If you live in snowy climes, that delayed gratification can be your reality. But guess what, you don’t have to be a slave to the weather forecast any longer. Just like Ralphie Parker, you can tear into your own version of a Red Ryder BB gun and start playing … er, riding ... before breakfast.
Oh yes, we’re talking about the increasingly popular world of virtual cycling, with Zwift leading the way. Here are nine gifts that will help you pedal through the dark winter months, having fun, and getting faster.
Saris H3 Direct Drive Trainer - $1,099.99
Brace yourself for a very obvious statement: The most important item you need to get started on Zwift or any other virtual cycling world is a smart trainer. A good one. And for us, the Saris H3 is the best bet. Direct drive trainers like this attach directly to your bike’s dropouts after removing the rear wheel. You get a more realistic road feel and no tire wear. Can you ride Zwift with a “dumb” trainer? Sure, but if you want to commit to an indoor riding routine, a smart trainer like the Saris H3 will give you the full experience by automatically changing resistance to match the virtual terrain.
More Holiday Gift Guides:
Polar H10 heart rate sensor - $89.99
Virtual cycling offers an amazing amount of data because it is a controlled environment. With a smart trainer like the Saris H3, oodles of power data will be automatically collected every minute you ride. It makes perfect sense to spend a little bit extra on an accurate heart rate monitor to get a clear picture of your performance. It’s hard to argue with Polar’s chops as the original heart rate monitor company. The H10 sensor connects to Bluetooth and ANT+ so you can wear it indoors or outdoors, when that weather clears.
Giordana Silverline bib shorts - $159.99
Do we actually have to reiterate the importance of comfortable bib shorts? Probably not, you folks are smart and experienced riders! A good chamois is important for outdoor rides, but when you’re riding a stationary bike, it’s either a dealmaker or a dealbreaker. On a trainer, you don’t move around as much and put more pressure on your nether regions. Giordana’s chamois is one of our favorites, infused with aloe and striking a perfect balance between padding and flexibility. Hey ladies! Not to worry, Giordana also offers some great women’s specific bibs and shorts.
Saris Complete Trainer Accessory Kit - $129.99
If you don’t want your trainer dungeon to be so dingy, Saris’s Trainer Accessory kit can help! The heavy-duty rubber mat keeps your sweat off of the floor, making for easy clean-up. The front-wheel block is a stable way to simulate climbing gradients. And don’t forget your towel! This way there won’t be any domestic strife over using the good linens.
Saris TD-1 Trainer Desk - $359.99
Ready to get serious? Ditch that tower of milk crates leftover from last summer’s hottest viral video craze for a proper desk for indoor riding. Saris made the TD-1 specifically for riders like us, not people chasing Instagram likes. It puts your laptop at eye-level, and the S-shaped legs bring the table closer to you, so you can easily reach your keyboard for Ride-Ons and Power-Ups. Plus, it offers USB and conventional outlet plugs so you don’t go dark in the final miles of the Four Horsemen route.
We haven’t asked yet, but it’s unlikely our friends at The Radavist will ever dive into the world of Zwift. That’s alright. We can still make use of this stylish, eco-friendly bandana, printed in Austin, Texas. Keep the sweat out of your eyes, whether you’re doing your millionth lap around Watopia or heading out for your first bikepacking adventure.
Lizard Skins DSP bar tape - $41.99
Okay, it’s big-brain time. Think ahead to the spring, after you’re done thrashing Zwift. Your bike’s bar tape is going to be disgusting. Doesn’t matter how many towels you have on hand or how careful you are about post-ride cleanup. Your sweat will infiltrate your bar tape and make things saltier than a margarita rim at Señor Tadpole’s. Plan ahead and have a fresh roll of bar tape ready to get your bike in order for the warmer months.
Lasko U12104 High Velocity Fan - $49.90
A powerful fan can actually make you faster in virtual cycling. Trust us, we talked to some of Zwift’s top riders. They rely on mega-powerful fans like this Lasko. It’s compact and surprisingly quiet. If it’s powerful enough to dry out a flooded basement apartment, it should help keep you cool on the trainer.
Febreeze - $9
Your partner puts up with a lot. They bought you a thousand-dollar smart trainer for the holidays. You’ve turned the second bedroom into a sweat lodge. The least you can do is try to cut down on the Zwift stank with some Febreeze.
Want to brave the cold this winter instead of sweating like a pig? Our gift guide for winter cycling gear will keep you toasty while you put in those IRL miles.
We meticulously (and independently) pick every product, and if you purchase through our links we may earn a commission.