a cyclist in your life you are shopping for this Christmas? Are you unsure what to get? I hope this list is helpful. Please like, share, and comment.

Author: Doug McNamee

Freelance Content Writer, Travel Writer, Editor, and poet.

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