December's only a sunset away and that means there's even less time left to get those holiday orders figured out! And, while finding the perfect gift for the rider in your life can be tough, we're here to help.
Some Convo Required
Yesterday we ran through some ride-ready gift ideas that don't require any input from the recipient, in today's post we'll talk pickups that'll take a little bit more research. (Note: In this instance 'research' doesn't mean boring book junk, just sneakily finding out a few things about your friend's bike and how they ride, so that you know they'll get the most out of what you're giving). Let's get gifty!
Lights can make a huge difference on a ride, helping your rider-bud see, be seen, and stay safe on the road now that the sun's dipping out so early. And, luckily, they're a pretty easy pickup - all you really need to know is if your friend already has some. If the don't, grab them a pair!
And if they already have some lights on there, just try to sneak a peek and see what they're working with. Small blinkie lights help make a rider more visible, but don't help light up the road at all. Big, blasty lights are awesome for lighting up the road, but can leave a little to be desired in the "eye catching department". So, if they've got blinkies - grab them a beamer, and if they've got a huge headlight, snag them some blinkies for extra visibility!
It can also be a good idea to consider whether the lights you pick out are USB chargeable or have batteries - and which your friend will prefer. If they work all day in front of a computer, USB's the way to go because it's easy to charge 'em up while your at the office (or once your back home at the end of the day). But, if they're always spending hours and hours out in the world, consider batteries so they can pack a few spares and never run out of juice on the road!
Tubes are another wonderful "everyone needs them sooner or later" score. There's nothing as demoralizing as a flat, except for a flat that you can't immediately fix. A solid stock of tubes can help take a lot of the uncertainty out of your rider's life - and that makes for more happy spinning.
They may not be the most exciting, but I've never been bummed to find out I have too many tubes. Plus, with extras you can stock the bike, house, and office/school/etc... so wherever flats strike, you're ready - well, your friend is.
All you need to know is what size tubes they use! Maybe you can sneak that into conversation, but if not, just take a peek at their tire's sidewall and it'll be right there. You'll see something like 700x25C and then you know you'll need to grab 700x25C tubes.
Then take a quick look at their valve to tell if it's presta or schraeder and make a rough guess at how long it is. (Note: if they have deep dish rims, remember that the valve extends all the way through there, so add the depth of the rim to your valve length guesstimation and you'll be right on the money)
Now you're totally ready to stock up!
Bags! They hold stuff, they haul stuff, and they save you from getting charged $0.10 for a paper bag every time you go to the store! The bike life is unabashadly better with bags, and to find the right pack for your pal, all you need to know is 1) What kind of bag they prefer and 2) What kind of bag they have now.
When it comes to fabric gear toters, there are a few different styles: backpacks, messengers, panniers, burrito bags, saddle packs, and more. Find a way to get your friend to admit their favorite bag type and you're halfway there!
Now all you need to know is what they're currently hauling. If it's different than their ideal bag, perfect - get them the bag they've been dreaming of and they'll make the swap in an instant!
But, let's say they love backpacks and already have one that they use daily, adore, and couldn't live without. In that case you want to be extra sure they're actually looking for a replacement (or get them something so much cooler that they have no choice but to trade up).
Similarly, if their bike is festooned in baggage already, it's a safe bet that they prefer to carry the weight on their bike as opposed to their back. In that case, look for a bag that fits an empty spot on their ride - like a saddle pack, bar bag, or some creative frame-storage. Making sure your gift fits your rider's style will go a long way to making sure they enjoy it (and actually use it)!
Last but not least on the low-input gift list is apparel! Everyone needs ride gear and all you need to know to snag your pal some sweet new duds is their size. Shirts, shorts, pants, sweatshirts - just take a peek at their labels when they're not looking and you can be sure to snag something that'll fit!
And now you're even more prepared to impress the rider in your life with some thoughtful shopping! Tomorrow we'll get into the really tough stuff - the gifts that need a loooot of input to get just right.
Until then, ride happy - and we'll see you out there!