The Ultimate Cycling Gift Guide Review
I was tasked to put together a Cycling Gift Guide as it is that time of year. The thinking is real simple: what could get one through the dark and cold winter months? Hence, I searched high and low for some fun, reliable, and useful gear that you could give your cyclist friend or significant other. With old man winter knocking on the door, getting the appropriate warm weather gear played a significant role in my selection. I am by no means the hardiest of riders out there. However, I have made the pledge to not let weather deter me from enjoying my drug of choice; cruising my self propelled 2 wheeled vehicle.
P.R.O Softshell Arm And Leg Warmers
When I got these, I immediately went searching for the temperature range indicator. They felt pretty heavy duty, and the Pearl Izumi tag has a range of 20-45 degree Fahrenheit. Perfect, as my ride the very next morning had low 20’s forecasted. Lycra fiber is in integral part to allow for freedom of movement. What’s the best, is the ELITE Thermafleece Fabric with permanent waterproof coating. The leg warmers do have a zipper for ease of entry.
The arm warmers are constructed in a variety of panels. The front of the forearm has the waterproof coating, but it is bisected by a fabric wedge at the crux to allow for the flexibility for various arm bends.
The idea behind the leg warmers versus the knee warmers is that you can turn regular shorts into long winter riding bibs. That is all fine and dandy, but that’s not been enough in my climate. That said, they have recently been super helpful underneath my winter cycling bibs. My doubling up technique has worked to perfection even when we hit single digits while going 25 mph. I would implore PI to add a reflective band on the bottom as well. Every little bit of safety helps.
MSRP: $80 for the Leg Warmers, and $55 for the Arm Warmers.
For more information and products please visit Pearl iZUMi
Handle bar “Bar Mitts”
I’ve always thought of these as a very unique and novel idea. They could be construed as having a goofy look, but make no mistake, these will keep your hands and fingers warm no matter the temperature. I have also crushed these well into the teens while only wearing some thin gloves underneath. The wind is not a factor, and the thermal qualities keep the delicate digits warm. Perfect for the commuter, gravel grinder, mountain biker, and road rider especially in the more frigid climates.
Get yourself a pair of Bar Mitts, and you are automatically elevated to ‘Next-Level” status. They come in a myriad of designs for whatever handle bar you may be sporting. My most recent early morning group ride, we reached 12 degrees. I was layered up, and usually my toes and fingers take the brunt, but not this time. My hands were warm throughout! A double (warm) THUMBS UP!
Pricing varies with sizing and specific use like road, mountain, townie, or commuter, but you can find exactly what you need at www.barmitt.com
Tubeless is not a new thing, and has been a widely adopted tire setup in the mountain bike world. With the rise in popularity in the gravel, adventure, and cross biking, it’s only natural to use the tubeless approach here as well. Effeto Mariposa has a wide range of products to get you started rolling in the right direction. You will need rim tape, a good valve stem, sealant, and in case of Effeto Mariposa, some powder that brings all the magic together.
I took this straight from their website, and this is where the Caffelatex really sets itself apart from your other sealants.
“The first advantage of Caffélatex over classic latex-based sealants comes from a foaming behaviour, activated by wheel movement. Centrifugal force drives standard latex-based sealants against the outer circumference of the tyre. Caffélatex turns instead into foam, filling the tyre’s entire internal cavity, making our sealant much more effective against sidewall punctures. Caffélatex go back to liquid state after around 15 minutes of stillness”.
I wish I had clear tires, so that I can see this foam bubbling expansion in action. Very cool!
The beauty of tubeless is that not every small pinch flat, goat head (a common problem in my dry and arid climate), or puncture results in a complete tube change. Pull out the debris, and/or let the sealant penetrate and fill the wound. Spin that tire, and off you go. I wonder onto trails from time to time that may not have seen any action for a while. 40 little pin pricks from those aforementioned goat heads stopped me in my tracks. I painstakingly removed them, and little bubbles of sealant filled those holes. I kid you not, I rode home without any issues.
The spandex clad road cycling crowd is starting to warm up to the notion of Tubeless as well. Make sure the rims are able to go tubeless. Check with your Local Bike Shop!
For the entire lineup of products, please visit: Effettomariposa
Pricing varies based on your tire size and setup.
Pirelli Cinturato 26C Tubeless Tires
This is for the road rider that does not like pinch flats, or small punctures on their ride. Alright, I can think of no one who actually likes those things! Hence, going tubeless is the way to go. It may be a bit of a leap getting all set up and comfortable, but totally worth it.
The Pirelli Cinturato is a great tire to get you going. 23c and 25c widths are common for the road and racing. Going a little wider in the Winter is probably a good idea. You could even bump it up a notch to 28c or 30c depending on your wheel setup. 26c is as wide as I can go without the tires rubbing on my bike or fork. Tubeless requires a wheel rim that has the ability to take a tubeless tire since it does need to clinch and seat properly.
The Pirelli Cinturato has Armour Tech™ construction that combines a Nylon bead-to-bead high density layer to an aramid breaker with aramid fibers dispersed into the tread. Sounds high tech, but thus far I have not gotten a flat on this tire.
One of these will set you back around $60 each which is middle of the road for a quality road racing tire. Check out the specs and offerings HERE
Terramar Base Layer Glove Liner
This is one of favorite low priced items on my list. They are slick, thin, and have thermal qualities that will fit under almost any glove. As a cold weather biker, “lobster gloves” are almost a must-have in the 0-40 degree temperature range. Ironically though, they have not been able to keep my fingers warm until I added the Terramar glove liner. Holy Cow, these have made my rides completely bearable even in very cold temperatures.
$16 is a small price to pay for warm fingers. Totally worth it! Order yourself a pair or two at www.terramar.com
The Heat Holder Socks had not graced my toes before, so I was excited to put these to the task. I usually grab some ski socks and hope my shoe covers do the trick. My 1.5-2 hour rides would usually still end with some cold toes. They market these to the hiker and skier, and I didn’t see a specific bicycle focused pair, but found them worthy of adding them to this Cycling Gift Guide. Heat Holder Socks have various thickness levels, and I went with a medium, because I still had to fit in my very aerodynamic and snug cycling shoes.
The Heat Holder Socks feel super thick and plush. Everyone’s heat retention and cold resistance is different, so take this with a grain of salt. I’m not going to say my feet and toes stayed toasty warm the entire time (wind chills were in the teens), but they did stay warm much longer than with any other sock I’ve tried.
Priced at $14.99. Check out all the options HERE
Muc-Off Chamois Cream
I love this stuff. Saddle time plays a key component in getting the sensitive parts used to being on a thin strip of carbon for hours on end. That said, a little bit of Muc-Off Chamois Cream will make that transformation much easier. I can now go 2+ hours without having to worry about it too much. Longer than that, you can bet your kahones on it, that I wear my cream.
A wide variety of sizes to choose from. The smaller one is $14.99, but I would go for the big tub! Buy it at www.muc-off.com
Hip Lok Z|Lok Security Ties
A unique concept for sure. Priced right, check! Multi-purpose, check! Lightweight and easy to carry, check! The final check mark, will have to be earned, and that is the ability to keep my bike safe!
Bike thieves are the worst, in my opinion. I think it may even date back to the old wild west. This is where a man’s mode of transportation was the most important thing, and a thief could be hanged for stealing a horse. Does that apply to modern day bike thieves…? Okay, maybe not. That doesn’t mean the offense is any less vile.
The Z|Lok is the world’s first secured, reusable, zip like tie for ultra convenient added protection. Even a plain old zip tie will definitely give you fits because of its strength. The Z|Lok does have a steel core and toughened nylon outer. This is a lock designed to curb opportunity thefts.
I want to be clear, the Z|Lock should not be your main mode of locking mechanism, but can surely be used for a simple quick lock up at the coffee shop or additional safe guarding for your car rack. Here in Colorado, I am liking this lock for my skis when I hit the slopes, or more importantly store my gear Apres Ski.
Check out the entire selection HERE.
Priced around $15 for one, or $25 for a two pack. Totally a worthy investment to protect your valuable toys.
Bontrager Ion 200 RT Bike Light Set
DRL (Daytime Running Lights) are my new favorite addition to any ride. It doesn’t matter what bike I’m on or when I’m riding, these flashes of light give notice that I am out on the roads on my bike. You can’t put a value on the importance of these lights. They are rechargeable in a USB port, and the best part is that they are so small and lightweight. In addition, they are easily put on or removed with a strong rubber snap.
$114.99 may seem like a lot, but a worthy price for safety. Nonetheless, I have now gotten two sets as my wife now bike commutes, and I really want her to come home safely. Check it out. www.trekbikes.com
I wanted to add another level of protection that most bikers could benefit from. The small and lightweight solution is what drives this lock to shine. It has 3 stainless steel layers as well as 4 Kevlar Reinforced layers to hopefully deter the bike thief.
I am a truly a fan, because the weight is so light. I shove it into my backpack or bike jersey pocket without it being a nuisance. The 3 digit combination lock is super simple to use. One can easily change the combo with a pushpin. I changed mine to 111, so come find my bike (just kidding).
Check out the wide and complete lineup of locks at www.ottolock.com
$60 to $85 depending on size.
Silca Eola 3 CO2 Cartridge Regulator
This is the third generation of the Eola. 35 years ago, the first one came out. I must admit, I don’t think I was even aware of CO2 inflation back then.
It’s got a high precision spool valve design which allows you to regulate flow into the tire by simply pressing the inflator against the valve stem. Three things I really like! One, its simplicity. Secondly, the 3 rubber color bands are there to prevent your digits from freezing when inflating. The frills are in its performance. Finally, the Silca Eolo 3 is sleek and compact. I like that it easily slides into my saddle bag without bulking up or poking into my spare tire.
There are certainly cheaper options out there, but they always tend to break on me. Here’s to $30 well spent to get me back on the road without a hitch and plenty of air. Check out www.Silca.com for more information.
Silca Italian Army Knife
Silca with its quality production of bike accessories deserves a second nod. The Silca Italian Army Knife isn’t really a knife, but it is one of the sleekest and most tool adorned multi-tool I’ve found. My model, the Venti, has 20 tools in a very compact package.
I have dozens of multi-tools. Some are cheap, and literally fall apart after some use. When I hit the roads, gravel, or trails, the Silca Italian Army Knife becomes an essential component in my gear bag. Every single tool on here serves a purpose. None I’ve used have ever had a spoke wrench for instance, and I have definitely needed that in the past. For the amount of totally usable tools on here, this is as compact and efficient as it can get.
$36 is a good price for a tool that will save you some serious headaches out on the roads or trails. see HERE for more of their goodies.
Kitsbow Hiline Midweight Glove
In collaboration with Mechanix Wear, maker of sturdy heavy duty work gloves, Kitsbow came out with a bike friendly version to provide that much needed durability.
This glove came to good use as we took a Colorado and Utah Dessert road trip. Even though I was on Daddy duty a lot, I did get to sneak out, and ride a handful of times. Fruita, Zion, and Rabitt Valley saw some good action. The Kitsbow Gloves performed well. The padding was perfect for the bumps on the very large red boulders I encountered. They are touch screen compatible, but I don’t give that too much notice either way. I’m out there to ride, and that phone (although good for photos) gets stashed away.
$49 is a good price for a pair of gloves that will provide comfort and protection. Check it out on www.kitsbow.com
Spurcycle Bicycle Bell
Having been raised in the bike-centric, Netherlands, large brass bells have been part of my riding vernacular since a kid. Here in the US, the reactions from folk especially on multi-use trails can range from surprise, to thanks, to downright animosity.
I think a lot of riders don’t have bells as it isn’t common enough yet. Subsequently, some people get aggressive in their stance thinking that a fast rider is trying to push them off their trail. It’s merely a heads-up, and the Spurcycle is one of my favorite bells out there. A jolly jingle bell provides the proper decibel sound to notify others. The Spurcycle bell does not come off as aggressive and is merely a pleasant ding ding!
Small, efficient, clean design, and a very audible “heads up” to our fellow trail or road users. At 45 Grams and $49 it is a small price to pay for courtesy. Full coverage HERE
Sven Can See – Anti-Fog Gel
Initially, I loved the name for its simplicity and impact, “Sven Can See”. What else do you (or Sven) need? This is an odor free, non-toxic, biodegradable gel that works. It really works! The gel is a little thicker than the regular eye glass sprays out there. I expected it to be greasy, but it wasn’t at all. It cleaned and kept my goggles and sunglasses super clear. Simply Spay, Wipe, and Go!
$10.99 for clear vision and safety. www.svencansee.com
Final Thoughts On This Roundup Of Cycling Goodies
On one ride I managed to wear the Pearl Izumi Leg Warmers, Bar Mitts, Terramar Glove Liner, Heat Holder Socks, Muc-off Chamois Cream. In addition, these products all played a significant role: the Spurcycle bell, Z|Lock, Silca Co2 Cartridge, Pirelli Tires, Bontrager Lights, Effeto Mariposa, Silca Italian Army Knife, and “Sven Can See.”
This Cycling Gift Guide merely touches upon the overall picture of cool gifts out there, but it’s a good start. There is always something new and shiny that we simply can’t do without. The term “N+1” gets thrown around when we talk about N being the bike….. We like our stuff, and here is a nice list to provide a few fun usable toys for those who’ve been nice! Happy Holidays!