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. 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). 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 (or your local bike shop)
2. 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 single serving package (or two) of GU Brew into their stocking. There’s even seasonal 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
3. 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
4. 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.
5. 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 as many to choose from at different price ranges. My favorite is the mutli-17 since it comes with a chain tool. It even comes with a lifetime warranty. www.crankbrothers.com
6. 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 6th Annual New Year’s Day Almost Noon Almost 10k Unorganized Group Trail Run