December 4, 2010
Our shipping specialist, Sarah Raz, was kind enough to let me tag along on her series of holiday gift ideas. I'll start this one out with a few inexpensive safe bets before getting into the fun stuff.
1. Chain Lube ($5-$10)
Aside from those riding a Gates Caron Belt Drive setup, every cyclist can use chain lube. Considering we are currently working our way through the winter, with a wet spring on the far horizon, a wet/oil based lube is a good choice. If you are enjoying a warm and dry winter, a waxed base lube would work well.
2. Slime Tubes ($8)
Anyone who rides a bike will eventually have to deal with a flat tire. Slime tubes are always appreciated, and can increase the distance between flat tires. The most common tire size we see on touring bikes is a 700x32, but don't assume that's what the recipient is riding. Check the sidewall of their tire and be sure you're getting the right size tube.
3. Frame Saver ($17)
Most touring bikes are made of steel, and most tours encounter a few rainy days here and there, so you want make sure you keep your steel frame protected from corrosion. Frame Saver only needs to be applied once very few years to the inside of a steel frame/fork.
4. Grease Monkey Wipes ($24 / box of 24)
This is a great inexpensive gift that a touring cyclist can really appreciate after a mechanical, or before grabbing some quick food. They're light and small for easy packing, cut through bike grease and oil efficiently, and aren't too harsh on sensitive skin. When you're done wiping yourself down, make sure to get the most out of them and give your bike a quick wipe down as well!
Photo compliments of SKINS
5. SKINS Recovery Tops and Bottoms ($120-$140)
The holidays wouldn't be complete without gifting some sort of underwear. The SKINS RY400 top and bottoms aren't underwear in the traditional sense, but they can be worn under your day clothes. They are intended to be put on after your ride to reduce muscle soreness and aid in recovery between days by supporting key muscle groups, and improving blood circulation. They are also lightweight, and can be packed way down for on the bike storage.
6. ATOC Racks ($Varies)
If you know someone who has a tandem, trike, or long base recumbent that can be difficult to load onto vehicle racks, check out ATOC. They have some Draftmaster and Topper racks that are designed specifically for making it easy to load and remove cumbersome bikes on and off your vehicle. They are also great for single bikes, and the racks are built incredibly well for long lasting use.
7. Salsa Fargo Ti Frameset ($1995)
Looking at practical items, it doesn't get much better than this. Titanium is a great material for touring, as it stands up well against heavy loads, won't rust, and is lightweight. The Fargo geometry is designed for all-around use, so you can comfortably use it on the Great Divide route one year, and the TransAm the next.
Photos by Josh Tack
TOURING GEAR AND TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling's member services department. It appears weekly, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead.