Monday, 2 December 2013

Possible Christmas ideas for Cyclists

Christmas is just about here, and the Christmas shopping season has started in Ernest, after all it’s the last week of November.
In our house ideas for stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts are being sought with great fervor.  Put on the spot, these questions are hard to answer, but when moving about and at strange times, you think about items that you could use or would like to get. 
 I have tried to put together a possible list of fun and useful items,  things that we as cyclists would like, but make others think we’re a little off our gourds.


  What I feel is the most important gift I can get from my family and friends is the gift of time. 
Why not go for a ride with your cyclist, or help them work on their bike(s). Ask them about their bike, or, if biking is not an option for you, go for an easy workout, a swim or a skate.
 My daughter gave me a gift of going skating, then a burger and a beer.  That couple of hours was worth far more than any monetary gift. 

Here is my list of suggestions, in no particular order and by no means definitive:
Ø  LIGHTS, Lights can be purchased for a very reasonable price. They affix to your bike your helmet, your bag, your back pack. They can be either AAA battery, or USB rechargeable.  Both front white and rear red.
Ø  Hi-Viz clothing (vests). Yes they are an ugly fashion statement, but they will save your life. They can be purchased at bike shops, or anywhere construction supplies are sold. As long as they are bright; I like orange since they don’t clash with those workers on the streets or emergency personnel.
Ø  Reflective tri-angle that you can affix to your back-pack.
Ø  Bike helmets, I believe in bike helmet usage, so I think they are a great gift.  Costs of helmets span the financial spectrum. Please make sure they haven’t timed out.(check the mfg. date and add 5 years, if your helmet is inside those numbers then great, if outside, then seriously think about replacing it, it has timed out.)
Ø  Multi Tool which includes a chain breaker/repair tool. Crank Bros, for example has a good one, their “17 tool” model. Park tools also make excellent bike tools.  Others companies have the same thing, I just mention two companies I am familiar with.
Ø  Chain cleaning tool/ chain cleaner.  This should have a bottle of cleaner with it. Biodegradable is a great idea, and planet friendly.
Ø  Cleaning brushes. There are different ones, for different uses and places on your bike.  Good idea to have a few since once they get dirty they are all but impossible to clean.
Ø  Bike mounted mini-pump. I got mine from my local bike shop.  Make sure it can work on your type of tire valves !!!
Ø  Y-Tool, male ends, 4.5/5/6 mm.  I carry one of these with me anytime I am on my bike, and especially when I teach.  This tool will adjust about 85% of the bolts on your bike.
Ø  Y-tool, female ends, 8/9/10 mm.  I have a couple in tool box, but it isn’t as well used.
Ø  Y-tool, male ends, 2/2.5/3 mm. Again I have a couple of these, but not used as much
** NOTE **   I mean no disrespect, expressed or implied when I mention, male or female ends.  I just want to explain the type of ends.  This is how I learned it through tool places. Sorry if I have offended anyone.
Ø  Pump straps, a great idea to hold your pump onto your bike.  I have very low faith in the plastic clips that hold your pump into the plastic holder.  These are a great idea to have one around your pump when you ride.
Ø  Tire Levers.  I have about two dozen of them in my tool box, teaching materials and on my bike. I carry three on my bike and as I said I have lots more nearby.
Ø  Basic bike tool bag for attaching to your bike.  Bags don’t need to be big, but they need to be able to carry the few items you really should carry with you. This isn’t a suitcase, think less is more.
Ø  Stubby crescent wrench, sometimes the bolt you need to tighten/adjust just isn’t part of your multi-tool.
Ø  Basic eye cover, protect your eyes, you only have two of them, and you just can’t see bugs coming, or keep the rain and road grime out with your hands. Basic safety glasses will work fine, or you can use fancier name brand ones.
Ø  Neck warmers, they may look goofy but they work.
Ø  Skull cap, it’s thin, it goes under your helmet, and it covers your ears.  We lose a majority of our heat through the head, so this will slow that cooling process, and make the ride more enjoyable.
Ø  Cycling shoe Booties, they fit over your cycling shoes and keep your feet from getting soaked. Your feet will likely get moist, but not soaked.  These also look goofy, but they work.
Ø  Full finger gloves that fit properly. I would suggest gloves with material that will not allow the gloves to slide about on your handle bars.  Again, glove costs cover the gambit, so look around.
Ø  Full finger gloves for wet, that fit properly. Mountain Equipment Co-op is a multi-sport place, similar to MEI in the United States. They sell gloves for canoeing that are for use when wet.  Well, we ride in the wet, and these work great.  I have a couple of pairs, the thin about 2mm ones is what I have.
     Information Tid Bit One – If you are looking at mitts over gloves, then make sure you get the type that has the thumb and at least one finger available.  If you can’t grab and operate brakes, then they aren’t safe. SAFETY FIRST, SAFETY LAST, SAFETY ALWAYS!!

Ø  Boot Dryer, in my opinion, wet, cold, soggy cycling shoes and wet socks are the last thing I want to put back on. Cycling shops don’t normally sell boot dryers, but work clothing places such as Mark’s Work World, or similar type places usually do. From soaked through and through to dry – overnight.  And that is a very good thing. You can also put your gloves on once your shoes are done.  If there is an outdoor worker in your house, they can put their work boots on. IT WORKS.  I bought one for my cycling shoes.  My son the plumber found it and I lost it to him.
Ø  Book by Deny’s Beames – Taking the Road, Safe and Effective use of the Bicycle for Fun and Transportation. 216 pages of really excellent information on cycling and safety cycling and defensive cycling, $ 24.95. Beames is a CAN-BIKE National Examiner and incredible knowledgeable in this field.  I feel a “Must Have: for any cycling library.
Ø  A basic glass case that way when you drop your glasses into your bag / back pack you won’t break or bend them. I suggest a hard sided case, since a whole lot of other stuff will also be stuffed into your bag.
Ø  Water Bottles/ water bottle holders, just like it sounds, you can get these at your local bike shop with their logo on them. If there is room on the bike frame for more than one, then fill all the spots.  Your rider will thank you on a longer ride or a hot day.
Ø  Hydration packs, great idea, and you can carry any extra things you feel you need to carry. It is for water and not much more.
Ø  Locks, cable/lock combination, only leave out and unlocked what you can afford to lose. Locks come in many sizes, shapes and price points. A small amount for a lock, or a large amount to replace a bike. Small diameter steel cables can be custom made at most hard ware stores for your bike, your vehicle bike carrier/rack.  Locks are cheap insurance. Make sure it is long enough to capture both wheels and frame.
Ø  Bag of rags, can get these anywhere, such as Costco or Rona, or any similar type place.

I have mentioned a couple of product names, I am not trying to push any particular company.  I mention these names to direct you to what you are looking at. It gives the ability to ask for what you want, rather than getting what you don’t want, and finding out after the fact.
Do your homework and have an idea of what you want prior to buying.  My other suggestion is deal with a place that deals with bikes and bike supplies. They can assist you to get what you want, and give you options and price ranges.
If your cyclist deals with a particular bike shop, and I suspect they do, then go there.  They will know your cyclist and can assist you with your purchases. A good chance they already know what is on their bike.
Most expensive isn’t always best.  Functional is what you are after.  Sometimes you have to think outside the box to get what you are wanting

I am very sure there are other bike items that could be added to this list.  If you have other items, please let me know and we can make a list for everyone that might be struggling with small items for the cyclist(s) in their lives.

A good ride, either on the roads or attached to an air trainer will help with the extra dessert or chocolates you consumed, or snuck when you thought nobody was looking.

From Kim and myself may your Holiday Season be wonderful, and the positive memories they bring last a lifetime.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Hanuka

Thanks for stopping by
      Safe Ride Home


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