5 Gifts for Serious Road Cyclists
Just as ice climbers are a different breed, so too are serious road cyclists. While there are varying degrees of serious road cyclists, they all share one common trait–an obsession with riding as many miles as often as they can. I know, because I share this affliction along with a growing tribe of other spandex-wearing, pedal pounding road cyclists who my wife less than affectionately calls “your cult.” Finding a thoughtful gift for a serious road cyclist is not an easy task for several reasons. Most of us are very particular about our gear, often beyond the point obnoxiousness. Don’t waste your time buying a jersey, helmet, sunglasses, bike computer or water bottle for the serious road cyclist on your list. Odds are they already have them and/or they know EXACTLY which one they’re getting next.
With that in mind, here are some gift ideas that anyone who regularly rides ten miles or more is sure to appreciate:
I know this flies in the face of my earlier assertion about serious road cyclists being particular about their gear but in my opinion, there’s no such thing as having too many cycling gloves. For one, they make a huge difference in a rider’s quality of life on the bike. The gel padding inside the $40 Pearl Izumi Elite Gel Vent Gloves above is great for preventing that pins and needles feeling some cyclists get on long rides. More importantly, a serious road cyclist needs lots of gloves because they get pretty ripe after just one or two rides. Since most serious road cyclists prefer to spend their time riding rather than doing laundry, having multiple pairs of clean gloves is a great thing–for them and their riding partners.
It doesn’t take much to puncture the thin, skinny tires on a road bike and at 100psi, a road bike tube can rupture just from riding over a piece of debris or crossing a railroad track. To save space for an extra water bottle cage, most serious road cyclists forego a frame mounted bike pump for a CO2 inflator that can be stored in a small seat pack along with the spare tube and tire levers. While some serious road cyclists are luckier than others, most of us experience a flat tire every 200-500 miles so we always need to maintain a supply of tubes and CO2 cartridges. If you know your rider’s tire size, you can get him or her some spare tubes in addition to the $8 unthreaded CO2 Cartridges above and really make their day. If you don’t know their tire size, the cartridges alone will still let them know you care. We road riders may be particular, but we always share our treats.
Box of 16 Organic Honey Stinger Waffles
Even if your serious road cyclist already has a favorite energy food, he or she will love these tasty, 160 calorie treats that harness the power of real honey to deliver quick energy. If for some strange reason they don’t love the delicious taste or delightful texture, they can be a hero on their next group ride by sharing them with all takers.
Most serious road cyclists don’t like to admit that their favorite sport is dangerous but the fact is, automobile drivers are more impatient and distracted than ever. Riders owe it to themselves and their loved ones to be as visible as possible and the $34.99 Blackburn Central 20 USB Rear Bike Light is my personal choice for making my presence known. It’s easy to install on any bike and after 76 hours of riding in strobe mode, your rider can recharge it without having to buy new batteries.
Some serious road cyclists spend more cash on their bikes than some drivers spend on their cars. Despite the significant financial and emotional investment, some of us strap our steeds to the bike racks on our cars without giving them a second thought or pop into convenience stores without locking them up. Even if your rider already has a lock, it’s always a good idea to have a back up in the car or in high crime areas, a second lock for better defense from hardcore thieves. If that sounds extreme, you haven’t seen your friends lose 6 bikes to thieves after leaving them inside a locked van overnight in NYC. At $42.95, the Kryptonite Kryptolok is a great insurance policy for a serious road cyclist’s most prized possession.