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Editor’s picks: 2020’s best little luxuries

Simple tricks that made our everyday rides better this year

As cyclists in a cold-weather country, we’re always searching for simple ways to make our everyday rides better. While we all dream of new bikes or bougie wheel upgrades, there are smaller ways to make a big impact on how much you enjoy your ride. As Tom DeLonge so wisely taught us, sometimes it’s all the small things that really a difference.

There are many little tips and tricks that every cyclist has in their back pocket. There are random little items you’ve bought that you always find yourself recommending to other cyclists. These “little luxuries” might not make you faster, but they make getting out the door (or on the trainer) that much easier. Here are the items two of our editors loved this year.

Lily Hansen-Gillis’ picks

Heated socks

My limiting factors for riding outside are definitely my hands and feet. Last year, after hearing me moan about this, someone suggested I look at heated socks. There isn’t a really cycling-specific market for these yet so I had to turn to Amazon, where I honestly just looked for a cheap well-reviewed option.

I’m so happy I bought these ridiculous accessories. They come with two portable chargers that sit conspicuously in a pocket on the side of the knee-high sock, but I have no issue with looking ridiculous if it means I can ride outside. I only use them at the first of three power levels and it’s enough to keep me riding in otherwise too-cold weather.

Two cycling snacks

This is a bit gross but there’s something about the texture of corner store peach rings in those bags by the counter that is just perfect for a mid-ride sugar boost. Unlike peach rings in a commercially packaged bag, which can be a bit more firm and fall out in your pocket, the hand packaged candy in an easily warmed, thinly-bagged, ready-to-grab-from-a-pocket format is my ideal go-to.

RELATED: The cyclist’s guide to mid-ride gas station snacks

I don’t eat meat, so pepperettes are off the table, but this year I finally found a reliable savoury vegetarian option for when you physically can’t eat any more sugar (although, honestly, I rarely get to that point). Scratch Labs is a hit and miss brand for me but their parmesan, sun dried tomatoes & black pepper bar is really delicious. Unfortunately for vegans, this is just a vegetarian option.

Maap neck warmer

I like to prioritize neck/face warmth, but I’d been having trouble finding the perfect neck warmer. Buffs are good for early fall weather, but they aren’t warm enough when it gets truly cold. On the other hand, thicker fleece neck warmers keep the heat in but aren’t breathable enough to keep over your mouth and nose on really cold days.

This Maap neck warmer has a thin internal fleece fabric that is still stretchy but much warmer than a typical buff. I saw a friend wearing it and immediately decided I needed one. It finds that perfect middle ground between warm, yet breathable. It also looks really clean—I like it so much that I sometimes wear it off the bike. Use a face mask at your own discretion.

Ikea Råskog cart

As an indoor training accessory the Ikea Råskog cart is great. It has wheels so it’s very easily movable and can be tucked away neatly into a corner when you’re not on the trainer. The top shelf is perfect height for things you need immediately on-hand while riding (water bottles, wireless mouse, kleenex etc.), the middle shelf stores all my trainer nutrition (mostly Welch’s gummies) and the bottom houses shoes and any tools needed to take the bike on and off the trainer.

Terry McKall’s picks


A while back, we noted that potatoes are just as effective as a gel for mid-ride nutrition. But how do you carry potatoes on a bike? As someone who strongly dislikes science food and excess packaging, this question led to a months-long obsession with perfecting potatoes as ride food.

Many, many tubers later, I think I’m finally honing in on the answer. But the journey is, as they say, more important than the destination. Along my path to unlocking the secret of speed spuds, I’ve been better about eating regularly on rides instead of waiting until I was teetering on the edge of a bonk before choking down some sort of bar. Plus, they’re delicious.

Fat grips

Having grips that actually fit shouldn’t be a luxury. There are still just a few options out there for mountain bikers that need more choices than “race thin” and “normal thin.” This year I’ve tried several different options, including Sensus Meaty Paws and Wolf Tooth Mega Fat Paw CAM While each has their advantages and disadvantages, they’ve all been a huge relief for my aching hands. I feel like I have more control over the bars and my hands don’t tire nearly as fast on long descents. They’re not for everyone, but they’re not supposed to be.

Ditching the chamois

This year, I’ve been experimenting with riding chamois-free. It has been freeing. I tested the waters with shorter rides and quickly expanded from there. After talking to several EWS pros who regularly do eight-hour race days without a chamois, I’m expanding to longer rides.

Assos S7 chamois
Why? I don’t have to choose between a mid-ride swim (in summer) and that wet-diaper feeling on the ride home. I don’t need to buy expensive bibs, or worry about wrecking them on the trails. Chamois still make sense for road racing but do we all need to wear them? I’m no longer so sure. Just don’t try it with cotton, first time. Some sort of “sport” material is still key.