GET OUT! Black Friday ideas
What to get the mountain biker in your family for Christmas
Let’s face it: Christmas is just around the corner. Soon we’ll all be wandering aimlessly through Mesa Mall trying to find the right gift for every significant person in our lives.
To make things slightly easier, here are some gifts I think the mountain biker in your life will be happy to receive. Check the end of the column for a list of stores in town that carry all or most of these products.
■ Arm and leg warmers: It’s cold now, and snowy, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t bike-worthy days ahead. If the trails are dry, you can bet we’ll be out there biking and hiking. Novara arm and leg warmers add just the right amount of extra warmth without being cumbersome or hindering movement. Pearl Izumi, Endura and Smart Wool also make great arm and leg warmers, and you can find these around town at your favorite local bike shop or recreational equipment store.
■ Cold-weather headbands: For $25 you can help keep the ears of your favorite biker free from frostbite with a Pearl Izumi headband. This great little polyester headband has a layer of thermal fabric on the inside to help insulate while also keeping moisture away from one’s head and ears. They are helmet-friendly, too. You can also get a skullcap for really cold days when more than just ears need to stay warm.
■ Bike light: Bike lights are great for die-hard bike commuters. Brands such as Planet Bike offer a headlight and flashing-red taillight set to make visibility that much greater for everyone. These are about $70, but other versions can be found for as low as $20. There are many different brands and types to choose from and with dusk arriving at 5 p.m. these days, you’ll be happy knowing your favorite biker is safe.
■ Socks: One can never have enough pairs of bike socks. For winter though, the ones I’m hoping appear in my own stocking are the latest argyle knee socks from the Hot Tomato. For only $12 you can help bikers stand out on the trails in lime-green socks with bright red tomatoes on them. What a way to warm up in winter! For bikers who aren’t so keen on bright sock-wear, Smartwool and other brands make a variety of nice winter socks.
■ Gels, waffles and bars: We bikers love our snacks, and I’d be just as happy to find a few packs of Honey Stinger Waffles or some Iced Gingerbread Clif Bars in my stocking as I would be to find a Toblerone. All right, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but energy bars and gels are needed, especially in winter. A body trying to stay warm burns lots of calories, and light snacks can help keep a person warm and provide needed energy. Keeping them close to one’s body, a biker or hiker can fuel up with an energy bar in cold weather without breaking any teeth.
■ Cold weather bike gloves: Freezing hands make braking and changing gears difficult. Help your favorite biker avoid this with a new pair of nice cold-weather bike gloves. Brands such as Pearl Izumi, Fox and Giro are popular and easy to find in town.
Under the Tree
■ Balance bikes: For kids of mountain bikers, balance bikes are a great way to get introduced to the world of mountain biking. These bikes allow kids to learn to balance and develop bike-handling skills easily without training wheels or even pedals. A few shops in town, such as Brown’s Cycles and The Bike Shop, carry these, or you can order them online from REI. You won’t be able to keep little ones inside once they get started on one of these.
■ Wind-resistant jackets: Windproof jackets like those made by Loki are a great addition to super-cold biking days. Of course, there are many other brands, and they’re available at your favorite shops as well. Make sure to look for ones that are vented, so bikers don’t get too hot and sweaty. You want to keep your biker warm, not make them super-hot.
■ Gift certificates: Still, if you just aren’t sure what your biker will want, a gift certificate for general merchandise to any of the bike or recreational equipment stores in town will surely be welcomed by the biker in your life.
Where to buy it all
Check out these stores for the items mentioned in my column this week: REI, Brown’s Cycles, The Bike Shop, LTR Sports, Rapid Creek Cycles in Palisade and Over the Edge in Fruita — thanks for your help, guys!