Holigay Gift Guide 2013: Accessories For Your Lovely Bikes And Your Even Lovelier Faces

Helmets

So y’all listened to what Cara had to say in Buckle Up and Bike in Style: The Autostraddle Helmet Guide, right? “Any dyke on a bike is sexy but any traumatic brain injury is not.” Preach. For urban commuting, you’ll want a helmet that’s rounded so it doesn’t get dislodged no matter which way you fall, preferably covering as much of the back of your head as possible. Some helmets come with visors to keep rain and sun out of your eyes. Well-ventilated helmets with more holes make for less sweaty rides, while those with fewer visible vents make for slightly better protection. Most importantly, make sure it fits well and comfortably.

1. POC Trabec Helmet
2. Giro Reverb Bike Helmet (recommended for larger sizes)
3. Bern Berkeley Summer Helmet with Visor
4. Giro Air Attack Helmet (not recommended for hot weather)
5. Giro Rift Bike Helmet
6. Bell Fraction Multi-Sport Helmet (comes in lots of designs!)
7. Yakkay Tokyo Colour Stripe Helmet
8. Uvex Urban Bicycle Helmet

Kids’ Helmets

To protect your small humans’ heads, just like yours, it’s most important to find a helmet that fits, not just one they’ll “grow into.” The age guides here are approximates; it’s best to do your own measurements. Let them pick any colour or design they like so they’ll (probably) actually wear it. If you’re getting a helmet with say, a unicorn horn, make sure anything that protrudes is soft or isn’t in a position to twist the helmet out of place in a fall.

1. Lazer Baby on Board Infant Helmet (ages 8m+, 18–20.5″/46–52cm)
2. Giro Me2 Infant/Toddler Bike Helmet (ages 8m+, 18.75–20.5″/48–52cm)
3. Raskullz Unicorn Helmet (ages 3+)
4. Raskullz Dragon Helmet (ages 5+)
5. Giro Slingshot Helmet (XS/S: ages 1+, 19–20.5″/49–52cm; M/L: ages 5+, 20.5–21.75″/52–55.5cm)
6. Bell Child’s Hello Kitty Adventurer Multi-Sport Bike Helmet (ages 5+)
7. Krash Zebra Hawk Helmet (ages 8+, 21.25–22.75″/54–58cm)
8. Krash Eyeball Helmet (ages 8+, 21.25–22.75″/54–58cm)

P.S. In case anyone’s fishing for business opportunities this holiday season, I’ve checked and the market for cat helmets is still wide open. Think about it y’all – so many happy lesbians! Even more unimpressed cats! Just putting it out there, alright.

Gloves

My partner and I only really disagree on two things when it comes to me cycling: first, how I sometimes cycle on more dangerous London roads instead of quieter cycling routes just to shave 5min off my commute; and second, how poorly I protect my fingers while I’m at it. Hands are important, y’all. They’re also really vulnerable when you’re cycling because they stay mostly motionless, are exposed to the wind and absorb the impact of every bump on the road. So, gloves! When it’s warm, fingerless cycling mitts will cushion your palms without compromising ventilation. When it’s cold, look at windproof, waterproof and/or thermal full-finger gloves, bearing in mind that the more of these properties the gloves have, the bulkier and pricier they’ll likely be. If it’s really cold, consider getting glove liners to fit into a larger weather-proof mitt. Gloves can also be really useful for visibility when hand-signalling.

bikegloves

1. Giro Bravo Gloves
2. Gore Bike Wear POWER II Glove
3. Pearl Izumi Thermal Lite Glove
4. Altura Night Vision Hi-Visibility Waterproof Cycling Glove
5. Louis Garneau Shield Gloves
6. Gore Bike Wear Power Windstopper Soft Shell Gloves
7. Smartwool Liner Gloves
8. SealSkinz Winter Cycling Gloves

Jackets

A good cycling jacket should be both waterproof and breathable, allowing water vapour to escape from the inside while keeping rainwater out. Most designs also feature a dropped tail and longer sleeves to cover your back, butt and wrists while riding. Hardshell jackets offer complete weather protection and are more rigid and layered, while softshell ones are lighter, more breathable and more flexible while still wind- and water-repellant. Even if you’re not looking for a dedicated cycle jacket (which can double up as a running jacket, or so I hear – I’m allergic to running), consider getting an emergency light, stowable raincoat.

1. ALTURA 2013 Ladies Night Vision Jacket (wind-resistant, waterproof, available in hi-vis)
2. Pearl Izumi Women’s Select Barrier Jacket (windproof, water-resistant, available in hi-vis)
3. Bellwether 2013/14 Women’s Convertible Cycling Jacket (windproof, water-resistant, available in hi-vis)
4. Helly Hansen Women’s Aden Jacket (windproof, waterproof)
5. ALTURA Ladies Microlite Showerproof Jacket (windproof, water-resistant, stowable)
6. Gore Women’s Xenon 2.0 AS Jacket (windproof, water-resistant, stowable)

Backpacks, Messenger Bags and Totes

Bike stuff-carrying situations range from dedicated backpacks with ventilated, breathable straps and hydration packs to basically anything with a strap that you can carry on your back.

1. Camelbak Women’s Magic Hydration Pack
2. Deuter Bike One 18 SL Backpack
3. Osprey Syncro 10 Hydration Pack
4. ALPINESTARS Slipstream Backpack
5. Timbuk2 Catapult Cycling Messenger Bag
6. To and Fro Tote
7. Fjällräven Kånken Daypack
8. Ortlieb Velocity Messenger Bag
9. Alchemy Goods Pine Messenger Bag (made from upcycled bike tubes!)
10. Flawless Transition Bag
11. Ortlieb City-Biker QL3 Bike Pannier/Shoulder Bag
12. Ippolito Grey Metal Rail Handbag

Warm-Making Things

So many bikes routinely get abandoned when the air gets chillier, but you can do better than that! Most of the time, you won’t need anything particularly thick or insulated because your body will warm up as you cycle – instead, look for windproof items to decrease windchill. Merino wool works great as a base layer because it wicks away odours and remains breathable even as it keeps you toasty.

1. Gore Bike Wear Universal Windstopper Neck/Face Warmer
2. Gore Bike Wear Universal Windstopper Face Warmer
3. Gore Bike Wear Universal Windstopper Helmet Cap
4. Gore Bike Wear Universal Windstopper Soft Shell Headband
5. Louis Garneau Arm Warmers 2
6. Louis Garneau Leg Warmers
7. Icebreaker Merino Wool Women’s Everyday Long Sleeve Crewe Top
8. Icebreaker Merino Wool Women’s Everyday Leggings

High-Visibility Wear

Luminous yellow isn’t going to make you feel like the sexiest Straddler, but y’know what’s hot? Staying alive. So get on these, you wonderful queermo, ’cause you’re glowing tonight.

1. Neiko High Visibility Safety Vest with Side Pockets
2. Gore Bike/Running Wear Women’s Visibility Vest
3. Amphipod Xinglet Vest
4. Time to Run High Visibility Reflective Cycling/Running Belt
5. ALTURA Night Vision Pannier/Rucksack Cover
6. ALTURA 2013 Night Vision Helmet Cover
7. Vedante Super Reflective Pop Bands
8. Green Guru Gear Recycled Bicycle Tube Reflective Pant Leg Straps

We’ve hit the end of this monster of a gear/gift guide, and now I leave you with this:

via EriMacPhoto / Tumblr

via EriMacPhoto / Tumblr

Yeah, that’s Hope Solo in hi-vis shorts, y’all. If Hope “Highlighter” Solo isn’t above hi-vis in potentially awkward places, then neither are you. Ok? Ok. Good talk everybody. Stay safe!


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Fikri

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40 Comments

  1. That “Fjällräven Kraken” typo is one of my favorite things.

    But seriously, I LOVE my Kånken. I’m rough on my clothes/shoes/bags, but I take mine everywhere, and several years later it’s still just as sturdy and looking great. The fabric’s somewhat water-resistant, but if you’re out in more than a drizzle, that’ll only do so much.

    • Fixed it, thank you! I would like to thank my brain and/or autocorrect for that original typo. Both work in mysterious ways.

      No matter what bag you get I strongly recommend getting a hi-vis backpack cover because it’s a lot easier and more useful than a jacket sometimes imo. I cycle just about long enough in London to get my stuff soaked through in a drizzle, and S’pore has tropical rainstorms.

    • Yes, maybe, I don’t know, who makes the rules around here?? (Also that was my partner’s choice, she was tasked with finding bags that normal people who don’t spend all their time thinking about how to optimise their commutes would carry for like… normal life. I only own bike bags.)

  2. Super glad you are giving out good details on bicycling. I am an avid bicycle commuter. I do it by bicycle as much as possible–bad weather and good alike–approximately 20 miles round trip a day. I live in MI, so I live in a gray, dark, cold climate for about 7 months a year. A couple of quick things I’d like to throw in the conversation. While bike gear is a wonderful thing, you don’t have to have it all to make a go of it. The big price tags on some of this stuff are sometimes a bit freaky. Even for winter riding you can make it happen with solid base layers (yes! to merino wool and all wool for sure and even cheap synthetics that have no hint of cotton in them) for all of your parts–feet and hands being especially important, good lights, and a not-beat up helmet.

    You can find great old sweaters at a thrift shop along with wool socks for cheap. Wool socks can work on the inside of your shoes (like how socks are supposed to be worn) and then you can also cover whatever shoes you are wearing with a big thick pair of wool socks. If you have cleats, you just cut the outside sock around the cleated area and you can clip in and out no big deal. You do not have to use cycling shoes at all–but fat, used wool socks are way cheaper than the neoprene booties.

    If you spend any big money on bicycle stuff and you plan on riding in the winter, get good, thick (but finger friendly) gloves (lobster claws work too but your dexterity goes awry).

    I cannot stress the importance of being visible. Lights matter a whole heck of a lot. If you intend to commute at dusk or night (or you already do so), lights matter so very much. I have a amazingly full on dorky helmet mount and 230 Lumen removable, rechargeable battery flashlight insert. The battery lasts for about 8 hours and charges up really quickly. I got the whole set up for something like $35.00 from Deal Extreme http://www.dx.com Hot Trust Fire lights

    I also use two cat eyes on my handle bars. I basically have three,very bright annoying lights at night. Always keep back up batteries in your bag or pockets. One more thing about the helmet light. It both lights ahead, while my handle bar lights let me see close range, and the helmet light works as a light weapon for me against motor vehicles. Example: four way stop; motorist starts to roll on through even though you were there eons before motorist; turn head and shine that bright light into the eyes of the motorist; motorist stops befuddled; you pedal on through without a scratch.

    I also always have two blinky lights on the rear–one on my bike and one on my helmet. My Bell City helmet has a strap on the rear that a clippy light can mount to no problem.

    Bravo to the shock yellow segment. I love my new,fancy, migraine inducing yellow, water resistant wind breaker.

    So my long-winded comment (due to the fact that I love bicycles a lot and find my body over one many hours of the week) means you can bicycle no matter your income level as long as you have a bicycle and access to some small amount of cash and creativity. And, please be visible at night and in dark weather. My friend always says, “if it is daytime and half of the cars have their lights on then you should switch your bicycle lights on also.” This means always have at least one front and one rear light within reaching distance.

    In addition, a good rack and a decent waterproof pannier or a waterproof messenger bag are essential for commuting success. My ortlieb panniers are fantastic.

    Oh, and if folks are interested in bicycling with kiddos. I bicycled thousands of miles before my kid and I have bicycled thousands of miles post kiddo/ many of those miles with kid. So, I have all kinds of tips and other good info on kid friendly bicycling.

    Yes to bicycles. Thankful for this regular bicycle column.

    • How do you deal with the snow and ice? Do you ride all winter long? I just put my bike in storage after our first major snow here in Wisco and I was sad. I need to figure out if I’m tough enough to bike through the winter months.

    • I agree that it’s completely possible to bike on a budget. When I first started biking I didn’t have money to buy *anything* other than the bike. It’s more annoying, but you can even use regular bulky layers and shed some partway through. And rig up stuff you have around the house. Biking can save you tons of money.

    • Thank you for this comment! I would really really love to hear more about kid friendly bicycling, maybe submit a thing to us about that sometime.

      Re: biking on a budget, I’d also recommend checking out local cycling events because sometimes they give out the tiny things that are super useful and yet too much hassle to go out of your way to buy for free (like trouser clips, hi-vis bands, etc.).

      For people reading this who don’t live in MI (I don’t think I could deal with 7 months of darkness omg, you are a champ), I wouldn’t recommend getting excessively bright bike lights if adverse weather isn’t that common and you cycle through heavy traffic a lot – blinding other cyclists/motorists isn’t always the safest thing. Also there are usually legal limits on these things, and when the London Met gets cranky about cyclists dying they do things like go around and fine people for having the wrong lights. Because y’know. That makes sense.

  3. Biked unprotected (just a winter jacket) today in freezing rain/sleet to get to work right as my boss pulls up in his car “aww, you look cold.” Definitely adding to my Christmas list from this post!

  4. First, thanks for promoting safety so much! I know *way* too many bike nerds who ride around without lights, reflectors, helmets, etc., and so know more people who’ve sustained relatively serious and easily avoidable injuries than I’d like.

    Second, definitely seconding the recommendations for a bell/horn – I had no idea how much I’d want one until I started riding around without one. Of course, even though I realized that several years ago, I still haven’t actually bought one…

  5. Not really a cyclist but my mum bought me the hi-vis number 4 thingy when I was 12 so when I walked the 3 mins down the lane to the bus stop in the dark in the morning for school I wouldn’t be run over :P #mumsthatcare

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