Christmas is coming. What will you buy that special cyclist in your life? Here are some suggestions.
Buying gifts for cyclists can be tricky. Anyone who rides a bike regularly will have the essentials – especially if they’re a Cycleschemer. Not only could they have included all sorts of cycling equipment in their Cyclescheme package, the fact that they’re saving money on it and paying in instalments means that they’re more likely to have invested in quality kit. Quality kit that’s still doing its job just fine…
So don’t ask your special cyclist what they need; they’ve got that covered. Here instead is an eclectic selection of gifts that they might not know they need, ranging from stocking fillers and secret Santa gifts up to “you should’t have” expensive gadgets. They’re all things that can make their cycling life just that bit better. And if you’re the cyclist? Casually leave this page open on your laptop or send your significant other a link. Or just buy them for yourself!
1. BBB EasyTire
Removing and refitting bicycle tyres can be hard work. While there is a knack to it (pushing the sides of the tyre down into the central well of the rim wins you some slack), some tyre-and-rim combinations are very tight – tubeless tyres and rims being a case in point. That’s where this tool comes in. It levers the tyre back into place without nipping an innertube (if used) or needing an iron grip.
RRP: £8.95, bbbcycling.com
2. Endura SingleTrack Multitube
Stretchy fabric tubes, often known by the Buff brand name, are ideal for colder weather cycling. You can wear one as a neck scarf, under-helmet bandana, or face mask. Endura’s is available in various colours and the material wicks sweat away from the skin.
RRP: £12.99, endurasport.com
3. Cycle of Good Recycled Inner Tube Wallet
This eco-friendly wallet is made by a non-profit community enterprise in Malawi from recycled innertubes. Some of the wallets even have puncture patches. The butyl rubber is treated so it doesn’t smell, and it’s backed by fabric inside. But the outer surface is grippier than leather or nylon, so it’s less likely to jump out of a pocket when you’re cycling. Cycle of Good also make purses, bags, and more.
RRP: £15.50, cycleofgood.com
Riding a bike is something that, proverbially, you never forget. Riding a bike on roads with traffic is a skill that many people never learn. Cyclecraft explains everything you need to know. Road positioning, negotiating roundabouts, riding at night – you name it, it’s in here. Anyone who uses a bike for transport should read this book.
RRP: £16.99, cyclecraft.co.uk
5. PDW Sparrow Cage
Any bottle cage is a useful addition to a bike: it’s the simplest way to carry a bidon full of water or energy drink. Most are pretty boring. This aluminium one is designed to look like a sparrow, with its curled wings holding the bottle. Nice.
RRP: £19, ridepdw.com
6. Surly Jethro Tule
A tool for the cyclist who has 15mm ‘track nuts’ on their bike, such as fixie riders and owners of hub-gear bikes. It’s compact enough to fit on a keyring, yet the broad lever shape allows plenty of force to be applied – possibly with a foot. It also works as a bottle opener.
RRP: £29.99, surlybikes.com
7. Topeak Smartgauge D2
Tyres that are too soft spoil a bike’s handling, slow it down, and make punctures more likely. Tyres that are too hard are uncomfortable and don’t grip as well. A pressure gauge lets you find the sweet spot. Many floor pumps come with gauges, but not everyone has one – and this is more accurate anyway.
RRP £29.99, topeak.com
8. Sealskinz Waterproof All Weather Mid Length Sock
Christmas socks are boring. Waterproof socks are super useful for anyone who finds themselves outside in the wet, cyclists included. There’s a breathable, waterproof layer sandwiched between the inner sock and the outer. You can literally stand in a puddle and your feet will stay dry.
RRP: £35, sealskinz.com
9. Brompton Phone Mount
With an app like Google Maps or Citymapper, your phone can function as a satnav for your bike. It makes unfamiliar urban journeys much easier. Most phone mounts don’t fit well on that quintessential urban bike, the Brompton, or else they compromise its fold. This Quad Lock mount is specially designed for it. (For other bike mounts, see quadlockcase.co.uk.)
RRP: £37.50, brompton.com
10. Wahoo Tickr
This chest strap transmits data via Bluetooth rather than the ANT+ standard used by many heart rate monitors. As well as working with Wahoo’s Bluetooth-enabled Elemnt bike computers, it can also connect to your phone. So you don’t need to buy a separate heart rate monitor for fitness training. Just use this strap and download a suitable app, such as Wahoo Fitness or Cyclemeter.
RRP: £39.99, uk.wahoofitness.com
11. Cycling organisation membership
Membership of British Cycling or Cycling UK provides peace of mind for any regular cyclist. Both organisations give you third-party liability cover worth millions, plus free legal support. So if you have an incident on your bike, they’ve got your back. British Cycling Commute membership costs £40 per year. Cycling UK membership, which includes a bimonthly magazine, costs £48 per year. You can buy gift memberships from either organisation.
12. Weather Goods Imbris Rain Poncho
Ponchos have fallen out of fashion among cyclists but if you want to stay dry and sweat-free in the rain there’s no garment better for city cycling. A poncho covers your legs as well as your top half, and air can circulate underneath to stop you overheating. This one is about as stylish as ponchos get. You can buy cheaper ones (from £20) from the likes of Decathlon that also work fine.
RRP: £120, weathergoodssweden.com
13. Cycliq Fly6
Video footage is invaluable if you’re involved in any incident on the road, whether it’s careless driving, abuse, or a collision. (You can submit it online: here) Cycliq’s rear facing camera doubles as a rear light, so you won’t forget to take it with you. It’s also easier to use than many cameras.
RRP: £199, cycliq.com
14. Islabikes Rothan 12
Most cyclists want to share their love of cycling with their family. Start them early with a balance bike for junior! Balance bikes teach cycling’s essential skills – balancing and steering – and children love them. This little Islabikes Rothan 12 is suitable for ages 2+ and it’s really well made. While there are cheaper alternatives, you can rent quality kids’ bikes like this on a monthly basis from the Bike Club – and Cycleschemers get their first month free.
RRP: £199.99, islabikes.co.uk
15. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt
GPS bike computers tend to be smaller and more durable than smartphones, and their batteries last much longer. For all the usual cycling metrics (speed, distance, heart rate if you have a chest strap, etc), along with simple-map-based navigation, and easy synchronisation with Strava, you probably don’t need anything more expensive than the Wahool Elemnt Bolt or the similarly priced Garmin Edge 530. The Garmin is arguably better for performance-oriented data crunchers, but the Wahoo is more user friendly so is a better buy for those who aren’t tech-heads.
RRP: £264.99, uk.wahoofitness.com