Last Minute Gifts to Buy for Cyclists In Your Life

12.23.2014 | 1:01 pm

A Note for My Readers: This post is not really for you. This is for you to give to the people you know should have bought you a present, but haven’t. You’re welcome.

Oh, nice work. You know a cyclist and should have bought them a present, but you haven’t. And now you are pretty much out of time. 

Shame on you. SHAME. ON. YOU.

Luckily for you, I am going to help you save face, by presenting you with several ingenious gift ideas you can buy today, wrap tomorrow, and look like you are a thoughtful gift-giving person (instead of the forgetful, inconsiderate person you actually are) the day after that.

The List of Present Ideas

Of course, if you are an actual good person, you may want to buy a bicycle as a gift for someone. It doesn’t have to have a lot of fancy colors or anything; keep it simple. For example, I would be perfectly happy if someone gave me this bike for Christmas:


It’s the Cannonade F-SI Carbon Black, Inc. As you can see, it’s a simple bike. Just one color, just one leg on the fork (when a fork doesn’t fork, what is it?). Just one shifter (Shimano XTR Di2). No pedals or water bottle cages, even. It doesn’t even weigh very much.

I’d be OK with getting one of these bikes, and I suspect your loved one would like it well enough, too.

But if you can’t (or, more like it won’t) get this very important person in your life a present like this, there are additional options you can consider even though you are a miserable cheapskate. Here are some.

Make the World a Better Place: It’s not too late to change someone’s life for the better on your friend’s behalf. Go to the World Bicycle Relief donation page, and you can make a donation, sending an e-card to them. In addition to this being an actual good thing to do that will make a difference in a child’s life, this option is instant and doesn’t require you to wrap anything. In fact, you don’t even have to get up from your chair, allowing you to be simultaneously really generous and thoughtful, and a completely lazy slob. Highly recommended.

Get Them Things They Will Actually Use: According to very scientific surveys and studies and statistics and things, less than 20% of Christmas gifts ever get used. This is due to the surprising fact that people mostly use things they actually want and use, compounded by the astonishing reality that if someone wants something and is going to use it, they have already gone and bought that thing.

However, there are exceptions. Specifically, if you have a cyclist in your life, they need and use certain things, and then wear them out. And they always need more of those things. 

If you will go to the trouble of getting them those things, you will have made their life better.

Here are some of those things:

  • Tubes: But don’t just go to the local bike shop and buy any tubes. Bike tubes have gotten a lot more complex in the past few years. The one thing you can be certain of is that if you guess, you’ll get it wrong. So call or text or email or something and just ask: “Buying you a Christmas present. What kind of tubes do you use? BE SPECIFIC.” Then, after they reply, say, “Oh I’m not really getting you those, I’m getting you a patch kit, because they’re cheaper and should work just fine.” Their heart will sink with despair at that moment, because that totally seems like just the sort of thing you’d do. And then their heart will surge with joy when they discover on Christmas that you—for once, finally—actually did the right thing. Cost: $5 – $10 / tube
  • Lube: Chain lube is essential, and everyone runs out at inopportune times. This is because there is no such thing as an opportune time to run out of lube. So. Buy some lube for your friend. But since chain lube choice is deeply personal, ask your friend what they use and where they get it. This is important, since different bike shops tend to stock different kinds of lube. Cost: $5 – $25 / bottle
  • Chain: If your cyclist friend is more than just a casual rider, chances are at least one of his bikes is going to need a new chain sometime soon. Like, maybe at the beginning of the riding season. Ask them what kind of chain they use, because this—like everything else in cycling, apparently—is now highly specific; you can’t just go and buy any old bike chain for a lot of the newer bikes. Note that a bike chain is a biggish-ticket item. Cost: $40 – $60
  • Cleats: These have to be replaced every single year, or more often. Once again, though, you have to buy the correct kind, so ask your friend what kind of pedals they use, and have them be really specific. And call the bike shop before you head over; not every shop carries every kind of cleat. Cost: $20 – $50
  • A Gift Certificate: OK, by the time I finished writing the first four items on this list, I realized that there is no possible way for you to surprise a cyclist and get them something they can use…unless you trick them. Here’s how the trick works. You say, “Hey, I’m thinking of buying a bike. What’s your favorite bike shop?” And then you buy them a gift certificate at that shop. I promise, it will get used.

Super Secret Bonus Gift Idea 1: Rice Rice Baby.

What? You say you’re no good at being tricky? OK, fine. Here’s what you do, then. I’ve got to warn you, though. This is a pricey one. 

First, you get this person a big bag of Calrose rice and put it in a box. That’s going to keep them guessing what you’re getting them. 

Second, you buy them a Zojirushi rice cooker. They’re expensive, but they work great and they last for pretty much forever. I have owned one Zojirushi rice cooker, have used it at least once per week for about fifteen years, and it has never had a problem. 

Third, you get them a copy of Allen Lim’s Feed Zone Cookbook. You can score a copy at most bookstores, and many bike shops. 

Abracadabra, you’ve just given this cyclist about 90% of the stuff they need to make their own on-the-go cycling food for the next year. You’re a hero. Do a victory dance.

Super Secret Bonus Gift Idea 2: Me

If you haven’t given your friend / loved one / worst enemy a copy of The Great Fatsby, well, you’re just not a very good human being, are you? But it’s not too late, as long as you don’t mind giving them the kindle version of the book

But if that just doesn’t seem personal enough, you could do any of the following to make their FatCyclist experience more grand, somehow:

  • Option 1: If you order a paperback copy of the book and then Paypal me an additional $50, I will have an awkward phone or Skype conversation with them, telling them it is my fault you have not yet received the book. I will apologize profusely and convincingly.
  • Option 2: For an additional $25, I will sing the “Happy Birthday” song to them (desperately off-key), and then act horribly embarrassed that I have sung a birthday song to them instead of a Christmas song.
  • Option 3: For yet another $25, I will then sing a Christmas song I made up for my twins, which I sang to them two years ago, because it was time. The lyrics are as follows:

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
Christmas is so
Very Merry
Merry Christmas
Merry Christams
There’s no
Santa Claus

Due to time constraints, I will only take the first 500 requests. Contact me at to arrange a time that is both convenient to me and horribly inconvenient to your friend for me to talk with them. And also to arrange payment.

May your days be simultaneously merry and bright,

Signature new

The Fat Cyclist

PS: I will be slacking off and probably not doing much in the way of writing until after the new year, though I’d be surprised if I don’t post something between now and then.


  1. Comment by Charlie Young | 12.23.2014 | 1:36 pm

    Nice Christmas song you made up…kind of mean, though, don’t you think?

    Oh, if you think THAT is mean, I’d better not show you the second verse. – FC

  2. Comment by Jeff Bike | 12.23.2014 | 1:47 pm

    @Charlie Young…Fatty is not mean, just brutally honest.

  3. Comment by Tom in Albany | 12.23.2014 | 1:52 pm

    Merry Christmas, Elden, Lisa, and the whole, entire clan!
    See you next year!

  4. Comment by J | 12.23.2014 | 2:04 pm

    I predict Friday’s Free Verse blog entry:

    So much food
    So little time
    I’m fat now

  5. Comment by Lauri | 12.23.2014 | 2:06 pm

    I’ll give you a call for the song in 5-6 years. My 3 year old has just discovered the magic of Santa & I’m not quite ready to see it end.

    Merry Christmas to the Fatty family.

  6. Comment by Charlie Young | 12.23.2014 | 2:21 pm

    I might pay the hundred bucks to hear that second verse…

  7. Comment by Charlie Young | 12.23.2014 | 2:22 pm

    P. S. Merry Christmas, One and All!

  8. Comment by Chris | 12.23.2014 | 2:37 pm

    I guess we live those “studies” that say you’ve already bought everything that’s remotely useful. We already have the rice cooker and Lim’s book.

    And chains (2), tubes (lots, both bikes despite the MTB being tubeless), lube (lots, 2 kinds), cleats (always have a spare), tires, wheels, cassettes, helmets, lights.

    And, of course, your book. With the merino wool jersey and t-shirt.

    My wife hates shopping for me.

  9. Comment by Joe | 12.23.2014 | 2:44 pm

    Have a safe and happy holidays, Fatty.

  10. Comment by Rob & Joanna Szrama | 12.23.2014 | 3:29 pm

    Eldon, Thank you so much for the vicarious delight in reading of your stories and triumphs. Your stories over the year have been a great delight to me and the fair Joanna. May you, the Hammer and all your family have a wonderful New Year and a really great Christmas.

    Merry Christmas,
    RoBanJo Szrama

  11. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 12.23.2014 | 4:21 pm

    I received a early present today in the form of a nice Team Fatty jersey and The Great Fatsby, both fit perfectly! And although I like both very much I would reluctantly trade both for the bike pictured above. My 2011 F29 Carbon could be thrown in too!

  12. Comment by Corrine | 12.23.2014 | 5:13 pm

    Merry Christmas to you and Lisa and all the kids and all the FoF out there! Can’t wait to get my book and jersey.

  13. Comment by Liz M. | 12.23.2014 | 6:15 pm

    That’s a great shopping list there, Fatty. Awkward singing and all.

    Did everyone else get their book order? I got a shipping confirmation last Wednesday, but still haven’t gotten it. Hope it arrives tomorrow; it was supposed to be a gift.

  14. Comment by sem esuvidha rtu | 12.23.2014 | 7:16 pm

    merry Christmas, fatcyclist family

  15. Comment by Kel | 12.23.2014 | 8:04 pm

    Re — Super Secret Bonus Gift Idea 1: Rice Rice Baby… it is funny you should mention it – as I have been making the rice bars from the book this year in an attempt to steer clear of processed food. They are great! (I don’t have a rice cooker but on the stovetop the Calrose rice still cooks up like a charm).

    Merry Christmas!!!

  16. Comment by Miles Archer | 12.23.2014 | 8:15 pm

    Best gift is the donation to WBR. You don’t have to worry about brands and sizes for that one.

  17. Comment by zeeeter | 12.23.2014 | 11:49 pm

    Merry Christmas to the Nelson Clan from the Zeeeter clan (not really our names but you know that already)! To all fellow FOFs spread out around the world, hope you have a very mellow, safe, healthy and happy holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New year.

    Wonder how many more bikes we can get for WBR before the end of the year? I’ll start . . . one more added :)

  18. Comment by zeeeter | 12.23.2014 | 11:55 pm

    Just in case anyone needs the link

    OF $20,000 RAISED
    180 BIKES

    . . . . . so far . . . . .

    Not too shabby Lisa! Well done!!

  19. Comment by kristi | 12.24.2014 | 1:56 am

    Merry Christmas to all fat-cyclists. Great article as always. keep it up.
    RGPV Portal rgtu Results Sem BE
    uptu mtu gbtu sem carry over special B.Tech results portal

  20. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 12.24.2014 | 8:33 am

    Book and T shirt received (still waiting for the jersey to show up). Check.

    Donation to WBR made. Check.

    Christmas shopping done. Check.

    Let the holidays begin!

    Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of Fatty’s friends out there. What a great bunch of friends Fatty has. You know who you are.

  21. Comment by Andy@wdw | 12.24.2014 | 11:32 am

    Merry Christmas, Fatty! Your blog brings me so much joy all year long. Thank you so much for your dedication.

  22. Comment by wharton_crew | 12.24.2014 | 11:50 am

    Merry Christmas everyone! May the Cannondale F-Si Carbon show up in everyone’s stockings.

    One practical note: if you call your buddy to ask them what kind of lube they use, please specify that you are referring to bike lube. This will go a long way in averting a very awkward conversation. I speak from experience…

  23. Comment by Liz M. | 12.24.2014 | 3:07 pm

    I got the book today! Yay! Happy Holidays, all.

  24. Comment by esteefatty | 12.24.2014 | 6:58 pm

    Happy Merry to this great community. Thanks for creating it and keeping it rolling. The best, just simply the best.

  25. Comment by Miles Archer | 12.24.2014 | 8:02 pm

    Actually as I put some FC socks on, a really good present would be some cycling socks. Can’t have too many of them. My wife always borrows them when the temp goes below 60degF and have to ride in running socks.

  26. Comment by rb | 12.24.2014 | 9:23 pm

    The Christmas song is fantastic. I may have to use it, or contact you when it is time. I suspect your price may well go up by then.

  27. Comment by brian ledford | 12.25.2014 | 4:29 am

    Is the “merry christams” one of the lyrics or is it a typo? It kinda works as a lyric, so if it’s a typo, maybe keep it?

    It’s a typo. Per your suggestion, I am keeping it. Also, from now I’m singing it that way. – FC

  28. Comment by clydesteve | 12.25.2014 | 1:36 pm

    Merry Christams, Fatty, Hammer and all the FOF’s

  29. Comment by Twenty Sixer | 12.27.2014 | 5:15 am

    Quote: (when a fork doesn’t fork, what is it?). Hilarious! The most funny thing you EVER written. Seriously.

  30. Comment by justin | 12.27.2014 | 1:02 pm

    Merry Christmas – best gifts are the practical ones I completely agree.

  31. Comment by Rosa | 01.25.2015 | 2:59 am

    Eniote uparxoun -einai apo tis deoeuils pou oi iapwnes afhnoun stous 3enous epeidh exoun th monimh anasfaleia oti ta agglika tous den einai kala. To problhma einai oti, genika milwntas, den tous noiazei idiaitera. Einai peripou san tous dutikous pou kanoun tatouaz diafora ideogrammata: polu suxna ta ideogrammata einai la9os omws den tous noiazei giati einai e3wtika . To idio sumbainei suxna kai me ta agglika edw: einai e3wtika. Kai allwste, oi monoi pou mporoun na katalaboun ta la9h einai oi 3enoi oi opoioi den pianontai giati, bebaiws, einai 3enoi.


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