Happy birthday to ME, happy birthday to ME. Happy birthday Team Colin, happy birthday to ME.
Wohoo! It’s my birthday in a few weeks, and the question on everyone’s mind is (or should be) “What can I buy Colin for his birthday?”.
Okay, maybe the world actually isn’t interested in my birthday, heck I’m not even that interested in my birthday (it’s just an excuse for a boss party, birthday laps at Joyride 150, and the general tomfoolery that comes with b-day celebs), but I know this: every non-cyclist who has a cyclist in their life asks the same question each birthday, Christmas, Eid, Halloween, Kwanzaa, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, baptism, graduation, Oktoberfest, Saint Patrick’s Day, Valentines Day, Good Friday, and so on.
“What do I buy for the cyclist in my life who already has too many bikes?”
Silly non-cyclists. Like there’s such a thing as too many bikes. Well there is such a thing as having too many bikes. It’s a billion. If you have a billion bikes, you have too many. If I had a billion bikes, I wouldn’t need another bike. Wait, unless I didn’t already have that KHS Hotrod that’s always at the Toronto Bike Show (at the ZM Cycle & Fitness booth).
Yeah, that the one. So rad.
So there’s a cyclist in your life, and you don’t know what to get them because they not only already have every conceivable gadget or piece of gear, they have duplicates of said gadgets and gear…
Or maybe you know EXACTLY what to get them (because they already told you EXACTLY what they need, and described it to you in detail (in writing, via text, in a web link, telepathically, on a sticky note, on their Team Colin blog, or in a social media post) but you can’t get it for them because you swore you’d never go back to their bike shop after that time you went to buy something, and the first question the staff asked was “What kind of bike does your spouse/lover/friend ride?”, and you said “Blue”, and hastily added “with wheels and a seat” so you didn’t sound dumb (nicely played by the way).
Therefore, in the interest of helping non-cyclists buy the perfect gift for me, I mean, for the cyclist in their life, here is a list of some pretty cool bikey stuff, that’s guaranteed to appeal to even the pickiest, most togged-out, and geared-up rider.
9 Big Boss and Awesome Gift Ideas for the Rider in Your Life
- I’m not going to build up to anything here. The pinnacle gift for EVERY cyclist is anything from Alchemy Goods. They make wallets and such from what they call up-cycled bike inner tubes. My wallet is three years old, and it is not only very cool, it’s indestructible, beautiful, and a constant reminder of bikes. They make backpacks, purses, passport wallets, a bunch of different size bags, and even rucksacks. Get something from Alchemy Goods. Period.
Why are you still reading this? You should be on the Alchemy Goods website ordering a Messenger Bag for me, I mean, for the rider in your life. Okay, here’s a few more ideas:
- Those cool bike name labels that all the pros have. They might get the cyclist in YOUR life laughed at by the cyclists in THEIR life, but I think they’re pretty neat. Plus, sometimes when I nail a long climb, I have a mini heart attack, and a label might help me remember my name. As it is, I keep thinking my name is Shimano XT (except upside down) because that’s what it says on my gear shifters. Bicistickers Top Tube Name Decals
- Bag Balm from Lee Valley. It’s for cows. I use it on my, um, never mind where I use it. I got this pro trick from a true pro. It’s cheaper than chamois butter, and it has a million-and-one uses. Aside from preventing saddle sores, I use it to protect my face (and hands, and even lips) during a cold ride. Also, it’s medicated, so whatever that means, it can’t be bad. Oh, and it comes in a cool, hipster tin. If your rider sits on a saddle for more than two hours at a time, protect their goods with Bag Balm.
- Speaking of testicles (or what have you), a pair of cycle liner shorts. They’re basically cycling shorts that fit under daily clothes. I have a few pairs. My kids have a few pairs. Everyone in my family has at least one pair. Cycle liner shorts mean you can go for a casual Sunday afternoon ride to the coffee shop (or somewhere else equally un-gnarly) with the cyclist in your life. The liners will protect their nether vicinity, and they won’t look like a kit-wearing wiener. Hey, I dig a kit, and always wear one on a proper ride, but nobody needs to be wearing a jersey and bib shorts when they’re sitting at a restaurant patio eating a club sandwich. Better yet, nobody needs to be sitting at a patio eating a club sandwich, while looking at someone whose wearing a jersey and bib short while eating a club sandwich. The ones I wear are from MEC. They’re comfortable and fairly breathable, durable, and reasonably priced.
- A Team Colin hat. Everybody knows that a Team Colin hat is the single most important item of personal apparel for the true rider. It’s true. Unfortunately, I don’t sell them YET. However, you can literally go to any t-shirt place and ask if they can print your rider’s personal team name on a shirt or hat. Better yet, if you want to encase your rider in a full-on sausage suit, you’d be surprised how reasonably priced an actual personalized riding kit can be. Jakroo, Pearl Izumi, Garneau, Sugoi, and a bunch of other online sources.
- A subscription to a cycling magazine. Canadian Cycling and Pedal Magazine are Canadian, but if your rider lives in Toronto, they probably already got a sweet deal at the Bike Show. However, Bike Magazine, Mountain Bike Action, and Singletrack are international and cost a bit more, so your rider may not have a subscription. Nothing beats getting something in the mail (that’s not a bill or a flyer), and if it’s bikey, that’s all the better.
- Grips, tubes, lube, and other little stuff from any bike store. I know you swore-off bike shops, but you should go back. The Bike Shop may appear to be elitist and foreign, but it really isn’t, and the staff there sincerely want to help. Don’t worry about judgement. They reserve their harshest judgement for the “I ride 9 days a week because I’m better than you” posers; the “Can I have that at cost” deal seekers; and the “I bought this online and it doesn’t fit” advice seekers. Before you go, maybe take a picture of your rider’s bike(s) to help the staff guide your purchase.
- The Bicycling Training Journal. It’s a fill-in-the-date journal (that can start any time) for all the rides a cyclist completes in one year, plus some trivia, cool quotes, training and maintenance tips, and more. In the age of Strava, Garmin, and Zwift, it’s kind of nice to have a hard copy of a year’s worth of cycling boss-ness.
- An Awareness Bell. It’s exactly what it sounds like. It lets other trail users–two wheeled, two legged, and four legged–know you’re coming. Picture this. It was about 3PM and I was riding the Flats in the Don (for anyone unfamiliar with the Don, it’s an awesome urban MTB trail in the Don Valley, pretty much in the middle of downtown Toronto, under 6 lane bridges, sandwiched between the Don Valley Parkway, and a train track). It was a sunny day and I was in my zone. Well, a deer was also enjoying a sunny day and in his or her zone. When I ripped around a blind corner, we scared the heck out of each other. I don’t know who was more scared, but I can tell you that only one of us crapped in his bike shorts that day. A deer isn’t a nice trail companion, but imagine riding in bear country? An Awareness Bell takes away the danger of startling a beast with bigger teeth. By the way, I WASN’T in bear country at the 2015 Northumberland Humbler (about an hour east of Toronto) but the bear who was there didn’t care. After the race, a buddy and I were making our way to the car when we saw a black bear foraging close to the road. The bear was confined to an area that was bound by a road on one side, and the race course on the three other sides. An Awareness Bell tells other trail users that you’re coming so they can make a decision to either flee before you appear, or get ready to eat you. On the plus side, the Awareness Bell (and other similar contraptions) often have an “off” switch, so you won’t dingle while you’re in a group.
There are probably a billion more awesome things, but these items are a good place to start your shopping for me. I mean for the rider in your life.
Ride. I mean, shop.
Most of the things in this post are for the established cyclist. For the beginning cyclist, there are some really necessary items they should have in a kit bag. They are:
- under-the-seat or frame bag
- mini pump
- Park multi tool (with chain break)
- Park Tools folding hex key kit
- tube repair kit and tire levers
- tubes and lube
- riding gloves
Anything to say about this post? Anything to say about bikes? Any cool bike gifts that I didn’t include? Comment here, or send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want, you can follow this blog or the Team Colin Facebook page.