One of the best things about giving gifts is the look you see on the gift recipient’s face when they open the box or unpeel the sticky tape on a corner of the gift wrap. It’s that moment when their face goes from, “Wonder what they’ve got me, hope it’s not something too awful and I still have to smile and say thank you for…” to, “Oh My Gosh! I’ve always wanted one of these! This is the BEST gift ever! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!”
One of the worst things about giving gifts is trying to come up with good ideas in the first place for someone that you may not know all that well.
In this case, we’re off to a flying start. Because knowing that our lucky gift recipient is a bicycle rider opens up a whole world of possibilities. There are a wide range of awesome gifts for cyclists that (1) they’ll love, (2) will either look incredible or will be really useful, or even both, and (3) are available to buy at a range of prices to suit all budgets.
Based on my years of cycling, buying cycling gifts and receiving cycling gifts (both good and bad) I’ve compiled a list of great gifts that bicycle riders love to receive. Maybe it’s for Christmas, maybe it’s for their birthday, maybe it’s just because. Let’s take a look.
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What makes a great gift for a bicycle rider?
Cyclists are great to buy gifts for for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they tend to wear out the gear that they have on a regular basis. Whether that be socks that get holes in them or bike pumps that give up their last puff. Secondly, they absolutely LOVE new bike kit. Why? Well, it’s all shiny and new and gives them an opportunity to show off to all their cycling buddies. Yes, cyclists (myself included!) are a little bit shallow like that but, hey, aren’t we all?
So what new kit items make great gifts for bike riders? Well, there are a few things that I’d recommend you to steer clear of. These being items that come in different sizes. Unless you absolutely know for definite what particular size is right, then your giftee will have to return it and get the correct size, and that’s a hassle that you don’t want to give them. So, avoid clothing (particularly snug-fitting items such as bike shorts and jerseys), bike components (they tend to be very specific dimensions and you can’t mix and match) and even bikes themselves as it’s best for people to try these out and buy them for themselves.
But fear not! That still leaves plenty of great types of gift that work really well for cyclists and come with loads of different options and at a wide range of price points to suit all tastes and budgets.
Let’s take a look at a few of these categories and see why they’re so good.
Bike repair tools
It is a sad fact of life that, the more you use something, the more it will break down. I don’t think this applies to anything more than it does to bikes. There are so many components on modern bikes and they all seem determined to stop working at the same time. It might be inner tubes that go ‘Pop!’, or chains that rust solid and go “Clank!”, or even spokes that come loose and go ‘Twang!’
So many noises and that’s without the exclamations that come out of a cyclist’s mouth whenever they happen.
But, you can make it all better for them. Buy them a pump for their tires or a multitool for all those loose components, or even a set of tire levers and a handy under-saddle storage bag…and stop those noises for ever.
Bike navigation tools
You know how you’ve got satnav in your car? And it gets you from A to B without the need to thumb through an old A to Z? Can you imagine going back to the bad old days before it existed?
And cyclists have the same navigation issues too. That’s why manufacturers like Garmin have extended their product range from the car dashboard over to bike handlebars.
Bike GPS devices are incredibly cool bits of kit. Not only do they give you turn-by-turn navigation, but they also tell you how many miles you’ve cycled, at what speed, how many calories you burnt doing it, and what your heart rate is. This is the kind of bike tech that makes a cyclist’s pulse rocket.
Cyclists need to have bike lights front and rear for two reasons: to be seen and to see. In many cases though, the lights that cyclists have are either inadequate or past their best.
Modern bike lights are far superior to the ones I remember from my youth. These were big old lumps of plastic, that took huge non-rechargeable batteries, and gave off the weakest of weak light.
Today’s lights are so much better. They use LEDs so are incredibly bright. They use rechargeable batteries that can be topped up with a USB connection. Plus, they’re sleek and small and can be fitted easily to many places on a bike or rider.
My favorites? Well, they’re a little showy, but I love the ones that fit to the bike wheels and show pictures and patterns in the blur of lights as you whizz along – check out my recommendation in the table above.
Cyclists tend to spend a lot of money on their bikes, but often very little thought goes into bike security AKA stopping someone stealing their pride and joy.
A good bike lock is an essential although sadly something that cyclists rarely buy for themselves – preferring to spend their cash on a speedy new set of wheels or a flashier pair of pedals.
Keep them on the straight and narrow by kitting them out with a solid and secure bike lock that they can take with them whenever they go out cycling.
On the face of it you may think that bike water bottles aren’t something that a cyclist would appreciate. They’ve probably got a bunch already, so why would they need another one?
Well, the thing is that, if you looked closely at their existing water bottles you’d see that they were all disgusting. I can almost guarantee they’ll be scuffed and battered, muddy and stained, leaking and moldy. How do you think the water inside might taste with all of that going on? Bleurghh…
For that reason, a new bike bottle, in a smart color, pristine condition, and without mud or mold, will go down an absolute treat with your cyclist.
You may have noticed that cyclists like talking about their favorite pastime. A lot.
But sometimes they have difficulty steering the conversation that they happen to be in around to the topic of cycling. So, it’s useful for them to have what I call a “Cycling Conversation Starter”. This is a bike-themed item that they can hold or wear, that will signal to others that they are a cyclist. “Oh, you like cycling”, they’ll say…and the cyclist is in there like a Tour de France pro rider off the start line.
There are many and varied examples of bike-themed gifts that are suitable for this. My favorites are cycling mugs.
Wearable bike tech
Synergy is a great word, isn’t it? Things combining together to make something that’s greater than the sum of their individual parts.
And when it applies to choosing a cyclist gift it doesn’t get any better than wearable bike tech.
Cyclists love tech, as we know. Cyclists also love stats about their cycling – mileage travelled, speeds achieved, calories burnt.
Cyclists also, as we’ve just seen, like “Cycling Conversation Starters”.
Combine these together and you get wearable bike tech. What is this? Well, it comes in the form of GPS-enabled Smartwatches. These awesome gadgets sit on a cyclist’s wrist (great conversation starter), track all their stats (including fancy things like their Power Output or Cadence), and come in the most high-tech packages available.
When you begin the hunt for the perfect gift for someone it can feel as if you’re lost in a vast ocean of possible options. Which are the right ones, the tasty oysters, that they’ll love? Which are the ones, like the poisonous puffer fish, that they’ll hate? To continue this rather desperate analogy, what you need is a hook, like cycling, that leads you straight to those perfect gifts.
And, with that pearl of wisdom (sorry…) I’ll leave you to your gift shopping knowing that your giftee will very soon have a big smile on their face.
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