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Buying for Your Bike

As the East Bay works to make its streets more bike-friendly, encourage your cyclist friends to ride more frequently by giving them these stylish and fun accessories.

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In various parts of the East Bay, bike advocates and transportation officials are pushing to make the streets safer and friendlier for cyclists. That includes current campaigns for new and better bike lanes in parts of Oakland, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Walnut Creek, and beyond. And research has repeatedly demonstrated what is very obvious to anyone who rides: More bike lanes mean more cyclists.

Better roads, however, aren't the only way to encourage cycling. Bike gadgets and accessories that make it easier, safer, and more fun to ride can go a long way in encouraging people to leave their cars at home. Based on recommendations from local advocates and shops, here are some of the best East Bay gifts you can buy for your cycling friends.

Monkey Light
$26–$60

Make your nighttime bike rides much cooler and safer with Monkey Light products — super bright LED light systems that you attach directly to your spokes. The light systems, which give cyclists side visibility in a way that standard bike lights do not, create beautiful and colorful patterns on your wheels when you ride at night. The more elaborate (and expensive) Monkey Light products offer complex and captivating digital light shows for every driver and pedestrian you pass.

At Street Level Cycles — the community bike shop housed out of Waterside Workshops, a Berkeley-based youth nonprofit — the cheapest Monkey Light ($26) features four LEDs and creates highly visible rings of color on the outer perimeters of the wheels. If you can spend more, the most expensive one ($60) is worth it. It has 32 LEDs and 48 different patterns featuring hundreds of color combos that fill your entire wheel. MonkeyLectric, a Berkeley-based company, designs and manufactures the lights.

Available at Street Level Cycles

MonkeyLectric.com

Hamburger Bike Bell
$9

If you're looking for a cheaper bike gift, Street Level Cycles' hamburger bike bell is a good option. The bell — which is shaped like a hamburger, with a beef patty, sesame seed bun, some cheese, and lettuce — functions well and attaches easily to any standard handlebars. The bell would work nicely as a stocking stuffer, and is also a good choice for a kid cyclist.

Available at Street Level Cycles

ModernBike.com/Dimension-Burger-Bell

The Hottie
$259.99

This is a pricey one, but for urban cyclists struggling to find a place to store bikes at home, it's worth it. The freestanding, vertical bike rack has a very small footprint and can hold two bikes, one above the other, like a shelf. It is chicly designed with a wood face and can fit nicely in any room where there's a bit of wall space to spare. It also has convenient shelf space for bike accessories. For some small houses or apartments, it can be a real space-saver.

Available at Bay Area Bikes

Saris.com

Green Guru Dutchy Pannier
$69.95

One tough part of being a frequent cyclist is figuring out how to comfortably and efficiently carry your stuff. Bay Area Bikes has a practical and relatively affordable bag in stock that can help on this front. The Dutchy pannier — made by Green Guru, a company that makes bike gear and accessories out of recycled materials — is essentially an accessible, attachable trunk for your bike that easily fits any rack. The weatherproof bag is thirteen by thirteen inches, and is great for holding groceries, or anything else you'd like to carry. It has a shoulder strap and can be used as a tote bag once you're on foot. The bags come with colorful designs and are made from recycled billboards and banners. They also feature 100 percent recycled fabrics.

Available at Bay Area Bikes

GreenGuruGear.com

Burrato Day Bag/Satto Tool Roll
$80–$190

If you're looking for a fancier bike bag, and one that works well on non-bike days, Jitensha Studio in Berkeley has a limited edition, handmade day bag ($190) that would make a great holiday gift. Natsumi Iimura — who runs Jitensha (which means "bike" in Japanese) with her father and brother — designed the concept with a friend from New York City. The Burrato Day Bag is handcrafted with American-made, water-resistant waxed cotton. The bag has rope strap slides so it can easily adjust from a shoulder bag to a cross-body bag. "There are a lot of cycling bags out there, but I wanted something that was a little more versatile and fit more needs," said Iimura. The day bag has an interior zipper pocket to secure valuables.

A more affordable bag option at Jitensha is the store's Satto Tool Roll ($80), which is also handmade and has a similar aesthetic to the day bag, but is designed specifically to hold tools, pens, or other small items you want to organize and keep protected from the weather. It features three different size compartments and can easily attach to your bike with its straps.

Available at Jitensha Studio

Jitensha.com

Winter Bike Hats
$35

The nice thing about Bay Area biking is that the weather is pretty much perfect for cycling all year. Still, the holidays are a good time to purchase items that make winter- or nighttime riding a little more comfortable. Jitensha Studio's stylish winter hats are designed specifically for cyclists and fit nicely under helmets. The caps come in a range of solid colors and are made from 100 percent wool.

Available at Jitensha Studio

Jitensha.com

Delta Smartphone Holder
$25

Using your smartphone while biking can be as dangerous as texting and driving. Still, many cyclists use their phones for navigation purposes, which is why the Delta Smartphone Holder, available at PUBLIC Bikes in Jack London Square, makes for a great gift. The holder mounts to your handlebars and has rubber bumpers that grip your phone. You can adjust the angle of the device to suit your height, and the holder works for iPhones, the Samsung Galaxy, the Motorola Moto X, the LG G2 Android, and other smartphones (with or without cases). This gift also comes with a water-resistant bag for biking in bad weather.

Available at PUBLIC

PublicBikes.com

Coffee Cup Holder
$15

Instead of chugging the rest of your coffee so you can hop back on your bike, the PUBLIC Trieste Coffee Cup Holder allows you to take your caffeine to go. The bicycle coffee carrier attaches to the handlebar — so you can even take a sip at a red light — and works for reusable 12–16 oz. coffee cups with sealed lids (the holder does not prevent splashing). The cup holder also has a special grip material that keeps it secure.

Available at PUBLIC

PublicBikes.com

Bicycle Wine Carrier
$40

If your friends like wine more than coffee, this classy gift is a better fit. PUBLIC's adjustable leather wine carrier for bikes essentially adds a stylish wine rack to your ride. The leather contraption attaches to diamond-style bike frames (as opposed to step-through frames) with brass fasteners. It features a clamping mechanism that securely holds a single wine bottle under the frame. The carriers are handmade in Montreal, and the wine rack adjusts to fit different types of bottles.

Available at PUBLIC

PublicBikes.com

Shops

Street Level Cycles, 84 Bolivar Dr., Berkeley, 510-644-2577, WatersideWorkshops.org

Bay Area Bikes, 2400 Broadway, Oakland, 510-763-2453, BayAreaBikes.com

Jitensha Studio, 2250 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, 510-540-6240, Jitensha.com

PUBLIC Bikes, 205 Alice St., Oakland, 510-251-1581, PublicBikes.com 

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