I hesitated to put Christmas in the title as really these items could be given to a cyclist all year round. I know when it comes to birthdays/Christmas etc my friends and family don’t really know what to buy for me. They know I’m mad on cycling and most of the time that’s all they know about it. You then tend to receive, and I know it sounds ungrateful, Items that you will never use. like a box spanner with imperial measurements that only fits bikes up until 1950, a pair of inner tubes- 26″ a sandwich box with cyclist
Its not like you can say “oh I’m saving for a new wheelset” because the gasp of incredulous horror when you mention how much you need to save tends to ruin the moment. It’s at this point I don’t confess that the last tyre I bought for my bike cost more than the tyres on my van
So you can see the problem. They want to buy you something, they don’t want to spend a fortune and you’d like to receive something that will instantly get put on a shelf in the shed and gather dust for the next 15 years.
To try to alleviate the stress on all sides here’s a few items that shouldn’t brake the bank and hopefully any cyclist reading would like to own. You could point the non cyclist present buyer in the direction of this website…..all subtle like.
Firstly, books. Everyone loves a book and here are four editions you should really check out.
Gravel Rides Scotland by Ed Shoote
I reviewed Gravel bikes Scotland earlier in the year and thought this “Gravel Rides Scotland is an excellent book that explores some of the best gravel riding the UK has to offer, the addition of downloadable GPS files is just the icing on the cake. This comprehensive guide is inspiring and makes you want to drop whatever you are doing and go exploring” for the full review click here
Britain’s Best Bike Ride by John Walsh and Hannah Reynolds
Riding from lands end to John O’Groats is probably a route that every cyclist must have heard of. Riders keep reducing the amount of time it takes from getting to one to the other regularly on the recognised shortest route, but what if you didn’t really care how long it took but actually wanted to see lots of things on the way? Britain’s Best Bike Ride is a guide to doing just that. This book gives you the option to take as long as you want (or as quick, there are plans inside for that too) and picks a route that avoids where possible all those awful main roads that quite frankly put me off the whole idea in the first place. Do you really want to slog up the A30? I know I don’t. Britain’s Best Bike Ride guides you on a slightly longer route that takes in back lanes, beauty spots, places of interest and villages that you’d miss on the “official” route. of course, you don’t have to do the route all in one go, you can dip in and out as time and work allows as the sections are broken down into manageable sections. More on road (lane?) than off it can be used with a bit of online study to join up the off road honey spots too. find out more at vertebrate publishing
Great British Gravel Rides by Markus Stitz
Markus Stitz knows a bit about cycling and he knows a bit about route planning, afterall he pedalled around the world on a bicycle with one gear. He also organises the Dirt Dash series of events but even Markus doesn’t know every nook and cranny that can be ridden on a gravel bike in the UK so quite cleverly he enlisted riders from one end of the country to the other who know there area like the back of their hand and it’s those riders routes that make up this guide book. So when it says Great British Gravel Rides you can guarantee they probably are as no one tends to favourite rubbish routes. Get this book and you can tap into local knowledge and get the best riding in the chosen area. Full review here
Cycling Through a Pandemic by Jonathan Heard
This book is quite different from the previous ones listed, This one will not give you routes to follow, there’s no guide to the best places to stay or where your nearest bike shop is but out of all of them I think it’ll be the one to inspire you the most to get out on your bike whatever the weather, circumstance or life event you are currently experiencing.
This book is weighty, it’s a hard back and what used to be called a “coffee table book” but this one isn’t for show or to impress visitors of your reading choice (although I think it will do that too) It’s about ordinary riders in the extraordinary situation that the global Covid 19 pandemic placed every one of us. It’s 350 pages are packed full of stories and experiences of riders who managed to put the world events aside and just glory in the immense mental benefit and joy of a simple bike ride, be it long or short. 10 different stories from 10 different countries will keep you entertained for ages but what will keep you coming back time and time again is the simply stunning photography. The word epic is banded about quite freely these days but this book is worthy of the true meaning of that word.
But, that’s not even the best part. All the profits from sales of the book are sent to the World bicycle Relief fund (at time of publishing this article reaching £6k!) a charity that is a global non-profit charity that mobilises people in developing countries through the Power of Bicycles. Cycling Through a Pandemic can be bought Direct from the author here
Clothing. obviously clothing is a very personal thing and can be very expensive but there’s one item that every cyclist needs in autumn, winter and spring and that’s a hat to put on at the cafe stop to save heat and well. generally look stylish.
This lambs wool beanie from the Hebden trouser Company (HebTroCo) in “pea shoot” green is described by them as a “performance” beanie. I’m not really sure what makes it performance but it is definitely comfortable and despite it looking a really thin material it also keeps you warm. The bonus of the thinness is that the beanie packs down really small so ideal for carrying in a bar bag or back pocket or you could easily wear it under a helmet.
HebtroCo have a unique sense of humour and it’s worth checking out their website even if you don’t intend to invest in a beanie, but you really should, your head and ears will thank you for it, and you can then spend longer sat outside the cafe/pub and that’s just priceless! check them out at HebtroCo
Blowing Hot(and cold air) Even if you’ve upgraded to tubeless (and why haven’t you if not?) you still need to carry a pump. Now, I’m sure you’ve been amused by the bike industry coming up with “e-bike specific” saddles and similar and I did chuckle that this pump from Topeak has “gravel” printed on it. If you look past that and at the details it actually makes sense. The pump has a low and high pressure setting which works because gravel tyres are naturally bigger volume than road tyres and that low pressure setting fills the tyre quickly from completely flat. You then switch to high pressure to finely adjust to your prefered setting. This one has been on my bike in all conditions for a couple of months and has stood up to the rain, spray, mud and even some early autumn heat. It’s one of those things that you forget about until you really need it and so far, when it has come to that situation its up to the task. Its light, has a positive click when engaging with the valve and feels robust enough to last and be there just when you need it.
So there we have 6 gifts that any cyclist would like to receive at any time of the year, I’m publishing it near to Christmas but any of these would make a great present whatever the occasion. they also won’t break the bank so your non cyclist buyer can feel good that they’ve bought something you’ll really use and it won’t empty their purse or wallet.
Copy the page link and use it to guide someone to buy you a great present.
Happy Religious Festival/Birthday/Significant Event or random act of kindness!