What every cyclist wants this Christmas

If you’re shopping for presents for a die-hard cyclist, it’s highly likely that they’ll want to purchase their own wheels and other bike parts, so what can you get them instead?

Whether they’re into mountain biking or road racing, you can’t go wrong with the following gifts.


A Handy Hydration Pack

Anyone who is heading out on a long journey needs to think about how to stay hydrated. Hydration packs are worn like backpacks and allow several litres of water to be carried in a way that won’t unbalance a bike. A pack allows the cyclist to drink safely while on the move.

At the same time many hydration packs come with storage that will allow them to keep snacks and other essentials about their person. For any keen cyclist a hydration pack is a key item that will help them to go further when out on their bike.

A Smart Computer

A smart computer attached to a person’s bicycle is a great way to keep track of how fast and how far they’ve been cycling. The latest models can also perform a huge range of different functions that will help them to train and become a better cyclist.

These include keeping track of their heart rate, giving indications that they should have reached a certain point on their route at a certain time and the ability to transfer data to their home computer.

This latter function lets them download training programs and upload the results of their cycling sessions, helping them to keep track of their progress and fine tune their cycling.

A New Trainer

Anyone who wants to keep cycling when the weather isn’t suitable should invest in some kind of trainer. At their simplest trainers are basic mats with rollers that sit under the back wheels of a bicycle. The more advanced models come with frames to better support your bike and software to monitor heart rate and cadence.

If you’re purchasing for someone who is keeping to a training regime then a trainer is a cost effective way to help them stick to their plan during the winter months. In addition to buying the trainer it makes sense to invest in trainer tyres. These are much quieter than road tyres and are less prone to wear when used for this purpose.

The Bare Necessities

Looking for Christmas gifts for someone who has just taken up cycling or who you know needs some new equipment? If so then check out this list of the essential items that every cyclist should own:


Perfect for keeping warm when cycling over the festive period, there’s an incredibly wide selection of thermal clothing available for men, women and children when it comes to cycling. These items range from arm and leg warmers to base layers and tights.


Riders wear cycling gloves in order to keep their hands nice and warm and to protect them from being chafed by the grips. Many cycle stores stock gloves in a range of styles including protective fingerless mitts with gel padding and insulated gloves specifically designed to keep out the cold.


A wide range of different socks are worn by riders based on their personal preferences and the time of the year. They come in all sorts of styles, including short, long, thick and thin. Special reflective sock are also available to enhance a cyclist’s visibility whilst keeping their feet toasty.


Safety is paramount when it comes to cycling, especially as the weather gets worse and the roads get icier. No matter whether you need a standard road bike helmet to keep you safe when you’re out and about, or a more substantial helmet to protect you when mountain biking, you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for at your local sports store.

Bike tools

Help someone look after their bike this year by giving them a variety of handy multi-tools, including spanners, Allen keys and everything else they might need to keep their bicycle in tip top condition.


As we progress through winter the nights will continue to grow longer, meaning it’s usually dark by the time most people finish work. Any cyclist who knows they might end up riding when the sun is setting would appreciate front and rear LED lights for their bicycle. Headlamps are also available for bike helmets, which is particularly useful for mountain bikers.

Gift Cards

Of course if you still don’t have a clue what to get your bike-fanatic, you could always choose the safe option and purchase gift card. Different stores will allow for various amounts of money on the card, from £5 to £100, simply shop around and found a store that you think has the best offers.

That’s our selection, but we’d love to hear your ideas. What are you buying the cyclist in your life this Christmas? Let us know in the comments section below.

About Guest Blogger:

This article was written on behalf of Merlin Cycles, one of the UK’s longest established online bike shops and mail order cycling specialists in operation today.

Foldable Bike Repair Business as a Way to Make Money Cycling

Have you ever thought about opening up your own foldable bicycle repair business before? A foldable bicycle repair business would be a great way to make money with cycling and also very informative to your foldable bicycle lifestyle because you will learn a lot – trust me on that. Starting your own foldable bicycle repair business is fairly simple too especially when you are just getting the best folding bicycle repair business going and don’t have a whole lot of capital to invest in it at the moment.

I started my own foldable bicycle repair business about a year ago. When I market it, I tend to get quite a bit of business and I am in a rural area, too. I could only imagine how much business I’d get in an urban or city environment. Keep on reading this article to learn more about starting your own foldable bicycle repair business.

foldable bicycle
foldable bicycle

Starting Your Own Foldable bicycle Repair Business

Starting a foldable bicycle repair business doesn’t require a whole lot from you. I started out by reading Best Guide on Selling Your Bike and took an old foldable bicycle apart and then fixed it back up a few different times to get the hang of it. Repairing a foldable bicycle isn’t that hard if you dedicate yourself to learning the trade. You need to get yourself some good starter tools before opening your foldable bicycle repair business including a floor pump, tire levers, various bottom bracket removal tools, chain breaker tool, fourth-hand tool (for tightening cables), wire cutters, Allen keys, a basic foldable bicycle multi-tool and a good work stand to protect the bikes from being scuffed up during repair. If you can afford it, get some other tools as well or even consider a tool kit. I also have different inner tubes and a wheel truing stand in my shop as well. As far as tool brands go, Park Tool is the best but Sette is a much affordable option and a good brand at that.


A Foldable bicycle Repair Business Should be a Business

The common work from your bedroom foldable bicycle repair shop that your kid friends might have done is a day of the past. Nowadays, to get the customers you want, you actually need to establish a real business. Sure, buying or renting commercial property is not cheap – trust me, I know this which is why I decided to go with a Rent-to-Own portable building to put in my backyard. I pay for a $1,800 14×8 foot well designed shed which is my official place of business. I have my signs on the shed and everything – it is very much a good business sight, indeed. And with that, if you plan to work on bike for serious customers, you need to be a serious business meaning a registered and insured business. Registering as a business and buying insurance will probably be the most expensive investment but it is an investment after all. Imagine if you messed up a customer’s $20,000 full carbon road bike – Imagine having to pay for that out of pocket – Insurance keeps that from happening, get it!


How to Market a Foldable bicycle Repair Business

Marketing a foldable bicycle repair business isn’t as difficult as you might think. The idea is to hang around places where cyclists are often at and then befriend them and somehow bring up that you run a foldable bicycle repair business. Cyclists love to check out new cycling-related businesses so your foldable bicycle repair business will likely spark their interest. You can also pay for custom-designed apparel to help promote your foldable bicycle repair business. I’m in the process of creating my own Foldable bicycle Repair Business custom branded jersey and bike short kit now and I plan to wear it as a business uniform, why not? It matches the business well! Social media is also a great way to market and promote your foldable bicycle repair business – plenty of free methods to go along with it, just research them.


Expand Your Foldable bicycle Repair Business to Local Riders

Always have expansion in mind… Expand your foldable bicycle repair business when you are able to, consider selling bikes (new and/or used), apparel, gear, components, tools and more. Consider starting a bike rental service or offering bike storage units to local riders. You should also expand to the nature of cycling in the local community of your foldable bicycle repair business. Host cyclist appreciation days where you offer free snacks and tune-ups to X amount of cyclists to show up first. Partner with organized bike ride organizers and offer a gift card for your business as a prize in return that they show you as a sponsor for the organized ride. Keep on trying to expand your reach and you will do fine with your foldable bicycle repair business in the future to come.

So now it’s your turn to go out there and start your own foldable bicycle repair business. I have had a lot of fun with mine so far and I have way more planned for its future, too. Thank you for reading my article about starting your own foldable bicycle repair business. I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and I hope it can help you out with starting your own repair business. Please show me some support and encouragement for writing this article. You can support me by simply sharing my article and my blog with other cyclists that you know and especially by sharing this article and my blog on your favorite social networking websites.

Your turn to comment, my friend! Have you ever wanted to start your own foldable bicycle repair business? What sort of foldable bicycle repairs do you already know how to do at the moment?


Crazy Printed Bike Shorts (Men’s) from Aero Tech Designs

This is my own personal review of the Men’s Crazy Printed Bike Shorts from Aero Tech Designs (ATD), an American cycling apparel manufacturing and sales business popular among the cycling community. Aero Tech Designs has not paid me to give this review of the Men’s Crazy Printed Bike Shorts. I am reviewing the Men’s Crazy Printed Bike Shorts from my own decision because I tried them out, liked them and want to share my thoughts and experiences with using them for you all out there who might be in question of them. I hope you enjoy my review of the ATD Men’s Crazy Printed Bike Shorts product and I encourage you to comment at the end and share this review with your friends.

Crazy Printed Bike Shorts: First Impressions

So I ordered the Red Swirly and the Graffiti crazy printed bike shorts from Aero Tech Designs. It was my first time ordering a bike short with wild and crazy prints on them – I just wanted to try something a bit out of the ordinary of a solid color. The main advantage I feel with these shorts outside of being unique is the fact that they are noticeable really quickly by motor vehicle drivers and that means I have a better chance of not seeing their vehicle’s tires over my face. Best Guide on Selling Your Bike People might laugh and stare at my crazy printed bike shorts but at least I will go home safe and sound after my ride. My first impressions of each short were good: The materials looked well-constructed and the colors were dark enough to where nothing was transparent or see-through when I put them on. They were true to size and the length was perfect for me and I even have longer legs than most people (I’m 6’5” tall). Overall upon first getting my Crazy Printed Bike Shorts from ATD, I was very satisfied.

Crazy Printed Bike Shorts: Chamois Review

The chamois built into the Crazy Printed Bike Shorts by Aero Tech Design is the, Anti-Chafe Lightweight Pad which is among my favorite chamois pads out of all cycling apparel ever made. The pad in thinner than most pads which I personally rather have – I enjoy a more triathlete pad more than a “butt pillow” as some people need. It is really different strokes for different folks when it comes to the chamois type and size. If you prefer a big chamois, then the Crazy Printed Bike Shorts from Aero Tech Designs will not be for you. But if you prefer a thinner pad that still does the job, then I suggest this short for you to try out for yourself. It’s also built-in very well. There was no portions of the pad jabbing into my skin and I felt comfortable with it up against my lower areas – it went with the rest of the short feeling like it was a second skin.

Crazy Printed Bike Shorts: Materials and Testing

The Crazy Printed Bike Shorts is mainly created with Nylon and Spandex tricot knitting. There are 8-panels built into the short which allows it to compress correctly against the body. It felt as if it was a second skin when I wore it. The compression was just the right amount (I’m a Medium) and there is enough stretch on the Crazy Printed Bike Shorts to feel comfortable in when in different riding, walking and sitting positions. They were not too loose, they were not too tight – they were very comfortable to wear. I often wear these shorts when I go mountain biking along hiking areas because they are comfortable to wear for mountain biking and then comfortable to wear for general hiking and clif climbing plus I always get questions about where people can buy them and how cool they look. The legs of the short are seamless and the grippers are made with silicone. My only con of the shorts in the gripper as it’s not the most comfortable gripper. After riding several hundred miles in these shorts, they still feel like new!


Crazy Printed Bike Shorts: Final Thoughts

If I were to give my official Cyclist Review 1-10 score (1 being the worst, 10 being the best), I’d give the Crazy Printed Bike Shorts by Aero Tech Designs a score of 8.5. I would love to see more designs and potentially a different type of leg gripper. Now as for purchasing these shorts – each short will cost you up to about $40.00 USD which isn’t bad at all. They also have other designs (including camo) and other types of crazy printed bottoms like regular spandex shorts and tights. I’d recommend buying the Men’s Crazy Printed Bike Shorts from Aero Tech Designs if you want to try a men’s wild print short out for a change. They also have these shorts for woman and children on their site.

Now Let’s Hear From You!

What did you think of my review of the Men’s Crazy Printed Bike Shorts from Aero Tech Designs? Have you worn these shorts and if so, what did you think of them? Please show me some support for writing this review by sharing it with other cyclists and on your favorite social networking sites. This is one of many ATD reviews I have written so you can expect some more to come soon.

Burn off that Holiday Fat with some simple Spinning!

How were your holiday celebrations this year? I know mine was pretty normal and routine! We cooked a huge Thanksgiving dinner with tons of food, pies, and sweets and so on. As a cyclist, you are probably into being healthy but for many people, these couple of months at the end of the year is all about eating. We traditionally eat a big meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even Hanukkah has its elements on eating fried food. The end of the year is one big eating mess for most of us.

Weight Loss
Weight Loss

But do you stop to think about what all that scrumptious food is doing to your body? I’m not telling you to not continue the holiday celebrations of eating a lot – but I am giving you an idea on how to combat the holiday fat that comes with it.

Holiday fat, we never really truly think about holiday fat after celebrating these holidays, do we? Did you that an average Thanksgiving dinner equals up to about 7 cheeseburgers from a fast food joint? That is a lot of burgers and as a cyclist; you know that wouldn’t be such a good idea. So that holiday fat is really holiday fat after all!

Spin that Holiday Fat into Muscle

Spinning or indoor/stationary bicycling is a wonderful method of fighting off holiday fat. Bicycling burns a lot of calories! Cycling can burn triple the amount of calories that you burn on a normal walk through the park for exercise purposes. Cycling is fun, too! Since its most likely cold outside where you are, you can spin instead of riding outside with the uncomfortable elements of winter. A good high-intensity 20 minutes of spinning can allow you to burn something like 2,000 calories which equals to quite a bit of that Thanksgiving or holiday fat that you have taken in.

Put that bike on a trainer and burn that holidat fat away, FAST!

Different Holiday Fat gets different Spinning Sessions

If you ate a lot for the holidays, then you likely got a lot of holiday fat in return! So you are going to want to focus on longer spinning sessions and higher-intensity levels. Get on your trainer or stationary bike and cycle until your heart is pounding out of your chest and you are about to drown in your own sweat. Do this and you will have no trouble at all burning off that holiday fat. If you ate less, then you can spin less! But remember! Cycling is FUN so don’t turn it into some kind of punishment for eating too many slices of cherry pie. Spinning could always be desert for holiday fat!

Holiday Fat shouldn’t be a sin but be careful anyways

Now this article isn’t telling you to eat as much as you want during the holidays because that wouldn’t be a good thing at all! You want to always eat in moderation no matter what the celebration is for whatever day it is. If you eat until you are hurting, your body will start to be hurt in the process. So maybe just get a couple of things to munch on for the holidays so that you don’t earn too much holiday fat in the process. Maybe just take one slice of Grandma’s famous apple pie and enjoy every bite of it instead of scarfing it down like a hungry wolf. Use your brain and that bike as well!

Thanks for reading my article about burning off holiday fat with cycling and spinning. I hope it helps you burn off any holiday fat you earned so far this year! I know it has come in handy for me, lately! Please help support my writing by sharing this article with other cyclists and holiday fat victims that you know.

Your turn! What all do you eat for the holidays? Do you try to use your bike as a tool to cut out that holiday fat?

Two good locks for maximum bike security

In order to get maximum bike security you need to lock your bicycle with two different types of good bicycle locks. This is the mantra of Barry Mason’s video and one which we fully endorse.

Bike Lock
Bike Lock

Why two different locks?

The reason is simple. Bicycle thieves tend to carry one type of device for breaking a lock. This may be able to break a D lock or a chain lock but is unlikely to be able to cut it’s way through both types.

Use two different, good locks on your bike and it immediately puts itself into the next level of cycle security. The sad reality is that there are many bicycles which are not properly secured which provide easy pickings for bicycle thieves. By using two good locks a thief will probably move on to an easier target.

I use an Abus Granit X Plus D lock for the rear wheel and an Abus Steel O Flex 1000 for my front wheel.

What’s the best lock for my bicycle?

Clearly a good lock is not something that a set of nail clippers would ease its way through…which is what I had securing my first bicycle that was stolen.

There are two main manufacturers of locks. Abus and Kryptonite. There is security to be had with these tried and tested brands. I use two sturdy Abus locks. They weigh a stack when in my courier bag but reassure me when I have to leave my bike on the streets. A good lock does provide peace of mind.

Bike lock ratings

Almost all manufacturers have their own lock ratings. Whilst these give an indication of how secure a lock is, you might as well simply look at the price of the lock. In my view these (not impartial and not standardised) ratings can be largely ignored. If you are interested I would not consider a lock below 10 on the Abus scale (out of 15) or 9 for Kryptonite (out of 12).

Of more value is a Sold Secure rating. Sold Secure is an independent organisation administered by the Master Locksmiths Association. Locks submitted receive one of three ratings: Gold, Silver or Bronze. These reflect the length of time a lock will hold out against escalating levels of attack. Bronze is a minute with basic tools; Silver is three, with a wider array of tools; Gold is five minutes with a more sophisticated array of tools.

The largest manufacturers also submit to the German and Dutch ART1 to 5+ standards. These are a very tough standard and worth looking out for. Gold or high ART-rated locks can be more expensive but they may help you get a discount on your insurance if you use one.

Both manufacturers have their own bike lock ratings for the strength of their locks. Abus’s rating goes from 1 to 15, Kryptonite’s from 1 to 12. It is fair to say anything above 10 with Abus and above 9 with Kryptonite can be classed as a decent lock (but that is for you to decide).

Cost of a lock

The rule of thumb for the price you have to pay for a lock is 10% of the value of the bicycle. Buying a cheap lock is clearly a false economy but I have sympathy with anyone who has saved up for a £500 bicycle only to then realise they should pay a further £50+ on locks (and that’s before any insurance premium is added).

However, good locks should last for a very long time. They are not subject to the vagaries of fashion and are (obviously) built to last. As such, a good lock is more than any other piece of cycling equipment a long term investment.

  • Need a new lock? check out the locks section, including a Silver Rated Kryptonite for under £20.
  • For more information on how to protect your bicycle visit our Prove It page.

Continue reading “Two good locks for maximum bike security”