Last year’s holiday gift guide was so well received that I decided to continue the tradition in 2018. Below you’ll find a list of items that I’ve used and would recommend as gifts for even the most discerning bicyclists.
- Everyone deserves safe places to ride. Please considering making a donation, or gifting a membership to PeopleForBikes.org
Bags & Packs
- Whether riding dirt, gravel, or pavement, Topeak’s Cagepack ($37.95) offers a secure, rattle-free alternative to under-seat packs. It’s compatible with most bottle cages, and the included divider protects your spare tube from sharp tools or keys.
- Carry the essentials in style with the versatile Pioneer 9 handlebar bag ($45.99 and up) from North Street Bags. The Pioneer is compatible with drop, flat, and Jones Loop bars, and can be converted to a lumbar pack with the optional waist belt.
- One of my favorite daily carry backpacks is Lifeproof’s Squamish model ($104.99-$139.99). Weighing less than two pounds, the 20L pack has easy-access pockets for a laptop, smartphone, and can accommodate a hydration reservoir for extended adventures.
Clothing & Outerwear
- The Showers Pass Cross Country ($89.00) mountain bike shorts are durable, fit great, and look good on/off the bike. With an 11.5-inch inseam (men’s, 10″ on women’s) and simple, muted colorways, you won’t be mistaken for a rodeo clown or hockey goalie.
- Weighing less than 150 grams, Smartwool’s aptly named PhD® Ultra Light Sport Hoody ($125) features body-mapped mesh panels for breathability, and can be packed into the zippered chest pocket for easy storage.
- Riding in the rain will suck a whole lot less if you’re wearing the GORE-TEX C5 SHAKEDRY™ 1985 jacket ($295). Wind, rain, and perspiration are no match for this lightweight (116 grams, size L), quick-drying garment.
- When it comes to tire pressure, knowing is better than guessing. Blackburn Design’s Honest digital pressure gauge ($24.99) is compatible with Presta and Schrader valves, and works equally well with high volume and high pressure setups.
- Garmin’s Edge® 130 computer ($199.99 and up) is compact, weighs only 32 grams, is chock full of useful features, and boasts improved reliability and usability. In addition to the base unit, Garmin also offers Speed/Cadence and Mountain Bike bundles.
- If you want all the navigational bells-and-whistles, but not at the expense of ease-of-use, the ELEMNT BOLT ($249.99) from Wahoo ticks all the boxes. And for data nerds, the BOLT integrates seamlessly with most hardware and software platforms.
Hard Goods & Accessories
- Need to make an unplanned coffee or bathroom stop but don’t want to leave your bike unattended? Hiplok’s Z-Lok Combo ($24.99) weighs a mere 80 grams, fits in a jersey pocket, and features a resettable, three-digit combination.
- Make that road-plus bike even more versatile with a pair of fenders. Velo Orange’s 650B Wavy fenders ($82.00) provide full-length coverage for tires up to 50 mm, and are available in high-polish silver or smooth black finishes.
- If you’re frustrated by rebadged racing saddles masquerading as touring models, then check out Ergon’s line of ST Core Touring saddles ($149.95). It’s my first choice for any type of riding that favors an upright position.
Hydration & Nutrition
- Most energy gummies turn into rocks when the temperature drops. Skratch Labs’ Energy Chews ($2.45 and up) stay soft in cold weather, taste great, and contain zero preservatives, coloring, or waxes.
- The Rebuild recovery drinks ($3.00 and up) from Tailwind Nutrition deliver carbohydrates, healthy fats (from coconut milk), and electrolytes. Easy on the stomach, the simply flavored mix (chocolate, vanilla) is available in handy, single-serving packets.
- Stroopwafels made with pure maple syrup and real raspberries? Yeah, it’s a thing (and a good one, at that). Untapped Raspberry Waffles ($9.95 and up).
Maintenance & Tools
When speed and convenience matter, I reach for the Prestaratchet Multi-Tool Kit ($24.95). The reversible design is perfect for tight spaces, and the individual bits/drivers can be replaced when they wear out (mine are still going strong after several years’ use).
Tubeless tire tech isn’t rocket science, but it can certainly be messy. The milKit valve systems ($34.95-$64.95) makes adding and topping off sealant easier (and cleaner),
Silca refers to the HX-TWO ($75) as a travel kit, but mine sees daily use in my home workshop. The tools’ polymer coating offers improved grip, and the heat-treated S2 steel resists wear and rounding out.
Disclosure: The aforementioned companies provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.