December 5, 2014
The holiday season is fast approaching. If you're still searching for the perfect cycling-related gift, check out this list of tested and approved gear that can be appreciated by any cyclist.
Cycling GPS units are sweet, I absolutely love my Garmin Touring Plus. However, cycling isn't the only activity that I participate in, and bike-mounted GPS devices aren't my favorite off the bike. The Garmin Fenix 2 is my favorite product to come out of 2014. Whether your skiing, hiking, running, swimming, biking, or climbing, there's a function that will display the data best suited for that activity. For example, if I'm riding I can view distance, speed, and time. If I'm running, speed is swapped out for pace. You can also use the watch for navigation, heart rate, or even use it as a remote for a Garmin VIRB camera. With a 50 hour battery life during GPS mode, this is ready for any adventure. When you get back home, you can upload your activities to Garmin Connect, Strava, or any other online activity tracking website you use. There's so much this watch can do, it will just keep dishing out the surprises.
I got the feeling that 2013 was the year thousands of cyclists received a GoPro camera as a gift. If you're looking to add onto that, consider Brunton's All Day battery pack for the GoPro Hero3 cameras. You'll get close to four times the normal battery life depending on the settings you're using, and it integrates with the camera's weatherproof case, so you can use it in harsh conditions. You can also use the battery pack to charge up your smartphone. At 116 grams, it's a little heavy to use mounted on a helmet, but it's great on the handlebars or used for still shooting. If you're into gathering lots of video on your bike tours, this is what you want.
It's hard to beat socks for the holidays, but this might do it. The currexSole BikePro insoles are designed specifically with cyclists in mind. They take into account the pressure points you'll experience while pedaling, and offer three different arch support sizes to fit the profile of your foot the best. The materials are comfortable, yet durable enough that they won't break down to excessive wear, even in wet conditions. It's really hard to beat a good pair of insoles, especially on long rides.
New from Panaracer, the Gravel King is the perfect tire for someone who enjoys riding on pavement, but isn't opposed to hitting some rough gravel roads. The puncture resistant casing will help keep flats at bay, and the tread pattern provides excellent grip in both wet and dry conditions. I've been riding this in a 700x26c size, but there are also 700x23, 700x28, and 700x32 sizes available.
A classy fat bike for under $500? They said it couldn't be done, but despite what they say, here it is from State Bicycle Company. This is your gateway drug into the realm of fat bikes, complete with snazzy paint job. It's set up as a single speed with a coaster brake, making it perfect for winter commutes and flat to rolling trails. It's sure to put a smile on anyone's face. I would go so far as to say you can't afford not to get one.
The gift that keeps on giving. The recipient of your gift will receive nine issues of Adventure Cyclist magazine annually, access to exclusive member benefits, and discounts on Adventure Cycling bicycle maps. By giving this gift, you're not only a hero for the holidays, you also get a tax benefit since Adventure Cycling is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Everybody wins!
Photos by Josh Tack
TOURING GEAR & 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. Look for Josh's "Fine Tuned" column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.