Six years ago, I lived in New York City. My bike riding consisted of commuting up and down the West Side Highway bike path. Then on the weekends, I’d cross the George Washington Bridge and ride 9W to the local market for coffee and pastries. It’s where I really learned about bikes, and how I made lifelong friends.
Now I live in a Colorado mountain town that’s known for mountain biking. I haven’t ridden tires skinnier than 38mm in … a long time. I’m no expert when it comes to ripping around the local trails, but I’m getting better. I just bought my first full-suspension mountain bike, and when I’m not on singletrack, I’m exploring the endless gravel and dirt roads surrounding the town.
As I continue to learn more about mountain biking and life beyond pavement, here’s my holiday wish list.
Race Face Chester Pedals - $54.99
I switch the pedals on my mountain bike fairly often. If I’m feeling confident, or if the ride is a lot of non-technical climbing, I’ll opt for clipless pedals. But if I’m riding new trails or going outside of my comfort zone, I like to ride flat pedals. And when it comes to flats, I want them to be light and wide. The Race Face Chesters are lightweight, tough nylon, with a large platform and 8 hex traction pins per side. Plus they come in lots of different colors!
Osprey Seral 4 Hydration Pack - $75.00
One thing I learned early on in my mountain bike adventures is that it’s better to have a hydration pack than bottles. Water bottles easily come loose and are tricky to grab on the go. A hydration pack allows you to carry more liquid and is easy to sip on mid-trail. I’ve also noticed that I don’t love tons of weight on my back and shoulders. So the Seral 4 is ideal. It’s a low-profile lumbar pack that’s slim and sits on the waist. It features a 1.5-liter bladder with high-strength magnetic coupling for hose management, even in rough terrain. The Seral 4 has enough storage capacity for ride essentials, such as a spare tube, CO2, multi-tool and, of course, snacks. It's constructed with high-quality bluesign®-approved recycled high-tenacity nylon with a PFC-free DWR coating.
When I moved to Salida, I was surprised to discover how popular night riding was. When you look up at the trails from town at night, you often see bike lights darting around like fireflies. And, if you have the right light, night trail time is super fun. I’ve had a Light & Motion light in the past for commuting, and it was seriously reliable. The Vis 1000 blends impressive power with safety features unmatched in cycling lights. It’s easy to mount on standard or oversized handlebars with a quick-release to remove the light in seconds.
Hammerhead Karoo 2 GPS Cycling Computer - $399.00
I rely on a bike computer to let me know where I am, where I’m going, and other crucial statistics. But my current bike computer is on its last legs. I’d love to upgrade to a device that’s easy to read, easy to create routes on, and loaded with all the information I need for an adventure ride. The Hammerhead Karoo 2 puts your cycling experience first. The responsive touchscreen and large, glove-friendly buttons work seamlessly for easy operation and clear visualization of navigation and training data. Connect to your devices and services like Strava via Bluetooth, ANT+, Wifi, GPS, and even cellular data by adding a SIM card. When your adventures take you far from civilization, the Karoo 2 has your back with 14 hours of battery life, IP67 waterproofing, and 32GB of storage to download maps for anywhere in the world.
For a long time, I dismissed power meters. Since moving to Colorado, I’ve been more interested in adventure than numbers. But, I’ve been here long enough that I’d like to start improving my fitness. I’d like to ride faster and more efficiently. And I know that means finally tracking my power. One of the best ways to get faster and improve is to use a power meter for training. The Vector 3 is a direct-measurement power meter that delivers reliable, accurate data. As you’d expect, it is easy to install and pair with Garmin devices and apps.
Saris H3 Direct Drive Smart Trainer - $1,099.99
This is something I would never purchase for myself, but it's something I would actually use. For a long time, I’ve preached “never a trainer.” I have a fat bike and really love winter riding. But there are days when the wind is outrageous. Or when I just don’t have time to bundle up and get outdoors for a good ride but still want a workout. So, yes: Even I would be grateful for a trainer.
And the Saris H3 is nice and quiet — it touts a sound specification of 59 decibels at 20mph. That’s five times quieter than previous generations, making it one of the quietest smart trainers available. Following the Saris direct drive smart trainer legacy, the H3 features the same reliability and durability as its predecessors. Each H3 is made from cast and machined aluminum. Encased inside are components meticulously calibrated to measure power, speed and cadence, as well as a precision-balanced flywheel — all built to handle 2,000 watts and replicate a 20% climbing grade.
Borealis Yampa Fat Bike - $1,999.00
All bikes are fun, but there might not be anything in the world more fun that fat biking — especially on perfectly groomed trails. If you’ve been thinking about getting a fat bike, do it. You will never dread winter again. Borealis has been an industry leader in producing lightweight and versatile fat bikes.
And like I said, I have a fat bike, but could certainly use an upgrade. I was even thinking about entering a fat bike race series this year, so a Borealis would make it that much more fun.
The cool thing about riding bikes is there’s always more to learn. As much as I loved riding in the city, mountain biking has become my latest passion. No matter where you live or how you ride, getting out to explore is the ultimate gift to give yourself!