A word from Sumter Cycling: Holiday shopping for people who lead active lifestyles

Published 10:04 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

As you prepare your holiday shopping list, why not consider supporting those who exercise regularly or perhaps encouraging others who desire to exercise more in the New Year?   Fortunately, there are a number of options, and most of them will not cost a great deal.
For those just getting into a more active lifestyle, the basic equipment is essential. For example, someone beginning to run/jog, will need a good pair of running shoes. While shoes can easily cost over $100, why not consider some colorful and themed socks? Sports and running stores carry many varieties. There are even sporting socks for someone’s favorite college team. The same concept holds true for cyclists. A new bicycle will likely be out of your budget for the friend, but cycling socks are a must. Another useful gift that doesn’t require too much monetary output is a reflective vest. Anyone who exercises at dusk or in the evening hours definitely needs to enhance their visibility. A lightweight vest is a great investment for a loved ones’ safety. Speaking of safety, you can never go wrong with purchasing a biking headlight and reflectors or running caps with headlights.
Eyewear is important for many sports. Cyclists need eye protection regardless of the weather conditions. Biking stores sell sunglasses with removable lenses, to accommodate all conditions. There are tinted lenses for bright sunny days and clear lenses for dark and rainy conditions. Runners often enjoy lightweight sunglasses as well, to prevent dust and road grime from entering their eyes.
Food and drink are not only enjoyable but necessary. Water bottles for biking come in a variety of sizes and with different functions. Gone are the days of simply carrying a plastic water bottle…now there are high tech varieties that keep cold beverages cold and hot beverages hot. For the runners in your life, there are numerous hand held and waist belt versions to ensure hydration is ongoing. When it comes to food, consider putting together a basket filled with an assortment of sports bars, gels, gums, etc.  Some companies even release special holiday flavors such as pumpkin spice and cranberry, which are only available during the holiday season. This will excite your athletes, as they will be introduced to new items which may become their training go-to food in the New Year. Other gift ideas include sporty coffee mugs, or perhaps a gift card to a favorite coffee shop or restaurant. Exercise enthusiasts usually love to eat, so anything food related is generally a huge hit.
For the readers on your list, consider some of the latest releases:  Shut Up and Run, by Robin Arzon, provides tips for increased motivation to get outside in the colder temperatures. It includes running training plans as well as music playlists and visual motivation. Feed Zone Table, written by a chef and sports physiologist, provides over 100 athlete friendly recipes, with a focus on family style eating.
Are You Tough Enough, by Helen Summers, provides suggestions for the hardest challenges across the globe, including biking on the highest mountain on earth to running a marathon on a frozen lake. RunLike A Champion, by Alan Culpepper, outlines this Olympian’s running secrets and habits. Fat Tire Flyer provides stories and superior photography from the crazy gang that started mountain biking. Coach Joe Friel’s updated The Triathlete’s Training Bible and Diary, provides guidance for success in the sport of triathlon. Another gift idea is a magazine subscription to a cycling, running or fitness magazine. This helps keep your athlete motivated throughout the year, as issues arrive on a monthly basis.
Finally, there are the stocking stuffers. While many of the items listed above will fit in the stocking, here are a few additional ideas:  wrist ID bracelets, cold weather beanie hats, swim caps (choose silicon so they won’t pull their hair out as often happens with latex), toe covers for biking shoes, small biking tool kits, and motivational music.
The Holiday season is a great time to support your family and friends with gifts that are both enjoyable and health promoting.
Sumter Cycling, is offering a spring tune up ride on Saturday, January 21, 2017. What a great way to get your legs, heart and lungs ready for the cycling season. Be sure to check out our website: Sumtercycling.org for more information in the coming weeks.
As always, ride safely. We’ll see you on the roads!

-Sumter Cycling is a local advocacy group that promotes cycling and active lifestyles in Sumter County and the surrounding areas.