Gift Idea for a Cyclist
November 5, 2013 4:13 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a cheap gift idea/suggestion ($15) for someone who is into cycling (mountain biker).

I have to buy a gift for a coworker for a secret santa sort of gift exchange. The gift can't be anymore than $15. This person is an avid mountain biker, so I thought something in that range would be practical. Any gift suggestions or ideas?
posted by dbirchum to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (40 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I'm not sure there's a lot that's useful that an avid mountain biker wouldn't have already bought themselves for $15.

I actually was in almost the same position a couple of years ago, and knew very little about my Secret Santee except that she's a very serious biker, so I got her a semi-ironic bike-toy. It went over very well.
posted by Tomorrowful at 4:17 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some sort of multi-tool like this? Even if they have something similar already it can't hurt to have a spare. More here.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:29 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Some powerbars/clifbars/gatorade gels? Definitely dependent on what kind of rides they go on(if they're short rides, they might not eat anything during) and which of those types of things they prefer though...
posted by Grither at 4:30 AM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Agreed. I know they have access to lots of "gear" and I wouldn't want to purchase something like that. I was thinking more like a "gift" suggestion with a cycling theme. I saw a fork and spoon set make of a sprocket. Something along that line would be great.
posted by dbirchum at 4:32 AM on November 5, 2013

I had no idea this existed until recently and I've been mtb-ing forever. I'd have been pretty chuffed if someone had given it to me before I discovered it.

Pedro's Chain Keeper Bicycle Chain Tool by Pedro's
posted by Spumante at 4:36 AM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you can go to $36, here's something exotic enough that they probably won't have it. A bike frame handle.
posted by Obscure Reference at 4:39 AM on November 5, 2013

I have to guess that if they've been serious about their hobby or sport for a number of years, they've already gotten everything they need for it that's accessibly priced. Consumables like chain, lube, and tubes are always worth stocking up on but gifts like that are worse than useless unless you know exactly what they need.

Get them something for their desk or their car?
posted by ardgedee at 4:40 AM on November 5, 2013

Response by poster: Agree with ardgedee. I don't want to get them something for their bike, as I know they are particular about their bike and I don't how what they use, etc.

That's why I was hoping for something "bike themed" for their home, office or car. I saw a small and cheap message holder for a desk that was made of paper clips, but was shaped like a mountain biker, but can't find it again. Something like that. Or something for their desk or house that was recycled from a bike parts.

Again, it was a suggestion. I might have to abandon the idea and opt for a iTunes $15 gift card.

Just as an example, last year, I was able to get a $15 mug for a coworker that was made of a recycled old lens as he was a photo buff. Went over well.
posted by dbirchum at 4:45 AM on November 5, 2013

Best answer: Coasters? Lunch bag? Mug? Ring? Paper clips? (Etsy bike gifts under $15.)
posted by DarlingBri at 4:59 AM on November 5, 2013

Bike chain bottle opener
Bottle opener spacer (Two sizes available, but I think 1-1/8" is more common)
Bicycling Magazine frequently runs "gifts for cyclists" features. Prices vary.
posted by hydrophonic at 5:02 AM on November 5, 2013

My husband says "the default is always socks"

Sock Guy
posted by sciencegeek at 5:09 AM on November 5, 2013 [8 favorites]

If they celebrate Christmas, maybe a bicycle themed ornament?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:12 AM on November 5, 2013

I like the water bottle or socks ideas.

Are they someone who likes "stuff"? I run and used to be a triathlete. I dislike clutter and realistically I would appreciate something like socks or a water bottle much more than another thing that sits around. I have enough clutter already. I know not everyone is like this and some people do appreciate themed "stuff".
posted by TORunner at 5:19 AM on November 5, 2013

Socks are always a good choice, or a handful of Cliff Shot Bloks.
posted by Wild_Eep at 5:22 AM on November 5, 2013

Bike chain bottle opener, $10 + $7.95 postage

On preview: what hydrophonic has suggested. Weigh up which is cheaper once you have postage in there.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:26 AM on November 5, 2013

Okay, I'll rescind my previous answer (and associated graar) a little...

Seconding the suggestions for socks. One really good pair of wool socks will cost between $10-20... they're one of those things that feel too indulgent to buy when you're budgeting your cycling gear, but they're totally worth it -- durable, comfortable, and tend to wear longer than synthetics. It won't look like much, but it will be worth a lot.
posted by ardgedee at 5:29 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

How about buying him the Cyclepedia iPad app for $9.99? You could throw in some socks/anti-chafing cream/an energy drink/sweets/something small and jokey with the remaining $5.01.
posted by HandfulOfDust at 5:38 AM on November 5, 2013

As a sometimes-in-winter biker I like socks but came in to suggest a neck gaiter or buff or other thin (wool if you can find it at that price) article of headwear that can keep your co-worker's head/neck/face warm under his or her helmet. I feel like these are the sort of thing that you might like to have two of anyway.

One of my friends who bikes year-round really likes those wrap-around-the-back earmuffs for winter cycling.
posted by gauche at 5:50 AM on November 5, 2013

As others have said, lots of bike people are particular about gear, and what would work well for e.g. singlespeed trail-riding me might not work well for some downhill dude with armored gloves and a full-face helmet and stuff. That said:

Tools: Park Tool has some neat novelty stuff--check out the BO-2 bottle opener, or the PZT-1 or PZT-2 pizza cutters. I'm also a huge fan of the MT-1 multitool.
Consumables: tubes (you'll need to find out what kind, if any, they use), water bottles (if they don't use a CamelBak or similar), energy bars/drinks.
Donations: NORBA if they're into racing, IMBA if they're into trail-building and access and stuff.

(Sorry, no Amazon links--shop at a local bike co-op, or failing that a local shop, or failing that a bike-specific online retailer like WebCyclery, Ben's Cycle or Competitive Cyclist (there are many, many, many others, those are just the first three that came to mind))
posted by box at 5:52 AM on November 5, 2013

If you know their size, you could check local bike stores and camping stores for high tech 'wicking' t-shirts, you can sometimes get them on clearance. I biked a lot and an extra top was always welcome.
posted by carter at 6:01 AM on November 5, 2013

A friend got me the bottle opener hydrophonic linked. I'm a cyclist, and I love it (I've also taken to customizing it by removing one link each time I swap out my chain, cleaning it, and adding it to the bottle-opener). Of course, if his hobby is well-known to his friends, he may well already have bike-themed whatsits of all sorts, including this.
posted by jackbishop at 6:09 AM on November 5, 2013

YES SOCKS. Always socks. Sadly, that's probably one pair at most.
posted by supercres at 6:27 AM on November 5, 2013

For $15, I would not go for any gear. The avid mountain biker is going to have very particular tastes for anything on their bike.

Go for a consumable, instead. A variety of power drink or power bar options, chocolate, Luna bars, that sort of thing. I don't know very many cyclists who would turn their head away from some compact calories!
posted by BearClaw6 at 6:43 AM on November 5, 2013

Socks. I'm really particular about my bottles and hate the insulated ones, but socks can be goofy. Go figure.

If they cook, Feed Zone Portables is highly recommended here.
posted by kcm at 6:48 AM on November 5, 2013

The best bike thing I've received lately has been a Banjo Brothers phone & wallet case.
For years I've put my phone and wallet into a ziplock bag, and this is way, way, way better. Six bucks and super useful.
posted by entropone at 7:12 AM on November 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

My neighbor gave me this as a gift a couple of years ago and I absolutely love it (mileage may very if he/she doesn't like beer though…)
posted by jalexei at 8:10 AM on November 5, 2013

Ooops sorry! - missed the bottle opener up above (twice!) - consider it a positive review!
posted by jalexei at 8:16 AM on November 5, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the great suggestions!

I am thinking biking and beer related would be the ideal gift (as I know he loves both).
posted by dbirchum at 8:19 AM on November 5, 2013

If they like jewelry or kind of ironic jewelry would be welcome as a knick-knack, google bike chain bracelets. Might be a bit above your range, but kind of neat.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:26 AM on November 5, 2013

Best answer: Beer and bike related? Unfortunately, Walnut Studiolo is out of your price range.

I did not see the bikechain keychain stars from Uncommon Goods listed already. Someone upthread mentioned ornaments for Christmas trees, which they also sell.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:27 AM on November 5, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: You know what costs about $15 and is something every single cyclist absolutely should have (and most don't)? A pre-set 5 N-m torque key.

Mine is literally the single most useful tool I own. You get it along with a few different sized bits and your friend never again worries about destroying some $1000 piece of carbon fiber the next time he tightens a bolt somewhere on the bike.

I'm not kidding about the usefulness or importance of this tool. Even if your friend owns a real torque wrench, this would be useful. (You can't just drop a 18-inch-long torque wrench in your jersey pocket whenever you go for a ride.)
posted by dseaton at 8:50 AM on November 5, 2013 [3 favorites]

As an avid year-round cyclist, I always want more socks. I cannot have too many pairs. Sock guy and DeFeet, as recommended above, are great.

If you can make wool happen in your budget, get wool.
posted by rocketman at 8:56 AM on November 5, 2013

Another vote for socks -- I burn through those. Along with the sock guy and defeet recommendations, I'd add my personal favorite, smartwool.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 9:12 AM on November 5, 2013

Best answer: Bike pint glass! There are other models.

Bike chain cufflinks!

Bike chain magnets!

Or the perennial best gift ever -- Smartwool Socks. Seriously, nobody ever believes me. And then they love their socks.
posted by barnone at 9:16 AM on November 5, 2013

As a bike mechanic, I have to say the preset torque wrench dseaton linked to gets used by me several times a day. I reach for a 4, 5, and 6nm torque clicky every hour. That's pretty brilliant.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:41 AM on November 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Cool socks are a good choice: These Beer:30 socks are my favorite pair right now.
Someone gave me this reclaimed bike gear & wood bottle opener coaster and it's nice. Can't go wrong with Uncommon Goods stuff.
posted by Big_B at 10:49 AM on November 5, 2013

That torque wrench is pretty awesome though.
posted by Big_B at 10:50 AM on November 5, 2013

Definitely consider getting them a book of great bike trails (like a bike themed touristy guide). If you think they might already know all the trails in your region, you could get him an international themed one to get them dreaming.
posted by cacao at 2:14 PM on November 5, 2013

Since water bottles have been mentioned a few times it's worth saying that all mountain bikers I know use camelbaks except for the XC racers. I still run bottles on the road bike, so he might still use them, but I haven't used one on a mountain bike for over 10 years.

+1 to socks, pint glasses and torque allen keys.
posted by markr at 2:08 AM on November 6, 2013

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