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Christmas Gift Ideas – Guidance and suggestions to help you buy your cyclist gifts

It’s that time of the year again and us cyclists can be a picky bunch to buy presents for. Most of the big cycling websites and blogs like this are publishing lots of gift ideas, so I thought it was only right to add some suggestions of my own.

I’ve written this for those who are shopping for cycling related gifts but who don’t necessarily know a lot about cycling – so I hope this will be reasonably self explanatory.

The following is an eclectic mix of potential gifts from under £10 to £750 – depending on your budget and how much you want to lavish on your favourite cyclists

If you’re reading this and still undecided – feel free to drop me an email: girodilento@yahoo.com and I’ll help out if I can.

Generally affordable gifts:

 Ebay Digital Fishing Scales (less than £10 delivered) 

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Many cyclists including myself are generally obsessed with how much their bike/wheels etc weigh – so something like this http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/170567049843 is a great gift. All you need to do is go to ebay and search for digital fishing scales and you’ll be amazed at how many are for sale for less than £10 delivered. Of course at this price – don’t expect top of the line quality (I’m on my third in a year), but they’re a great thing to have and make a great present or stocking filler. They have the added bonus of being very useful for making sure your suitcases are within the the weight limit when flying.

End of season Pro-Team cycling kit – around £30-50

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There is a lot of debate amongst cyclists about whether or not you should wear pro cycling kit, so if the cyclist in your family has some team kit in their collection already – this is a great time of the year to buy some as gifts as like a lot of football teams, a new year brings a new look for team kit and great discounts to get rid of the old stuff. I’ve already put in a request to Father Christmas for a Cervelo training top as I think they look good and the team is disbanding, so it will be a nice momento of my favourite pro-team. Probikekit have been discounting team kit recently as have Wiggle amongst others. Find out your cyclists favourite team and do some googling.

Crud Roadracers Mk 2 Mud guards – around £24

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For anyone who doesn’t have a dedicated winter training bike – the winter months are a bit nerve racking as we don’t want to get our favourite bike covered in road slime. The closest thing to a solution to allow you to keep riding your best (or only) road bike through the winter are the Crud Roadracers Mk2 and they make a thoughtful gift. With some of these fitted you can keep riding and keep a whole lot cleaner doing it than you otherwise would.

Merino Baselayers – around £30

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Winter cycling clothing is all about layers and you just can’t do better than a merino wool base layer. They keep you warm (even when you get wet) and they don’t smell even if you’ve been out on the road for hours sweating copiously (in your boil in the bag rainjacket). Wiggle have a good and well priced selection: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/?s=dhb+merino Endura do them too http://www.endura.co.uk/Product.aspx?dept_id=125&prod_id=203 and being a Kiwi I’ll give a nod to Icebreaker as well: http://www.icebreaker.com/site/catalog/range.html?gender=Man&range=Bodyfit 

 Rouleur Magazine (single issues £10 – subscriptions from £25)

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Rouleur is a wonderful cycling magazine (I’ve yet to find a better one) and it’s generally not sold in shops apart from a few upmarket cycling shops. So you need to buy it online. If you’re buying a single issue, Wigglestock it as do a few others (google is your friend again). So this is a gift that stands out a little. Subscriptions are even nicer and can be bought at http://rouleur.cc/ – but I don’t recommend buying single issues at the Rouleur site as they charge a small fortune for postage.

One of the best things about Rouleur is it’s a collectable – well looked after early issues now sell for around £200 – so think of it as an investment!

Procycling Magazine (annual subscriptions from around £40)

Procycling is another excellent gift as it’s full of lovely glossy photos of all the big races – so with this and Rouleur, your cycling devotee is pretty well covered for the year. You can order discounted subscriptions online: http://magazine.bikeradar.com/category/procycling/

Gift Vouchers (from £5)

Most of the best online shops have gift vouchers (and plenty of retail stores too) Wiggle, ChainReaction, Probikekit, Merlin and for me what’s great is that these increase your spending power or help you reach that particular thing you’ve wanted for ages but haven’t quite had the cash for. They’re also great if your cycling loved one is just to picky to buy for … give them a voucher and let them sort it out themselves – they won’t be offended trust me.

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/?s=gift+vouchers

http://www.merlincycles.co.uk/Clearance+Section/Christmas+Gift+Ideas/Merlin+Gift+Vouchers_1625.htm

http://www.probikekit.com/gift.php

http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-track-bike/Ribble-Cycles-Gift-Vouchers/GIFTGIFT200

Gore Phantom Jacket (around £110)

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I’ve cycled with one of these for the last two years and it’s best piece of cycling kit I own. It’s windproof and breathes well and thanks to it’s detachable sleeves you can use it in winter, autumn and spring – so it’s incredibly versatile. It’s loose fitting – so you might want to order a smaller size if a tighter fit is required – but the Phantom is a truly brilliant piece of cycle clothing – this would be a gift that someone would get an awful lot of use out of: (http://www.gorebikewear.co.uk/remote/Satellite/Community/What-Mountain-Bike_Gear-of-the-year-_Phantom)

Defeet Woolie Boolie Socks (about £11)

 

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Yes you can get away with socks as a gift for a cyclist if they’re as nice as these ones. There’s nothing worse than cold feet and Woolie Boolie socks are wonderful and not just for cycling. http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=36282

 Camelbak Podium Drink Bottles (around £8)

Oddly this is a lot for a cycling drink bottle when you can easily pick them up for a couple of quid – but these are well worth the money – better plastic, so you don’t taste plastic when you use them, a fantastic nozzle system and they last – I’ll never go back to cheap drink bottles again. They also come in a range of colours and are best bought in pairs.

 http://www.chainreactioncycles.com/Models.aspx?ModelID=57307

A Pair of Vittoria Open Pave tyres (around £75)

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I was lucky enough to have a pair of these bought for me last Christmas and I’ve spent all year riding on them and have loved every mile. These are a wonderful tyre – not cheap to be sure – but they are a road cycling classic, that are at their best one wet, mucky and poorly surfaced roads – they’re a formula one tyre for winter. I can’t recommend them highly enough but they can be hard to find as they sell out fast. Your best bets are google and ebay: http://www.google.co.uk/products?q=vittoria+open+pave+tyre&scoring=p

http://shop.ebay.co.uk/?_from=R40&_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=vittoria+open+pave&_sacat=See-All-Categories

 Expensive gifts:

 A pair of high end handbuilt wheels (approx £500)

There’s something very special about having handbuilt wheels made especially for you and at the higher end of the price spectrum they’re almost works of art. For me I’d be calling up someone like Harry Rowland (http://www.harryrowland.co.uk/7301.html) to talk about some Ambrosio Excellight Rims, and PMP or Chris King hubs for my ultimate build. If you’d like to buy your cyclist a pair of handbuilt wheels they can start at around £200 and go up and up from there. If you do ring someone like Harry if you have the age, weight, bike make and model, brand of gears (look at the bike on the crankset) and the type of riding they do and whether it’s on hills of flat roads, he can probably recommend an option or two (don’t forget to mention if they are fussy or only like the best etc too). Harry’s a very warm friendly guy and will help you choose without trying to sell you the top of the range options.

 A pair of Shimano Dura Ace 7850 CL wheels (approx £500)

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These are beautiful factory built wheels, light, fast, comfortable to ride and they have a tremendous reputation. I’ve always wanted to try a pair of these – so would be over the moon if Father Christmas brought me a pair. Probably one of the best places to buy them in the UK is at Merlin Cycles, whose prices are generally very good (as is their service) – please note though that if your cyclist ride’s a Campagnolo equipped bike these wheels won’t fit:  http://www.merlincycles.co.uk/Bike+Shop/Wheels/Road+Wheels/Factory+Road+Wheels/Shimano+Dura+Ace+7850+CL+Wheels_1492.htm

Winter Bike Frames:

There are lots of choices but if you’d like to help get your favourite cyclist off to a great start on a brilliant winter bike either of these two frames would be ideal. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s just the frame – any keen cyclist will absolutely love working out and choosing all the other bits needed to build it into a full bike.The only catch apart from the prices is that you’ll have to know the right frame size to buy – so you might want to drop some leading questions to find that out or look and see if you can see a size on their existing bike (they should be able to exchange it if you get it wrong).

 A Genesis Equilibrium Frame and Fork (£400)

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These are a fabulous looking steel frame and fork combination that can be bought on their own as well as part of a whole bike

 A Kinesis Granfondo Frameset (£750)

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The Granfondo is more of a winter racer than a trainer and would make a truly fabulous Christmas gift is you have the budget and the urge to spend it. They’ve had fantastic reviews and can be built up into a very nice bike indeed. They can be bought at Wiggle or Chainreaction cycles amongst other places.

Turbo Trainer Gifts and Accessories:

In the northern hemisphere winters there are periods where it’s almost impossible to ride on the road thanks to snow and ice. The answer to this is typically an indoor turbo trainer.If your cyclist already has a turbo trainer any of the following make great accessories and are things they may not already have:

Turbo Trainer Mat (about £40)

Something like goes under the bike and turbo, reduces noise levels and catches sweat, oil etc to help make it all a bit cleaner and easier to tidy up afterwards. Here’s a good buy on one: http://www.ribblecycles.co.uk/sp/road-track-bike/Cycle-Trainers-and-Rollers-Spares-and-Accessories-CycleOps-9708-Training-Mat/CYCOTRAZ240000000000

 DVDs for Turbo Training (about £20)

Riding your turbo trainer is about the dullest part of being cycle fit there is – so these training DVDs can help make something that’s tedious slightly less dull and also increase strength and endurance: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/cts-train-right-climbing-series-dvds/

Bike thong (about £15)

It’s almost as bizarre as it sounds but if you’re sweating away on your turbo – you don’t really want all the sweat dripping all over your bike – so these strange things catch the sweat: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/cycleops-bike-thong-sweat-cover/

Turbo Trainer tyre (about £25)

If you’re going to be using your turbo regularly – you need one of these tyres to stop you from ruining your best road tyres … they also make things quieter and last and last. I’ve found it cheapest to buy them from ebay like here: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/150512998567

A new Turbo Trainer (from £200)

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If want to splash out and buy a turbo trainer as a gift, these are the two I would recommend most: The Cycleops Fluid2 (http://t.co/Dp0Cz1D) or the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine: (http://www.chocolatedistribution.com/Kurt-Kinetic-Road-Machine-Cycle-Trainer) The Kurt retails for £299 and the Cycleops can be bought for between £200 and £230)

I hope you’ve found this interesting and if you have any questions or suggestions; please send me comments or email me with further questions.

Thanks for reading and happy Christmas shopping!