by Deborah Turton
I am presenting a gift giving guide for your Favorite Woman Bicyclist (FWB) for the 2016 holiday season. I do not guarantee that your particular FWB will be happy with anything on this list. And the list comes with some caveats. Caveat one: if you FWB is ultra-particular about her kit, her tools, her gear, buying any of these for her is fraught with danger. Check her Amazon wish list and skip to the last paragraph. Caveat two: women’s clothing sizes are incomprehensible. If you want to buy clothes for a woman, check the sizes and brands of the clothes she has now. And make sure they’re her newest clothes that fit her. Actually, just save the receipts!! Caveat three: all of the items on this list will work for either gender as will many items not on this list. Don’t get too hung up on buying women’s bike lights or women’s handlebar tape. Instead, give her what you think she will like. But do heed the warning about clothing above. I’d like to thank the many women on the WABA Woman and Bicycle Facebook page for offering me suggestions.
Women like it when you do things for them. So for your FWB, you can plan and implement a fun bike experience. Take her away for a biking weekend. Take her out for a ride and a picnic. Take her and the kids out for a ride and ice cream. Take her to the spa on a non-biking day to relax her biking muscles. It doesn’t count if she does any of the planning or implementation. The only thing she should do is ready herself and walk out the door. You can plan it out before the holidays and can give her a coupon to redeem for the event. Bonus points if the coupon is awesome looking and has a funny rhyme on it. If you’re not into biking yourself, learn how to give her a neck massage. That will surely make her post ride wind down much better all year long.
As the holidays approach, the days get shorter. You of course want your FWB to come home safely (and if you don’t, why is she your FWB??), so give her some lights. Give her enough lights to out shine the National Menorah. Here’s a great lightweight multicolored vest. Try ankle lights since people can see moving lights more easily. Don’t dismiss the standard red rear light and front headlight. She needs to see the potholes to avoid them. Several of each type are great. Duplicates that can click into the same brackets are even better. She can charge one while using the other. You can give your FWB a light that will create her own bike lane. And of course, every woman wants a pair of balls to hang off the back of her bike. The fact that they glow in the dark in a rainbow of colors just makes them more precious. Unfortunately, drivers might start to laugh hysterically at them and lose control of their cars.
Warmth, women want warmth. My guess is the average FWB needs more winter layers. For her bottom half: wind proof winter tights, microfiber and merino base layers, and long biking tights. For her top half: microfiber and merino base layers, long sleeved jerseys, thermal jerseys, and windproof reflective jackets. For her hopefully not cold head, try a balaclava that looks like her favorite pet. A thin buff for before it gets really cold or to wear as a first layer is always appreciated. Pick up a headband or hat to supplement that buff. And can we talk about fingers? FWBs hands are usually cold. We’d like 2 in 1 mittens, bar mitts, glove liners, lobster gloves, warm gloves, and a nice hot mug of something to warm our hands when we come in from a cold bike ride. You can keep it in a nice biking thermos for us. And toes, let’s not even mention toes or sock liners, wind proof shoe covers, biking boots, or warm foot massages after a cold ride. My toes get cold even thinking about it.
Most cyclists like cycling clothes, and my guess is your FWB is no different. We all have the standard cycling jersey bought on clearance. Instead, how about something chic to go biking in, especially for the urban cyclist? Maybe a specially designed skirt, dress, or jeans just for cycling. Or a jersey that’s bright and colorful, designed by women for women and made nearby in Baltimore. And while you’re at it, splurge for the entire kit – the jersey, tights, gloves, socks, shoes, helmet and bike (or some combination thereof). Some of us FWBs love to wear coordinated outfits, but we don’t want to spend that much money. We’d rather you spent the money. With a little research you can find different jerseys for any taste: Star Trek, cats, beer, or Dr. Seuss. You could also go chic and give your FWB some reflective and fashionable clothing. She can reflect good taste and headlights.
As for those stocking stuffers that will have your FWB loving Santa Claus, start with Assos chamois creme, when only the best will do. And if your FWB forgets to use it, some Desitin for the sores is a good idea. Stuff some fun or offbeat socks in that stocking. For your commuting FWB, some action wipes may be the perfect stocking stuffer. Does she like technology and exploring? Stick a Halo in her stocking. Finally, lock that stocking to the mantle with a lightweight but strong lock so she doesn’t lose any of your wonderful gifts.
If you’re looking for something for your FWB that she doesn’t need to use while bicycling, there are endless possibilities. You could start with a tote bag to carry all the stuff you’re going to get her. Let’s fill that tote bag. We’ll start with jewelry. There are more bicycle earring designs than there are bicycles in the world. I gave up trying to filter the necklaces and bracelets. Next, we’ll move onto scarves, more scarves, wallets, T-shirts, skirts, door knobs, desks, steam punk clocks, or chandeliers. The list is endless. Anything your FWB likes, you can find one with a bicycle on it or one made from a recycled bicycle part for her. Just Google it.
Still don’t know what to buy. Just ride in front of your FWB and clear all the bike lanes. Carry a broom, a fog horn, and a lever and fulcrum along. Brush out all the debris with the broom. Blow the foghorn to warn drivers and passengers not to door her. Use the lever and fulcrum to flip all the vehicles out of the bike lanes. No bike lanes in your area? Just carry a can of paint in front of your FWB and paint a bike lane in front of her. She will be eternally grateful. Enjoy the holidays and remember, don’t blame me if your FWB doesn’t like what you give her.