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December 17, 2022

What to Buy a Cyclist This Holiday Season

The holiday countdown is on! Indeed, 'tis the holiday season, which could mean you're a cyclist hoping to be gifted the epic cycling kit you've had in your virtual cart all year, and/or you have a cyclist on your 'nice' (or 'naughty') list for whom you need to shop. If you're not a cyclist, then narrowing down the perfect gift for a cyclist can be a wee bit daunting (we get accused of that every year). Alternatively, if you are a cyclist and you always seem to strike out (how many gardening tools does a person need anyway?), you may want to share this blog with the well-intentioned gift givers in your life (after all, it's a selfless act if you're simply trying to make it easier for them, right?).

Whether you're eager for the holiday season to arrive or a reluctant partaker, we're here for you. In this gift guide on what to buy a cyclist this holiday season, we've put our heads together on the top must-have cycling gifts—from tools and maintenance to on- and off-the-bike apparel from our favourite cycling brands, accessories, and more—so you don't have to. Explore our top gift ideas below and visit us at nomadfrontiers.ca for more.

What to Buy a Cyclist Gift Idea #1: Tool Kits

All cyclists—amateurs and pros alike—need a set of tools for regular bike maintenance and the occasional repair. Tool kits are among our favourite 'go to' cycling gift ideas because they feature the essentials. This means you don't need to be a cyclist or go down the rabbit hole of aimless Google searches to pick out the perfect tool kit. Instead, it will typically come down to your budget (the higher priced tool kits typically feature more tools).

PEDRO’S Starter Tool Kit is a popular choice. This kit is designed for the aspiring mechanic seeking to get started with the right tools—and space to grow. It features 19 professional quality tools that every cyclist needs in a handy kit that has space for more tools. It is ideal for storing, traveling for a ride, or a minimalist home shop set-up.

If you want to go HUGE this year, you could consider the PARK TOOL EK-3 Cycling Tool Set. It has a kind of jaw-dropping effect on cyclists. This is a professional-grade tool kit featuring 56 different tools (yes, there is more to do on your bike than you thought). But that's not it. The highlight is a bomb-proof Blue Box with pockets, pouches, straps, and open space to store the tools. Think of this tool kit as a cycling spin on the classic 'toolbox for dad' we all gifted when we didn't have the benefit of this blog to show us the way.

Park Tool EK-3 Cycling Tool Set

What to Buy a Cyclist Gift Idea #2: Maintenance & Repair Accessories

If the cyclist for whom you're shopping already has an abundant collection of tools, it could mean they have a decent workshop to which they retreat in the evenings and weekends to obsess over their beloved bike(s). If that's the case, then consider enhancing their set up with must-have bike maintenance and repair accessories. Like tool kits, this gift idea is pretty straightforward—and you don't have to be a cyclist to get it right.

The most obvious gift idea here is the PARK TOOL PCS-10.3 Deluxe Repair Stand. Every cyclist should have one. If your cyclist doesn't, then this is a no-brainer. Alternatively, the PARK TOOL PB-1 Portable Workbench is hugely popular. It folds for easy transport and storage, too, which means that it can hit the road for races and rides. Equipped with this workbench, the tinkering hobbyist or full-fledged mechanic will have all of their tools at their fingertips.

An easy (yet fun) gift idea is the PARK TOOL STL-2 Swiveling Stool. Every cyclist performing maintenance and repairs on their bike(s) could benefit from it. It is ideal for quickly maneuvering around the bike while making adjustments. Plus, the height is adjustable, which means it will suit the cyclist for whom you're shopping regardless of how tall (or not!) they are.

Park Tool STL-2 Swiveling Stool

What to Buy a Cyclist Gift Idea #3: Bike Pumps

Every cyclist needs a pump (or, more accurately, multiple pumps). In particular, every cyclist should have a floor pump and a mini pump—and the good news for any non-cyclist gift givers out there is that pumps are mostly one-size-fits-all.

Floor pumps are ideal for storing alongside bikes (in a garage, the trunk of a car, or wherever else the bikes go) to get the tire pressure just right before heading out on rides. They don't have to be fancy, but they can be. The LEZYNE Alloy Floor Drive is a foundational high-pressure floor pump featuring an oversized 3.5-inch precision gauge; an extra-long, high-strength hose; a varnished wood handle; and a sleek high polish finish.

Leyzne Alloy Floor drive black

If the cyclist for whom you're shopping is a gravel rider, then consider the LEZYNE Gravel Digital Drive Floor Pump. It is designed specifically for gravel bikes and other mid-volume tires by pushing more air per stroke for faster fill-ups while still offering easy pumping action (we promise not to get more technical than this). Plus, cyclists love its easy-to-read—and extremely accurate—3.5″ (88.9 MM) digital gauge, which ensures cyclists can dial in the perfect pressure. But don't take our word for it. Check out this video for more cool features.

One of our top selling floor pumps is the LEZYNE CNC Digital Floor Drive, which is available in black, silver, and neo-metallic (our favourite finish). It is the ultimate, professional grade high-pressure floor pump featuring an oversized 3.5"—and very accurate—digital gauge with an easy-to-read LCD display and an extra-long, nylon-reinforced braided hose with aluminum couplers. This is certain to make you the most popular gift giver in your social circles.

Beyond floor pumps, there are mini pumps, too, which are just as instrumental to any cyclist's gear. A mini pump is a bike pump that is compact enough to fit in a cyclist's back pocket, saddle pack, or inside the bike frame so that it can always accompany a cyclist on their rides. At a minimum, it needs to pack enough punch so that, if a flat occurs, the cyclist can make a tube swap and head for home. In a nutshell, mini pumps are a no-brainer for any cyclist—and they're wonderfully straightforward to pick out (you don't need to be a hardcore cyclist to get it right).

The LEZYNE Road Drive HP 180mm or 283mm is a fine foundational choice. They are lightweight (remember that travelling light is a cardinal rule of thumb for cyclists), compact, and efficient and are optimized for high pressure applications. Plus, the barrel, handle, piston, end caps, and mounting bracket made entirely of CNC machined aluminum. These mini pumps inflate tires with 20% fewer strokes than traditional hand pumps given their HP (aka High Pressure) design.

If you want to get fancy, consider the SILCA Pocket Impero Mini-Pump. It's one of our top bestsellers (we have trouble keeping it in stock). This mini pump is for the discerning road and adventure cyclist who requires efficient and dependable inflation when undertaking a road- or trail-side tire repair.

What to Buy a Cyclist Gift Idea #4: Lights & Radar

What could be more thoughtful than the gift of safety? Indeed, it is difficult to overstate just how instrumental bike lights and radar are to any cyclist’s kit. Whether road cycling before dawn or after dusk, mountain biking through a heavily wooded trail, or just caught in nasty conditions (think rain, fog, or snow), bike lights and radar equip cyclists to see—and be seen by—others (whether they are other cyclists, pedestrians, or vehicles) on the road or trail.

Like the other ideas we showcased above on what to buy a cyclist, lights and radar are pretty straightforward—and you don't need to be a cyclist to get it right. There are numerous options across a wide range of price points, which means they can typically accommodate anyone's budget.

The CATEYE ViZ 150 Rear Light is a compact, bright, and—yes—cost-effective option. If you're after more lumens, check out the CATEYE ViZ 300 Rear Light or the CATEYE Viz 450 Rear Light. The Lezyne Mini Drive 400XL is another compact cycling light option, offering up to 400 lumens. Plus, it securely straps to a variety of handlebar shapes and sizes, which means you don't have to know the ins and outs of the cyclist's bike to pick out the right size. If the cyclist on your shopping list is a serious night rider and needs a brighter option, consider the LEZYNE Mega Drive 1800i Bike Light. It delivers up to 1800 lumens of output, which is optimized by LEZYNE's Tri-Focus Optics that creates an ideal beam pattern for high speed. Plus, it, too, features a versatile strap to secure it to all common handlebar sizes.

Cateye AMPP 500 and Viz 150

Last but certainly not least in this category of what to buy a cyclist is one of our all-time favourites: The GARMIN Varia RTL515 Rearview Light. This Garmin Varia RTL515 rearview radar with taillights pairs with your Garmin Edge bike computer or compatible smartphone to alert you of vehicles approaching from behind. We never leave home without it.

What to Buy a Cyclist Gift Idea #5: On- Or Off-The-Bike Apparel

Despite what non-cyclists might think, we cyclists aren't always sporting our aero jerseys and bibs. That said, we still take up any opportunity to gear up with our favourite cycling brands even when we're not in the saddle. When we're asked what gifts we recommend for cyclists, one of our favourite 'go to' ideas is off-the-bike apparel (aka casual hoodies, tees, pants, shorts, and more for when cyclists aren't riding). What we love about this gift idea is that it takes the pressure off of picking out the most form-fitting jersey, or bibs with chamois padding that is just right. Rather than getting just any tee or shorts, consider gifting the cyclist on your shopping list something from a brand cyclists know and love.

The CASTELLI Unlimited Baggy Shorts are hugely popular (and they're available in Black or Forest Gray). The defining feature of these shorts is their versatility—they're ready for long-distance endurance rides, but they make for fine casual shorts off the bike, too. They feature two front pockets and a zippered rear pocket as well as a stretch waistband with a zippered front opening. Likewise, if you're going to gift the cyclist on your shopping list a tee, why not opt for a tee designed by one of the most renowned cycling brands, like the CASTELLI Trail Tech Tee? It features a relaxed fit and is shaped longer on the rear hem for full coverage when in riding position. That's right. This versatile tee can be sported when on or off the bike. Cool, right? 

Castelli Unlimited Baggy Shorts Forest Gray close up

Then there's the popular CHPT3 Most Days Tech T-Shirt. Cut like a T-shirt and designed for adventure, it is shaped to work on and off the bike. For more fall and/or winter-appropriate apparel, consider POC M’s Reform Enduro Jersey or POC M’s Ardour All-Weather Pants. They are the ideal choice for changing seasons.

There's apparel for women in this category, too. The CASTELLI Milano Full Zip W Fleece is among our favourites.

What to Buy a Cyclist Gift Idea #6: On-The-Bike Apparel

If you're shopping for a cyclist and are pretty tuned into what they like (size, fit, colour), then on-the-bike apparel is an obvious choice. Cyclists can never have too many jerseys (for men and women), vests, jackets, bibs, socks, caps, gloves, and more. Explore our full apparel collection (for men and women) for more.

If you're unsure about size and fit, consider a more one(ish)-size-fits-all option, like gloves (for men or women). If you're shopping for a cyclist that rides through the fall and winter seasons in Canada, then they will be grateful for a pair of thermal gloves, like the SPORTFUL Giara Thermal Gloves or the POC Thermal Gloves. Otherwise, if they're indoor pain cave riders in the fall and winter seasons, but are weekend warriors in the spring and summer, then they'll love a pair of short gloves like the CASTELLI Entrata V Glove or the SPORTFUL Air Gloves.

Socks make for fun gifts—and cycling socks make for even more fun gifts. Check out our full collection for men and women. Pro tip: Like gloves, caps, shoes, and other products, they are pretty unisex so don't get too bogged down by the men's versus women's collection.

Caps, beanies, and other headgear will make for popular gifts and they're straightforward to pick out (you don't need to be in the Tour de France to get them right!).

What to Buy a Cyclist Gift Idea #7: Backpack

Cyclists typically own a ton of gear—and gear can be tricky to transport (e.g., to races, cycling trips). We trust EVOC and CASTELLI bags with our gear. Gear bags make for an obvious cycling gift because every avid cyclist could benefit from them and they're pretty straightforward to pick out (particularly if you're not a cycling buff yourself).

Consider, for example, the EVOC Duffle Bag 60 or the EVOC Duffle Bag 100. These are versatile bags made for cyclists. They are a fusion of a classical kit bag and a water-resistant bag with multiple carrying options for any expedition. Plus, they offer a whole lot of well-organized space for the uncomplicated transport of cycling equipment, and are ready to take on rough surfaces and harsh landings.

Then there's the EVOC Gear Bag 55. This is hands down one of our top sellers. Cyclists love this gear bag. It is the ideal way to securely transport loose gear, featuring a variably dividable main compartment for shoes or a helmet, and separate zippered pockets. There's more: It can be worn as a backpack given its stow-away shoulder straps. For more backpack-type options, sneak a peek at the EVOC Gear Backpack 90 or the EVOC Gear Backpack 60—the choice mostly comes down to how much space you're after. You can count on these backpacks to pack a punch. They will equip any cyclist (however tidy or not!) to get organized for their next cycling adventure year-round. In individual, easily-accessible compartments, the bag enables the compact—and safe—transport of boots, cycling shoes, helmets, and other equipment.

EVOC Gear Bag 55 Black open with aero helmet

If the cyclist on your shopping list is a triathlete, then the gear backpacks mentioned above are well-suited to serve as triathlon bags to transport gear to the transition zone. If you're after a more compact option, check out the CASTELLI Gear Backpack. It's sleek (and it's on sale—for now!).

Then there are the more traditional backpacks designed for cyclists—and any of these options would bring joy to the cyclist on your shopping list. Plus, you don't have to break the bank. The EVOC Mission Backpack is a super versatile backpack, and it's not just for cyclists. It could be sported by virtually anyone for any number of purposes (e.g., school, work, and play). The EVOC Ride 8 + 2L Bladder is an all-rounder featuring comfortable back padding, and is at home on all trails, but just as much in school or your everyday routine. Plus, it includes a 2L hydration bladder and an exterior transport flap for a bike helmet for more active outings.

If you want to give the gift of adventure, consider a hydration bag, like the EVOC Hydro Pro 1.5 + 1.5L Bladder. It is designed for race-ready, adventure-minded hydration. There's a hip pack alternative, too: The EVOC Hip Pack Pro 3 + 1.5L Bladder. It is a must-have high tech, back-free, ventilation-optimized pack for hydration and other essential needs on shorter rides. If you want a more minimalist design, there's the POC Column VPD Backpack Vest.

For even more options, visit our full collection of backpacks and hydration packs here.

What to Buy a Cyclist Gift Idea #8: Sunglasses

What could be cooler than gifting an epic pair of sunglasses? Needless to say, these sunglasses can be sported by virtually anyone—they're not just for cyclists. But, if you are gifting them to a cyclist, what makes sunglasses so versatile is that they can (and should) be sported year-round: Sunglasses aren't just for the summer. Think about it: Wearing sunglasses when on the bike is a must to protect your eyes—not just from the sun, but from flying debris, bugs, and the drying effect of strong winds. The winter season is no different and it is perhaps even more important to protect your eyes as the cold wind can make your eyes water.

To narrow down a pair of sunglasses for the cyclist on your shopping list, think about their style: Are they flashy, or perhaps more minimalist? More flashy could mean funky frame and lens shapes, or even bright colours, like the ALBA OPTICS Delta Ultra Green or the ALBA OPTICS Stratos White. More minimalist could mean more traditional shapes and neutral colours, like the POC Crave Clarity Sunglasses or the POC Aspire Sunglasses.

Hot or cold, rain or shine, sunglasses are an essential accessory for any cyclist. They're a no-brainer.

What to Buy a Cyclist Gift Idea #9: Bike

This is the ultimate cycling gift. Full stop. It's the kind of gift that will have everyone talking—for all of 2023.

Wilier Garda Disc Road Bike Front end

Let's not kid ourselves: Gifting a bike is not your typical holiday present. But, if you're noodling it, give us a shout. We're here to help.

What to Buy a Cyclist Gift Idea #10: NOMAD Gift Card

Still stumped? Don't be too hard on yourself. There's always a NOMAD Gift Card, which will give the cyclist on your shopping list countless gift options. You're welcome.

For more, visit us at nomadfrontiers.ca for our full collection.

Post Script

Remember that, at NOMAD, we offer free shipping on orders $50+ Canada-wide. Plus, if you're in a hurry to get the gift delivered (maybe you procrastinated this year—and we're not judging!), we offer expedited shipping, too (simply select that option at checkout).

This gift guide on what to buy a cyclist this holiday season has been our gift to you. We hope it makes your shopping a wee bit less painful this year.

Happy holidays!

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