When most people think of the holidays, they imagine those big-ticket items waiting for them under the tree, beautifully wrapped with an enticing red bow. But there's something to be said about a well-curated stocking, filled with small goodies and fun gag gifts.
Cycling might be an expensive sport, but we managed to select some great stuffers that are each under $50. Yes, really.
Hiplok Z Lok Combo
The Hiplock Z Lok Combo security ties are great for stopping thefts of opportunity. A plastic coating around a steel core ensures your bike frame won't get scuffed, and also cannot be cut easily. Whether you're stopping for post-ride coffee and need a theft deterrent or want to leave your bike on your trunk-mounted rack for a few minutes while you're traveling, this is a great security option.
Blackburn Grid Side Beacon Light Set
Bike commuting already has so many challenges, but visibility shouldn't be one of them. With Blackburn Grid Side Beacon lights, we were confident we'd be more than visible enough to cross traffic in any lighting conditions. We mounted one 1.5-inch by half-inch light on each fork leg with the included thick and durable elastic bands. Both solid and strobe modes have low and high settings, and we routinely experienced over two and a half hours of runtime in high strobe mode between charges. Even after a few rides in unexpected downpours, the Blackburn Grid Side Beacon Light ran strong.
Silca Nastro Fiore Bar Tape
Wet or dry, the Silca Nastro Fiore bar tape will help you get a grip. This necessary accessory is a nice upgrade; it's low profile but feels more plush than it looks. Details like pattern printing directly onto the tape, aluminum expanding bar end plugs, a wrap for brake levers and finishing tape are all included in this pro level bar tape. Available in black, white, black with white details and white with black details.
If you just can't let a little rain keep you off your bike--and don't want your chamois to soak up water--Ass Savers is just the thing you need. This handy fender notches into your saddle rails and keeps road spray from soaking your backside. It's small, unobtrusive and lightweight, and since it requires no fender mounting points, it's easy to install and remove.
While optical heart rate monitors--like the ones built into many Garmin wearables--are convenient, they still lack the accuracy and reliability of a chest strap heart rate monitor. With the Garmin Tickr, set it and forget it. This training tool is compatible with both BTLE and ANT+ devices, has LED status indicators and uses a standard CR3032 battery.
$59.99 per year
Strava is not just for collecting--and humble-bragging about--QOMs/KOMs. It's also a great tool for logging workouts, planning routes and meeting others who ride the same roads. If you ride with a power meter or a heart rate monitor, Strava Summit can perform analysis of your current "fitness and freshness," comparing it against your own baseline and providing indicators to let you know if you need to ease off or go harder and longer, as well as display graphs that indicate all the gains you've made.
DZR Italian Merino Wool Socks
The DZR Italian Merino Wool Socks stay stink-free--even when you wear them twice before washing like our testers. They're also so comfy that we found ourselves wanting to wear them as our everyday socks too. Available in low-calf and ankle-high options.
$15 per month
What better motivation to ride when the temps are low and the daylight is short than making it a game to ride inside rather than a chore? Zwift makes riding indoors about as fun as pedaling nowhere can be. Choose routes in six different virtual worlds, earning "drops" that can be exchanged in game for equipment customizations and gear upgrades. There are pre-built training programs, and you can even do group rides while riding solo at home.
SPOT Injury Insurance Protection
$25 per month
Although we hope we never get injured on a ride, it's always better to plan for the worst. Spot provides insurance for athletes engaging in outdoor activities and covers almost any kind of accident--even while traveling and riding outside of the United States. For just $19.99 per month, Spot will cover up to $20,000 of out-of-pocket medical expenses resulting from physical accidents. There is absolutely no long-term commitment, which means this is a great option for those who like to travel and ride. Online enrollment can be completed in just a few minutes.