Have a loved-one that is a triathlete or biker? Still scrambling for some stocking stuffer ideas? To the untrained eye, these may seem a bit cheesy, but trust me, if you want to get them something that they’ll actually need and use, then think about these. Not only are they practical and show that you’ve put some thought into their love of sport, but it’ll add a few snickers on Christmas morning. You can find most of these at your local bike, running or other sports-oriented store. (Throughout, I’m referring to this person as “him”, but can be very well a “her”).
1. Anything GU – Most athletes are in need of nutrition and can always use more. So stuff a few gels, a package of Chomps or maybe a tube (or two) of GU Brew Electrolyte tablets into their stocking. The electrolyte tablets bring electrolytes to water without extra calories and something I use EVERY ride. There’s even seasonal gel flavors like Peppermint Stick and Mint Chocolate. Peanut Butter flavor is a favorite around here. On our New Year’s Day run, we break out with Jet Blackberry on mini, powdered donuts. Now THAT’s one good jelly donut. www.GUEnergy.com
2. Get Grippy – If they’re a biker, ESPECIALLY a mountain-biker, then get them a pair of ESI Grips for their handlebars. They’re the most comfortable grips on the planet. So much so, that I ride without gloves (unless it’s cold). They come in a variety of thickness, but I prefer the “Chunky” ones. On most regular handlebar grips, manufacturers put logos, tread patterns and all other kinds of crap that just make them damn uncomfortable. That junk belongs on tires, not handlebar grips. The whole idea of putting something on your handlebars is to 1: improve your grip and 2: keep your hands comfortable. Forget other grips that don’t put these two things FIRST. And if they’re hung up on having their “lock-on” grips, never fear, I used to as well. But the only grips that slip are the poorly made ones. ESI’s grips have their priorities straight and theses puppies won’t move once installed. So get them this gift and they’ll love you for it. www.ESIgrips.com
3. Seal it up – For the mountain bikers in the bunch, there’s a good chance your loved-one is riding on tubeless mountain bike tires. If so, this is a great stocking stuffer. If not, this may motivate them to take advantage of swapping to tubeless and experience all the benefits. For you, if you’re not a mountain biker, this will score major points that you happen to know something about tubeless tires and the need to use sealant. This stuff seals up the tires making it possible to hold air without a tube. The best part is it also acts as an automatic seal should they get a puncture on the trail. Don’t settle for that sealant with some guys name on it. Instead, go with the orange stuff made from NASA technology. One 8 ounce bottle is good for a set of tires, but if you go with the 4 ounce bottle, get two. I’d recommend getting the first bottle with the injector. FYI, I’ll be riding a product review on this soon. www.OrangeSealCycling.com
4. Crankbrothers Multitool – You can’t get more handy or practical than a multitool. Necessary for trail-side or road-side repair of bike foul ups and tends to work better than a MacGyver twig and rock combo. Crankbrothers has many to choose from at different price ranges. My favorite is the mutli-17 tool since it comes with a chain tool. It even comes with a lifetime warranty. www.crankbrothers.com
5. Co2 cartridges – If he’s a biker of any sort, having extra Co2 cartridges handy will ensure he has a way to fix a flat. It may take a little bit of snooping to figure out if he needs the threaded or non-threaded type. Just check his current stash (usually in his seat bag or where he keeps the rest of his stuff). If you can’t figure it out, go with threaded. If it’s the wrong type, he can easily swap it out with the right ones at his favorite shop. Go with either 16oz or 20oz. www.GenuineInnovations.com or your local bike shop.
6. Socks – Yep, you heard right. The same gift we used to dread getting when we were kids is a cool gift now. Well, they’re cool if you get the right socks. As long as they are for riding, then you can’t go wrong. There’s many to choose from out there, but the best ones come from Sugoi, Pearl Izumi, DeFeet and Sock Guy. You score extra points (and laughs) if you get some with a cool saying or picture on them. Can’t settle on the funny ones? Go a little more practical with wool socks (great this time of year) or Sugoi Compression socks which aid in recovery after a long ride.
7. Yankz Shoe Laces – If you have a runner or triathlete that you’re buying for, chances are that they may already be using these handy laces that allow them to get into and out of the shoes without untying. Even if they already have them, they can use an extra pair for when they buy another set of shoes. www.yankz.com
If you’re in the Charlotte, NC area, be sure to come check out our 7th Annual New Year’s Day Almost Noon Almost 10k Unorganized Group Trail Run