By Sara Whitehouse
Every cycling fanatic, or even a beginner, will require the gear for cycling. But what are the best and worst gifts you can buy for a cyclist?
We have compiled a comprehensive list of some of the best and potentially worst gifts you can buy for a cycling fanatic. From bike locks to reflective clothing, our list focuses on functional yet fun gifts that are sure to please avid cyclists everywhere.
The last thing you want when you’ve spent time, effort and money picking your perfect bike, is to have it stolen when you inevitably leave it unattended. This is why a bike lock is an essential gift for all types of cyclists. But picking the right one can be tricky.
Locking skewers replace the existing quick release skewers on a bicycle’s wheels. This reduces the need to lock these parts of the bike since now their removal requires tools. Even though a determined thief could eventually defeat the skewer’s lock nut by using a power tool, it is unlikely in public areas.
Gone are the days of lost keys and forgotten combinations, instead Smart Locks use bluetooth technology to allow a lock to be unlocked with a smartphone, and can send a notification if they are breached. While Smart locks introduce added security risks through the possibility of hacking, it’s a highly sophisticated method of theft.
While they shouldn’t be ruled out, these locks are better suited in situations where your bike is left unattended between 10-30 minutes or is in a low-risk theft area. For example:
Cable locks are in many ways similar to chain locks, but often come with the locking mechanism already permanently integrated. While they may be easier to transport than the chain lock, they’re far easier to cut through.
A relatively low security mechanism as it can be carried away, the lock is mounted on the frame that immobilises the rear wheel by moving a steel bolt through the spokes to prevent any kind of forward or backward motion.
Everybody wants to be safe while they’re out riding and reflective clothing is another small measure that will improve the chances of being seen on the roads when it’s gloomy out. Here’s our gift guide on what to buy and what to bin.
All reflective clothing is beneficial. However, clothing with reflective strips on the knees, ankles and shoes move up and down as the cyclist moves, helping drivers to better recognise the object in front of them as a moving cyclist, as opposed to a simple light source.
With cyclists often knowing the benefits of reflective clothing but still choosing not to wear it, big brands now design reflective pieces with the fashion-conscious road market in mind, and it’s likely that more cyclists will now stay seen on the roads.
Contrary to popular knowledge, fluorescent clothing is not wholly the same as reflective clothing. While it’s effective at increasing rider visibility during the day, it’s largely useless at night, as it doesn’t have UV sunlight to convert, making the fluorescent material ineffective. It’s worth being clued up as only 10% of cyclists cycle at night, but 35% of all fatal cycling crashes happen after dark.
Bike Light Do’s
An ideal choice for the commuter cyclist is the rechargeable USB light, a good example is the Knog Blinder range, as it is a product that can be plugged straight into your computer or USB plug and charges in just a few hours. With these lights you’ll be sure to stay safe a secure wherever you’re headed.
If you’re a forgetful person and charging is something low on your list, then purchasing a backup pair to carry around with you either on your person or already fitted to your bike, is crucial to make sure you don’t get caught out!
Bike Light Don’ts
Bike Helmet Lights
Apart from marginally increasing visibility, using helmet lights on their own is impractical, as they aren’t road-legal if used on their own, with no additional bike lights.
As well as this, while they might be useful for off-road cycling, there is a risk you could dazzle oncoming motorists and cyclists with a moving helmet light and cause unnecessary risk to everyone.
Equally, if an accident should occur whilst you’re out riding, the impact of the light on your helmet may lead to a head injury.
Sara Whitehouse, SEO and Content Editor at Broxap