The leaves are almost all down (and hopefully not piled up in the road) and you’re wearing your long sleeves and long-fingered gloves, and maybe even a jacket. It’s that time of year again. But not to worry, the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition has some gift ideas for the cyclist in your life (even if it’s you!).
Locks: Locks are great because they keep your bike right where you put it. One of my favorites is the Abus folding bike locks: strong as a U-lock, but fits nicely in a holder that attaches to your water bottle mount. Abus Bordo runs between $100 and $130. Not a cheap lock, but a strong one. You can find this locally.
Storage: (1) A rear basket and a cargo net: These two items can get you home from the grocery store without losing anything! If your cyclist already has a rear rack, then you have many choices for baskets. I prefer the ones that have a finer mesh because things don’t fall through, but even the “milk crate” types work well if you are using bags for your groceries. Basil makes some nice ones. For something that closes and locks, check out the Buca Boot. (2) If a basket isn’t your style, look at panniers or folding side baskets. These keep the center of gravity lower, but be sure there is enough clearance as you pedal. Banjo Brothers makes a good pannier (see Clean Machine). Or make your own from old kitty litter buckets. (Certain CBC board members are VERY fond of their bucket panniers. –Ben)
Lights: They make night-time riding more enjoyable, they make a cyclist more visible and therefore safe, and, they are required by law if you ride when it’s dark out. A good basic rechargeable light is a great thing. I have had my Light and Motion 200 for a few years (bought it locally) and it’s great, with 3 levels of steady light and one blinking mode. But really, there are many lights to suit almost any budget.Rain protection: If your cyclist commutes in the rain, solid rain protection makes all the difference. Check the bike stores, but also look at Townsend Bertram for some really great rainwear (I am partial to Marmot. Their PreCip pants have kept me dry on many a trip to work.)
Reflective Vest: I know no one likes getting clothes for Christmas, but clothes that can save your life (like the above-mentioned lights) are a good idea. My wife recently got me a new vest from ML Kishigo on the recommendation of another CBC member. While not cycling-specific, it is very well-made and extremely bright.
GPS: For someone with multiple bicycles, a computer that can switch between them without programming the rolling diameter is a great idea. Throw in storing paths, navigation, and better battery life than your smartphone running Strava, and the bike GPS is no longer just a fun gadget. It’s become actually useful, and now Garmin is making the Edge 20 and 25 that cost as little as $120 or so (and up). Lezyne and Magellan also make bicycle GPS computers now.