Saturday, December 2, 2017

Holiday Shopping for Cyclists 101

Shopping during the holidays for your favorite cyclist can likely be one of these:
Fun
Exciting
Frustrating
Difficult
Challenging
Impossible

In reality it might be all of the above!

Whether you are seeking out a gift for someone new to riding or seasoned, holiday shopping for a bike rider can be tricky. It seems that many times, someone will always have everything while the other typically makes due with very little. You never know what is a "need" or a "want" and if you don't ride bicycles yourself, it can be even more daunting yet.

Today I'm putting together a simple guide on some holiday gift suggestions that might help you during the shopping season. The items I'll list are things that just about any bike shop should have on hand, or could easily get for you. 

Behold, items that may be on your rider's wish list:

#1. A higher lumen rechargeable headlight.
Why would someone want a headlight above 35 to 120 lumens? Simple, you get to see more of what is in front of you while riding at higher speeds. You also get more light in general, which is helpful so you aren't surprised by that pothole on your commute home. There are many, many rechargeable headlights out there, so I won't say specifically which brand you should get as there are many good ones. At Decorah Bicycles, we carry lights from Cygolite, NiteRider, and Bontrager with availability to many other brands.
How many lumens will depend on the rider and where they want to go and the type of riding they do.
The more adventurous they are with riding, say riding at night in the woods, they'll appreciate a light with higher lumen output. Possibly a light that could be mounted on their helmet at a later date.

For a light set, this Bontrager 800 with a Flare R rechargeable taillight would be a great gift for someone who commutes or rides paved trails at night. It could be a starter light for someone looking to hit up singletrack trails in the dark, especially if they are riding with someone who has a brighter light yet, like the NiteRider Pro 1800 or the Light & Motion Seca 2000 Race.

You can't go wrong with simple safety lights, either. It's a gift that can be easily put on the bike and used as a backup if one forgot their lights. These are ideal for the folks who like to visit their favorite brewery or bar after a bike ride. 

#2. A rechargeable, daytime visible taillight.
Daytime visible taillights are becoming increasingly more sought after and common among those in the cycling community. You get powerful brightness that will help drivers see you in the daytime as well as the evening hours. It helps you get noticed sooner out on the roads and in town- a taillight is a great investment for commuters and gravel/road riders. You can go super powerful with the Flare R taillight or more minimal for the commuter with the Bontrager Flare R City taillight.  

#3. A cell phone holder.
At Decorah Bicycles we carry the Nite Ize Handleband and a lot of riders from road to mountain biking have given it positive reviews. It's simple, easy-to-use and works with a ride array of phones. It may not always work great with positioning depending on how your bike is set up and the style of handlebars. If you have a large phone in a big case, it might be challenging. Overall, it's one of the least complicated phone holders that work for most phones. Plus, it has a bottle opener!
#4. A computer.
If you don't care about Strava too much and you're not looking for much outside of mileage of your ride and mileage for your year of riding, a simple computer like the Speedzone Sport Wireless Computer can certainly do the job. There are a couple color options to choose from and setup is easy- it won't track anything like cadence or heart rate, but there are other computers available to do so. This is best for someone who doesn't need the latest/greatest technology and for folks who want simplicity, or to be off the Strava radar. Kids love computers on their bikes, so don't discount this as an "adult only" present. Your 10 year old would get a kick out of this!

There are other computer options available for those who want to keep track of heart rate and cadence. They are more expensive, but have more features for those who want to keep track of more things. 

#5. A mini pump.
You might have a friend who relies on CO2 all the time, but this sleek and small mini-pump from Specialized is a handy tool! It's small enough to fit in your jersey pocket or hydration pack, has a pump head on it for presta and one for schrader, plus a hose to you don't have to worry about ripping your valve stem as much. If you know someone who wants to go on longer rides or you simply want to provide a secondary option for them to use if their CO2 isn't working- this is a great fit for the new and avid cyclist. (Do note, do not gift this to a new rider and give them the impression that this pump will work out for their regular tire-pumping needs. They should, definitely, invest in a floor pump!)
#6. A bell.
From simple to fun, there are bells out there for everyone. A bell is a great and quick way of announcing your presence behind someone on the paved trail and typically works better than yelling "On your left!"

This is an excellent gift idea for the new or avid paved trail rider. There is even a bell that can work with road bike handlebars! Many times I've encountered folks who have been startled by my announcing, or they haven't heard me. A bell is typically loud enough for sound to carry and for folks to hear. It's great for someone who is more shy and doesn't like trying to announce loudly.



#7. A hydration pack.
If you have a friend who enjoys mountain biking, but they try to take the kitchen sink with them in jersey pockets, a hydration pack might be the answer.

These work as a backpack and a way to hydrate, and there are various styles from men's to women's along with sizes depending on how much you need to take with. It might be a bit on the personal side, especially with so many storage choices and color options- so you could go the route of a gift certificate towards the purchase of one.

Hydration packs make life on the trails easier, especially during spring and fall months where you may be experimenting with different layers of clothing regularly and needing extra space for storage.

#8. Snacks.
If you ride with someone enough, you'll know exactly what they like to snack on during or post ride. Get them a box of their favorite chew, gel, or bar- or get an assortment of all their favorite flavors! Be sure to know if you are buying for someone who has dietary restrictions or wants to avoid certain things like caffeine. There are many brands of nutritional snacks and it's doubtful you'll find them all in one place. Don't be afraid to ask your local shop if they can get something in for you if you don't see it.

Also, a gift certificate to their favorite brewery or post-ride stop isn't a bad idea if you're not sure that you bought enough snacks!

#9. Flats pedals!
Flat pedals for your best friend who just bought a mountain bike is an excellent gift- especially if their bike came with inexpensive, plastic, flat pedals. These are also great for a commuter, too! There are many styles and types of pedals. If you have someone who is getting into fatbiking, a pair of Race Face composite pedals is also a fine choice. The material won't absorb cold as much as a metal pedal, and the traction pins are phenomenal! 

#10. Shop jersey!
If they frequently haunt a local bike shop that they love, but do not own a shop jersey- it's a great gift! Many times folks feel like a jersey costs too much to spend the money on one, but it's a piece of technical wear that lasts a very long time. Plus, think of all the feel goods of supporting a favorite shop!

#11. The gift that keeps on giving!
When all else fails, get them a gift certificate or gift card to their favorite shop! You can't go wrong with supplying some fun money towards something they have been eyeing up for months or a possible future bike/repair/upgrade.
Gift certificates to Decorah Bicycles never expire!

Other things that make nice gifts:
Cycling cap
Thermal headband/skull cap
Multi-tool
Wool Neck Gaiter
Water bottle with favorite shop logo
A gift certificate for bicycle rental
Floor pump
Socks!
A new helmet
Bike cleaning kit (wash, lubricant, degreaser)
A seatpack (you can also create a flat repair kit!)
Gloves for the warmer months or colder months
Barmitts!

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