Top 5 Cycling gifts
I recently posted a top 5 list of items for your runner or triathlete. This week’s focus is on the cyclist or triathlete in your life. If you don’t ride, you may not have a clue what a biker would want. I’m here to help with my tried and true recommendations. I’ll post in the next week on my top 5 items for your swimmer, so be on the watch for that!
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My Favorite Cycling Things
When I began triathlon and cycling in 2009, I was new to clipless shoes. I purchased my friend’s Bianchi roadbike for a sweet deal in 2010, and it came equipped with Look pedals. Since I was new to the sport and didn’t want to spend a lot of cash, I happily kept the pedals and shopped for a shoe that was compatible with the pedals. I wore a Pearl Izumi road shoe until early this season.
After shopping for a pair of triathlon specific biking shoes during Ironman training, I decided on these Pearl Izumi Tri Fly V shoes. I ordered a half size up from my previous road shoes, as my toes would go numb on long rides. That was a wise choice, because I never had a problem after that change. Also, these are compatible with multiple pedal types–so I can upgrade my pedals when I’m ready without buying a new pair of shoes again.
These shoes are really easy to put on in a hurry, especially in transition. They come with loops at the ankle to pull them on easily. Plus, they have a ventilated top that helps prevent sweaty feet–this was a huge benefit to me. They are very lightweight and comfortable, and offer great support to my feet. I have a history of posterior tibial tendinitis, which causes bad foot pain if I am not wearing a good shoe. These shoes fit the bill!
I was hesitant to order the white, but that was the only thing available in my size when I purchased them. I’m happy to say that after half a season of Ironman training, they aren’t too dirty and clean up easily.
If you love your triathlete or cyclist, PLEASE make sure they are leaving with one of these on their head. Seriously. People biking without helmets is cringe-worthy. I will post from my soapbox another day regarding this, but helmets save lives. I forgot my helmet once, and luckily made it only a mile before realizing it. A call to Hubby saved the day (and my head). If I’d been hit or taken a fall, the results could have been tragic.
Aside from safety for regular riding, helmets are required for all triathlons. In fact, you must have your helmet on your head before you even remove your bike from the rack.
That being said, there are so many affordable options for helmets. I have a Giro Kaya helmet, which is very similar in style and price range to this model. I love it. This model also has the acu-dial feature, which adjusts the helmet to a perfect fit. There is also plenty of ventilation, which makes this model extremely comfortable in all temperatures.
You really don’t have to spend a small fortune on a helmet. Of course, you certainly can. One day I may spring for one of the fancy “aero” helmets, you know, when I have an extra $300 to spend. Until then, this protects my head just fine.
I’m going to approach something rather…personal. So if you’re shy or easily offended by talking about private parts, please skip to the next item.
This stuff is the most amazing thing for any biker’s private parts. I consider it liquid GOLD. Most cyclists won’t come out and tell you this, but riding for prolonged periods of time is not in the best interests for lady bits. Or male bits.
Hoo Ha Ride Glide helps prevent chafing and inflammation with top-notch ingredients. It actually smells pretty good too. I buy the big tube, and section it out into small ziploc bags for races and rides. You can buy it in small packets if you want, but I think the large tube and ziploc option is more economical. This stuff made an incredible difference in staying comfortable for long rides. I don’t have a male version of my testimony, but I’m sure it would work for whatever body part you have down there.
This may also border on “private part territory” but these shorts were a game-changer for me this year.
I purchased the 8″ Coeur Tri Short after months of research on the perfect pair of tri shorts. They advertise “No Angry Kitty” for a reason. These are the most comfortable tri shorts I own.
Coeur has a no-seam chamois feature, which greatly reduces your chances of saddle sores. I speak from experience, ahem. Note the “No Angry Kitty” reference and do the math.
I have worn a few other brands that I like. Orca is also one of my favorites because I felt like their shorts were made for my thighs. You see, I don’t have small legs. I never will. That’s ok. As long as I find shorts that make me happy, I’m good. It took a long time to find shorts I felt confident wearing. I actually wore triathlon capris until about 3 years ago.
When Coeur came out with the 8″ version of their shorts, I decided it was time to give them a try. Their sizing is generous, and my thighs fit perfectly without the “sausage casing” issue that most shorts cause.
For me, this was a match made in heaven. Good shorts are important for cyclists.
5. Gift Certificate to a Local Bike Shop for a Fitting
Your cyclist can have the fanciest bells and whistles on a bike. However, if he or she does not have a bike that has been custom fit, no amount of Hoo Ha Ride Glide or other chamois cream will help.
I rode my second road bike almost 2 seasons before I had a custom fitting at the local bike shop. Hubby did a makeshift fitting on me after watching a few YouTube videos, but that didn’t go too far. Rides over 25 miles caused lower back pain, lady bit discomfort, and I didn’t feel like I had much power in my legs.
I spent the best $50 when I scheduled a fit with the specialist on staff at one of the local shops. During this time, he watched me pedal, tweaked things, watched me pedal again, and tweaked more things. He even went so far as to adjust my pedal clips on my bike shoes.
After covering all these details in just over an hour, I was riding a new bike. Well, it was still 3 years old, but it was new to me. Once these changes were made, I took over 5 minutes off my 12-mile ride on the same time trial route. It made a huge difference. I also felt better, physically, during my rides, so I know my body was in a better position.
Many shops will charge much more than $50, but I asked around for the best recommendations locally. The guy at this local shop was very well-known for his expertise and cost. When I purchased my tri bike, I was lucky enough to have a bike-fitting included in the cost of the bike. However, with a used-bike purchase, you should expect to spend a bit extra on the side to get a good fit.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE ITEM YOU CAN’T bike WITHOUT? PLEASE SHARE IT BELOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION!