If your favorite cyclist rides to and from work or school, or just uses their bike to get around town, the market, or the store, these essentials will make their lives easier (and safer) no matter how they’re using their bike.
And if you’re treating yourself this holiday season, be sure to also check out our Commuter Cycling Buyer’s Guide for more great selections for the hardcore commuter. No matter which list you pull from, every item we recommend has been approved by one of our editors…
Best Commuter Gifts Under $25
Consider this price point to be our suggestions for those who just started commuting and need the essentials. Every cyclist needs a few basic repair items, and these make great stocking stuffers: Park Tool Tire Lever & Patch Kit ($7, at REI), for fixing flats, and the Crank Brothers M10 Mini Tool ($20.00, at REI) for fixing everything else. We especially like this tool’s longer bits, making it much easier to use, yet still compact.
Chrome’s Merino Night Socks ($25, from Competitive Cyclist) work just as well throughout the day thanks to a soft, stretchy Merino wool and poly/nylon/Spandex blend. But what makes them great for commuting is the oversized reflective panel at the rear that provides ~180º added visibility when you roll your pant cuffs up.
The VeloToze Roam Shoe Covers ($10, from Performance Bicycle) are a rubber slip-on shoe cover that protects your dress shoes or sneakers from water, mud, whatever. They’re reusable and fairly durable, and even a great way to just keep your feet a bit warmer on a winter commute. They’re grippy, so you can walk in them easily, and they come in stealthy black and hi-vis yellow.
Best Commuter Gifts Under $50
The Delta X-Mount Pro ($12, from Delta Cycles) is a staff favorite for quickly sticking our phone to the office e-bike and spinning around town. Whether we’re mapping our way to a new taco shop, or just keeping tabs on Slack while, um “working remote”, it’s proven to be a secure mount for any type of phone and case.
The Delta hexAir Saddle Cover ($30, from Delta Cycles) was one of the most surprisingly awesome things we tested this year. Not only does it provide a waterproof cover for your bike seat, it’s super comfortable! Got a road or gravel bike you’re commuting on that has a “performance” saddle? The hexAir makes it comfortable without padded bike shorts, turning almost any bike into a commuter bike.
Another “cover up” that’ll make it super easy to commute on a road, gravel, or mountain bike with clipless pedals is the Pocket Pedals Adapter (£39, available direct). It slips over SPD and SPD-SL pedals, making it easy to ride with regular shoes without having to change your performance pedals for those around-town rides.
With a metal base and body, easy-to-read 2″ gauge, and long 42″ hose, the Specialized Air Tool Sport Floor Pump ($40, from Specialized) is a bargain. We’ve been using one of their pumps for a while and it’s become a go-to f0r quick top offs and pressure checks thanks to the simplicity of the SwitchHitter head that works on Presta and Schrader automatically. Bonus points that it works great for road, gravel, and kids bikes, too!
Best Commuter Gifts Under $150
No matter what you (or your favorite commuter) thinks they need, the more they ride, the more they’ll get to know all the little things that make their rides better. Or just get them back on the bike, like a replacement tube, a new tire, or fresh grips. Maybe even just a tune up to get an older bike back in top shape. For that, nothing beats your Local Bike Shop! Grab them a gift card and support a local business!
Every commuter bike, whether it’s a dedicated city bike or a converted road/gravel bike, needs fenders. And while we like smaller stick-on options in a pinch, the SKS Veloflexx 55 ($60, on REI) set provides full coverage in a universal design that will work on almost any standard bike with round tubes…and even on suspension forks.
The PDW Everyday Rear Rack ($99, at REI and Amazon) extends backward to ensure any panniers will clear your heels as you pedal, and an integrated wood rack adds a touch of class and makes it easier to strap things to the top, too. Both this and basket below do require your bike to have rack mounts built into the frame, so double check before ordering.
The Wald 1392 Front Basket ($38, at Performance Bike) pulls double duty, letting you mount it to the front OR rear of your bike…or put one on both ends! With an 18×13″ footprint and, despite it’s skinny appearance, a 15lb payload capacity, it’s more than enough for most grocery bags and beer runs, and works with popular bags like these…
Best Commuter Gifts Under $250
For carrying groceries and gear, we’ve got three bags to recommend, depending on what you’re carrying. The smallest is the Swift Industries Sugarloaf ($180, from Swift, top right). They’re perfect mini-duffels for a change of clothes, tool kit, or a picnic. At 14x7x7″, you can nest two of them into the Blackburn rack listed above, too.
For an all-purpose bag that has external pockets for small stuff and a cavernous interior that’s perfect for groceries and farmer’s market hauls, the Surly PorteurHouse ($120, 16×11 base, 15.7″ tall, at Surly Bikes, bottom left) is just the right size.
If you want something insulated for real grocery runs, or keeping drinks chilly on the way to the party, the Hydro Flask Day Escape 18L Tote ($149, 20x8x12″, at REI, bottom right) will easily hold a gallon of milk, a six-pack, eggs, and more, and the soft sides will mash into that rack, too.
The Ortlieb Back-Roller Pro Classic Panniers ($250/pair, at REI and Competitive Cyclist, top right), some of the best pannier bags on the market. Ortlieb’s known for making incredibly durable, totally waterproof bags, and these oversized versions give provide tons of capacity when you need it, and cinch down when you don’t. They clip on to standard rear bike racks, so you’ll need a rack on the bike to use them.
The Kryptonite 6120 S Folding Lock ($120 at Backcountry and Trek Bikes) comes with a handy frame mount for easy transport, and gives you a quick (and conveniently compact) way to secure your bike and front wheel to a rack. It’s covered by their lifetime warranty, and even covers your bike against theft!
Also from Kryptonite, the Incite X8 & XBR Light Set ($169/set, at Backcountry) puts out an intelligently-shaped headlight beam that illuminates the area you need to see for safely navigating dark streets. Side illumination helps cars see you as they approach from side streets, and the rear blinky light has multiple modes that use an accelerometer to automatically turn it bright and solid (like a brake light!) when you slow down. Read our full review here.
If you’re going to commute year ’round, there are gonna be “those days” when the weather turns on you. The Duer All Weather Jeans ($200, from Duer, in Men’s and Women’s cuts) look and wear like regular denim, but have a weatherproof membrane to keep you dry. Available in Heritage Rinse (dark blue) and Black in tons of sizes and lengths, their Coolmax, Lycra, and cotton blend with reflective accents under the cuff make them a perfect 4-season pant.
Best Commuter Gifts Over $250
If you live somewhere rainy, then good wet-weather cycling kit is worth spending a bit more on. Shower’s Pass is among the best, and their Syncline CC Jacket ($135, on sale for $108, in men’s and women’s versions) is one of their more affordable models that keeps all the key features like taped seams and zippered vents. Pair it with the Transit Pants ($129, on sale for $103.20 in men’s and women’s versions) for head-to-ankle waterproofness that’ll have you seeking out the puddles!
If you’ve got the space and budget for it, we’ve found that having a purpose-built commuter bike makes it far easier and enjoyable to run errands, get to work, go on dates, and just scoot around town without the car.
The Aventon Level ($1,799, sold direct) is all you need to get started. It comes with fenders, front suspension, and a rear rack, and your choice of standard or step-thru frames. It’s a highly affordable pedal-assisted alternative to driving and even has a throttle for those times when you just don’t feel like pedaling.
For hauling the kids or bigger shopping trips, the Yuba Spicy Curry V3 ($4,999, at REI) is currently our top pick. We’ve carried two small kids to school with it, hit the farmer’s market, and even managed Costco runs on this. It’s big, but if you need capacity and quality, it’s the one to beat. Bonus points for it’s adjustability, meaning almost everyone in your household can ride it!
Disclosure: Specialized, Duer, Kryptonite, and Delta Cycles have sponsored inclusions in this list. We will only ever recommend products that we actually like, and every item in our Gift Guides has been used, reviewed, or recommended by one or more of our team members.