If you have a cyclist in your life, here are 12 great gifts for cyclists ideas to inspire you. There are ideas for bike maintenance, items to improve rides, for inspiring rides, and a few things for times away from the bike. So whether you are looking to cover the 12 days of Christmas or 12 months of the year, we hope you find them helpful. If you have more ideas to add to the list, please send a comment.
Multitools come in all shapes, sizes, and price points. For home maintenance, something larger & heavier is good, whereas for adjustments and repairs something small and light is useful. Most modern bikes will need a range of allen keys. Something simple (top of picture) will fit the bill at home. When off-road I strongly recommend you carry something to help with a chain repair. I’ve just got one of these Topeak Mini 20 Pro, (middle of picture), which is incredibly small and light. While the shanks are short it feels very robust when tightening bolts. The photo comparing these two doesn’t really do justice to how small the Mini 20 is. You can’t go far wrong with a multitool, we have several!
We’ve used a Joe Blow Max II which has lasted for over a decade with a fleet of bikes. I like the valve head that switches between Presta and Schrader & Dunlop valves with no adjustment, and the big clear gauge. For roadies you’ll want something that can easily get beyond120 PSI. Riders of tubeless tyres will appreciate the ability to dump a lot of air into the tyre fast, which this Joe Blow Booster does with rave reviews.
On the road or trail something smaller is needed. Mini pumps that inflate on the push and pull strokes are faster. I’ve got a Blackburn – sadly no longer available – but the Lezyne HP Drive ABS Pump has all the plus points. It comes in small (22cm) or tiny (17cm) versions, so there is a version for a jersey pocket or a rucksack.
3. Bike Cleaning
All bikes get mucky in use, even road bikes used in the dry will get dusty. Every cyclist needs a cleaning kit. I was given this Muc-Off 8 in1 Bike Cleaning Kit a few years ago and have added and replaced brushes as they have worn out. The mini-bucket is useful for storage but I usually use a bigger bucket for cleaning. For the frame I use a car shampoo and for the chain a cleaning tool makes life so much easier. I’ve had one like this from Halfords for years, and it’s brilliant, if a little fiddly. You’ll soon need more citrus degreaser, best buy in 5L bulk!
I was admiring a friend’s as-new-looking bike once and asked for his secret – good quality car polish / wax, especially in the the nooks and crannies around the chain and seat stays. It just helps the dirt fall off and makes cleaning easier and more rewarding. Could this be the perfect gift for cyclists who like to keep their pride and joy pristine?
With the darkness arriving in the late afternoon, lights are an essential for leisure or utility cycling. Over the years I’ve bought loads, and the reality is: buy cheap buy often. Cheap lights do work and are incredible value for money, but they or their brackets just don’t keep working in soggy Britain. If a cyclists needs lights, they need reliable lights. Buy from a reputable outlet that has weeded out the dross and offers after-sales service. None of my favourite lights seem to be available, at least not from the brand I have, so here is a selection at different price points.
Bargain: these look very similar to a set of excellent front and rear lights that have stood up to regular school/uni use by our kids, under a tenner for 2, a bargain buy. The front light bracket is OK, but certainly not the strongest, so some mechanical sympathy needed to get a long life.
Value: This Cat Eye combo has been around a few years with excellent reviews ticking the boxes for reliability and durability of light and bracket. The Cateye AMPP500 set costs a little more and is newer with USB charging, but not many reviews. I’ve recently bought this set as a gift (sssh!), so will let you know!
Mudguards keep you and your bike cleaner and drier so very useful for rainy days or if the road is wet. Road bikes have a more restricted choice as the frames are much closer to the wheel but Immy got a set of Crud ROADRACER mudguards which fit with velcro, making them easy to remove. Not the easiest to fit. These Ass Savers couldn’t be simpler and are quite a common sight and will hopefully keep the rider’s bum and back dry.
Off-road guards need to offer more clearance or else they will become clogged. I’ve got Crud Catcher-like guards on the front and back on my gravel bike which look after me OK. However they don’t stop the rooster tail of spray from the back wheel. For that you need longer mudguards and on my boy’s hybrid this Bontrager set fits over 40mm tyres, don’t clog on sandy soil and have withstood a few years of school use – they’re tough!
I needed to replace my helmet earlier this year and decided to try a MIPS one from Giro as they are supposed to offer better protection. The newer helmet fits much better than the old, it is more easily adjusted and I am very happy with it. When one of the boys needed a new helmet we bought another MIPS helmet from Specialized. Unfortunately there are no enhanced standards for better helmets and various manufacturers are promoting their own eg WG11. MIPS ones typically cost £20-£30 more and I hope I never have to find out why, but the better fit is worth it. If your loved one rides with a tired or poorly adjusted helmet, get one that is easy to adjust as an ideal gift for a cyclist! More tips on how to choose a helmet here.
7. Water Bottle / Hydration Pack
Cycling is thirsty work especially when the weather is warmer. To keep hydrated, most roadies will carry a water bottle or two. In the bad old days, bottles tasted very plasticky. Thankfully there are better options available today from Camelbak which don’t taint the water. One I was recently given even has an insulating jacket to help keep drinks at the right temperature for longer. It also has a cap to protect the spout from trail dirt.
Many off-road riders prefer a hydration pack carried in a rucksack. Suspension bikes particularly cannot take a bottle cage and full bottles on the frame make a bike heavier and less responsive. I’m currently using a Eurohike one which has an excellent wide opening, which makes cleaning easy. I cannot see this in-stock but this Osprey looks similar, although I think 3L is a bit large most of the time. Don’t fill all the way to avoid being weighed down!
In cold weather, warm gloves are an essential. Not just for comfort but keeping fingers flexible enough to operate the brakes quickly and effectively. Over the years I’ve tried many, but really like non-cycling specific woven Thinsulate gloves with a long cuff. They wear well, provide enough grip on bar tape or grips and are warm even when a bit wet. I definitely recommend Thinsulate, as they are really snug but not bulky like ski-style gloves.
An excellent overlooked feature is that my hands don’t get sweaty when I’ve warmed up. Every waterproof glove I’ve tried is great on starting a ride, but soon sweaty hands set in, and once damp, cold is not far behind. Sweaty gloves are also smelly gloves. Washing a waterproof glove is possible, but drying is a challenge and in my experience has not always solved the smell problem! Woven Thinsulate gloves are easily washed and dried. They are widely available, we’ve bought loads from Primark in past years but they are not available this year. These from Millets or Amazon look the same and for about a fiver make a great stocking filler. As they are ‘normal’ gloves, they are great off the bike too.
In warm weather a fingerless cycling mitt is really to protect hands from pressure on long rides and in the event of a fall. Gel pads help with aches and vibration, a tough construction helps with falls. I’d also ensure they are washable as they will get sweaty and smelly on the hands of an enthusiastic cyclist!
Bike themed Gifts for Cyclists
There are many types of cycling books generally designed to inspire & equip for the next ride. Here are a few on our shelves or wish list for roadies or bikepackers alike:
- The Cycling Revolution, Lessons from life on two wheels: Each page opening has a short story and illustration. Entertaining folk wisdom.
- Bikepacking, on the wild trails of Britain: Sections on equipment and preparation followed by routes, each with a map, stats & description.
- Bikepacking England, 20 multi day routes with a focus on the south: Maps, local info vignette, stats, photos, GPXfiles – what more could you want?
- Cycling UK Guide books – Detailed descriptions of some long distance off-road routes. A tough choice between
- Great North Trail: 800 miles from Peak district to North coast of Scotland – serious stuff.
- King Alfred’s Way: 220 mile circular route connecting Stonehenge, Avebury stone circle, Iron Age hill forts, Farnham Castle, and Winchester and Salisbury Cathedrals
- West Kernow Way: 140 miles around Cornish coasts, moors and mines.
- Great British Bike Rides: 40 road riding challenges including the classic Fred Whitton in the Lakes. Maps, stats, descriptions & GPX. This link is for a signed copy for that unique gift for a cyclist.
- Cyclist- Ride, 50 Road routes from around the world: inspiration for times when we can travel more easily. Coffee table quality photos.
- The Road Book, cycling almanac – Wisden on 2 wheels for roadies.
10. Inner Tube Wallet
There are an increasing number of accessories made from old inner tubes, One of the best has to be a wallet. I’ve found mine more robust than a leather equivalent, just as practical and a great conversation piece, with other cyclists at least! There are various sellers out there, this is the one I have. One word of advice is that wallets with tube size on the front are in my opinion far more desirable than a plain one, especially if you can get the size your loved one rides. Online sellers don’t seem to specify, although this seller, Rachel, has a review suggesting she will source a labelled one if messaged. I bought mine from a market so had the opportunity to choose.
The current popularity of cycling has resulted in loads of bike-themed accessories. Etsy is a good place to browse everything from mugs to coasters made from chains. Kapz sell a huge range of headset cap art, or for just a name or short message look here. Office workers may like cufflinks. A safety whistle might be right for those going on off-road adventures. Wiggle also have a range of gifts for cyclists ideas, my favourites being this keyring and this mug. If all else fails to inspire, something must suit from this range of UCI coloured hats, scarves, neck warmers and socks.
12. Cycling UK membership
We’ve had Cycling UK (fka CTC) family membership for more years than I care to remember. Cycle magazine has provided inspiration, enjoyment & information (and they’ve published the LowLE route). I’ve used the legal services when I had a SMIDSY accident, and the local groups organise rides to help you explore the area. Overall Cycling UK gift membership is a great sustainable gift for cyclists with the added bonus of bundled free gifts (lights, books, socks etc) too.
We hope you’ve found some inspiration here for gifts for cyclists in your life. If you think we’ve missed something, please let us know in the comments. Links may include affiliate codes so if you buy with the link you’ll support this site 🙂
Main image from Pixabay, other images from vendors.