Sure, a shirt with a picture of a cat riding a bike is pretty much the perfect gift for any cyclist. I know it, you know, it, we all know it. But if your cyclist friend/family member/UPS gal already has that shirt, then you're going to need some other ideas. Fortunately, you're reading a blog written by a cyclist who knows what cyclists want. Good for you. You're smarter and more attractive than most. Here are a few excellent gift ideas for your friend who owns more lycra than David Lee Roth.
A New Bike
You'd have to really, really like the person, but a new bike is always an excellent Christmas present. "Well, So-and-So already has like 10 bikes - they don't need another bike." You obviously don't shave your legs, rookie. Everyone could always use another bike. Always. A cross country bike, a dual suspension cross country bike; a touring fat bike and a racing fat bike, a townie, a single speed townie, a fixie townie - the list goes on and on. Go to your local bike shop and ask the guys what your wife/husband/mistress has been oogling at and pull the trigger. Merry. Fricking. Christmas. You just became So-and-So's favorite person.
Shameless sponsor plug. It's the bike that gets everyone who looks at it pregnant. The Bearclaw Balthazar. I'll take two, thanks.
A Bike Fit
Seriously. A bike fit isn't something a lot of cyclists would put on their wishlist, but everyone could use one. The best way to get rid of an achy back or numb hands? Having an experienced bike fitter use some science and computers to get you in the most efficient, most comfortable position possible. The prices for fits range wildly, but I'd highly recommend seeing Mark Gerlando at Ride Science in Traverse City or Ben Boyce at Einstein Cycles. Both have years of experience and know-how to make sure your fit is perfect for you. Ben got me set up on my Bearclaw this season, and I haven't moved a thing on my bike since. If you want your loved one to enjoy more miles with more smiles, a bike fit is the way to go.
Winter bike riding is way more fun when you can feel your fingers. If you live in the Midwest, winter is about seven months long - a long time to ride your bike with numb hands. A solid pair of gloves makes those seven months a whole helluva lot more enjoyable. I bought a pair of GORE Thermo Gloves a few years back and they're simply the bomb-diggity. If your local bike shop doesn't carry GORE, ask your experienced sales rep which glove would be best for you. Chances are, they know exactly which glove is the best option for you based on your riding style and what your "hell no" temperature point is for riding.
Wahoo Elemnt Computer
I first saw the Elemnt and thought, "That is overkill, man." But then I tried my brother's out - Holy Snot Wagon, is that thing sweet. A huge screen, paired with the most intuitive user interface around, makes this the cycling computer to have. You can run the entire computer from your smartphone, making it completely customizable. You can even get texts and phone calls to display on your phone, letting you know if you need to stop and answer a call from your boss or just let that call from your mom go to voicemail. Sorry, mom.
Whatever you get for your cyclist this year, make sure you get it from a local bike shop. You might save $0.35 by ordering online, but no online retailer will stay late to fix your bike the night before a bike race, have a beer with you after a trail ride, or get a part out of the take-off box to save you $50 when you're hard-up for cash in the middle of the racing season. Support your local bike shop because they do what they can to support you.
Anyway, what did I miss? What are you hoping to spot under the Christmas tree? Let me know what I missed on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Have a very Merry Christmas and don't be stingy. Credit cards are easy to get and spending limits are high. Go crazy. Especially on me.