There are two types of people in this world: 1) cyclists and 2) the friends and loved ones of cyclists. If you read the title of this blog and were offended I’d stoop to such a click-bait, commercialized blog topic, you are in group 1 and this article is not for you. Get back on your trainer. Nothing to see here.
This blog is for people in group 2. This is for the moms, dads, aunts, uncles and cubicle-mates of a cyclist. Are you tired of spending hours in Target trying to find the perfect gift to say “I don’t get you, but I want you to know I care” for the guy who’s bike costs more than his car? Yeah, I see you Aunt Debbie. Are you sick of asking bearded bike shop owners for advice only to get an uninvited calf massage and a 45 minute lecture on the importance of aerodynamics? I hear you Tom from Accounting.
While I may be a cyclist myself, for the next several paragraphs I’m going to dive into group 2 with y’all and provide some tips for shopping for the cyclist in your life.
Experiences Over Everything:
I would urge anyone seeking the perfect gift for a cyclist to avoid “things”. Bike parts, clothing, nutritional products, etc. are all going to end up on eBay or in the trash come December 26th. Why? Because cyclists are weird and incredibly particular. Even if you research the perfect product that we are using today, we already are planning on not using it tomorrow. I know, it’s confusing. But this leads us to the most valuable gift advice for a cyclist you’ll ever receive… Give experiences, not things!
Here’s how: Is your cyclist a racer? Ask him/her what they are planing on doing in 2019, then find a way to add onto it. Are they headed to Whistler for Crankworx? Maybe gift them a lift pass for one of the days they will be there (applicable to any ski resort destination). Or maybe take care of their bike transit via BikeFlights. Race trips can be expensive but nothing will show you care more than contributing in some small way to helping them accomplish their goals.
I know this sounds like the tackiest, most careless gift possible, but hear me out. As already discussed, it’s important to avoid gifting “things” to cyclists. While I am usually against the impersonal nature of a giftcard, they can really go a long way for a young bike racer and show him/her you support them.
A giftcard to an online cycling retailer like JensonUSA or Backcountry.com will allow your cyclist to get themselves whatever they need, whenever they need it, no matter where they are. So when your nephew breaks his handlebars at CX Nationals this January, he can have a replacement in 2 days thanks to you! This is a simple gift that goes a long way.
Another seemingly boring gift, but one I promise all cyclists will be happy to unwrap… tubes! (or sealant). I know I’ve been warning you to avoid buying “things”, but this is the single exception. If your cyclist is a mountain biker, a big jug of Orange Seal under the tree will bring a tear to their eye followed by the words “How did you know?” If they are a road cyclist, I promise you they are in need of extra tubes. Drop on down to your local bike shop, open up your cyclist’s Instagram and show the mechanic a photo of his/her bike, then grab a handful of whatever tube they recommend. Congrats on your MVP award this Christmas…
This one requires a bit of homework but is the best route for the tech-oriented rider. Every cyclist’s interest in fitness/data falls somewhere on the spectrum between Passionate and Obsessed. Below are the three best apps to gift the cyclist in your life, based on popularity, effectiveness, and limited dependence on additional hardware. You’ll just want to discretely check that they do not already have a subscription before pulling the trigger on one. This can easily be achieved with the following question:
“Yo [cyclist], you have any idea how far you ride your bike in a week? Oh, that’s crazy. How do you track all that?”
TrainerRoad: This one is especially awesome if you live anywhere that gets snow during the winter (so most places). It’s the easiest indoor training platform which now offers outdoor features.
Strava Premium: They for sure already have Strava, but the Premium option brings some really cool features into the mix that any cyclist is sure to find value in.
TrainingPeaks: This is a great option for the hardcore racer, or someone that is very serious about their fitness. They will be thanking you all season long for the value this platform brings them and wondering how you became the best gift giver in the world.
I hope this fun take on what to get the cyclist in your life brings some value to you. At the end of the day, cyclists are just skinny, picky people that care more about their family and friends (you) than any gift you could give them anyways. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!