Buying gifts for cyclists can be tricky, since the stuff they want the most is usually pretty pricey and tends to be size-specific. For this reason, gift guides typically steer shoppers toward The Multitool, extra tubes and patch kits. Well, guess what? .... That's BORING! While back-up gear is useful, affordable and always appreciated, you want to give a gift that leaves an impression.
Here, BB has compiled some unique, cyclist-specifc gifts at every price range, featuring some well known and local brands that will make sure your gift is really special, whether you're shopping for a cyclist that has everything they could possibly want, or the newbie who doesn't quite know what they need!
Special attention was taken to feature local Arizona bike shops, companies involved in cycling advocacy and sustainable business practices, and products made for women. In case you're wondering, I get no advertising or sponsorship money from any of these brands.
For the Commuter
CLUB RIDE "WHEEL CUTE" TEE: Club Ride is an Idaho-based company that specializes in cycling gear that can double as street clothes. This "Wheel Cute" shirt is super cute and is made of UV block, breathable, wicking fabric, is reflective, and the long sleeved version even has an iPod pocket. Club Ride gives a portion of all proceeds to support various bicycling advocacy groups including IMBA and PeopleforBikes ($40-$60 at clubrideapparel.com and Rage Cycles, Scottsdale)
SPECIALIZED ASPIRE HELMET: This literally made me squeal with joy: the Aspire helmet boasts reflectivity and "hairport" technology - and yes, that is exactly what you think it is. We compared the "ponytail compatibility" (as Specialized calls it) between ASPIRE and other Specialized models, and Aspire does, in fact, better accommodate ponytails. Bad news: helmets are sized, so you may need to do some snooping to make sure you buy the appropriate size. ($50 at specialized.com and Global Bikes, Ahwatukee)
RICKSHAW MEDIUM ZERO MESSENGER BAG: This San Francisco company makes light-weight, fully customizable messenger bags from recycled and eco-friendly materials based on the company's philosophy of sustainable business and lifestyle practices. You can literally choose every detail, from how many pockets you want on the inside, to uploading your own images for the flap design. The bag pictured above is simple and functional (apparently they are great to use as a plane carry-on) and will fit the taste of any cyclist, but the most unique rickshaw bag I saw had the Chicago flag red stars on it (Chicago people will get it). Customization can get pricey - but it's definitely more fun! (Starting at $99 at Rickshawbags.com)
For MTB & Adventure Riders
BUFF HEADWEAR: Off-trail paths are notoriously dirty, so this facemask-turned-headband is great for protecting the lungs while hitting the trails and hiding helmet head while downing a beer afterwards. They come in too many designs and colors to mention, have UV protection and wicking material, and come with a how-to guide for wrapping ($15 at buffusa.com and REI)
BIKE MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION: I used to have a subscription to this mag, so I can personally attest that the pictures are inspirational, and the content mostly features riders retelling the stories of their truly epic rides. One particularly memorable article, for me, was about a small group that toured through desolate, dangerous areas along the Silk Road. It's the kind of writing that, at times, can sound a little self-important, but does a great job of reminding you how much of the world is left to explore ($12/1 year, $20/2 year at bikemag.com)
For the Road Racer
RECOVERY GIFT BAG: Bath and body products are a holiday gift go-to, and cyclists are no different. DZ Nuts chamois cream ($24 at Landis Cyclery Tempe, and dz-nuts.com) paired with Village Natural's bath salts infused with eucalyptus and chamomile ($6 at thevillagecompany.com) make for a happy ride and recovery.
VOLER HERITAGE JERSEYS: Voler.com has an awesome selection of female-specific jerseys with all the fun designs usually reserved for men. Voter's Heritage Jerseys include USA, Brazil, Irish, English, Swiss, Dutch, Italian, Argentine, German and Ghanian designs, and no matter your heritage, you're gonna want them all. All Voler jerseys are made at their solar-powered California-based factory ($55-75)
SOCK GUY SOCKS: These socks are designed with athletic technology, sweat wicking fabric, and come in both short and tall versions. There are a million designs, including ASU or U of A socks and the company's most popular seller: the Siriacha sock (comes with an, ahem, rooster on it). You can even design your own custom socks at sockguy.com. The sizing tends to run a little small; for example, I'm a ladies' size 8.5-9 shoe, but I wear a L/XL in sock guy socks, so take that into account when purchasing ($12-15 at Landis Cyclery)
For the Kiddos
WIPEOUT DRY ERASE HELMET: This could actually make your kids want to wear a helmet. Included with the CPSC and ASTM certified legit helmet are non-toxic markers and stencils so the kids can create their own designs ($25 at REI)
EVO BIKE BELLS: Take it from the guys at Landis Cyclery, kids go crazy for these bells. They come in all sorts of cute animal designs and bedazzled versions for the slightly more mature child cyclist. While at first it might sort of be like getting the kiddo a drum set, at least you're getting them excited to ring the bell and safely be seen on their rides ($10 at Landis Cyclery Tempe)
For the Cyclist that HAS IT ALL!
BICYCLING MAGAZINE'S 2015 CALENDAR is packed with stunning photos and useful cycling tips ($15 at REI)
ROAD ID BRACELET: Practical and stylish, if not a little morbid, these roadid.com bracelets are designed specifically for cyclists, with room for in-case-of-energency contact info and medical notices. They come in cloth or rubber and in every color you can imagine ($15-35)
CLEAN BOTTLES: These bottles became famous when they came out in 2010, and the designer dressed up as a giant Clean Bottle and ran alongside Tour de France competitors. They're USA made, BPA free, and unscrew at both ends for easy cleaning and anti-mold protection. 10% of their proceeds go to charities you vote for. I recommend the insulated bottle, and for an added bonus, drop in some Gu gels, CO2 cartridges, and a pair of Sock Guy socks for a great stocking stuffer ($12 at REI)
PERSONALIZED RACE STICKERS: Velostickers.com offers custom Olympic-style bike stickers with your name and country ($20)
MUSCLETRAC: This muscle massager was designed by an actual doctor here in the USA and looks and works a lot differently than the ones you usually see in stores. The little "cogs" are designed to separate muscle fascia, just like professional massages, which will increase blood flow, help drain waste materials and feel amazing ($50 at Tribe Multisport, Scottsdale)
*In case you're wondering, I get no advertising or sponsorship money from any of these brands.