Guest Author - Sharry Miller
Every once in a while the cyclists in our lives deserve to be truly spoiled. The gift ideas listed below will be welcomed by any cyclist and your generosity will be greatly appreciated. Some of these ideas are fairly inexpensive, while on others you can spend as much as your budget will allow. The list is generally organized in ascending order of expense, although there will always be exceptions.
Cycling Organization Memberships
There are several organizations doing important work to promote cycling in the United States. Consider a gift membership for your favorite cyclist. In most cases they’ll not only belong to a network of like-minded folks, but they’ll also get an inspiring magazine subscription, discounts to many cycling vendors, and other great benefits. National organizations to consider include Adventure Cycling, League of American Bicyclists, and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. An internet search will reveal numerous other national and local groups deserving of support, too.
Jerseys and Shorts
Cyclists can always use new and fun cycling clothes. Jerseys are available in a wide variety of styles, colors and designs to allow everyone to show off their sense of style. Cycling shorts, as well as pants and skorts (shorts within skirts), are also available in a variety of styles, from tight Lycra to baggy enough for comfortably wearing around town. My favorite websites for women’s clothing in all sizes are Team Estrogen and Terry Bicycles, although an internet search will reveal many others as well.
Bike Bags and Panniers
Bicycle bags come in a variety of styles, sizes and purposes. Small under-seat bags are great for holding few tools and tube patching kits, while handlebar bags can carry a wallet, camera and other small essentials. Bags that mount to the top of a rear rack are perfect for carrying everything one needs for a long day ride, including rain gear and lunch. If your favorite cyclist likes to go on longer rides, even multiday tours, front and/or rear panniers might be appreciated. Waterproof ones are especially useful. Most bag types are available at local bike shops and on-line.
Bike trainers allow cyclists to use their bikes indoors when weather prohibits outdoor riding. They allow one to mount a bike on a stand that provides resistance while pedaling. Resistance can be provided by wind, fluid or magnets. Trainers come in many makes and models and can cost as much as you want to spend. A good bicycle shop should be able to help you choose one.
Car Rack for Transporting Bikes
Assuming your cyclist doesn’t do all her riding right from home, she probably needs some way to transport her bike to her destination. There are three main styles of bike racks that mount on vehicles: roof racks, receiver hitch racks, and trunk racks. The style you’ll buy will depend on the type of vehicle your cyclist drives. Check local and online bike shops, REI and other such stores for options.
The ultimate bike-related gift I could receive right now would be a bike tour. I’ve been on several and I love everything about touring. You can choose a tour in nearly every part of the world to accommodate any type of rider. Companies with which I’m familiar that provide excellent service include WomanTours, Adventure Cycling, Bicycle Adventures, and Iron Donkey, but a simple internet search will provide a multitude of others. The sky’s the limit with this gift option, so have fun planning the perfect adventure.
Perhaps your loved one needs a new bike (and who doesn’t?). Your road cyclist might enjoy the ability to try mountain biking, or perhaps the reverse is true. Maybe it’s just time to upgrade to a lighter, more technical bike. No matter the reason, there’s a bike out there to fit every need or desire. Work with a reputable local bike shop to choose and purchase the right ride for your loved one.
This list is just a starting point for gifts the cyclist in your life will love. Now get out there and spoil her!