A few gift suggestions for the cyclist in your life
It’s fatbike season, and at this writing, Anchorage riders have already experienced the joy of riding on several inches of grin-inducing snow, followed by the disappointment of 40-degree temperatures that brought us ice and mud. It makes me wonder if this winter will be like the previous two. I can’t predict whether it will be a light or heavy snow year, but no matter the snow cover, there will be winter biking. And, with the holiday season in full swing, I thought I’d share some winter biking gift ideas for someone on your list. They range from things, to experiences, to gifts that keep giving.
Pogies: Handlebar pogies, “sleeping bags for your hands,” as I like to call them, from Dogwood Designs outside Fairbanks are some of my favorites. Anchorage’s Revelate Designs and some other companies also make versions of pogies, which allow riders to wear lighterweight gloves giving them more dexterity than bulky gloves.
Let there be lights: With advances in light technology, bike headlights have gotten brighter and less expensive in the past few years. I’m a fan of lights that have multiple brightness settings so that I can lower the beam while on snowy trails that reflect more light or brighten it when I’m on a street. Some lights mount on handlebars, some on helmets and some work on either. Don’t forget the flashing taillights, which make riders visible on paths and streets.
Studs: Studded tires come in many sizes now, from studded tires for skinny cyclocross wheels, several mountain sizes, up to five-inch fatbike tires. When the streets are icy or the overflow has covered your favorite trail, studs will help keep you upright. The tires may seem pricey, but so is physical therapy after an injury. I add sheet metal screws to my winter bike shoes so I’m safer when putting my foot down or walking.
Each year around Solstice some friends host a group bike ride. People decorate their bikes and then pedal through the neighborhoods looking at holiday lights while Christmas carols play on speakers they’ve mounted to their bikes. After the ride they host a potluck. This is just one way friends can enjoy the season together while on their bikes. It doesn’t matter how fast anyone goes; it’s about being among the community of fellow bikers.
GIFTS THAT KEEP GIVING
We all know those cyclists who have everything. When a shiny new component is introduced, they are the first to have it installed on their bike. For that mountain biker, there is the gift of trails. A number of groups make a difference by creating more and better riding experiences in Anchorage and points beyond. These groups deserve our support. You can find out more about them by visiting their websites, and then make a donation in honor of your friend.
Alaska Trails: www.alaska-trails.org
Anchorage Park Foundation: anchorageparkfoundation.org
Chugach Mountain Bike Riders: cmbrnews.wordpress.com
Singletrack Advocates: www.singletrackadvocates.org
Valley Mountain Bikers and Hikers: www.vmbah.org