One of my regular reads, Jason, recently posted on geek electronic gift suggestions. This got me thinking about cycling related gifts.
For the non-cyclist, buying a present for a keen cyclist is difficult. Given the extreme geekiness of the sport, it is impenetrable to almost everyone other than another keen cyclist. Even then, the Shimano vs Campagnolo religion makes it trying for all but the most perseverant present buyer. Even a simple stocking filler such as a water bottle is fraught with sizing, political and weight options.
Pro-team clothing also tricky, as unless you follow the ups and downs of the teams very closely, you may end up buying the signed limited edition shirt of a recently disgraced champion. The odds of doing this are quite high. I’ve got a lovely Ivan Basso Giro Magna Rossa outfit from 2006 that I can’t really wear anymore, given that Basso is in disgrace for being a drugs cheat. Actually, T-mobile kit is probably going really cheap now…
So, here are some recommendations.
1. Retro gear. Several firms have been selling remakes of classic jerseys.
I’ve had one of these about 8 years. The merino wool works brilliantly on the bike in the winter, and it is also ideal post event wear. Molteni sponsored Eddie Merckx back in the 1970s. You can buy one here. I crashed quite spectacularly in mine while checking voicemail while riding, but I was able to get it repaired. I am told that retro cycling gear is trendy in nightclubs, but this would require independent verification before I’d risk it.
But, cool though the retro stuff is, this firm in the UK is making the best cycling clothing I’ve seen.
Rapha. Yes, it is expensive, but the products are rather special. The website is sweet too. Check out the Rapha Continental section of the site for some fabulous photos and tales of long distance cycling.
The problem with the site is you spend time surfing it when you should be on the bike. The Rouleur magazine from Rapha is simply stunning.
(been there,done that…..Ha!)
Another worthwhile gift would be the cyclo-core-zen series. Graeme Street has put together a great set of on and off the bike workouts and training programmes. I’ve been using them for about 2 years, and I they will be a big part of the post festive season recovery plan. I’ve watched Graeme’s business grow over the last few years. I suppose this is a perfect example of a longtail business. He combines passion for cycling, lots of knowledge, personal stories and web and email channels.
Also check out CTS, Chris Carmichael’s company. This guy was Lance Armstrong’s fitness guru. The audio workouts are goodness.
If your cycling person is book fan, I’d suggest Matt Seaton’s the Escape Artist. Read it yourself too. It will explain a lot about why they want to ride. Matt’s book list is damn good too. For humour, you can’t beat the Warrington Cycle Campaign’s Crap Cycle lanes book. (buy it here)
I couldn’t resist another example.
Of course, the best gift for a cyclist is a bit of road, good company and preferably some sunshine. Hurry up spring.