It’s that time of the year again when you have to buy a gift for your cycling friend but don’t really know what to get him. Cycling stuff is expensive, after all, isn’t it?
You don’t want to spend a ton of money only to get a fake smile from your friend, letting you know you bought the wrong gift once again. I know the feeling; I’ve given a few of those smiles. Oops.
We cyclists are terrible gift recipients. We have a very specific taste, and we know exactly what we want. And it’s usually very expensive. So don’t buy cheaper versions, as we will only be disappointed.
Okay, we’re not that awful, but there is some truth in what you just read. Cyclists know quite well what they want to have and won’t use different stuff with such enthusiasm.
But one thing cyclists also are is cheap. We want a lot of cycling stuff but won’t buy much of it as we know it’s irrational. And there lies an opportunity for you.
I want to help you pick the perfect gift for your cycling friend, whether for Secret Santa, White Elephant or a birthday. I’ve got you covered.
I know there are a lot of gift lists, and some are quite good, but giving you 100 ideas will only confuse you. That’s why I’m giving you only 17 gift ideas I would be happy to receive.
And the best part is, you don’t need to rob a bank to buy them.
Cycling, especially road cycling, is a dangerous sport where you want to be visible as much as possible. And how do you do that? By lights.
If you open any cycling store or Amazon, you can get lost in the variety of bike lights. Some are expensive, others are not. So which to choose?
The most important feature of any cycling light is its brightness, so you are seen from afar. That’s why you want a powerful light, which means it will use a lot of power.
And that brings us to the second important feature. You want the light to be rechargeable, otherwise, you’ll spend millions on batteries, and more annoyingly, you’ll have to replace them every few rides.
So, you want a bright rechargeable light. Oh, and let it be waterproof as well. And that brings us to the Magicshine Seemee 150 Bike Light. By far the best pick for under $50. It’s bright, it’s rechargeable, and it’s very good.
And if you have a few extra dollars to spend, buy a front and rear light bundle.
2. Cycling Cap
A cycling cap is one piece of equipment that a beginner does not buy for himself. It may seem unnecessary, maybe even a bit tacky.
But then he gets his first cap. I tell you, he will never take it off again.
First of all, it is useful on the bike because it helps to wick the sweat from the forehead. Secondly, even after taking off the helmet, it sends a clear message to the people around you that you are indeed a real cyclist. Suddenly, you fit in with the other cyclists, and the door to the cult is open.
There’s a variety of cycling caps, from funky ones to the more serious ones. If your giftee is more serious, buy him a regular cycling cap.
But if he’s fun, the sky’s the limit. You can get a cycling cap with donuts, watermelons, monsters, GameBoy, or Tour de France polka dots. My favorite is definitely the Coffee Ride cap– boring, I know.
3. Cycling Socks
Yeah, I know. Socks for a gift? Really original.
But hey, hear me out.
Socks are one of the most important pieces of clothing for cyclists. Having proper cycling socks makes a difference between a pleasant ride and a ride where you only think about the socks.
The best cycling socks are the ones you forget you have on your feet. They must wick the sweat, stay in place and keep you warm. Unfortunately, most socks fail at least one of these factors.
If you want to give your lucky recipient proper cycling socks, get Swiftwick socks. They are not the cheapest, but they are not the most expensive. You get a lot of quality for the price, and a true cyclist will appreciate them. Seriously, don’t even think about it, just buy them.
4. CO2 Inflator kit
It sucks when you get a flat tire far away from your home. What sucks even more is not being able to fix it.
While the easiest way to fix it is with a repair kit, most cyclists don’t have it on the ride. We prefer to carry a spare inner tube and change it all together. We can always deal with a hole in an inner tube back home.
But whether you’re repairing or completely replacing an inner tube, the last step is to inflate it. If you have one, you can do this with a mini pump (also a useful gift), but I prefer to rely on a CO2 inflator kit. It’s smaller, so it’s easier to take on the ride, and it does the job just as well as the mini pump.
It’s important to buy a quality CO2 inflator kit that won’t fail when you need it most. That’s why I recommend the CyclingDeal CO2 Inflator Kit, which has proven to work as it should.
5. Insulated Water Bottle
If your giftee is brave enough to ride on colder days, he must be dealing with a common problem – a cold drink in a bottle.
When the drink gets too cold, it is impossible to drink. This means you’re left without fluid and energy on the bike, which further ruins your ride in the cold.
An insulated bottle is the ideal solution. It is surrounded by a layer of insulation and ensures that the temperature of the liquid in the bottle does not drop too much.
Plenty of insulated bottles are on the market, but I urge you not to buy the cheap ones. They do not work and will soon end up in the trash.
I suggest you choose a bottle from a reputable company that has already proven itself with its products. My choice is the CamelBak Insulated Water Bottle, which will keep your drink warm and brighten up your ride on winter days.
I haven’t had overshoes for a long time. It is one of those pieces of clothing that cyclists hesitate to buy for as long as possible.
Then, once we really get our shoes wet, we finally give in. And then we wonder why we waited so long. Overshoes make for much more pleasant rides in cold and wet weather.
The price range of overshoes is enormous. I don’t think it is necessary to buy the most expensive ones. The mid-range is sufficient. This includes GripGrap Overshoes, which do the job more than perfectly.
7. Magic Spanner by Carlton Kirby
Cyclists love to read about cycling. And if you want a good cycling book, look no further than Magic Spanner by Carlton Kirby.
Easily my favorite cycling book, in which long-time commentator Carlton Kirby gives his perspective on cycling, shares stories from his encounters with professional cyclists and takes you behind the scenes of professional cycling.
Kirby is known for his humorous storytelling, which reveals a remarkable insight and knowledge of a much broader subject than just cycling.
A must-read for every cycling enthusiast.
8. Frame Sticker
How do you make your bike truly your own? By personalizing the frame!
The easiest way to do this is with a name sticker topped with a national flag. This way, every passer-by knows who owns the bike.
In addition, the rider can stick the sticker on his helmet to personalize his equipment even further.
9. Cycling T-Shirt
Many people will suggest you buy a cycling jersey for a cyclist. Don’t. It will be hard to match his taste, and he will probably be disappointed with the choice.
It is much better to buy him a cycling T-shirt. Cyclists want to make it very clear that they are cyclists even when they are not cycling. A T-shirt is perfect for this.
Many cyclists use a bike computer, but these are expensive and only offer cycling-relevant information.
If the cyclist wants more information, it is wise to mount a phone on the handlebars. There are few better ways to do this than with Quadlock.
I myself am impressed by it because of the firm grip on the handlebars, without any movement, whatever the terrain I am riding on. I also like the quick release, which allows me to quickly take the phone off during a break or after the ride is over.
The fact that professional cyclists also use Quadlock speaks volumes about its quality.
11. Chamois Cream
Spending hours on a bike sounds fun, but it has certain consequences, especially if you do it for a few days straight.
After a few days on the bike, the skin in the thigh area dries out from rubbing. This leads to chafing and pain that makes riding difficult or even impossible.
Cyclists combat this with chamois cream. Applying it before a ride moisturizes the skin and reduces friction or chafing.
There are many chamois creams available, but the one I prefer is Assos Chamois Cream. So far, it has always kept me free from chafing and helped me on my multi-day bike rides.
You usually go on a ride with stuffed pockets, and the last thing you need is a big wallet.
You can put money in your phone case, but it’s awkward, especially when they return your change after a coffee break.
So it’s best to find a slim wallet that can fit the essentials like a bank card, a few banknotes and an ID card.
Another important factor of a cycling wallet is waterproofness. You never know when you’ll get caught in the rain, and that’s when you want to be sure that the contents of your wallet will stay dry.
The Allett Hybrid Wallet ticks all the boxes. Thin, waterproof and durable, this wallet is the ideal gift for any cyclist.
13. Ass Saver
Honestly, you should buy Ass Saver just for the name, but in reality, it offers so much more.
Bikes not designed for city riding usually do not have mudguards. As a result, on rides following bad weather days, you can come home dirty from head to toe.
Since we cyclists are aesthetically oriented, we obviously won’t fit mudguards. However, we don’t want to be dirty, either.
And that’s where the Ass Saver comes in.
A small but effective approximation of a mudguard, it sits directly above the rear tire and catches most of the mud that would otherwise land on the rider’s ass and back.
14. Presta Valve Adapter
The most useful gifts can be the cheapest. The Presta valve adapter is proof of that.
Presta valve adapter allows you to inflate your tire with a regular pump used at gas stations. Why is that useful?
Well, if you don’t have the CO2 inflator or mini pump with you, you can’t inflate the tire. Your best solution is a gas station, but the pumps are meant for Schrader valves found on cars.
So, you need an adapter that converts the Schrader valve to the Presta valve. Enter the Presta valve adapter. It’s a lifesaver. Since it’s so small, most cyclists like to keep it in a saddle bag just in case.
You can read an in-depth article about the differences between Schrader and Presta valves.
15. Speed and cadence sensors
When a cyclist has all the basic gear, he starts looking for upgrades. They can provide a better experience, a more comfortable ride or give you more information about your ride.
Speed and cadence sensors fall into the latter category.
As the name suggests, they provide live data about speed, cadence, and distance. This information helps you manage your ride better, distribute power more effectively, and achieve an overall sense of ease.
16. Heart Rate Monitor
Once cycling is no longer just about enjoyment and getting from A to B, the desire to progress comes to the fore. This is when a cyclist usually buys a heart rate monitor.
It is not essential, but monitoring your heart rate while riding is advised. That way, you know when you are pushing yourself too hard or when you could be pushing yourself harder. You can also track your progress as you ride up the same hill with a lower heart rate than three months ago.
Your heart rate tells you a lot about your fitness, but you must get reliable data. Smartwatches may measure your heart rate, but their accuracy is never as good as the accuracy of a chest strap heart rate monitor.
17. Winter Hat
Autumn and winter cycling requires every inch of your skin to be protected. We usually take care of our arms and legs first, then our feet and hands, and forget about our head.
A cold wind whipping past your ears at high speed is not only unpleasant but also ideal for catching a cold. That’s why it’s a good idea to protect them.
Since a normal hat doesn’t fit under a helmet, the cycling winter hat was created.
It may look funny, but it does the job very well. It protects your ears from the wind and you from the cold. So you can enjoy the autumn rides that many consider the most beautiful of the season without a care in the world.