gift guide

2019 Gift Guide: What to Get for the Cyclists on Your List


By Chris Carmichael,
Founder/Head Coach of CTS

Cyclists are a notoriously hard group for relatives and friends to shop for, because many people in our lives don’t know much about the sport, other than we love it and have a lot of gear. If you’re stumped as to what to get for a cyclist, or you’re a cyclist wondering what to ask for, here’s our 2019 Gift Guide.

NOTE: CTS has partnerships with some great brands we use and recommend. Brands CTS has partnerships with are identified in the list.

Giordana: Winter Cycling Jacket

A great winter jacket for cycling can last for many years because they are heavily constructed and don’t get nearly as much wear as other apparel items. Because of this, many cyclists are still wearing jackets that are 10+ years old. Fabric tech, fit, and features have improved a lot, and the cyclist on your list will appreciate this gift for a long, long time. Giordana has a range of models based on how epic the winters are in your area. (brand partner)

Sleep Tracker

Some cyclists spend a lot of time and energy tracking and analyzing training data, and the next step is tracking their sleep. When we have athletes start tracking their sleep, many are surprised by how erratic or disrupted their sleep patterns actually are. More hours of higher quality sleep will improve every aspect of life, from training to career and relationships. A sleep tracking device could be the most impactful gift you can give an athlete. Around-the-clock wearables like Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Oura rings double as activity trackers. A bedside option like Sleepscore Max includes data on the sleep environment as well as your activity during sleep. And under-the-mattress versions are unobtrusive but less convenient if you travel frequently.

Muir Energy: Holiday Pack

You may have athletes in your life who say they have enough “stuff” and don’t want to add more clutter to their lives. For those athletes, think about consumables. They still need to eat, so get them sports nutrition products like Muir Energy real-food gels. Muir even has a “Muir-y Christmas Box” with 12 assorted gels, a neck gaiter/headband/facemask, and stickers in a holiday-themed box. (brand partner)

Pinarello: Dogma F12

At $8,000-$15,000, the Dogma F12 is the big-ticket item on our list, and the most likely to be remembered for a lifetime. Unless you know exactly what setup (components, wheels, etc.) someone wants, the best way to give this gift is to work with your local Pinarello dealer. Perhaps they’ll let you use a floor model for presentation value, or you can purchase a Pinarello-branded accessory with photo/card that explains the big gift that goes with it. (brand partner)

Wireless Headphones

The trick with wireless headphones for athletes is getting a pair that can handle sweat and stay in the athlete’s ear(s) while working out. Apple Airpods are popular, but they’re not really designed for working out. For true wireless (no wire between earbuds as well as no wire to device) models like Jaybird Vista are waterproof and have fins to keep them in your ears. The Beats Powerbeats Pro are also a great choice if you prefer the security of an ear hook.

EVOC: Bike Travel Bag

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Several major airlines recently eliminated or dramatically reduced their fees for flying with your bike. Now is the time to plan some big cycling trips, and now that you don’t need to hide the fact you have a bicycle in your luggage, it’s also time to get a high-quality bike travel bag. The CTS Coaches and I use this EVOC Bike Travel Bag and find it easy to pack and wheel through an airport. More important, it is sturdy and has protected our bikes through a lot of travel days. (brand partner)

Soda Stream

Sparkling water is just as hydrating as still water, and a Soda Stream is a great way to add carbonation at home in reusable bottles. This not only cuts down on waste from single-use plastic bottles or cans, but it can also make it easier for athletes to reduce consumption of sugary drinks or artificially sweetened diet sodas.

STRAVA: Summit Membership

Signing up or upgrading to the premium STRAVA Summit Membership unlocks some great features not available in the free version. In addition to uploading and tracking rides and segments, Summit members have access to data analysis tools, personal heatmaps, filtered leaderboards, Beacon (shares your live location with your safety contacts), and deals from STRAVA partners. (brand partner)


Lights are an easy gift for any cyclist. Small, lightweight blinking lights for the handlebars (white light) and seatpost (red light) are becoming standard equipment for any time of day or night. I have gotten good performance out of lights from Lezyne, including the inexpensive Femto USB Drive Pair for safety lights, and the Microdrive 600XL to light the way for an urban commute.

Giro: Aether MIPS

A helmet makes a great gift because helmets should be replaced yearly and many cyclists keep their helmets way too long. If a cyclist in your life is still using an old helmet because they haven’t crashed on it hard enough to demolish it, do them a favor and help them replace it. The Giro Aether MIPS, which is the model CTS Coaches and I use, features MIPS Spherical technology that replaces the plastic liner inside the helmet with two layers of EPS foam that slide kind of like a ball-and-socket joint. The result is a more comfortable helmet with great protection and airflow. (brand partner)


For many cyclists, time on the bike is sometimes a coveted source of alone time. If you have loved ones and friends who like solo adventures, phone apps and the new Apple watch can locate a person or tell when a person has crashed can offer some peace of mind. Sensors are best supplemented with an analog identification bracelet like RoadId so first responders have immediate access to your information if necessary.

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