Three Terrific (AND CHEAP) Last-Minute Gifts to Get for The Cyclist In Your Life

12.23.2015 | 5:30 pm

Oh no. Christmas is almost here. No, wait. It is here, if you happen to be reading this on the 25th. Or it’s come and gone, if you’re reading it after Christmas. (I like to cover all my bases.)

My point is, Christmas has been approaching at a constant rate for months now. It’s not like you couldn’t have predicted that Christmas would be coming. Furthermore, you could have predicted the time and day on which it would arrive, with some accuracy. But you have just let it come, without doing anything about it. 

You are an incredibly slovenly, ungrateful person, and you should be ashamed  of yourself.

However, even though you don’t deserve it, I am going to help you, by presenting you with this inspired — yes, inspired! — list of things you can still get for the cyclist friend / family member / neighbor who bought you something and now you feel obligated to get them something, too.

Idea 1: Portable First-Aid Kit

Cyclists crash and get hurt a lot. More than you’d expect, even if you consider that we perch atop a latticework of plastic and spinning metal, the sum total of which has approximately one-quarter square inch of rubber actually in contact with the ground.

And when we cyclists get hurt, we need to patch ourselves up, pronto. By assembling the following items, all of which are likely readily available and laying about in your house, you will seem much more thoughtful on Christmas morning than you actually are.

  • Box of Bandaids: just whatever you have left over in the box you’ve got open already, even if they’re those weird-sized ones that aren’t any good for anything
  • Turniquet made from a pencil and a no-longer-working mini-USB cable
  • Percocet left over from that procedure you had a couple years ago, but the pain wasn’t really as bad as you thought it might be so you still have these lying around, just in case
  • Nyquil, just in case your rider gets the sniffles during a ride
  • Ambien, in case your friend winds up needing to spend the night in a cave and is having a rough time dozing off
  • Alcohol swabs or salt or acetone or anything else that really stings if you get it on a cut. Becasue if it stings, it’s probably killing bacteria, right?
  • Liniment, even though I don’t even know what liniment is.
  • That crinkly half-full tube of Neosporin you stole from your parents’ house when you moved out about ten years ago. Technically, it expired back in ’05, but it still works. Honest.

Put all of these items in an orphaned sock, and then wrap the whole thing up in multiple layers of duct tape. The entire thing should be the size and shape of a largish duct-taped avocado when you’re done. Put a bow on it and tell the lucky gift winner that it’s a first aid kit for them to always carry when they ride, but that you can’t remember what’s in it, but that it’s guaranteed to be super helpful.

Idea 2: Cycling Upgrade Kit

Cyclists are always wanting a newer, lighter, faster, more-prestigious bike. And if you were a better person, that’s what you would have gotten me. But you didn’t, and now it’s too late.

Or you could have gotten nice new parts to put on their old bike, if you were a cheapskate, but you didn’t even do that. (You are a lousy excuse for a human being.)

But you still have time to make the bike your friend / loved one / cell mate feel like the bike they have is better, lighter, newer, and more expensive. 

All you have to do is go get a couple of Sharpies and then write “S-WORKS” on every available space on the bike frame. Up and down the downtube. On the top tube. On the saddle. On the water bottle cages. Everywhere. Technically, this only makes sense if the person is riding a Specialized, but statistically you’re safe with that bet.

Once you’ve done that, it’s time to upgrade the drivetrain. If it’s a road bike, write “DURA-ACE Di2” on the pedals, cranks, and derailleurs. If it’s a mountain bike, write “XTR Di2” in the same places. If you’re not sure which it is, just write both. 

Congratulations. Their bike is now worth $18,000. Easy.

Idea 3: Certificates for Bike-Related Services

Sometimes, the very best gift you can give someone is the gift of your time. And since cycling pretty much takes up every spare moment of every cyclist’s life, the gift of some of your time will definitely be welcome. So, create little certificates (or coupons, if you don’t have much spare paper laying around) for any (or all) of the following items:

  • A free bike wash: Don’t worry, your friend will never take you up on this, because you’ll let them know that they way you’ll wash it is by taking it to the local car wash and spraying full-tilt into their greased and moving parts for ten minutes.
  • 5 free shuttle rides: If you’ve got a downhilling mountain bike friend, this is maybe the best gift you could ever give: saying you’ll be the one to drive them and their bike to the top of a run, then meeting them at the bottom. But what a drag this will be for you if your friend has the audacity to redeem this coupon. Luckily, you can get out of this boring day by simply giving them a ride to the top, dropping them off, and then going home (turn off your phone). When (if) they eventually get home, just look confused and say, “If you didn’t want to pedal at all, why didn’t you just buy a motorcycle?”
  • Bike theft: This is an awesome gift to give a cycling friend, on the sly. Promise them you’ll steal their bike whenever they want, then will discretely sell it and split the funds 50-50. I know, I know, that doesn’t sound like much of a gift. But most cyclists really want to buy a new bike, but can’t justify it to their mom or spouse because they already have a perfectly good bike. But if that bike were stolen, well…they’d need to buy a new bike. And since you’re going to secretly give them half the money, they’ll be able to use it to upgrade that bike beyond what they’d otherwise be able to get budget approval for. 

Merry Christmas, you rotten, no-good, failure of a present-giver.


  1. Comment by Jimbo/Rumpled | 12.23.2015 | 5:42 pm

    Ha, that sharpie upgrade kit just might annoy a few people if done to their bikes.

  2. Comment by Libby | 12.23.2015 | 5:55 pm

    I think I’ll pass on these suggestions though the shuttle service sounds enticing-especially the drop & run part!????

  3. Comment by Ian | 12.23.2015 | 7:22 pm

    Merry Christmas Fatty. Frequent visitor, verrry occasional commenter, but it’s worth saying I love your blog and read it almost every day.

    Have a wonderful and rewarding festive season Mr Fatty and to your loved ones too.

    See you in 2016!

  4. Comment by MikeL | 12.24.2015 | 9:12 am

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all in the Fattyverse

  5. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 12.24.2015 | 11:43 am

    Better add some disclaimers – I immediately thought of a couple people who might actually DO that stuff, especially the steal the bike part. Not me, of course, I surely don’t need a new bike. Just sayin’…

    Merry Christmas or Happy Celebration-Of-Your-Choosing to everyone.


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