The Three Best Gifts For Cyclists When You Are On A Budget:

What are the three best gifts to give cyclists when you are on a budget? (By the way, you should always be on a budget) Buying gifts for anyone should be a highly personal thing. You have to really know the recipient to hit a home run with gift giving. Somehow, it seems that this is even truer with avid cyclists. They are particular about their gear. Buying bike shorts, although they said they need them, is not good enough. They need a specific brand, or style, or chamois… give a gift card instead. They always fit and the color goes with everything. However, a gift card just isn’t personal. Personal gifts are always better than other gifts. Here are three suggestions for a more personal gift for the cyclist in your family.

Massages can get quite expensive and may possibly become addictive. However, a massage doesn’t have to be done by a professional. This is something that almost anyone can do and do a good job at it, too! In fact, I personally would rather have a massage from my wife. It draws you closer together as a couple. And, who knows, it might lead to something more… you never know. Just saying.

A cyclist, particularly  a road cyclist, often get cramps in the back of their necks and down in between the shoulder blades from always having their head tilted up while they are riding; from being on the drop bars and riding with their head up to see where they are going. After a while, they get sore. Their head is often held at an uncomfortable angle for prolonged times. It is just a simple neck and shoulder rub, but you can make it into a full body massage if you choose to. It is personal and can be as intimate as you want. You can massage as long as you want. For example, you can give a gift certificate for a fifteen-minute massage. You just committed to fifteen minutes, but I guarantee it is something that they will appreciate for quite some time.

Encouragement is a great gift and it is also a freebie. I say this because a lot of cyclist feel guilty for riding. Particularly after this latest terrorist attack in NYC, the one where the truck driver ran over several bicyclist on a bike path. Spouses and family members are worried when you are out on the road and now bike paths too. They think it is dangerous. And, they are right. It can be dangerous. But, it is not any more dangerous than in a car. Statistically there are a whole lot more car accidents than there are bike accidents. Typically, a car accident is a whole lot worse than a bike accident, too. A bad bike accident generally involves a car. Therefore, I would argue that the car is the danger, and the more people we get on bikes the better. That is why I would encourage you as the gift giver to encourage your bicycle rider.

Now, it is not just people that feel danger out there that need encouragement. Often times when we ride, we feel like we are being somewhat selfish taking an hour or two away from doing anything with our family. So, it would be nice to have some acknowledgement that, yeah, this is something you are doing for yourself, but it is also a healthy thing, and staying healthy is good for the whole family. It’s like going to the gym. My wife goes to the gym for an hour and I don’t think she feels guilty about that. I hope she doesn’t. Not only is she paying for that honor to go to the gym, but the gym charges her whether she goes or not. So she had better go. That is kind of a weak argument because I already spent the money on my bike so I ought to use it, too. But for some reason going to the gym is considered okay but going for a bike ride is not. So encouragement in that respect would be a great gift. I don’t know how you actually wrap it up and give it but it is a great gift none the less. It’s a great gift.

Support is the third great gift idea for cyclists. Encouragement and support go hand in hand. Sometimes it is hard to tell which is which. Encouragement would be more verbal than support. Support is more like you would get involved in the bike ride and assist. For instance, you could drive the sag wagon. You don’t have to go ten miles per hour and follow your cyclist for fifteen miles. Instead, you could say, “You know what? You go ride thirty miles and I will meet you there”, wherever there is, “and we will do something together.” Maybe they ride to a festival of some sort and you can drive. Your bicyclist can either hitch a ride home with you, or ride. Or you could exchange roles and you ride your bike home and they drive the car home from the festival. Or… It would just be nice to have that kind of support. A simple, “Why don’t you ride your bike and I will meet you there?” makes a great gift.

Maybe your rider is going to do a hundred mile ride for charity. Why don’t you volunteer to drive them to the start of that ride and pick them up afterwards? It’s always annoying; I feel guilty asking my wife to do that. However, I wouldn’t feel guilty accepting an offer from her to do that. That is a cheap gift, but it is a greatly appreciated gift. That is a gift of time and support.

There is that kind of moral support and there is also the kind of support where you say, “Hey, why don’t I find out what this guy wants”, or this girl, “and get it for them for their bike?” You can go down a long list of things that are great gifts for bicyclists, but the thing that is great about them is when you give them. That is the gift. You can look at it this way: I work. I can buy my own tires and things like that. But it is nice when somebody buys them and gives them to me as a gift. I don’t feel guilty using that money. We already budgeted it for gifts. Make it a gift that I really want. Give the gift of tires. That is support. That is right back where we started: give them a gift card. It always fits. It is always the right color and size. Just make sure that they know it is for them to spend on themselves and their favorite hobby; bicycling. Make it personal.

So those are my ideas, my three best gift ideas for cyclists.

Today, the Bicyclist Won

I didn’t really win. I don’t feel like a winner. Its more like I didn’t lose. In a big way.

This morning as I was riding along, minding my own business,  I glanced up and I saw a car speeding straight at me in my lane. That’s right! A car was passing another vehicle and coming straight at me in my lane!

I quickly swerved off of the road into the grass. My first inclination was to stop and shake my fist at the errant driver. Instead, I turned to see the car spinning out of control, smoking skid marks on the road and smoking tires. The pickup that was being passed slowed, stopped… and drove away.

I rode back to the car to see if the driver was all right. She had apparently lost control of her car when she instinctively slammed on the brakes upon seeing me looming in her windshield.

No injuries to either of us. That is the huge win. Externally, it looks like she lost her side view mirror to a fencepost. It remains to be seen if she bent the frame or did any other hidden damage. She was also very stuck in the mud. Many people stopped to see if they could render assistance. We were not able to push her out of the mud.

The sheriff arrived and took my story and my personal information. Then he let me leave. I do not expect any more involvement in this incident unless perhaps her insurance company calls to corroborate her story.

I did not speak with the driver except to ensure she was all right. I have no idea how fast she was going, although it was obviously faster than the vehicle she was passing. I don’t know how fast the other vehicle was going and that driver did not stick around for us to find out. I have no idea how long she was behind that “slower” vehicle; did he just pull out in front of her or had she been following him for miles and miles?

I do know that she skidded on dry pavement. She turned 180° and backed onto the shoulder at a fairly fast pace given the length of the skid marks. I do not even know for sure if she successfully passed the other vehicle before spinning out, although I doubt it very much.

Praise the Lord that I “happened” to look up and see the car coming at me in time. I am usually quite aware of my surroundings. However, this all happened very quickly. I was climbing a slight grade and the two vehicles “popped” over the crest of the hill. I did not expect either of the vehicles and I certainly didn’t expect one of them to be cruising straight at me in my lane.

I can’t tell you how close I was to being hit. I think I was fairly well clear of the road by the time they blew by me. Again, it just happened too fast to even register. I was in the grass, not even on the shoulder of the road when I stopped to turn and look. Initially I was traveling about nine miles an hour. It doesn’t take long to stop from nine miles an hour, up hill, in the grass. The motor vehicles were a good distance from me by the time I turned.

The first picture below was taken from where I went off the road. However, it was taken well after the event happened, as indicated by the Sheriff in the picture. I snapped it when I left the scene to finish my ride and go home.

Looking Back At The Scene
Look At Those Tire Tracks!

Has anything like this ever happened to you? It takes a lot of the fun out of bicycling, I can tell you that! It will probably be a while before I can relax when a car is approaching. Still, biking has got to be considered safer than driving. Let me know what you think in the comments.