2013 Gift Giving Guide for the Cyclist in Your Life

Time’s speeding like a first-place contender in the Tour de France. I don’t actually know how fast that is, but you know what I mean. Thanksgivingkah is just about here and Christmas isn’t far behind. What to give your favorite cyclist?

First, my gift to you: A trail mix recipe. On the bike it’s a delicious, fortifying, real-food snack. Off the bike it’s just as good. Mix together 1 c dried berries, 1 c slivered or sliced almonds raw or roasted (unsalted), 1/2 c roasted shelled sunflower seeds, 1/2 c roasted shelled pumpkin seeds, and 1 cup of Sunspire candy chips or M&Ms.

Variations: Adjust proportions as you like. You can’t go wrong. Try other dried fruits and nuts.

Keeping in mind the rapid march of time, we’re only recommending things that you can get within the next 5 weeks.

Nancy’s Choices

For Warmth

I’m a big fan of wool when it’s the non-itchy kind. Here are some wool items that I’ve biked with and liked:

Ibex Knitty Gritty gloves $25 — these medium weight gloves have grippy stuff on the palms. They aren’t padded, in case that’s important to the gift recipient. I use them on cool days for non-bike activities and on cool or cold days for biking. When it’s seriously cold they aren’t warm enough though.

Ibex Sport Half Zip $120 — Ibex doesn’t make any petite clothing and this sweater though too long on me. I wear it even so as it makes a versatile, non-bulky layer. I use it on it’s own over a jersey in cool weather and as a layer under a jacket when it starts getting colder. It has a small zipper pocket on the sleeve which can maybe hold some dollar bills or a key. It’s not really a very practical pocket.

Ibex 3/4 El Fito $145 — Love these. I use them when temperatures start dropping below 50 and when they’re as low as in the 20’s. I haven’t tried them in weather colder than that.</p

Ibex Woolies 150 bottoms:  $70 This thin base layer can be worn under bike pants or with off bike clothes, too.

Buff — Start at $33 for the wool version. I have one of these in a tech fabric and one in merino wool. I like the feel of the wool one better but they both are wonderful. This versatile tube of fabric is lightweight and easily stuffed into bike bag or pocket. It an serve as a head cover, ear band, face cover or neck warmer.

Silk Long Underwear – $34 at Lands End. these of course are available from a number of retailers, but I’ve only tried Lands End’s. They have lasted for years. Like most of the other clothing I’ve recommended these are useful both on and off-bikeThey make a great, nonbulky layer under work clothes and bike clothes and they’re great for travel. They can be hand washed and will line dry overnight.

Rivendell long sleeve merino t-shirts – $60 They are made for men and are long and a bit loose on me, but they are so comfortable. In warm weather they are great on their own. In cold weather they make a great, non-bulky layer under a sweater.

Carrying stuff:

Wald Wire Basket $23 — a multipurpose, endlessly useful basic basket

Arkel Tailwind rear bag $115 — Roomy, lightweight, and visible, attaches via sturdy Velcro straps to most rear racks. It doesn’t pair with my Swift panniers though I’m told that it’s possible with some patience to use it with Arkel panniers.

Swift Short Stack Panniers $230 — You can probably get a set of ready-made ones in time for Christmas. I’m pretty sure it’s too late for a custom order, but check with them. I toured with mine this summer and loved them. For an inn-inn summer tour they are more than roomy enough. For entirely self-supported touring or colder weather you might need to add a set of front panniers. They are waterproofed and close with a drawstring, using fabric that is at least water-resistant. The pocket in the removable lids provides extra cargo capacity but is not waterproof. This made me a little nervous so I packed my belongings in water -resistant sacks. We didn’t get much rain on that tour so their water proofness wasn’t put to the test. Outer pockets provide additional carry ing capacity for water bottles and anything else you want to keep at hand.

Vaya Bags Medi Messenger Bag $150 — I’m not a huge fan of carrying stuff on my back when cycling. However for light loads and short trips, a messenger bag can be more comfortable and easier to use than a backpack. This bag is thoughtfully designed, good looking, stable and comfortable. It’s from recycled bike tire tubes and sturdy sun cloth. http://www.vayabags.com.

Brooks B–17S @$100 — My favorite. I presently have 3 bikes and this is the saddle I use on each of them.

Skin Care

Dry, cold winter air can cause chapped lips, very dry skin and patches of eczema. I recommend Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm,  about $3.30 at various online and brick & mortar stores, Badger Lip and Body Balm, $3.99 also at many retail outlets, and Extreme Alaskan Mountain Momma’s Balm, $12.00. This last is available through Silver Bear Sundries  for $16 including shipping. It’s exclusively available in the lower 48 at Buffalo Valley Outfitters, Lewisburg, PA. This is my sister’s and brother-in-law’s store, by the way. If you don’t live near there, check out their web site at www.bvogear.com. They are the new owners of this sporting goods shop. I don’t see the balm on the website yet. If you’re interested in getting  it from them you can use the contact info at the bottom of their web page.

John’s Choices

Get Lost Adventure Kit $235 — the Paloma handlebar bag, a couple of water bottles, a Rothera cycling cap (I love his caps very comfortable), and a bandana. Not a bad collection for the price.

Berthoud Touring saddle $209 — I love this saddle. I have been a Brooks fan and remain one. But I bought one of these based on Boulder Bikes 6-month promise that if you don’t like it then you can return it. It is pricey but it is amazingly comfortable right from the start. I would highly recommend it as a perfect gift for the retro-grouch on your list who is not a racer type.

Brooks Swift saddle @$180 — I know I just said that the Berthoud is the best saddle but if you are more of a racer than a tourist type of cyclist. This is a fine saddle. It takes quite a while to break in. I have several hundred miles on mine but it has just begun to get comfortable. But if you have trouble with chafing with a B17 this is a great saddle.

Swift Rando bag $210  I got this bag for my Rivendell Rambouillet rather than a trunk bag. It is made in America (Seattle) and is very well built and reasonably priced depending on which size you get. I have the smaller one (I have a 52cm bike) and it easily holds what you would need for a longish day ride or as a great small bag in a touring set up. It has a great map pocket, a front pocket, and two side slits. I have used it as a century ride bag and have ordered a second one for the Atlantis as a touring bag. Swift has released a new handlebar bag, the Paloma bag that uses the KlickFlix mounting system. I am not a big fan of handlebar bags actually being mounted to the handlebars but if you are okay with that I think this would be a great bag and it is $60 cheaper.

Ibex Duo shorts $120 — I have been a big fan and remain one for Boure shorts but these are very comfortable and work in both Baltimore’s extreme summer heat and chilly fall weather. They are cheaper than the really high-end shorts and a bit more than the Boures at but I have a pair that are two years old and still look great.

Rapha Club Jersey $120 — now this is pricey at regular price but I got mine for $120. Still a lot for a jersey but it is again incredible comfortable and has a lot of thoughtful ideas. It has a zippered pocket that is great for your wallet/phone. You want that stuff close by and safe but you don’t need it during the ride per se. It looks great and feels great and now its on sale for $110 if they have your size.

Rapha Essentials case $65 — this is a good stocking stuffer assuming you are okay with spending $65 for a stocking stuffer. This murse (I am calling it as I see it) will hold your wallet and your phone easily unless you have one of those dorky, giant Samsung phablets. I love mine.

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