November 30, 2017 - Josh Tack loves good gear. He's Adventure Cycling's Membership Manager and posts to his Touring Gear and Tips blog every month.
Adventure Cyclist magazine’s official 2017 Holiday Gear Guide is live thanks to our magazine people Nick Legan, Dan Meyer, and Alex Strickland. If you haven’t checked it out, definitely get to it. But before you head over that way, check my unofficial gift guide — composed of gear I’ve been obsessing over most of this year.
Nothing shows you care like a commissioned piece of art, and what better artist to commission than concrete.road. Some prints are available on Redbubble, and be sure to follow concrete.road on Instagram to keep tabs on his latest work.
Pretty much everything found at Laser Cats and Such is solid gold, and there are plenty of $25 and under gift options — including water bottles, socks, neck warmers, arm warmers, t-shirts, and a sticker pack. It’s okay to do a little shopping for yourself while you’re in there.
Park Tool Adjustable Torque Drivers are one of those things that are really nice to have, but not really nice to spend money on. At $65, the Park Tool ATD-1.2 Adjustable Torque Driver is nicely built, and could pay for itself if it saves you from damaging an expensive component by over tightening a bolt.
The driver is adjustable to 4, 4.5, 5, 5.5, and 6 Nm settings, which is ideal for jobs that include stem bolts, seatpost clamps, and most disc brake rotors. The tool also comes with a 3, 4, 5mm, and T25 Torx driver bits that stow away nicely in the handle when not in use. Outward appearances show a lot of plastic, but rest assured, all of the internals are metal.
Much like cassettes, chains, and handlebar tape — tires will eventually wear out, making them a pretty safe bet as a gift. The Kenda Flintridge Pro tires are available in a 700x35 or 40c, and is tubeless compatible. The tread pattern is setup to roll fast on pavement, yet offer just enough grip on the sides to tackle gravel roads with confidence. Retail is $55 per tire.
After what seems like a lifetime of riding clipless pedals, I made the journey back to flats, and I’m loving it! The Race Face Chester pedal has everything you could want in a flat pedal: smooth bearings, replaceable steel pins, and more importantly, a mighty fine array of color choices. Oh, and they retail for just under $50.
As pants got skinnier, pockets got smaller, phones got bigger, and all of a sudden, space became a premium. Whether you call them fanny packs, hip packs, or waist bags, they answered the call for help, and you’ll find an overwhelming amount of options available at varying degrees of cool. As a child of the 80s, it’s hard for me to pass up a JanSport pack. The JanSport Fifth Avenue Fanny Pack looks good (according to me), has two zippered compartments, and 2.5 liters of storage. That can help you in your day-to-day life, but also get some weight off your back on the bike. At just $17, this falls under the “you can’t afford not to” category.
For that special someone who has been really good this year, you can’t beat the Garmin Edge 1030 GPS cycling computer. It’s the latest addition to the Edge lineup, building on the already impressive Edge 1000.
The Edge 1030 has improved route navigation by using popularity routing, which you can think of as taking a heat map built from millions of rides from cyclists all over the world and using that data to determine the best cycling route. Battery life has also been improved, giving you up to 20 hours of run time on a full charge. If this battery life doesn’t cut it for you, the Edge 1030 is compatible with Garmin’s Charge Power Pack, which piles on an additional 24 hours of battery life.
When connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth, you can pull in some additional features. Some of my favorites include weather updates, live tracking, and incident detection with a predetermined emergency contact. If your riding buddies also have an Edge 1030, you can also set up rider-to-rider messaging using canned messages, such as “had a mechanical, wait up.” If the $599 price tag deters you, remember that Garmin has a full suite of Edge series GPS cycle computers at various price points. This, however, is no doubt the crown jewel.
You knew there’d be an Adventure Cycling plug tucked in here somewhere. The Adventure Cycling Association 2018 calendar features the best photos from our annual photo contest. Each month this necessity will be sure to keep you stoked on bicycle travel, and there are two ways you can get this on your wall:
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling’s member services department. It appears once each month, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and offering advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh’s “Fine Tuned” column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.