The 5 Best Stocking Stuffers for CyclistsPublished on 05/13/2023 · 5 min readNot sure where to start this holiday for the cyclist in your life? Cycling Expert Ryan C. gives his top stocking stuffer picks any cyclist would appreciate.
Photo by Yomex Owo
Summer is officially over, cross is here, and the fall/winter base season is upon us. That also means that the holidays are quickly approaching—and Santa’s “A” race of the year is almost here. Whether you are shopping for yourself or for your favorite cyclist, here are the top stocking stuffers any cyclist will enjoy.
If you are a cyclist yourself or know of a cyclist, then you certainly know we eat a lot. Between fueling during our ride, recovering afterward, and preparing for the next adventure, we go through a lot of carbs.
Keep your cyclist happy with energy and fuel for their next session. Some great ideas stem from the basics: drink mix, bars, and gels. Of course, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cyclist who doesn’t appreciate a nice coffee or beer too. My go-to choices are as follows:
With a light taste and many fruity flavors, there are numerous choices to delight any palate. These come in single-serving sticks (great for traveling), 20-serving bags, and also 60-serving large bags. This mix is aimed at replacing lost electrolytes and is crafted with minimal sugar for optimal absorption and hydration. Some of the most popular flavors include lemon-lime and matcha green tea.
The Maurten Solid can be enjoyed both on and off the bike. The bars are made from oats and pack 42g of carbs each. What’s more interesting is the taste and texture. While they are made of oats, they are just slightly sweet and have a similar texture to that of a rice crispy treat. They are compact enough to pack into any pack or jersey.
Gels are your go to for fast energy. The formula will quickly go into your systems for that speed boost when you need it fast. Neversecond gels pack 30g of carbs and 200mg of sodium per gel to help elevate your blood sugar and get your muscles fueled quickly. The flavor range includes citrus, passionfruit, tropical, cola, and espresso, and I find berry to have just enough sweetness to power through the toughest of workouts. The consistency is a happy medium that tastes great and packs a punch.
Who doesn’t need a new bottle? Bottles, when used often, can easily get moldy or wear out over time. Bottles can be a nice addition to add a splash of color to brighten or compliment any kit, reduce weight of the total unit, and keep fluids cold or hot. My top-recommended is Elite’s Fly Bottle for its lightweight design, popping colors, and bite valves that don’t leak. Did you know that their 550mL bottle is the lightest bottle in the world (as of September 2022!).
A pack of effervescent bottle-cleaning tablets can give even the murkiest of bottles a deep clean. These tabs are biodegradable and chlorine free, creating effervescent bubbles that clean stains and odors with no (or minimal) scrubbing required. They are great for rejuvenating bottles that have “the funk.”
3. Tracking Accessories
Cycling has transformed into a tech-and-analytics-heavy sport—we can track all kinds of stats while riding. This past year I have found tremendous success in tracking my blood glucose levels with Supersapiens and core body temperature with Core. Both of these devices attach to your body and have an accompanying app that displays metrics for you to track live or post-event.
Learning more about how food impacts my performance on and off the bike has transformed my approach to fueling and recovery. Similarly, being able to track my core temperature with my training program has enabled better adaptation to different environments—priming myself for proper performances. These gifts are for the experienced cyclist looking to boost their training and refine their practices.
On a simpler level, a subscription to Whoop or Oura will help any athlete better understand their daily strain levels to optimize their recovery protocols. Both devices track sleep patterns and HRV (heart rate variability) which is an indication of how hard you pushed yourself and how ready your body is to take on stress. You can view the data in real time or save it for viewing on their app or online dashboard.
In a sport where every athlete pushes themselves hard, many don’t take lifestyle factors into consideration. These add up over time and can play a significant role in how you perform day to day.
4. Puncture Kit
Every cyclist is bound to run into a flat or puncture at some point. Ensuring your cyclist is well cared for is critical to ensure they can fix the road-side issue and get back to riding. They will most likely already have a saddle bag but could use fresh kits like a multi-tool, tire plugs, patch kits, and maybe even high-quality tubes.
While not the most glamorous of gifts, your cyclist will be singing your praise when they have the necessary tools to get them back out and rolling after that dreaded “psssst”.
Pro Tip: Ask if they are running “tubeless” tires. The needs for their specific setup will differ based on what system they are running.
Cyclists are a funny bunch. Few people are as open to walking around in spandex, and we freely embrace the admiration from onlookers on the street. It is not uncommon to find cyclists with their hands down their bibs doing a little dance before the start of the ride. This pre-ride ritual of applying chamois cream is not only to help prevent chafing but also to prevent bacterial buildup and enhance the overall comfort on a ride.
For those shopping for randoniers, endurance cyclists, or someone who likes to ride long, then I recommend ChamoisButtr’s ULTRA, which promises one application that lasts all day long. For those who like “all the tingly feels,” look for a cream with menthol. There are even pH-neutral creams for women too.
These stocking stuffers would certainly bring me a smile. Here’s to the happiest of holidays, a wonderful time with family and friends, and all the best for a terrific 2023.