Everyone’s got that friend, that one friend, who never takes the subway and never takes the bus and never takes a cab, because she’s got her bike. Maybe you even are that friend. That’s cool, we’re also that friend. If you’re shopping for someone like her or us, you should pick up a cool useful piece of bike hardware. What to get though? We went straight to the source and asked other Brooklyn bicyclists for the perfect gift to keep your cyclist friend rolling. Any of these might make him so happy he offers to ride you around on his handlebars for a week.
Vaya messenger bag ($150-$165 from vayabags.com)
Handmade in Ridgewood, Queens! These bags come in a variety of cool colors, are waterproof, and have a quick release buckle and stabilizer strap to keep it from moving around on bumpy streets. Many have reflective tape for safety, and all of them are vegan.
Bicycle paintings cell phone case ($15 from bicyclepaintings.com)
You may have seen Williamsburg-based artist Taliah Lempert’s work on a jersey barrier on Flushing Avenue – now you can carry it around on your phone. There are lots of other potential gifts to choose from on her site, including her distinctive bike art prints, t-shirts, notecards, etc.
Brooklyn Machine Works bar end caps ($25 from BrooklynMachineWorks.com)
Cap off your handlebars with this cool BMX design, made locally in the North Brooklyn Industrial Business Zone.
Blink Steady Bike Light ($125 from Blinksteady.com)
Sometimes, it can be tough to remember to bring your lights with you, and if you leave them on your bike, you risk having them stolen. Blink Steady solves that problem (and is made in Brooklyn). Installed directly onto the bike, it has sensors that know when it’s dark out and when the bike is moving, so the lights come on automatically, keeping you safe at night without you having to remember anything.
Ace large nitrile work gloves ($6.99 at Ace Hardware)
Give glove, get love. A few winters ago I was complaining to a bike messenger that I lost my $80 bike gloves. He told me I was a sucker for buying $80 bike gloves. These Ace Hardware work gloves are warm enough for most winter riding, and have a palm coating that helps you grip your handlebars. Heck, get several pair for the biker in your life some for your own self because they’re only $6.99. Ace Hardware has several locations throughout the city, or you can get them online.
The Gift of Safe Streets (various prices at Transportation Alternatives)
At the Transportation Alternatives gift shop you’ll find a range of bike-tastic options, from a $10 special edition t-shirt to a $30 gift membership, a $30 merino wool cycling cap just like the kind your favorite leading bike advocates wear. Or, if you’re feeling flush, get your bike lover the ultimate experiential good: a $110 season pass to all of Transportation Alternatives’ 2016 tours, which includes the Tour de Staten Island on April 17.
Bontrager glo headlight and ember taillight combo ($30 at Bicycle Habitat)
The gift of safe, wintry nights. Head down to Bicycle Habitat in Manhattan or Brooklyn for your Bontrager glo and ember light set. These bright, blinky puppies will keep your biker legal and illuminated on the long dark journeys home. These are bright and long-lasting lights, and a bargain for $30. There’s also a pricier version that is USB rechargeable if you want to get fancy.
Coffee mug by Taliah Lempert ($14.95 at Fishs Eddy) and Bespoke Coffee from Brooklyn Roasting Company ($13 for a 12-oz tin at Brooklyn Roasting Company)
Artist Taliah Lempert’s generously sized velo-themed mug is the perfect vessel for this locally roasted brew. Lempert sells an array of bike-themed wares at the Brooklyn Flea, but you can also pick up one of her mugs at Fishs Eddy near Union Square or at their online shop. Brooklyn Roasting Company has various locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan, but lots of cyclists will be familiar with their spot across from the Navy Yard along Flushing Avenue, one of the busiest bike commuting routes in the city.
Frostbike: The Joy, Pain, and Numbness of Winter Cycling by Tom Babin ($20 at your local bookstore)
Journalist Tom Babin explores bike commuting in some of the world’s coldest cities, from his home base of Calgary to Copenhagen, discovering the pure pleasure of riding no matter the temperature. One read of this book and any intrepid cyclist is bound to keep spinning even as the mercury drops this winter.
Citi Bike 24-hour pass gift certificate ($30 for 5 from Citi Bike)
For the bike-curious, consider an easy introduction to the city’s bike share system, Citi Bike. Each pass entitles the user to an unlimited number of trips up 30 minutes each for 24 hours. Passes are normally $9.95 each, so this holiday special nets you five passes for the price of three. It’s as practical as giving someone a MetroCard, but a heck of a lot more fun.
SpokeLit bike lights (8.99 each, $17.99 for two, available online and at local bike shops)
These LEDs offer a new spin — pun intended — on typical bike lights. Easy to install, they wedge into a bike’s spokes and create an attention-grabbing effect as the wheels spin. Available in various colors, including red, green, blue and “Disc-O” which cycles through a spectrum of bright hues.
Bicycle cookie cutter ($4.99 at Cheap Cookie Cutters)
Bake a batch of bike-shaped cookies for your favorite biker with this stainless steel cookie cutter. Add some blue frosting and you’ve got your own edible bike share fleet! Don’t forget to leave a plate for Santa.
Nechama Levy – Owner, Bicycle Roots
Portland Design Works Mach Schnell folding goggles ($14.99 from Bicycle Roots)
These foldable goggles from Portland Design Works are based off of an old military design. Originally used to protect soldiers from wind, dust, snow, and rain, they work great for protecting your eyes from the elements during winter bike rides. PDW Mach Schnell Goggles come with a convenient soft carrying pouch so you can always keep them handy. Your eyeballs will thank you.
Osaka Roadie clip on bike bell ($17.99 from Bicycle Roots)
Bells are useful. Bells are polite. In New York City, bells are required by law… and the failure to use one can earn you a $150 ticket. But what your handlebar is too narrow or too cluttered to clamp on a bike bell? Enter the Osaka Roadie Clip On Bell. Its unique, clamp free design doesn’t take up handlebar space. Instead, it mounts via a compact clip that can be attached to shifter hood, cable housing, and so on. Clip it anywhere you like- the possibilities are endless.
45NRTH Dozer merino wool cycling cap ($49.99 from Bicycle Roots)
So why do cyclists wear cycling caps, and not just say… regular hats? Well, first of all a cycling cap’s compact design fits well underneath a bike helmet. Cycling caps have short brims to protect the rider’s eyes without obstructing his or her field of vision. Winter cycling caps usually have ear flaps that can be folded out of the way when they’re not needed. And the world’s best cycling caps are made of merino wool. Merino wool is insulating yet breathable, it wicks sweat away from your skin so you stay dry and comfortable. Merino doesn’t smell bad even if you wear it every single day. And it’s warm even when wet. The 45NRTH Dozer Merino Cycling Cap is a heavy-weight, toasty warm, merino wool cycling cap with a brim and ear flaps. It’s made of 400 gram merino wool fleece, with a light jersey knit lining, in a traditional seven-panel Belgian style. It’s perfect for polar expeditions or winter bike commuting.
Cygolite Dash 350 USB rechargeable bike light ($54.95 from Bicycle Roots)
This time of year, there are only about 15 minutes of daylight in each 24 hour period, so if you ride a bike, that means you right at night. Bike lights are essential for night time riding, but in the past riders had to choose between “Be Seen” lights, optimized to make motorists notice you, and “You See” lights, optimized to illuminate the road ahead of you. The Cygolite Dash 350 is a well-designed, feature packed commuter bike light that combines both of these functions. Putting out a blazing 350 lumens of illumination, it gives you more light for the money than anything else out there. Most importantly, its design incorporates a main lamp and four additional safety LED’s, and it offers an output mode called SteadyPulse. In SteadyPulse mode, the four safety LED’s flash wildy, while the main lamp puts out an intense, solid beam of light that illuminates the roadway from edge to edge. The Dash mounts without tools via a silicone strap and charges with a universal USB to micro USB charging cable (included).
Previously: Check out Brooklyn’s best chefs talking about the best gifts for foodies, Brooklyn’s funniest comedians on gifts for comedy nerds and Brooklyn’s brightest booksmiths on the best gifts for book worms