Adventures in life and photography out West


I realize shopping for the cyclist is not the easiest thing in the world. I know, when I’m checking out the newest offerings from a certain Swiss clothing manufacturer that I have scant chance of seeing one of these products when I open presents this holiday season. Bicycling stuff is expensive. Fear not. I have suggestions for presents for your beloved biker for under $100.
One sure way to show you care for you two-wheeled obsessive without clearing the college fund is a head lamp or tail light. While some lights can go for as much as $600, NiteRider makes several models for under $80. The NiteRider Mako 200 USB, Mako 200 and Mako 1 Watt commuter lights will add a bit of safety to a morning or evening ride, allowing motorists to see the rider and give him or her a safe space.

For great big value, CatEye, known best for their cycle computers, makes a bundle of their Vectra wireless cycle computer, EL120 Sport Opticube LED headlight and TL-LD 170 tail light. Each item is light and easy to mount with long battery life. Nothing says love like helping a rider’s survival, and for $80, your wallet will survive, as well.

Cleaning supplies might sound a bit lame for a present, but if your cyclist is, shall we say, particular about the look of his or her ride, they might need Finish Line Bike Wash. I use this, myself and can vouch for the manufacturer claims that you just squirt the Pepto-pink stuff of your bike’s dirty bits and then turn the hose on it. It claims “little of no scrubbing, but there’s always a little scrubbing. That’s okay, though, because the results are nice. Takes mud and turt off the frame and grease off the chain and drive train. It comes in a handy squirt bottle for about $13.

Grease Monkey Wipes are the perfect thing to get gunk off the rider. These heavy-duty, multi-purpose wipes have an all-natural citrus cleaner than removes grease, dirt, oil, paint and general muck from skin. They even come in a convenient 30-wipe pop-up canister for about $7.

Believe it or not, tires are a legitimate gift. Even casual riders go through a pair of tires in the space of a year. The best bang for the buck is likely the Continental Ultra Gatorskin wire bead road tire. Not as light as the Continental racing tires, but extremely durable. I’ve put a few thousand miles on mine and am just to the point of replacing the back tire. The tough casing is puncture resistant with great sidewalls. They have a fast, smooth center section and grippy shoulders for safe and confident cornering. I bought mine after the 2011 Courage Classic and they lasted all through the rest of that summer, all of the training and riding for both Ride the Rockies and the 2012 Courage Classic. I have no complaints. If you poke around, you can at least find one for $55. If you are really lucky, you might find a pair for $100. Worth every penny.

I find myself collecting the retro-style riding caps, these days. If you’ve seen the old black and white images of the Tour, you may have seen the cap I’m describing. They come in a wide range of colors and even a range of quality, from the cheap, light cotton cap one can pick up for about $10-$15 to the twill version made by higher-end manufacturers running in the $30-$40 range. My favorite, however, is my wool cap.

Have fun, be safe. I’m going shopping.

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