If your holiday gift list includes a cyclist, runner or walker, read on.
Decatur's active population supports two local bicycling stores and at least three running stores, so you can shop locally without straying far from the 30030 zip code. In fact, Decatur-ites could walk or bike to these stores with ease.
Your faithful columnist called or shopped local stores for gift suggestions for the many local residents who get around by walking, jogging or pedaling.
At Bicycle South, open since 1972, the cyclists on your list can log in and create a wish list of items they're longing to open at Hannukah, Christmas, or their winter birthday. (Those of us with December birthdays like to be remembered with two separate gifts!) If you're planning to buy a bicycle, this store has a large selection, all 2011 bikes on sale, and a full shop to fix your old bikes.
The Cobo 15-in-1 Multi-Tool includes an assortment of hex wrenches, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, a chain tool and a spoke wrench. This all-in-one tool will help your favorite biker do on-the-road repairs for $21.
Sugoi Remote Shorts, an alternative to the skin-tight lycra shorts, are baggy bicycle shorts you can wear around town. The inner lining has a chamois for biking comfort, and the shorts have two front and back pockets for your wallet, keys or the multi tool. Both men's and women's styles are on sale for $30 at Bicycle South.
Both Bicycle South and Decatur Bikes, open since March, offer services to custom fit a bike to your body, which can mean the difference between miles of comfortable cycling and neck pain or saddle sores.
At Decatur Bikes, Tim Bailiff suggests bike racks, the kind that mount on the back of a bike. Add a bungee cord, and you can strap on a pair of shoes or a book. Strap on a pannier, and you can take weekend trips on the bike. Wald baskets for about $30 that easily attach to a bike rack, allowing you to bike to the supermarket or other shop and tote your purchases home.
To keep the noggin safe while your favorite biker is pedaling around, consider a Lazer bicycle helmet. Lazer's main line is motorcycle helmets, but Decatur Bikes sells their highly-rated helmet called the Lazer 02 and another road helmet style called the Vandal, featuring a visor to keep the Georgia sun out of your eyes.
For the runners and walkers, the Big Peach Running Company's Luis Dominguez suggests high performance socks. Luis says cotton socks tend to absorb moisture and don't dry as quickly, which can cause blistering. Synthetic socks wick the moisture away. Shop the store's well-stocked sock wall, including Swiftwick socks, with pairs priced from $10-15.
For more upscale gifts, Dominguez suggests a GPS watch, costing upwards of $200. These devices can track the distance the runner covers and calculate average pace per mile and calories burned. Some models can also monitor your heart rate. Big Peach also sells hydration systems, including hydration belts that allow runners and walkers to strap bottles of fluid to their waists for long treks, with belt pockets for storing cash, keys or energy gels.
At One Step at a Time in Oakhurst, owner Charles Cope suggested buying gift certificates for shoes at his store, Decatur's original running store, in business for 10 years. His most popular shoes are theBrooks Adrenadlin and Asics 2000 series, and his shoe selection averages $85-110.
If you don't know the size, Cope suggests buying a book, such as Atlanta Walks, or one of running guru Jeff Galloway's guides.
For runners or walkers with chafing issues, Cope recommends Bodyglide. This is runners apply "in places where they chafe and beats the heck out of Vaseline." For $8.50, the roll-on lubricant doesn't chafe and doesn't wear off, says Cope.
Cope's shop also sells a variety of socks, including the Thorlo and Injinji brands, for about $12. Cope doesn't sell any socks of cotton, opining that " cotton on the feet is the world's leading cause of blisters."
At Fleet Feet Sports, owners Clay and Karen Scarborough recommend Mizuno Breath Thermo hats, gloves and headbands that heat up with moisture. Zensah brand compression sleeves promote blood blood circulation on the lower leg. These colorful sleeves are partly fashion, partly improved running, and cost about $40.
Sweaty Bands are velvet-lined sweatbands in a variety of colors and designs. These bands don't shift on hair or head, absorb moisutre, and the shop regularly sells out of the $18 bands.