With maps festooned across the table or airline and train tickets stuck behind that compass fridge magnet, it looks like the new year brings new adventures; if the loved one in your life has a tour, trip, expedition or explore planned for next year then hopefully our Touring Cyclist Gifts can lend some assistance.
The touring cyclist, not to mention their bikes, now come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, speeds and willingness to accept sleeping in a bus shelter! In addition to the pannier laden world tourer, we now have weekend warriors, Audax riders, gravel grinders, and all sorts of over generalised you-must-fit-in-this-box descriptions of people who just ride their bike for say, quite a while...
Here at Always Riding we love a good tour, a couple of days, campsites, b&bs, hostel - we're a pretty laid-back bunch. What we're learned, is that despite a vast spectrum of styles, there are a few bits of kit (that also make perfect presents) that are constant, whatever your style.
Panniers, Rack Bags, Handlebar Rolls - what we call 'the big time bags,' are often best left up to the tourer themselves. However, most touring bikes have plenty of smaller accompanying bags that make great gifts. Drybags, Cargo Cages or Smaller Racks, although vital, are not all that 'gifty' but the finely crafted offerings from Porcelain Rocket, Mack Workshop, Carradice and Big x Top offer handmade quality that is sure to go down a storm on next year's trip.
That rusty old multi-tool that's sat in a saddle bag for years isn't going to make the cut on next year's adventures. Be prepared for the worst: the Fabric Chamber Ratchet is perfect for the ultra-light tourer; a chunky Crank Bros in ideal for a week off the grid; and if going further afield, check out the Port-a-Shop Tool Kit from Lezyne. This near, full workshop is the closest thing to carrying a mechanic in your pannier - but don't do that, make them bring their own bike, and tent for that matter.
The Fabric Chamber is basically a compact, lightweight multi-tool. But it isn’t, it’s better...
Colin Henrys, RCUK
The Brooks saddle is synonymous with touring; it conjures up memories of the open road like a well-thumbed OS map or discarded snickers wrapper found years later at the bottom of a pannier. However, while most tourers have had their saddle for years hope is not lost for the gift-giver. There are quite a few little accessories and spares available. Why not match the saddle up with a leather mudguard flap or the Cambium bar tape? Moreover, if a bit of fettling in the garage is akin to heaven for a loved one, the saddle maintenance and cleaning kit is a must.
The perfect gift - utterly gorgeous, a pleasure to use and oh so useful. 24Bottles, Spurcycle Bells, a PDW Bird Cage Bottle Cage, or some of Walnut Studiolo's fine leather goods will add a touch of glamour to a touring bike, so when you look down, way too many miles in the legs for the day, that bit of craftsmanship might raise a smile.