Top 10: Gifts for cyclists
We all know a keen cyclist, after all, a mid-life crisis now looks more like dropping significant cash on a bicycle than a Porsche. But what do you get them for Christmas? From smart locks and cycle computers to novelty jackets, here are our top 10 gifts for cyclists this year.
Hornit Clug vertical bike rack
Aimed at cyclists who have precious little space, the Clug is an ingenious two-part plastic clip that grips onto your bike tyre and simply attaches to a wall so your bike can be mounted upwards with the rear tyre on the floor to occupy less room. It's a brilliant bit of kit for the price, so it won't leave you out of pocket too much if you don't really like it.
It's very discreet, functional and easy to install - with the bonus of exceptionally smart packaging. It isn't flawless, but if you want to store multiple bikes without putting up a bike shelf or hanging them further up the wall - the Hornit Clug is the solution you're looking for.
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Royal London Bike Tour for Two - Virgin Experience Days
Take to the streets of London and see the Royal sights on a four-hour tour. After you meet your guide, you'll pop over to the bike store to get a beach cruiser bike for you to use that day. Your tour will use paths around the beautiful parks of London and cycle lanes for a safe and pleasant journey, starting from Kensington Gardens where you will spend the morning enjoying the Royal Parks.
You break for lunch and a well-deserved rest in Trafalgar Square and the tour will finish around 3pm, by which time you will have visited Buckingham, St James and Westminster Palace, as well as Westminster Abbey and many other sights and attractions. Your guide will enlighten you with all the facts and history of every sight you come to, making the city come to life like never before. The voucher is valid for 9 months and there's no minimum age for children as a range of baby seats, tandem buggies and kids bikes are available.
For those that exercise outdoors, it can be tough to find the right balance between blocking out the world and remaining aware of your surroundings. This is where bone conduction headphones like the Aeropex come in. As strange as it sounds, the headphones don't go in your ears. Instead, transducers push sound vibrations through your cheekbones - which is exactly the same way that a driver inside of an earbud does.
Aftershokz Aeropex offer a great amount of versatility and despite a few gripes - like weak bass and a non-adjustable headband - the wearables are a lightweight solution for anyone who wants to be aware of their surroundings while they're out and about. Or, like us, anyone who hasn't yet found a truly comfortable pair of headphones for running. The £150 price tag is a bit steep, especially considering there's no app to adjust audio settings, but when it comes to a great all-rounder - it's hard not to recommend them.
>> Read our full review
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Cycl Winglights Fixed
Every year, there are approximately 19,000 accidents involving bicycles on the UK’s roads, with 75 per cent of them occurring at junctions and major turns. When using WingLights (in addition to arm signals), you increase the likelihood of being seen by drivers and other cyclists.
With WingLights Fixed, the LED indicators screw straight into your bike's handlebars. The mount system for the handlebars are compatible with handlebars with an inner diameter from 14.7mm to 23mm.
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Simple GPS computer
Bike computers are becoming increasingly complicated, which is why some cyclists prefer more basic options for navigation. The Garmin Edge 25 is a basic, affordable (and tiny) bike computer that provides simple stats such as time, distance and speed without the fuss or expense of a more advanced model. Dig deeper, and you’ll find more advanced features like live tracking and turn-by-turn guidance for routes downloaded from your computer. It has ANT+ capability, too, allowing you to connect heart rate or cadence sensors.
A slightly pricier (£20 or so) alternative you're less likely to have heard of is Beeline, a simple and attractive bike computer that allows you to input a destination via the smartphone app for turn-by-turn directions to your destination. We're rather taken by the Beeline. Serious cyclists will want more features, but it's a great gift for the casual rider. Beeline offers a great battery life and it creates opportunities to explore areas.
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The Z-Lok is a reusable zip tie with a steel core, essentially. If you want to secure your bike (or pretty much anything, for that matter), you can whip this out of your bag and it'll do the job of a bike lock without being as heavy and bulky to carry around. The obvious use is for tying your bike to fences and the like, but use your imagination and it's also good for securing your bike to car roof racks, attaching your bag to a chair or even fixing a dog lead to a drainpipe.
The Z Lok has its limits, after all, it'll never be as secure as a more expensive bike lock. But for occasional use, it's really very good. It's light and easy to transport - and very versatile, with a range of uses that are only limited by your imagination. It also represents excellent value for money.
Proviz Reflect360 Reflective Outdoors Jacket
The Reflect360 is a reflective, waterproof jacket that you won't make you look like a lollipop person. Designed for cyclists, joggers, dog walkers and anyone else who wants to be seen at night-time - this offering from Proviz is finished in highly reflective material which makes it easy for drivers to spot you on the road in the dark.
It features a micro-fleece lining to keep you warm during the winter months and comes with a stow-away hood to keep you dry. Its biggest obstacle is the price, but there are often discounts online.
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Advanced cycle GPS computer
When it comes to more advanced cycle computers, our two favourites are the Mio Cyclo 210 and Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt - which are priced identically (at the time of writing). The Mio is an entry-level unit that features a 10-hour battery life, Strava connectivity and a Surprise Me feature — which can create its own routes depending on how far or for how long you’d like to ride. There’s no ANT+ connection so you can’t connect it to a heart rate monitor, nor is there Bluetooth - which means if you want to transfer routes to or from the 210 (or pair it with Strava), you have to connect it to your computer using a lead.
The ELEMNT Bolt can be an easy way of accessing route information and finding out just how well you’re performing. The Bolt can also pair directly with ANT+ sensors, like Wahoo's TICKR Fit heart rate monitor (as well as power meters, speed sensors, cadence sensors etc). If you’re a gadget geek and a keen cyclist, the ELEMNT Bolt is made for you. If your less handy with a smartphone, and want smarter-looking navigation — the more affordable Mio Cyclo 210 would be our choice.
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Wahoo KICKR Snap turbo trainer
If the thought of going out on your bike in poor weather fills you with dread but you don’t want to lose your fitness over winter, this could be the answer. This is Wahoo’s offering - a cheaper alternative to the pricey Wahoo KICKR. You simply attach your bike, download the app to your phone or tablet, and you can cover as many miles as you wish without having to leave the house.
If you’re happy to spend a premium on cycling indoors, the KICKR Snap is a very good turbo trainer. Set up is easy and its heavy flywheel and sturdy feel provide a realistic riding experience. Our favourite feature is its ability to work with third-party apps via Ant+ or Bluetooth.
Chances are that anyone who cycles will want to bring their beloves bike with them on traverse new grounds sooner or later. Unless you have a van or feel comfortable taking your bike apart, a bike rack is the way forward. The two main choices tend to be a roof rack or a rack that latches onto the back of the car, with the choice generally being made by whichever mode best suits the vehicle in question.
We've reviewed a couple of Thule bike racks, which are are more expensive than other brands but also offer better build quality and durability. The towbar-mounted Thule Easyfold XT 2 933 carrier rack isn't cheap at a little over £500, but it does the job very well (you can see it in action in the photo). The Thule 991 RaceWay 2 is a cheaper option at about £255 and would suit a variety of cars by attaching onto the boot door. For classic cars, Thule's Raingutter bike rack would suit - but you'll have to buy all the relevant parts that suit your particular model. The Thule Rideon 2-bike is well-rated on Amazon and also sits at a much lower price bracket (£165).
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