Christmas gifts for cyclists
By Andy Chivers
Andy is a trustee of Cyclox
As we approach Christmas there’s still time left to get a gift for those people in your life who cycle or want to learn to cycle.
Gifts for those who want to learn
Learning to cycle is a right of passage and Christmas is the time to get that first bike. Remember the joyous feeling when you were given your first cycle? If you’re buying for a two- or three-year-old don’t even think about a tricycle or stabilisers on a pedal two-wheeler, get them a balance bike. Older children deserve an upgrade of their current bike. What better time to give than at Christmas?
Gifts for those who already cycle
The cycle riders in your life can’t have too many mugs, pairs of socks or T-shirts emblazoned with cheerful slogans. My favourite is the saying attributed to Einstein ‘Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance you must keep moving.’
Membership of Cycling UK is a good present. Along with thousands of others:
- you are helping to improve cycling infrastructure
- you can join rides put on by your local groups
- you automatically get £10m third-party insurance cover
There are plenty of cycle-related adventure books to choose from. The irresistible and classic is Dervla Murphy’s Full Tilt, while the one I thoroughly enjoyed this year was Mark Beaumont’s The Man who Cycled the World.
Tools are another essential for cyclists. Christmas is a useful time to remember annual maintenance such as greasing the seat post and pedal threads so that they don’t seize up. And it may be time to replace the chain and rear cogs. Some special tools will never go amiss (though you may need to go for a bike-shop voucher if you aren’t sure what tool to get).
Every home should have a track pump to transform the tedious chore of pumping up cycle tyres into a quick task.
One thing the cyclist in your life may not realise they need is a mirror. This is a boon for anyone cycling in traffic. Knowing what’s going on behind them helps choose the moment to indicate a move.
If they don’t have a rear rack, fitting one adds a whole new potential for carrying all sorts of loads, especially with panniers and bungees.
Lights today are reliable, bright, easy to recharge, and easy to take on and off the bike and carry in pockets
Lights are always welcome. Nowadays they are reliable, bright, easy to recharge, and easy to take on and off the bike and carry in pockets. A hub dynamo and lights is an alternative. Once fitted they are fixed to the cycle so they’re ideally positioned, always charged and not easily stolen.
A lovely addition is pedal lights – some are so clever they know which way up they are and show red to the rear and white to the front. The rhythmic movement of pedals also tells people driving that they are looking at a bike.
You can’t go wrong with buying a reflective jacket or gilet to aid visibility on these long dark evenings.
What about a better waterproof jacket, trousers and overshoes? Those make the ride cosy and comfortable in weather that even ducks would avoid. And though you may feel that everyone has enough gloves, in fact warm mittens are a real treat for riding on an icy day.
Of course, you may be the cycle rider in your family, so, using the above ideas, you might want to give some hints to family members worrying about last-minute gifts.
On Christmas morning, once you have got all the gear fixed up, try a family ride. You will have the roads to yourselves. Happy Christmas!
Main photo: Sandra Seiteema
Bike light: Unsplash