Presents cyclists really want for Christmas
We've asked cyclists on our Cycling UK Forum what they really wanted for Christmas. Here are the top seven items they can't get enough of:
According to the Forum, dry bags not only keep your items dry on rainy rides, but when it's not raining you can use them to arrange items in your saddlebags or panniers. A good quality dry bag is always a useful item to have in a cyclist's arsenal.
There are a hundred ways of wearing a Buff/snood/neck tube, or whatever you like to call it. It can be transformed into a headband, hat, scarf, wrist-warmer and more - you could even use one or two as ankle warmers when cycling socks are too short. The possibilities are endless! .
3. A good quality base layer
Can anyone have enough base layers? It's a fundamental piece of kit and a necessary addition to a cyclist's winter gear. A good quality base layer can last years. Remember to always check reviews first, because while there's a great many brands and materials on offer, not all of them live up to their hype and/or label. This may be one to check with your cyclist first before buying. A good bet, if checking first isn't an option, is a mix of merino wool and man-made fibres because you get the best of both worlds; warmth from the wool, and wicking properties from the other fibres.
Every cyclist needs a source of fuel, and a wholesome breakfast of quality oats that release energy slowly throughout the day is very welcome, especially in the winter months. It's an idea to get the cyclist in your life a good sized bag of oat groats for Christmas to see them through January. The best porridge, according to the Forum, is made from organic oat groats because they haven't been overly processed, and so retain more nutritional value.
5. Studded/spiked tyres
Know someone with a cycling commute? Studded or spiked tyres are an excellent gift choice, and especially this year as we've all enjoyed a good amount of ice and snow already. Many cyclists feel they have to give up cycling for a couple of months due to icy roads and uncertain gritting, but a studded snow tyre can help with peace of mind. We advise you check tyre size before buying!
6. Packable rucksack
Sometimes not everything fits inside a saddlebag, bike panniers or bike packs. An all-weather lightweight packable rucksack is a great choice for those who always seem to be running out of room.
7. Puncture repair kits
Puncture repair kits that work and keep on working are always a worthwhile gift. The two that seem to get the highest reviews are the LifeLine's 8 Piece Puncture Repair Kit and Park Tool's Pre-Glued Super Patch Kit. They're both small, lightweight and easily packable, perfect for taking everywhere. Perhaps a stocking filler, or add-on to a larger gift.
Please remember, for larger purchases keep in mind the make of bike and the cyclist's preferred style (road riding, off-road, racing and more). There is a lot of variety in the bike world, and although some things are universally appreciated (neck tubes, for instance) other things like tyres or certain bike accessories will not fit all bikes, or suit all cyclists.
With thanks to Mjr, Graham, Cyclop and Zoidsberg from the Cycling UK Forum for their responses and help.