The urban cyclist is a rather general denomination that in reality reflects a huge group. Some pull on their Sunday best to race between the lights or dash out at dawn for some extra miles. Others sedately potter, taking any excuse to dive into coffee shop, bar, museum, another coffee shop, you name it, they ride there. So where do you start? Well luckily cycling across a city has a few constants, ones that the gift'er' can exploit to ensure a very happy gift'ee'.
Living and riding in a city, where more people means less space, enforces the need to keep things safe. However, it's not all doom and gloom, as there are some pretty nice bits of kit out there that under the surface provide plenty of safeguarding.
Key clips, from Spurcycle or Chrome, are an excellent way to keep keys firmly attached to belt loops or bag straps and these rather indulgent, made in America offerings just feel classy thanks to quality materials and reassuring clip and clasp mechanisms.
Perhaps not the most glamorous of gifts, but for the courier or rider making frequent city stops, a Pinhead Security Set will add the piece of mind when your bike's locked up - saves carrying about five chain locks as well! Trust us, although this is perhaps an overly practical gift, it will get so much use!
Safety and security aren't just about tieing things down; keeping valuables organised also saves delving into panniers or larger backpacks. The Restrap Wallet is a wonderfully low profile option, perfect for the cash-lite but coffee-shop-loyalty-card-heavy city rider - let's be honest bar staff and baristas look back with bemused puzzlement when you declare your card isn't contactless or you want to pay cash!
So they've got a wallet, they're making their way in the big smoke, what's next? They need a phone or accessory pouch for keeping essentials safe and easily accessible, whether that is in a coat or trouser pocket or at the top of a bag or pannier. Lezyne and Silca both make phone pouches which are designed to carry cards and keys as well as phone - these also have a touchscreen compatible panel so you can use your phone without taking it out of the wallet if you need to. Ornot and Chrome both make small accessory pouches ideal for carrying personal effects plus those extra bits the urban rider needs above the everyday pedestrian. Anything which makes the process of parking up and getting into work after riding in easier is sure to be welcome to the cycle commuter, and having a dedicated space for the things you need on arrival (bike lock keys, ID card, access fob) is sure to help out with this.
So what about the days where you set off with a wallet and phone and find yourself heading back with a stack of paperwork from the office, a new jumper or a tonne of food for the week? Packable bags are a fab addition to even an existing backpack. The Barfly Daily Courier is ideally suited to the commuter, squeezing out a few extra miles before work, picking up lunch en route. The Cardiel ORP on the other hand is much more substantial. Fully loaded, it's primarily a lightweight Chrome Bag - however, its party trick is that it folds down smaller than a rolled up t-shirt, store in a pannier, bag or jacket pocket and be ready for extra cargo!
The city snapper is increasingly turning to the bike to cover bigger distances, and for rugged city snapping, a robust camera strap like the bombproof Niko Camera Strap from Chrome is sure to be well received. For riders who prefer to use a smaller camera, the Road Runner Point 'n' Shooter Bag might be more up their street. Strapping quickly on to the front of the bike, this provides a handily accessible place for storing a camera so you'll never miss a shot again!
When it comes to clothing, it can be a bit risky as a gift, unless you know the recipient's size. For less size-sensitive options, socks from Outrider, a poncho from Brooks England or the rather fetching Bleriot Cap from Fifo will be sure to go down a treat.
On returning home to city digs, flat, or traditional townhouse, that bike's gotta go somewhere. Luckily, for those lovers of interior design, or just those who fear an ugly bike hanger, Cactus Tongue (featured in the London Design Museum) and Trophy Racks (seen in many a trendy city hotel) are sure to keep style at the forefront. Fassa bike protection products like the Drivetrain Shield are a neat way to prevent oil being transferred on to clothing, furnishings or decor when the bike is in the house, whilst the Pedal Covers can protect shins and paintwork when wheeling the bike in and out of the house.
On an urban cycling gift guide, we'd neglect the folding bike pro at our peril - folding and unfolding can happen in seconds, with many secretly knowing their PB. They are spotted on trains, bike folded between feet, or sneaking into the office, slightly lop-sided as they carry their compacted transport. Zipping away at the lights and as light as a feather these folded bikes have become a thing of beauty. Carradice make an amazingly practical range of front rack bags and Fahrer makes a tactile Carry Handle for those who've tricked out their bikes with a titanium Brooks. Oh and put a Spurcycle Bell on, the noise of the urban sprawl is no match for the clear and crisp "ding" of this mighty fine bell.