Whether you're looking for gifts for yourself, or just shopping for that favorite cyclist in your life, there are a lot of good choices. From the most casual bike rider to a hard-core touring cyclist or racer, check out this list of gifts that would look good under the tree this year.
Little-bitty light, great big illumination. Built with a sleek, easy-to-use design, the Push bike light by Princeton Tec ($50)pumps out a blazing 100 lumens of light with a single Maxbright LED. Plus a side-flash feature makes you visible to traffic from the sides as well.
The Push boasts 63 hours of burntime and is able to work on road and mountain bikes. The light features several functions, including hi/lo/flash/side lights. One simple and conveniently large push button controls them all.
May be a bit pricier than the low-end lights, but its quality makes it money well spent. This light sits at the top of my list for its brightness, ease of use and skimpiness when it comes to burning up batteries.
Mark Cavendish: Boy Racer ($20) is a terrific look inside the world of professional cycling and what it's like to be one of the sport's biggest stars. Smartly organized in alternating sections that move between racing accounts and a look at Mark Cavendish's background and upbringing, the book keeps the colorful, bold statements that have made Cavendish both admired and despised among cycling professionals and fans, and a favorite among journalists everywhere for his propensity to give a good quote. Whether you like his opinions or not, there is no question that Cavendish will tell you what he thinks, and he does it here.
Chrome makes apparel and accessories for rugged urban riding. These Midway shoes by Chrome are just the latest embodiment of that philosophy. Like all Chrome products, these are designed to be both ultra-cool in an unstated way, and built unspeakably tough to handle the most demanding environment.
Go from bike to bar with these shoes, which combine unique style with riding-specific features, such as a board lasted sole, fiberglass shank, and a reflective patch in the back heel.
Gargoyles Striker ($75-$110) sunglasses were released this past year as part if the Instinct line of performance sunglasses. Gargoyles has long been known for their high-tech design and construction, which both perform well and look great. The curved lenses minimize the wind on your eyes, and also offer more protection from dirt and other junk that can kick up when you ride.
The lightweight, minimalistic approach is combined with Carl Zeiss lens technology, which offers both a sharp field of view, plus 100% UVA, UVB and UVC light protection and a scratch-resistant, anti-fog coating. Rubber temple pieces, nose pads and pin stop hinges help ensure a solid fit when running or on the bike.
If you're looking to get into helmet- or handle-bar cameras but don't want to drop a ton of cash, the Drift X170 camera ($140) is a good place to start with its intuitive controls, quality HD video and a ton of mounting options. Say you want to tape your mountain bike rides, or you're thinking that your little daredevil would love to tape himself out doing BMX stunts. The Drift X170 action sports camera is a decent entry-level camera that you can get into without breaking the bank. Its ease of use and virtually immediate set-up and use are strong points for helmet or handlebar cam rookies.
Nema's line of mountain bike shorts ($40 and up) are well-built and good looking, and should be on your short list of possibilities if you're out shopping. The four newest models, (Jewel, Crown Jewel, Telonix and Seacher) are all well-built, functional and good-looking shorts. You can't go wrong with any of them. Read the whole review for more information on each.
Though you may never pick an exercise bike over riding outdoors, the videos in the Bike-O-Vision DVD series (from $15) certainly make the trainer more enjoyable by allowing you to "ride" places around the world that you may never actually visit. Maybe you're pedaling along through California wine country, maybe riding on the Big Island of Hawaii or the mountains of Europe. You see the road stretching out in front of you as it rolls smoothly under your wheels. Occasionally, you'll glance to the side and check out the scenery passing next to you. You're still pedaling at home, of course, but the Bike-O-Vision DVDs definitely add a lot to the indoor cycling experience.
You know if you ride your bike and carry a phone for any length of time, sooner or later you will drop your phone. That's what makes getting an Otterbox iPhone case (from $15) a smart idea. It protects your phone and keeps it looking good without adding significant weight or bulk. Somehow it manages to walk the fine line between protecting your iPhone, yet still leaving all of the features and buttons available to you.