Runners, cyclists and triathletes may be the easiest people on the planet to shop for.
We may tell you that we ride or run for our health and there is obviously some truth to that, but the real reason we run—our dirty little secret—is that we like gear.
We like shiny new shoes, bikes and watches. We like the latest gadget and gizmo. And though we may have whole drawers full of gear, there is always room for one more thing.
Our wish list grows throughout the year and even as we check items off the list, more must-have-gear appears in our local running and cycling stores. It is an endless cycle.
Though most of us will give our list to almost anybody with an open wallet, not everybody does. Therefore, I have compiled a list of the top five athletic gifts for the special runner, cyclist or triathlete in your life.
- Garmin 910 XT—After a bike and a wetsuit, the No. 1 gift on most triathletes’ wish lists is the Garmin 910 XT. This is the Cadillac of GPS watches.
It is waterproof, counts strokes in the water and has a battery life that is longer than the cut-off for Ironman distance triathlons. But, it has the price tag to go with it.
If you have an Ironman triathlete or an ultrarunner in your house, this is the watch for them. If not, check out the other models with fewer bells and whistles and much lower prices.
The Garmin 910 XT is available at Charm City Run.
- ViZiPRO Jacket—After almost a dozen pedestrian accidents in Anne Arundel County throughout 2011, local runners and cyclists are keener than ever on being visible when running in the dark.
The ViziPro clothing line, as well as a similar line by Brooks, makes it nearly impossible to blend into the dark. I have been compared to a glow stick in mine and I am OK with this. The point of this jacket is to be as visible as possible when running in the dark, enabling us to get in just as many miles throughout the dark winter months as we do throughout the summer.
Charm City Run in the Annapolis Towne Center at Parole carries both lines of jackets, as well as mittens, hats and vests that will keep your runner or cyclist safe in the dark.
- CompuTrainer Classes—As much as we cyclists love to profess our toughness, the truth is there are days when the winter weather becomes too much. CompuTrainer classes, such as those at Parvilla Cycles, allow us to keep up our training, meet our camaraderie quotient for the week and still boast about our cycling prowess.
The classes allow cyclists to work in a group setting on our own bikes without the $1,500 expense of purchasing the system for our homes.
- Lights, lights and more lights—Whether we are running or cycling, more often than not, local athletes find themselves in the dark for most of the winter. Once upon a time athletes were more concerned with their coolness factor than their safety. Not anymore.
Check out the runners in your neighborhood. Aren’t they looking more and more like walking Christmas trees? Well, that is our aim. We want to be seen. We want to give drivers plenty of warning before they are right on tops of us, putting both of us in danger.
Head over to www.bikedoctor.com or www.parvillacycles.com for the latest and greatest in cycling lights. For the runner in your life check out Knuckle Lights, an easy to carry alternative to a flashlight.
- Gift certificates—I hate giving gift certificates to just about anybody. But for a runner or a cyclist, I understand. Because my biking habit is far more expensive than anything else in my life, I always ask for gift certificates to one bike store, I gather them for my birthday and Christmas and then make the larger purchases from my list with the combination. It isn’t a sexy gift, but it is one I am always happy to receive.