Cyclists aren't hard to shop for, as long as you know where to look.
There are a lot of specialized pieces of equipment that most cyclists prefer to pick out themselves, so buying gifts for them can be a difficult endeavor. It leaves you with trinkets left to give as gifts. As someone who has more than one quirky T-shirt identifying me as a cyclist, please let me help you pick out some different gifts for the gearhead in your life.
This gift guide includes some of my favorite road-tested items, which would make a great addition to the gear pile every cyclist owns.
Not all bike bottles are created equally, and I can tell you from experience that most of the ones claiming to be insulated aren't really doing much to keep your drinks warm or cold. So when I go to ride in what may be considered extreme temperatures by some, I grab my Velo Canteen. It's perfect for bringing a hot cup of coffee or something cold with lots of sugar in it, designed to fit in a bottle cage or a bike bag, and the lid can be personalized if you want to do something cool like put their name on it.
I'm not the biggest fan of CO2 tire inflators, largely because the mini cartridges they use are difficult to recycle and typically end up in landfills. But I've also been stranded 35 miles from my car in the middle of nowhere with a flat, and my compact tire inflator saved me from having to walk or hitch a ride home. When used properly, these tire inflators are a miracle. You can tuck one into your bag and never think about it again, and for that reason every cyclist should have one.
One thing every cyclist absolutely needs after a good ride is some time to recover. That usually means drinking lots of water, eating something rich in protein and taking care of your muscles. Most cyclists have a routine after a ride, but a good massage gun is a great gift that makes all the difference in the world. We have a great collection of the best massage guns, but the most compact and portable you'll find right now is the Theragun Mini. If you want a great massage gun that can go with you anywhere, this is the best choice.
Fun wheel lights like these WheelBrightz are fantastic for showing some flair when doing rides on special occasions, or just making sure you're seen. You can use them to stand out on dark solo rides, or to make you and your fellow riders feel like part of a pack (especially if your co-riders are kids or young at heart). WheelBrightz lights deliver light in a ton of different colors to make the wheels truly shine.
Headphones are complicated things when you're on a bike. If they're too quiet, the world around the bike can drown them out. If they're overly loud or block out ambient sounds, you risk not being able to hear vehicles around you. The best kind of headphones for cyclists deliver good quality audio while also letting you keep tabs on oncoming traffic. These Aftershokz Aeropex Mini bone-conduction headphones vibrate sound into your eardrums through points on your skull and make a huge difference in how you enjoy music, podcasts or audiobooks when you ride. And if you're going to give the gift of sound to a cyclist, these are the best.
Polar bottles are common among cyclists, and for good reason. They're reasonably priced, the insulation works reasonably well and the quick grab ring makes it easy to pull the bottles out of the bike cage when you need a quick drink. The prices vary depending on the size and style you get, but most bottle cages support the larger 24-ounce bottle with no problem and those start at just $12.
One of the more unique groups of cyclists out there are bikepackers, people who ride on long trails and bring everything they need to camp out for a couple of days. Where most cyclists tend to focus on reducing weight wherever possible, bikepackers use special mounts to carry more. One of the better examples of this is the Telos Bikepacking tent, which sleeps two comfortably and compresses down small enough to strap to your bike while only adding 4lbs and 3.5oz. It's a solid tent, and ideal for anyone who wants to go further on their bike for longer.
Every cyclist already owns a set of tools, but when you run into problems on a ride, portability is key. There's not a lot of space on most bikes, so being able to keep your tools in the smallest possible package matters. The Pro Bike Tool Bike Multitool has 17 tools that work with nearly every bike, including mini screwdrivers and a hex key. It's so small it can almost fit into a wallet (it'll easily fit into a backpack) and is a great addition to any existing toolkit that might be stored on the bike itself.