Gifts for the cycle lover who also loves safety

‘Tis the season to shop for our loved ones.  I could think of a lot of cool cycle gadgets that would make my Christmas list, but here are a few of my favorites.

Come to papa…

The Stop & Go Pocket Tire Plugger Repair Kit– Cyclists who ride long distances know that one of the most important steps in pre-ride prep is to check tire integrity.  There is only so much we can do before we hit the road, and we’ve all hear stories of road hazards causing mahem for unprepared riders.  The award-winning Stop & Go Pocket Tire Plugger can be a lifesaver when disaster strikes.  The basic kit includes mushroom-shaped plugs and a hex wrench to set the plugs behind the tire wall to stop leaks.  The bigger kit comes with CO2 cartridges that can be used to re-inflate tires and get a bike back on the road in a jiffy.  I have personally used my Stop & Go kit to repair a coworker’s automobile tire, and the Stop & Go kit worked just as promised.  I would be happy to find one of these kits in my stocking.

Speaking of flat tires, let’s move on to the next item that should be on any cyclist’s letter to Santa.

Ride-On LED Smart Caps Tire Pressure Monitoring System- Attach these babies to your valve stems and let the Ride-On LED Smart Caps measure the tire pressure for you!  Any time tire pressure drops to four psi below the required minimum, the Smart Caps light up with bright red LED fury.  Just try ignoring them; your friends will be sure to let you know that something is going on with your wheels.

Now that we’ve got the tires covered, let’s talk batteries.  A good battery tender, besides keeping a battery full of juice and in good working order, can actually save money in the long run.  A battery for a cruiser can cost over $175 a pop.  Add the environmental impact that disposing of batteries into the equation, and buying a battery tender becomes the clear choice.  Might I recommend…

Battery Tender by Deltran-This is the original battery tender and my favorite.  Why?  I bought my battery tender in ’05, and my battery ran strong until ’11, when my wife made me replace it prior to our trip to the Americade bike rally in Lake George, New York.  I’ve seen what a Deltran Battery Tender did for the battery on my Gold Wing, and I believe in the product.  Incidentally, I used the battery for two more years in my shop as a bench battery.  Don’t tell my wife.

Warnings shmarnings, the Deltran Battery Tender says it’s safe.

Now, don’t tell Deltran that I told you this, but, if, and this is a BIIIIIIIG if for a Deltran Battery Tender owner like myself, my battery were to die, I would certainly want one of these beauties.

AntiGravity Batteries Micro-Start XP-1 Personal Power Supply-Even the name is exciting, isn’t it?  What the Antigravity BMSXP-1PPS, as I like to call it, can do is even more exciting.  Not only can the Antigravity BMSXP-1PPS jump start your motorcycle, it can also run a personal computer for hours or recharge a cell phone.  In other words, it’s a powerhouse power pack.  Me likey…

Now that I’ve gotten you all worked up about the Antigravity BMSXP-1PPS, I’m going to take things down a notch.  Is this next item as cool as the power pack? No.  But bikes are people, too, and they like to feel loved.  Nothing says “I love you” and I want to protect you (and your expensive custom paint job) from the sun and rain like a nice bike cover.

Guardian Bike Cover- There are a lot of motorcycle covers on the market vying for your motorcycle cover budget, but I like the Guardian.  Why?  A lot of my friends have them, and they like them.  Sometimes, that’s good enough.  For what it’s worth, I like my Guardian cover, too.  It keeps the dust off like there’s no tomorrow, and, since 2005, there hasn’t been a garage rodent yet that could take it down.

Good-looking and hard-working.

Flash 2 Pass Powersports Garage Door Opener-Install the Flash 2 Pass garage door opener kit in your garage, and you could be opening your garage door with your headlamps in fifteen minutes.

Just in case you don’t have the patience to watch the video, here’s the breakdown:

*Pull in the driveway

*Flash the brights

*Garage door opens

*Feel like a king (or queen)

To top it all off, the Flash 2 Pass kit is less than $100 for the transmitter and receiver. Who can afford to pass up a deal like this?

And, of course, who can forget…

Gerbing Heated Gear-Santa could never go wrong by dropping Gerbing Heated Gear under my tree, and I’ll bet your favorite motorcycle enthusiast would love to see it under his/her tree, too.  Whether you spring for a little something like heated gloves or insoles or go wild and buy the whole shebang, your gift will bring a smile to any rider’s face.  If you want to hear me rave about Gerbing some more, just read my last post.  By the way, Gerbing also makes gear for outdoor sports fanatics (think skiing), and I’ll bet Gerbing gear would make deer hunting season a whole lot nicer.


Fighting the elements. Riding in late fall.

I work as a mechanic in a Harley Dealership, and I see quite a few riders bringing their bikes in for storage in early to mid October.  While I understand why someone would want to bring their motorcycle in when the temperature begins to cool, it always makes me a little sad because some of the best riding can be had during the late fall/early winter months.

You readers may have noticed the picture in the header of my blog.  This photograph was taken during the height of fall in the Smoky Mountains.  I went through Maggie Valley North Carolina and rode through the Tail of the Dragon (check out this blog about someone else’s ride through the Tail of the Dragon) in early November.  If you ever get the chance to, go.  It’s an easy area to fall in love with.  I live in the upper midwest, though, and there is no shortage of beautiful fall rides in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, either.   Riding through the forest as the leaves change makes me feel close to nature, and the earthy scent of the forest is fantastic.  A trip to Eagle, Wisconsin  or Galena, IL (take Rt. 20 from Rockford to Galena) is especially splendid.  I highly recommend riding through the fall scenery.


Recognize yourself?

Another reason to ride a little longer is one that not many riders know about.  Motorcycles actually run their best in when it’s cool outside.  Optimum riding temperatures are between fifty and sixty degrees.  While your bike may love flying through the curves in a fifty-something degree breeze, many riders feel otherwise.  Layers can help keep riders warm in the fall, but many people do not like to ride wrapped in bulky layers.  As a result, many bikes are sent into storage during the best season for riding.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  Imaging riding through the glorious fall colors in lightweight riding gear that is comfortable and makes you feel as if you are wrapped in a towel that has just been pulled from the dryer.  Today’s heated motorcycle gear is lightweight and toasty warm.  Riders can purchase heated gloves, pants, jacket-liners, and jackets; actually, the choices are almost endless.  Some companies even offer heated insoles for people with really clean feet.  I choose to wear Gerbing heated riding gear because it offers a lifetime warranty.  Truth be told, I thought about the heated clothes for a long time before I laid out the cash for my Gerbing gear, but I have never regretted spending the money on my heated riding gear.  Year after year, my Gerbings have made it possible for me to keep enjoying my rides until the snow flies and the salt trucks come out.