Not everybody’s mother lays around the house reading VampRom novels and eating stale Girl Scout cookies all day. More than one Mom plants her rear end on a bicycle, the perfect place to combine exercise with fresh air. If your mother’s a cycling mom – what we call a CycleMom – it’s a safe bet that for Mother’s Day, she’d welcome a gift box filled with small items that will make her time on the bike more comfortable, safer, and more rewarding. Even if she already has the bike, helmet, and biking clothes she needs; there will always be more.
Anyone out on the road who isn’t fully prepared for flat tires is a fool. Make certain your CycleMom has a pump and a spare tube with her at all times, plus a set of tire levers. She’d be wise to carry a patch kit, too: Murphy’s Law of Cycling says that when she’s riding with a punctured spare, she’s tempting fate! Look into a set that has both tire levers a patch kit.
Most pumps can be used on either Presta or Schrader valves, but be sure to check the wheel size on Mom’s bike before choosing a replacement tube.
It just takes one loose nut to ruin your ride. Assuming the loose nut is on the bike instead of behind the wheel of a humongous pickup, carrying a multitool can help keep CycleMom on the road. Biking multitools include screwdriver blades and all the common sizes of hex-head wrenches. Some high-end ones have chain tools, too – assuming CycleMom knows how to change a chain. The other feature of a good multitool is light weight and small size: something from Dad’s toolbox or the local BigBox Hardware is probably a bit on the big and clunky side.
A CycleMom needs a place to carry keys, tools, tubes, phone, ID and a little something to replace the energy going into the cranks. Under-the-seat bags are great for carrying stuff you hope you won’t need – tools and emergency equipment – while a Bento Box-style top-tube pack is accessible even while she’s moving. Unless you go crazy, you can get Mom any one of these for less than twenty bucks
Keep Her Feet Warm and Dry
You might not think of socks as important, but lightweight socks that keep a cyclist’s feet dry are a godsend. Cycling socks will protect her foot from rubbing and blisters, so a pair made of wicking material is essential to on-the-road comfort.
If Mom’s graduated to cycling shoes, she’ll thank you for toe covers to let her extend her riding season by several weeks in spring and fall. Keep her tootsies toasty with lightweight covers, or go all the way to booties if your climate is wet as well as chilly.
On the other end, Mom will thank you for keeping the sweat out of her eyes if you tuck an absorbent headband in her gift box. If you have a little extra to spend, the ultra-versatile Original Buff Headgear morphs into a dozen different kinds of headgear. It’s great for cool weather, but can be worn in warm weather, too.
Keep Mom Visible
A cyclist is way smaller than a pickup, and there are way too many distracted drivers out there these days. Increase CycleMom’s odds of being seen and the distance at which she gets noticed with a tail light – especially at dusk or dawn or even at night. A light that makes obnoxious flashes in random patterns are especially useful.
It’s a known fact: your butt takes a beating out on the road, and no combination of comfy seat and padded shorts completely prevents… well, discomfort. A little lubricant between skin and clothing can go a long way toward preventing the worst chafing. Not only will Mom be happier, so will Dad.
Keep CycleMom hydrated with a water bottle, but be sure she has a place to carry it, like a water bottle cage. And for those days when she needs a long ride, drop some energy-replacement into her gift box with gels or little bite-sized energy chews.