Round up: Gifts for cyclists
What do you get a commuting cyclist for Christmas? Here are eight suggestions for affordable gifts
Commuting cyclists aren't easy to buy cycling-related presents for. Unless you have just started commuting, you'll already have essential items such as a lock, lights, luggage, and a waterproof jacket. You might even have got them with the bike, as part of your Cyclescheme package. Yet there are things you might have overlooked, and not novelties but genuinely useful extras. If these don't turn up in your Christmas stocking, even after you've directed your significant other to this page, you can always treat yourself afterwards!
DeFeet Woolie Boolie Socks
There's nothing wrong with a Christmas-present staple like socks so long as they're good ones. These are made from a blend of Merino wool, nylon and lycra. They're cosy enough to keep you feet warm in winter, even if they get damp, but are cool in summer. They're breathable too, so your feet won't sweat like they can in synthetics. In short: very comfortable cycling socks.
Outeredge Neo Toe Covers
One disadvantage of commuting in cycling shoes is that many are not well insulated, leading to cold toes at this time of year. For the worst weather, you might want winter boots or full overshoes. But if it's not freezing – or you have good socks – toe covers might be all you need. These neoprene ones are easy to get on and off, have a rubber sole to prevent wear, and have reflective patters on the sides. When you don't need them, they take up scarcely any room.
A Buff is a tube of stretchy polyester microfibre. It's about the size and weight of a large handkerchief when stashed away, and it can be worn as a hat, a balaclava, a headband, a head scarf, a neck scarf, a face mask, and more. Its most useful for keeping your head warm in winter – it will fit under a helmet - particularly if you're going bald. But it can also keep the sun off in summer. Lots of designs are available; pictured is 'Afghan Blue'.
Lezyne RAP 21 LED Multitool
A multitool is a compact toolkit for roadside repairs, although there's nothing to stop you using it at home too. This one measures just 81×54×25mm and weighs 178g, yet it has 21 functions. The most unusual is a tiny LED light, powered by two AG1 button cell batteries. With this, you can inspect your bike for faults in the dark. Handy! Its other tools are: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm Allen keys; T25 and T30 Torx bits; Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers; a chain-splitter (for 9, 10 and 11-speed chains); three spoke keys; a tyre lever; 8 and 10mm spanners; a bottle opener; and a disc-brake wedge.
Muc-Off 8-in-1 Bicycle Cleaning Kit
Instead of grooming or beauty products, get the commuting cyclist in your life what they really need: products to keep their bike clean! This bike-wash kit comes with a bottle of grime-removing bike cleaner, bike spray for getting water out of components and stopping rust, a sponge, and a selection of brushes for everything from the frame to the drivetrain. It comes with a plastic tub to store everything in.
Pitlock 3-Piece Skewer Set
Quick-release levers for the wheels and seat-post are fine if your bike lives behind locked doors, but if you have to leave it locked up outside, bits of your bike can easily be stolen. These security skewers replace quick release ones. They're made of high-grade steel and can only be opened with the matching key, in conjunction with a 14mm spanner. Don't forget to take them with you on your commute, in case of punctures.
SKS Raceblade Long
If you've bought a road bike without mudguard clearance to commute on, then by December you'll probably be regretting it – and that wet stripe up your back. These mudguards are the answer. They're specifically designed for close-clearance road bikes with 23mm tyres and without frame eyelets. They attach to the wheel quick-release skewers and to a bracket that extends either side of the fork crown/seat-stay bridge.
Muvi Micro DV Camcorder
Record your commute to get those 'Sorry, mate, I didn't see you' moments on camera, in case you want to press for a prosecution or need to make an insurance claim. Or just use it for fun on recreational rides. This 2-megapixel video camera is smaller than a box of matches, at 55×20×18mm. It records 640×480 pixel video at 22-25 frames per second and has a built-in microphone. With 2Gb of memory, it'll store a couple of hours of video, although its USB-rechargeable battery will run for only about 90 minutes per charge.
Round Up: Keeping up your mental and physical health
Taking the time to exercise and get outdoors can be a great antidote to any feelings of sluggishness you might encounter, whether mental or physical.
Cycling isn’t just physical
Here’s how regular cycling can play a key role in your mental wellbeing.
Round Up: 6 non-technical 'get you home' tips
You don’t have to be able to repair your bike to enjoy worry-free commuting. Most roadside problems can either be pre-empted or soon solved.