Read on to discover gifts for cycling, whether they are cycling gifts for him, her, Christmas, dad, or whomever in your life is a cycling enthusiast!
There is a special breed of individuals who think about bikes differently than the average person.
To these people, going for a ride is a commitment of hours, watts, miles, and calories. These aren’t any Saturday afternoon joy rides, but a grueling affair where the individual pushes their body and mind to the limit as the miles roll by under their skinny tires.
Perhaps you know one of these people, or are one yourself; they are that rare breed of Lycra-wearing, gel eating, leg shaving fanatics known as cyclists.
Whether in the middle of the summer or the depth of winter, our cyclists find ways to put their sit-bones in the saddle and spin through the miles.
If you have one of these all season warriors in your life, then perhaps you are struggling to figure out just the right cycling gift for them. Below are a few suggestions that will help your cyclist before, during and after their epics rides, making them the perfect, practical cycling gifts.
RELATED: 9 Practical Gifts for Outdoorsy Guys
Gifts for Cycling
I’ve researched various gifts for cyclists, putting together the top cycling gifts of 2019. I tried to find various price points and options that will hopefully suit your cyclist’s needs in various categories and practicality and want.
Tracking Equipment Cycling Gifts
The way cyclist track their rides has come a long way over the year, and today there are a number of options available for any budget.
For the novice cyclist who may not necessarily care about weight or aerodynamics, the cell phone represents the easiest way to start tracking the miles.
To facilitate the use of a cell phone, a simple but sturdily constructed phone mount is a great cylist gift. These range in price from around $10-$20 and come with a number of mounting options – stem or handlebar mount, t-mount, top tube mount.
Cell phones offer a number of ways to track miles from GPS based apps to apps that utilize additional equipment to track speed, cadence, heart rate and power.
One of the more common sets of cycling sensors is offered by Wahoo. They offer a number of tracking options that use both Bluetooth and ant+ (a dated but common way for wireless cycling equipment to send and receive data).
The Wahoo RPM and Speed sensors work with both iOS and Android and do so without the use of the magnets. These can be purchased together or individually, and there is an optional heart rate monitor, the Wahoo TICKR which can be purchased as the more common chest band or armband configuration.
For the slightly more advanced cyclists who are looking for additional information and tracking capability, you might consider gifting a dedicated cycling computer.
These cycling computers work with all of the previously mentioned peripherals, but store and calculate additional information and do so in a smaller, lighter, more aerodynamic form.
There was a time when CAT EYE was a top name in cycling computers, and their offerings are still affordable and accessible, like the budget-friendly CAT EYE Pardrone, but today the Garmin Edge 520 and Wahoo ELEMNT and ELEMNT Mini are considered to be some of the top offerings.
Each computer has built-in GPS, customizable displays, an aerodynamic silhouette, a selection of mounting hardware, and they work seamlessly with a range of tracking periphery using both bluetooth and ant+.
Considered the pinnacle in cycling tracking, power meters are the tech that separates the hardcore cyclists from the peloton.
While speed, cadence, and heart rate are a good general measure of how a ride went, power – measured in watts – give cyclists a real understanding of how a ride is going no matter the slant of the road.
While tracking power on road bikes is not an inexpensive proposal, prices continue to come down as more and more options become available. I will point out a few options that are out there, but if you are thinking of making this a gift for your cyclist, I would suggest involving them in the process to better determine their needs and wants.
Power meters to date come in three different classes; pedal, crankset, and rear hub.
Pedal power meters are probably the easiest and most cost efficient way to go as they simply take the place of whatever is currently being used on the bike. This ease comes at the cost of accuracy though due to the types of motions and forces involved with the pedals. Some of the most common pedals are the Powertap P2, Garmin Vector 3S, and Favero Assioma UNO pedals.
Crankset systems are by far the more common and accurate of the two, but this comes at an increased price point as well as some additional decisions about where the power is measure on the crankset.
Where pedals are pedals, crankset systems range in location from the bottom bracket to chainring or crank spiders to the crank arm itself. Each has its benefits and shortcomings and deciding on one system will be something that, again, you will want to talk to your cyclist about.
The technology is evolving quickly, so sometimes it is difficult to find some of the various types of power meters as is true with bottom bracket and rear hub power meters.
Lights and Reflectors Gifts for Cycling Enthusiasts
One of the things we always want for our cyclists is for them to be safe and visible. One of the most proven ways to keep them visible is by using lights, even during the day.
With the widespread availability of LED lights, cycling lights have come a long way from the time of wheel dynamo generator lights.
Beyond lights, having reflectors on your cyclist clothing adds to their visual presence on the road, and when placed on a moving part like the legs and feet, they increase the likelihood that your cyclist is seen. All in the name of safety.
Clothing Gifts for Cycling Lovers
Most of the non-cycling world looks with ridicule and disdain on the skin-tight Lycra outfits worn by a road cyclist. In reality, it is these skin-tight suits that add and aid much for today’s cyclist; speak nothing of the placebo effect.
While cycling shorts, bibs, tights and jerseys can be a difficult buy for someone else, as each rider has to figure out what they are comfortable wearing, things jackets, socks, arm and leg warmers and gloves can be easier gifts for cycling.
Obviously, purchasing a cycling jacket says something about the weather and season your cyclist is biking in; cool, cold or rainy, and fall, winter or early spring.
For the cool, rainy season your cyclist may only need a waterproof windbreaker (men and women) which is lightweight and easily folded away when not needed on the ride.
When the temperature begins to drop some on the colder, pre-snow months of winter, having a thermal jacket that holds in some body heat and keeps out the cold winds of biking at over 20 mph is important (women and men).
Cycling shoes themselves can be a tricky purchase if your cyclist has never purchased clipless shoes and pedals before.
If this is the case, I would suggest taking your cyclist to your local bike shop and do a bit of shopping to figure out just what it is they may want or need.
If your cyclist already has clipless pedals, and is need of an upgrade in shoes, this is a much easier proposition. There are two basic shoe types, road and mountain. These two general classifications will work with all major clipless pedals.
If you are trying to figure out which you cyclist is currently using, checking the bottom of the shoe is the best way. If your cyclist’s shoes has three bolts then they are using road shoes, two bolts and it’s mountain bike shoes.
Since you are considering purchasing replacement shoes for your cyclist, you might want to consider purchasing a cycling cleat alignment tool. These come in the five major cleat styles. It may seem like a silly thing to align cleats on cycling shoes, but if they aren’t aligned correctly for the cyclist’s personal preference and riding style, it can cause joint issues in ankles, knees, and hips.
Another easy cycling gift is biking gloves. Gloves come in a variety of styles to fit a variety of needs.
Open-finger, padded gloves for maximum comfort in warm weather conditions:
Closed-fingered, lined gloves for warmth in the colder months:
Finally, there are all kinds of cyclists out there and each has their own opinion on what is the right length of socks. Yeah, it’s kind of a funny thing, when you think about it; socks as a cycling gift. But cycling socks are an important piece of cycling equipment.
The right biking socks can help blood flow not just in the feet, but throughout the legs, they pull away moisture and keep a potentially smell area from… smelling, and they can cushion the foot adding comfort and longevity to any ride.
Food Gifts for Cyclists
Your cyclist needs fuel. It’s that simple. And that’s why I’m listing food as a good cycling gift idea.
Whether completing a century ride, or doing a short training ride, cycling requires fuel before, during and afterward. Most cyclists swear by gels as their main source of on the go fuel. These gels come in small 1-2 oz packets that are easy to open and consume on the road.
If gels aren’t their thing, you might also consider nutrition bars instead as a cycling gift. Bars are typically a little larger and are higher in calories – a good thing as this is the fuel your cyclist’s body is burning. For these, brands like Cliff, SiS, and Honey Stinger are some of the well-known names.
Additionally, while on the ride, your cyclist is going to need water.
Water bottles and water cages are a common and convenient option.
Water bottle cages come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and made from materials like steel and carbon fiber.
If your cyclist is not a camel and requires a little bit more water, you might consider helping them be… a camel. Even a small CamelBak like the Rogue holds up to 85oz, more than four times the amount the average water bottle holds. Don’t want to pay for the name CamelBak, well there are plenty of off-brand options that work just as well.
Maintenance and Roadside Kits as Gift for Cyclist
Much like your cyclist, bikes need good care and regular maintenance to work at their optimum level.
While paying a bike mechanic is often a good choice, it also can be expensive.
If your cyclist is tired of paying for a mechanic to do all the work on their bike, a good starter cycling gift would be a book on bike maintenance.
Once they’ve got the basics, they’re going to need a set of cycling tools, and while no one set is going to be all-encompassing, a small tool kit that includes some of the basics is a must. What’s more, you might consider gifting them a saddlebag, CO2 kit, and set of tubes to round out their road-side maintenance set if they don’t already have one.
Bike Training Gift Ideas for Cyclists
Sometimes the weather is just too extreme for the average cyclist. In those times, your cyclist will need a way to stay in peak conditioning without compromising their health. This is easily solved with an indoor trainer. These trainers come in three general types: friction (magnetic & fluid), direct drive, and roller.
Friction trainers have been around the longest and are usually the cheapest and most portable option. Because they are the cheap option, this means they have quite a few drawbacks including how load they are, the wear they put on the tires and bike, and their lack of accuracy in tracking the training. These are a good option though for those who are starting out or just need to pedal and don’t really care about the drawbacks.
Direct drive takes the friction trainer and ramps it up a couple of notches. While friction trainers apply a force to the drive wheel to simulate a ride, the direct drive trainers have the cyclist remove the drive wheel altogether and the trainer itself acts as the drive wheel. These trainers are more expensive but measure power much more accurately.
Finally, the roller trainer. The slight of heart need not enter here. Roller systems are as real as real can be. While both friction and direct drive trainers lock the bike in place, roller trainers rely on the gyroscopic force of the spinning wheels to keep the bike upright. It is as real a simulation of a ride as is possible without actual tarmac rolling by underneath the bike.
Unique Cycling Gifts for Men and Women
If you don’t like the more practical side of things, or are totally unsure what they like to use on their bike or for their bike, then perhaps you need to look into novelty cycling gifts, or quirky cycling gifts, or cool cycling gifts – whatever you want to call them.
Etsy is a fantastic place where you can find all of those unique cycling gifts like cycling gifts mugs, cycling jewelry gifts, cycling T-shirts, and cycling funny gifts. These items often make for fantastic gifts for people who like cycling as well as fun Christmas gifts for cycling enthusiasts you may have for your secret Santa at work and not know all that well. Many of the items can be personalized or customized too which is fun.
Lastly, you could also pick them up some cycling gift cards to places like REI or Amazon or even a VISA or MasterCard with a bike picture on it (or customize it with a picture of them or their bike). You could also pick them up a magazine subscription to Bicycling or some other cycling magazine.
I hope you’ve identified some potential gifts for cycling for the cycling enthusiast on your list!
Be sure to head to this post full of Gift Guides for the whole family if you are looking for more gifting ideas!