Help me find a birthday present for my +1: bikes, science, t-shirts
April 1, 2013 6:37 AM   Subscribe

My husband's birthday is this week and I'd like to get him a nice gift because he's awesome. He is a cyclist (road, mountain and cyclocross; commutes as well), a grad student in the sciences, and likes wearing silly t-shirts. Please help me get him something he'll enjoy.

My budget is up to $200 (although items on the lower end of the scale would be nice). He worked in a bike shop for many years and still has connections so buying him something bike-related is difficult - also since I've already asked him directly what he wants and he hasn't mentioned anything bike-related, I think it would have to be something awfully special. He isn't a big reader of books (my usual solution to gifting).

Things I've gotten him in the past: bike related posters, t-shirts of varying degrees of silliness, a roadID, and a Kindle. In the summer I always get him online access to Tour de France coverage, but it is spring right now and finding feeds for the spring classics is fairly easy, especially if you're willing to listen to commentary in various languages.

I've thought about getting him a pocket watch but don't have the expertise to find something nice and functional. So some help doing that would be great.

We're not cutesy people, so a coupon book for candle lit dinners and bubble baths wouldn't work for him.
posted by sciencegeek to Shopping (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Woot has had a couple of good science-related t-shirts, in case you don't follow their offerings. Here's one.
posted by rmd1023 at 6:48 AM on April 1, 2013

Best answer: This Ferrous Wheel t-shirt sprang immediately to mind.
posted by coppermoss at 6:50 AM on April 1, 2013

Best answer: If my birthday hadn't already passed, I'd think you were my wife as a sock puppet (with a few changes for obfuscation). So I'll tell you what I'd like.

I seized upon "grad student in the sciences". How much typing does he do? A really brilliant keyboard makes a lot of difference for me, and if he sits at a desk a listens to music, I love my USB headphone amp & solid headphones.

For bike commuting: (new) panniers? Saddle bag?

Is he a coffee or tea geek? There are tons of gadgets of varying degrees of ridiculousness.
posted by supercres at 6:55 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, and if anyone is ever looking for science-related shirts:
Wear Science and Yellow Ibis. Yellow Ibis is pretty extensive but the website has an annoying format.
posted by sciencegeek at 6:55 AM on April 1, 2013

And on the more out-there side of things: Skydiving? Tattoo? (Especially...)
posted by supercres at 6:58 AM on April 1, 2013

Best answer: Mental Floss has good t-shirts.
posted by MexicanYenta at 7:18 AM on April 1, 2013

Best answer: I'm with supercres, if my birthday weren't 6 months away I'd think this was about me.

If his dress code at work isn't too formal you could get him some bike shoes like this that you can get away with wearing around the office.
Keen Austin Cycling Shoes

Sounds like he probably does his own bike repair/maintenance. Does he have all the tools he needs? Although it's right at the top of your price range, this stand is fantastically sturdy for a portable.
Feedback Sports Portable Workstand
posted by cmfletcher at 7:24 AM on April 1, 2013

Best answer: I love this Suitcase Full of Courage cycling Tshirt.
posted by OmieWise at 7:26 AM on April 1, 2013

Best answer: I made a few T-shirts on Cafe Press that have a kinda geeky theme. I made them mostly for myself but they're available for anybody to buy.

I have a an old O'scope front panel.

And a TNT molecule that's purposely mislabeled Caffeine.

I don't make any money on them.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 7:34 AM on April 1, 2013

Best answer: Idea: Silly t-shirt + cycling combination.

Comment: If his dress code at work isn't too formal you could get him some bike shoes

OP should check her husband's current cycling shoes before going down this route. Those shoes only accept a "two bolt" cleat (SPD and Eggbeaters) while many cyclists use "three bolt" cleats (SPD-SL, Look, and Speedplay).
posted by saeculorum at 7:47 AM on April 1, 2013

Good point on the cleats. I'm making the assumption that he just puts eggbeaters on everything like I do.
posted by cmfletcher at 7:57 AM on April 1, 2013

Response by poster: I was just about to go check his cleats. * time passes *
He's riding his cyclocross bike today and I'm looking at his road bike which uses Look. The mountain bike is elsewhere.

He's fine for tools - he's got one of the Park Tools kits and about eight million little multitools that live in various backpacks and jacket pockets.

So far I'm loving the t-shirts, the portable stand, and the idea of the shoes (I'm just going to ask him directly on the cleats issues).

And yes, to the philly cyclist mefites, I'm totally your +1 doing this at the wrong time of year just to mess with you.

Ok, I'm going to go away now so I don't threadsit horribly.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:04 AM on April 1, 2013

Best answer: It won't cost you much more than $20, but as an adjunct present for a commuter cyclist: a Fibre Flare. I don't think they are widely distributed in the US so it should be quite unique.

(By contrast, they are well regarded, widely available and reasonably popular here in the UK).
posted by MuffinMan at 8:41 AM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If he doesn't all ready have his own stand, and he does his own work on his bikes, a stand is just about the best thing ever for a shadetree mechanic.

I have the stand linked above and it's been a good friend for a decade or more. Park also makes a good stand in that price point. REI sells both.
posted by bonehead at 9:05 AM on April 1, 2013

Best answer: I'm also gonna say that a great stand is a godsend. I love the Feedback one that cmfletcher linked. The Park stands in your price range are difficult to clamp with one hand on the bike and one on the stand. I'm a Minnesotan and biased towards ever other thing made by Park, but the Feedback one is simply better.
posted by advicepig at 10:05 AM on April 1, 2013

The best bike shirt I have is this one.

They apparently have a few sciency shirts that may also fit the bill.
posted by advicepig at 10:07 AM on April 1, 2013

Best answer: On the t-shirt front, I got introduced to here on metafilter. And I *love* those geeky ass t-shirts.

The associated sites there are also pretty supertastic.
posted by DigDoug at 10:33 AM on April 1, 2013

Response by poster: Update with shoe information: egg beaters on the mountain bike and Look on the other two. So no shoes will be happening.

Also, he wants a stand.

Thanks for all the great advice and the realization that my science/cyclist/t-shirt husband is not unique. I thought that that Venn diagram had a very tiny intersection.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:50 PM on April 1, 2013

Ha, I was going to suggest a workstand, but I figured he had one already.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 4:47 PM on April 1, 2013

da Vinci bike prototype jersey. It's listed on Zazzle as a women's shirt, but larger sizes are available.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:06 AM on April 2, 2013

Response by poster: I ended up getting him the Feedback Sports workstand and so far he's liking it. Another nice surprise was that it came in at around $160 with a 20% off online coupon.

Reason why he didn't already have one: his dad has one and he'd just take his bikes there to work on them. But along with some family stuff going on, we've been going to more and more cyclocross races so the need for a portable stand has been increasing.

Thanks for all the great suggestions. I'm always in awe of how quick and good the suggestions for gifts are on AskMe.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:56 AM on April 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

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