Christmas can be a challenging time when shopping for the cyclist in your life. But before you reach for the standard festive fill of cycling mugs, prints or books, it might be best to look at one of the gift suggestions below.
There’s everything that even the most discerning cyclist will appreciate, be it tools and cleaning products to keep their pride and joy sparkling, or presents aimed at serious cyclists who want to take their riding to the next level in the new year.
From stocking fillers to big ticket treats, these are the best Christmas presents you can buy for road cyclists in 2020.
1. Muc-Off Inner Tube sealant
Sealant might not sound like the most exciting thing to unwrap come the big day, but there aren't many more things you can get for under £10 that will be as useful. The sealant works with all inner tubes (so you don't need to know if the gift's receiver runs Presta or Schrader valves) and once installed will seamlessly repair punctures and holes up to 4mm in size. And if you needed any more convincing, just think: your gift could be the difference between your friend or family member making it home issue-free or having to repair a puncture on a roadside far from home. That's something that can't be said for a novelty mug.
2. Knog Oi bell
Safety is paramount when cycling at this time of year, and that includes being heard as much as being seen. The compact Knog Oi bell is perfect for alerting other people to your presence, whether on the road or shared paths, with a tone that the company says is like an angel playing the glockenspiel. The low profile design is constructed from CNC machined aluminium and is available to fit 23.3 and 31.8mm diameter handlebars. It’s easy to fit and takes up little real estate on your handlebar and even comes in a range of colours. When it’s this small and neat, there’s really no excuse for not having a bicycle bell.
3. Rapha Pro Team Winter socks
Socks are a staple present but few are quite as luxurious for the passionate cyclist as these Rapha Pro Team Winter socks. Designed to keep feet warm on the coldest winter rides, the high-end brand’s socks use an ultralight and fast-drying yarn that offers a high level of insulation for the fabric weight. The toe and heel areas are reinforced with a Nanoglide yarn to reduce friction, so your feet don’t move about in your shoes, and is reinforced to ensure they don’t wear out after extended use. A choice of five colours lets you customise to suit.
4. The Cycling Chef: Recipes for Performance and Pleasure
There is a whole genre of cycling books out there – from inspirational travelogues to coffee table creations – but if you want a real winner, then you can’t go wrong with The Cycling Chef: Recipes for Performance and Pleasure. Ideal for all types of cyclists, the cookbook is written by Michelin award-winning chef and champion athlete Alan Murchison. The pages are filled with 75 mouth-watering recipes covering everything from breakfast to dinner, snacks to desserts, and there is something for vegetarian and vegan cyclists too. The recipes are quick and easy to prepare, making them ideal for the time-crunched cyclist, and it’s not all rice cakes or post-ride pasta either.
5. Lezyne Pocket Drive Pro hand pump
Few pumps are as nicely made or desirable as the Lezyne range, and this Pocket Drive Pro hand pump is a real gem. Small enough to fit inside a jersey pocket, it still packs a punch thanks to an overlapping handle that ensures it is capable of inflating a tyre to 160 psi. The CNC machined aluminium construction ensures it’s lightweight – just 98g – but also very durable and built to last. It’s even rebuildable too. A knurled handle provides easier pumping, the hose is Presta and Schrader compatible, there’s an integrated valve core tool and a frame mount is included.
6. Restrap Cannister Bag
Handlebar bags are quite the fashion accessory for hip cyclists at the moment, but they are incredibly useful if you need to carry more things than your jersey’s three pockets can accommodate. From long-distance rides to gravel grinding blasts, the Restrap Canister Bag is an ideal accompaniment to any bike. It’s made from textured nylon and provides 1.5-litre cargo capacity, with an easily accessible YKK main zipper. Elasticated side pockets are useful for keeping tools or food at hand, and two straps secure onto the handlebar.
7. Silca Seat Roll Astymmetrico
Silca makes some of the finest tools and accessories, and with its new Seat Roll Asymmetrico has managed to elevate the humble and sometimes unloved saddle bag to new heights. It’s made to the highest standard using lightweight materials and lets you pack more essential spares into a smaller volume. It’s unique in employing a BOA dial to tighten the bag onto the saddle rails to ensure it remains secure over the roughest roads so it won’t rattle, sway or swing about. Inside are four pockets for an inner tube, a multi-tool, CO2 canisters and tyre levers.
8. Muc-Off Ultimate Bicycle Kit
Christmas coincides with winter weather in the northern hemisphere so cyclists spend a lot of time washing bikes after rides. Making the task all that bit easier is this comprehensive cleaning kit from Muc-Off, with all the cleaning products you need to remove the most stubborn dirt and oil. As well as cleaning products, the kit also includes brushes and sponges, lube, bike spray and a luxury microfibre cloth for polishing your pride and joy. And when you’re finished, the tough case keeps everything tidy.
9. Red Bull Road Bike Vest
Getting your layering right during winter and spring riding is no easy task. Leaving home with not enough protection from the elements might have you turning back earlier than planned, while being too warm can be an issue as well – a build-up of sweat making things uncomfortable and even cold.
This road bike vest should help solve some of the above issues. It can help keep the wind off of your core when worn over a long-sleeve jersey and is svelte enough to be worn beneath a winter jacket on colder days. The gilet isn't just for Christmas, either. A mesh insert on the back keeps it breathable, meaning you'll be wearing it long into the warmer months.
10. Zwift membership
Riding indoors has become massively popular in recent years and it’s largely due to Zwift. The platform is an engaging virtual cycling world that has transformed cycling on an indoor turbo trainer by turning it into an incredibly engaging and fun (although sometimes still painful) experience. There’s a wide range of real and imaginary places to ride, flat roads and massive climbs, and a whole host of riding options – from just going for a spin to taking part in one of the many organised events, group workouts or races. You can follow structured training plans for targeting a race or event or meet up with your real riding mates for a virtual spin. Bag a 12-month gift card and save on the £12.99 monthly membership.
11. Oakley Sutro sunglasses
Oakley pioneered the wearing and subsequent development of cycling-specific sunglasses and the Sutro is the latest offering. Bigger shades are in fashion right now and these are a common sight in the professional peloton, where they’re easy to spot. The huge lens gives unparalleled protection for your eyes from harmful UV rays and road debris, with next to no obstruction from the frame. The Prizm lens offers perfect clarity, the plastic frame keeps the weight low and the arms grip your head with enough pressure to secure them in place. Big and bold, they’re the perfect gift for the wannabe pro.
12. Silca HX1 tool kit
Every cyclist worth their salt needs a good set of tools for maintaining their bicycle, and few tools are quite as luxurious as this Silca HX-One Home and Essential Kit. A beautiful Beechwood case opens to reveal a wide range of hex keys made to the highest standard, designed for precision adjustments and intended to last a very long time. The tools range from 2mm to 10mm Allen keys and include Torx keys from T8 to T30, a Phillips head and two flathead screwdriver bits. Working on your bike will never be the same again.
13. Wahoo Elemnt Bolt
GPS technology has revolutionised how cyclists plan and record rides and the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt is a popular choice. It’s compact with a large screen and a row of quick look LEDs and uses Bluetooth and ANT+ to connect to a smartphone and most other accessories from power meters to heart rate bands. Setting up is easy too, via the accompanying smartphone app where you can customise the data screens at a slide and prod of your finger.
14. Exposure Lights Strada
The nights are longer and unless you’re hitting the indoor trainer, riding outside is going to require some illuminating lights. Although expensive, the Exposure Lights from Strada are worth the investment. The diminutive design houses a battery that’s good for up to 36 hours and two LEDs that punch out an impressive 1,200 lumens in the highest mode, yet there are no wires and it weighs just 183g. The Strada has been designed specifically for road cycling with a clever dual lens and beam pattern that can be dipped for oncoming traffic with a separate optional handlebar button.