Admit it, There's at least one person in your life who'd rather be out pedalling centuries than baking cookies and making nice with relatives. So why not ditch the annual hand-knit sweater, and make your cyclist truly happy this holiday season with some great new gear? Here are 10 excellent ideas to get you started.
Good lights are especially important during the long winter months when many commuter bicyclists find themselves trekking home in complete darkness. Knogs are among the best on the market: They're 100% waterproof, USB rechargeable, and most importantly, pack enough lumens to turn a shadowy humanoid on wheels into a brilliant beacon.
The Blinder Road Twinpack, which delivers 250 lumens at the front and 70 in the rear, is a great choice for any cyclist looking to start their rides after the sun goes down.
Perhaps your loved one is already a pro night biker who's accumulated a lifetime supply of front and back blinders. In which case, it's probably time to step up their game even further with Revolights. Hailed as the best commuter bicycle lighting system in the world by Men's Journal, Revolights — a $US149 set of white red LEDs that boast 360-degree visibility — mount snugly onto your bicycle wheels, turning your nighttime escapades into a brilliant blaze of glory.
Revolights include a built-in accelerometer that tracks your speed, causing your back light to flash as you slow down. That's right, it's an honest-to-God bicycle brake light. The new version, Revolights Eclipse, also includes Bluetooth connectivity, turn signals, and weather alerts.
Bike computers may never be as sophisticated as smartphones, but Garmin devices have always been the cream of the crop. If you're looking for a bicycle navigator with top functionality, look no further than the Garmin Edge 1000, which features on or off-road turn-by-turn navigation through a preloaded cycle map. Simply input your desired distance, elevation guidelines, and starting direction, and the Edge 1000 will offer you up to three round-trip ride options.
But that's only the half of it. This device also includes an accelerometer-based accident detection and alert system, performance metrics, and Bluetooth 4.0 for pairing with Android and iOS phones to receive incoming texts, emails, phone calls, and weather alerts. It's the whole package.
For many cyclists, hitting the road is a way to escape the endless barrage of emails and social updates. If you're in the market for a navigator that doesn't look suspiciously like a smartphone screen, a startup called Hammerhead offers an intriguing alternative. The Hammerhead One fixes securely onto your handlebars, guiding you left, right, backwards and forwards through a simple and intuitive light display. The guidance system draws its sense of direction from a pre-determined route you select via the Hammerhead app (available for free on iOS and Android).
As is often the case with new navigation apps, this one has received mixed reports. But it's a solid hardware concept and an attractive design, so let's hope they iron out the kinks. Best of all is the reasonable $US85 price tag. Purchase at the official Hammerhead store here.
With every movement, human beings exert energy. In a better world, we'd be harnessing all that effort to power our devices. With the Siva Atom, you can do just that.
This lightweight, weather-resistant $US130 battery pack clips onto your bicycle frame, converting the momentum of your ride into sweet, sweet power. A standard USB port allows you to charge your phone, lights, GPS, Bluetooth speakers and more, whenever and wherever need. Whether you've got a three-day intercity bike ride ahead or simply forgot to charge your phone before work this morning — a little extra juice never hurts.
A good lock is an absolute must for urban bikers, and Kryptonite is quite literally a very solid option. You'd need a sledgehammer to pierce its steel shackle, and with the additional cable, it will be that much harder for thieves to pop off your front wheel. Although if you happen to live in Philadelphia, I'd still recommend removing your seat if you plan on leaving your bike unattended for the afternoon.
If you bike in a city — really, if you bike anywhere — your tires face a constant barrage of threats. Broken glass. Gravel. Potholes. Road salt. Four years into my life as a commuter cyclist, I started carrying around a flat repair kit, which is a bit of a hassle, but better than having to shell out 30 dollars at a shop.
Recently, a friend told me about these crazy things called Continental Gatorskins. You can supposedly put thousands of miles on them without getting a flat. Review after review seems to corroborate the astonishing claim. Needless to say, they're at the top of my holiday list this year. Check out the full list of dimensions and specs here.
You may have never heard of Strava, but it's a hugely popular social networking app among endurance athletes. For cyclists, it allows you to set training schedules, time and distance goals, keep track of your routes and performance stats, and most importantly, compare yourself with others through the leaderboards. A Strava premium subscription, for $US59 annually, gets you exclusive access to events, free swag, and other "surprises" throughout the year.