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Shifter Gift Guide for Cyclists
"Hello and welcome to the Shifter Holiday Gift Guide for Cyclist who don’t consider themselves cyclist but ride their bikes everywhere because it is a practical, affordable, healthy and fun transportation option that makes our cities and our world a better place.
This is the second annual, I did a gift guide last year and it was a lot of fun, and I got some good feedback, so I thought I would do it again.
Hi everybody I am Tom, and this is Shifter a channel about urban cycling, bike commuting and the ways we get around our cities and if you like this video please consider subscribing or maybe even hitting that super thanks button.
Now thanks to all of you subscribers new and old, this channel has grown a little bit and I am starting to get lots of offers of products to test which is great but by both philosophy and disposition I am not really a gear kind of guy and I think urban transportation is great because of the practicality of it, I like the simplicity and the ease of just having a bike to get you anywhere in the city and so I have tried to take that same approach into the gear that I’ve got today. Ok that’s enough blathering let’s get onto the gear.
So, I often say one of the most important parts of practical urban cycling is the ability to carry stuff, and I’ve got a bunch of videos on using baskets or paneys and bags so check those out. One of the things that I struggle with and I’m sure some of you have to, is carrying a good solid U-Lock. Now U-Lock’s often come with a contraption that allows you to affix the lock to your bike its usually a plastic holder of some kind, but I find holders tend to be an afterthought. They tend to be cheap they don’t hold it very well and your lock ends up rattling along. Here is your solution a leather holster. A U-Lock holster from a company called Oops Mark out of Montreal it is super simple, it is just a piece of leather, it smells amazing ha-ha, it affixes to your rack or to the back of your saddle and basically your lock just slips into it. It really is a holster. What’s nice about it is holsted in a way so that is does not rattle. It’s a nice tight secure fit and it looks really cool. Its nice genuine leather and I almost feel like I need a more stylish bike to bring this holster along with it. Anyway, it’s really simple and it weighs almost nothing, and it will carry that lock wherever you need it. Nice to go and over time the leather is going to soften up a bit. A great gift for that U-Lock lover in your life.
Speaking of carrying stuff on your bike, I wasn’t going to include this bag but I put this bag on my folding bike video last week about my folding bike summer adventures and I didn’t say anything about it but I got a ton of questions so I thought “hey, why don’t I make it part of my gift guide”, so this is the Day Liner Bag from Two Wheel Gear, now Two Wheel Gear was the sponsor of this channel through the summer time, so bare that in mind but I do love of their products, I use them everyday and this bag is really great. What I like about it that is versatile so it can go on the back on of your rack and it is also a handle bar bag and so you can put it wherever you need to, and I like that is had this sort of roll top, top part which is that the type that you see on a dry bag if you’re really into kayaking or canoeing so it can really keep the stuff inside dry. It’s pretty big, 20 liters so even my computer fits in here when I take it to work sometimes and my lunch, so it is actually deceptively big.
It is really well made super secure and if you need a smaller bag and not a big paney which is what I usually use because I have lots of stuff to carry this is a pretty great option.
Alright next item, this looks like one of those bags that you put under your seat to hold your tire levers and tube incase you get a flat. Oh no it is not that, well it kind of is that, it is also something a little bit more. Once you remove this bag, you’ll see it’s a little bit different this is from a company called Handlebar Jack, and if you remember last year, I featured Handlebar Jack. It was a nifty new product that helps you flip your bike over to do some maintenance on the road, this year they have got an upgrade which is this bag and if you open it up it rolls out like an old fashioned tool case and inside you have all for all the things you need, you have space for your tire levers and extra tube and the handlebar jack from last year, plus something else that is new from them is a saddle cover, because flipping your bike over if you got a nice saddle or precious, clearly I’m not that precious about my saddle, but if I was I could put that on there and there you go. The jacks take the weight of your bike so it is not resting on your handlebars the seat cover protects your saddle and you can get at your wheels and change your flat. A nifty little product that’s been improved over the last year.
I wanted to mention I already mentioned in a video earlier this year, but I’ve been using them ever since and I really like them, and I get so much attention and so many questions about that them I thought I would put them in the gift guide. These are Arclight Pedals from Red Shift, and they actually have lights build into them. So, these LED’s come out, they can be charged and when they are ready to go you pop them in here. The cool thing about them is when you turn them on, they give you front and rear lights. It doesn’t matter which way you go they are sort of aware of the space and they will adjust accordingly. What I found them to be great for is visibility at night because they are always moving with your pedaling so they draw out attention that way. They also shine in a unique area and have these reflectors around on my spokes and if you have reflectors on your bike, I found these light up reflectors as well, so it exponentially lights up your bike. Now if you’re a pedal snob you may not love these pedals, they are a bit heavy and I would like them to be a more grippy but they do the job pedal wise and I feel like for the lights inside of them its worth the sacrifices you make in the quality of the pedal. So, I really like these lights. I rode by a kid who shouted to his mom, “I want glow in the dark pedals to,” so I took that as a pretty good endorsement.
Next up is another light but this one is different and really cool. Here in North America most times you have a bike light it is an after-market light you just affix to your handlebars. To charge it you need to take it off bring it inside plug it in, but I always find that a bit of a pain and for that reason I love dynamo lights. Dynamo Lights are powered by the movement of your bike or your pedaling, they are always on your bike, you don’t have to think about it. They are just always there and always ready to go. But they are pretty rare here in North America and it’s always been a real nuisance to try and instill after market Dynamos. But what I’ve got here is a new product call Reelight, it’s from Denmark and it’s an after-market Dynamo and it literally took me four minutes to install, it’s really cool. Basically you install the Dynamo here, you need to have aluminum rims, but it basically attaches to this tube on your bike and if you get it close enough to your wheel within 2mm, the movement of the wheel generates power up through the cord into this light right here, which is really simple and easy to install its just elastics. All you light companies just attach things with elastics, it’s so easy. And the pedaling of your bike makes it go.
I am honestly always amazed at how easily it went on and how quickly I got it working. They also come with rear lights and basket lights. Lights that will go onto your back basket so that’s really convenient. They’re not the brightest lights in the world so keep that in mind, also they don’t actually touch your wheel. Some Dynamos actually have to physically touch your wheel so you can feel when you’re pedaling. This does not do that; it just has to come close. I don’t understand it, it’s magic! But it's pretty cool either way. So interesting system, maybe a good item for someone of your list.
Okay, now I have a few gifts relating to the most infuriating part of cycling. Bike theft! Actually, maybe bike theft is the second move infuriating part of cycling after politicians who say things like “I’m an avid cyclist but”, then they vote against bike infrastructure. Ok that’s the most infuriating, this is the second most infuriating, bike theft. The first two things I want to show you are related to GPS tracking because in the last year this seems to have exploded in the cycling world. I’ve talked about this before but I’ve of mixed minds on GPS cycling and there is lots of devices coming out right now that allow you to track your bike if it gets stolen. That seems great in the practice and theory but in the practice when you get down to it there is lots of weird gray areas around the legality of this. However, I’m willing to withhold my skepticism on this. The first product I want to talk to you about is related to an apple air tag because everyone I know has got an apple air tag on their bike right now. And there are a few ways of affixing an air tag to your bike but this one is probably the most elegant that I have seen its also comes from the company Oopsmark which made that leather U-Lock holster that I showed you earlier. This is an airtight holder that attaches to your stem cap, so I have already popped my air tag in here, and what you do is, here I’ll show you, once you’ve attached the special stem cap from Oopsmark and you’ve popped your air tag into your holder you just tap it on there and there it stays. So, you’ve got a tracking device right here, it looks fine, most people wont even notice it. So, I’ve seen other products that affix air tags under your seat or somewhere on your frame but this one just seems so natural and easy and makes a nice inconspicuous location for your air tag. If the root of inconspicuous is not what you want what if you want conspicuous, and I’ve said this a few times on this channel, I think the best tracker would be one that is completely visible to a thief, I think that maybe a deterrent to theft. SO here is an option more along those lines. This time here is called Scout by the company Nogg from Australia. It does not carry an air tag, but it is a GPS tracker that uses Apples “find my” network. So basically, you get the app on your phone, you sync this with your phone. Attached to your bike here, where your bottle cage could go and its basically and air tag on your phone you can track this. What I like is this bright case, you can put your bottle cage over top of this to make it a bit hidden, I don’t think a thief would notice it, but I like this it’s sort of bright and yellow and sort of announces itself so this is kind of what I like about this think to so these are two options for GPS tracking that are definitely worth a look. Both have limitations of course, if a thief knows what this is they can probably knock it off with a hammer. This actually has special bolts here that don’t take a screwdriver and actually uses a special tool to remove it so that is kind of a nice thing. But I’m sure even with this other Oopsmark air tag cap holder if a thief knows they are there, there is a way of getting rid of it eventually, but hopefully by then you’ll have tracked your bike down and will get it back. So, I’m really happy to see developments in this area and well see how things develop over the next couple years.
The last two gift ideas are high tech ways of tackling the bike theft problem. Now I’ve got he brut force way of tackling bike theft. This is a new product called X1 from Light lock, it’s a U-Lock, yeah you probably have one of these already. What’s new about this is its sort of a new generation of U-Lock and so in the past, U-Locks were pretty solid but what’s changed in the last few years isn’t’ the locks but the thieves. Portable battery powered angle grinders have gotten so cheap and easy and powerful that they just make really quick use out of the old-fashioned U-Locks. There are videos all over You Tube of thieves cutting through locks in 10 seconds, 5 seconds sometimes and so it’s a problem. This light lock version is kind of a new generation that is trying to get past that. What is special about this one is it is made out of a material Baryonium, named after the found of the company who invented it and its being marketed as an angle grinder killer, I guess you could say. The type of metal in here is designed to resist angle locks better than the old-fashioned kind of U-Locks. I have not taken and angle grinder to this, it hurts my soul to ruin a perfectly good lock that way, thankfully other people on You Tube do not have such qualms. I have seen a few people take angle grinders to these and from what I hear and what I read and from the research I have done, I wouldn’t say it is impervious to angle grinders, but what it does do is slow down considerably and usually takes more than one angle grinder blade to get through the entire lock, sometimes, two or three blades and it will chew up the entire angle blade before you can get through the metal on this and so that’s a big step forward. Bike theft is a crime of opportunity, and I can’t imagine a lot of thieves stopping halfway through cutting a lock, changing blades, putting a new blade on there and keep going to cut through a lock. This seems like a great advancement from Light Lock. This is the brut force gift for the brut force person in your life.
Speaking of bike security, I also wanted to shout out this new lock that I have been trying. I’m a big fan of convenience in locks, I know everyone talks about security and of course that is the most important, but I feel like not enough people talk about convenience because if a lock isn’t convenient to use your less likely to use it. What I like about this one is the convenience, so I often use a folding lock that I keep attached to my bike. A new lock called the Lobster Lock, and it also attaches here, but one that’s cool about it is it’s always attached. It’s screwed into the bottle cage eyelets here so it’s always affixed to my frame and the nice thing about it is you can wrap it about and lock it up like this and it is always connected to your bike, so it is a nice little extra bit of convenient security. When you’re done you just pull it back around and your ready to go. Interesting idea hey. It takes a bit of getting used to, to maneuvering these arms in place. It is good for locking up your back wheel, if you do have eyelets on your downtube you can mount to there as well and you can lock up your front wheel around a rack as well. Because of its unique design and if you live in a city like mine where bike racks are pretty terrible and you find yourself locking it to an untraditional rack like a light post, this lock is a little bit less convenient. It doesn’t have as many options like moving it around your bike, so keep that in mind. As far as its security goes, it’s a fairly new product so I haven’t seen it compared to the really hearty bike locks out there so I’m not sure about the security, but it feels pretty sturdy, not to heavy, but pretty solid so this Lobster lock is a pretty interesting option.
So, most of the items on the list so far have been big ticket items, but here is a little stocking stuffer idea for you. A friend gave this to me recently and I just love it. It’s a custom-made head set cap, the nice thing about it is every time I look down and see it, I think of the person who gave it to me so that’s a nice quality in a gift. This one says, “I love bike lanes,” but you can get them custom made so you can add anything you want. If you have someone in your life that likes something as much as I like bike lanes, such as cats, nachos, Jesus you can print whatever you want on this head cap and have it sent to them. This comes from a company online called Caps and there is another couple companies out there that make it and it is a really cool idea.
Okay that is the Shifter Holiday Gift Guide 2022, I hope that was helpful, and I hope there was a few things on there for the urban cyclist in your life.
If you have suggestions, please leave them below I know last year there was some great suggestions from people left in the comments down below. Please share and I’ll see you next time. "