By Rob Spedding
Christmas lists for cyclists
As it is for anyone with a hobby, Christmas is a time to fear for cyclists. There's a high chance that unimaginative relatives will think that you really need a 'World's Greatest Cyclist' mug in your life or that a Halfords inner-tube is the perfect gift for the cyclist who has everything. Add some of these to your letter to Santa, though, and you'll get something actually worth unwrapping.
Now, why not check out this informative video whilst you're here?
Endura FS260 Pro Roubaix Skullcap • £15
A skullcap worn under your lid is an essential on cold winter rides. Endura's FS260 is made from stretchy, snug and super-warm Roubaix thermal fabric. It'll tuck discreetly under your helmet without compromising it's brain protecting properties.
Vulpine Merino Boxers • £45
If your commute isn't particular long, or you don't like going to the office in Lycra, then cycling-specific pants are perfect. Vulpine's undercrackers have a slim, subtle pad to give a little bit of protection to your old fella, during the ride to work, but not leave you walking around the office as if you're in a full nappy. The Merino wool wicks brilliantly and doesn't get smelly.
Specialized S-Works Evade • £160
As they're a 'safety' product, helmets might not make an especially sexy present, unless you're into that kind of thing. Specialized's Evade is as saucy as lids come, though. It's an aerodynamic skid-lid designed for pros including Mark Cavendish. Yes, it'll protect your bonce in a crash, but according stats from Specialized's wind-tunnel-dwelling boffins, it can make you up to 46 seconds quicker over 25 miles compared to a normal helmet. Worth a try, we suppose.
Rapha merino socks • £35 for three
Christmas isn't Christmas if you don't get a pack of socks, so you might as well ask for some good ones. Rapha's merino patterned socks are apparently inspired by barbershop poles, but that aside they're soft, incredibly comfortable and like Vulpine's pants benefit from Merino wool's wicking and anti-odour properties.
Muc-Off Athlete Performance Range • From £15
Cyclists have been cleaning their bikes and chortling at the hilarious ribaldry of the Muc-Off brand since the early 1990s. The firm now does a lot more than cleaning gear, however, not least because they're partners with the notably demanding Team Sky.
The Athlete Performance range is for riders, not bikes. Developed with sports scientists, it consists of creamy products for smearing on your chamois and rubbing on your muscles to help you warm up, and to recover faster. A bundle of four is available for £72.
Below The Belt gift set • £20
The clue is in the name, as that's where Below The Belt's products are designed for. You've got to admire the cojones of a company that makes something called Fresh And Dry Balls – essentially a gel that keeps your knackers in good shape, all day. The Waterless Shower is really useful if you ride to work and don't have access to an actual shower, while the Sports Lubricant is something all cyclists should use before long rides.
Topeak Joe Blow Sport II • £37
Any proper cyclist needs a track pump in their life. Forget spending 20 minutes pumping up your tyres with a mini-pump until they're just a little bit harder than flat; a track pump with a gauge lets you inflate your rubber to exactly the right pressure in just a few strokes.
The Joe Blow is a brilliant example, being both robust and excellent value. Blow me!
Lezyne Mini GPS • £110
Technology means that we can easily over-complicate cycling and overload our tiny brains with too much on-the-road data. Lezyne's Mini GPS means that you can still have tech on your bike without information overload. It's only 50mm by 35mm to help keep handlebar clutter down but will provide essential stats – speed, distance, time, and elevation.
You'll get even more useful data once you sync with Lezyne's app, and it's also compatible with cycling app du jour, Strava.
Secret Training Race Day Care Kit • £50
No-one expects full wellness spa facilities at cycling events, but even cold showers are still a luxury at most. Hoorah for the Race Day Care Kit, then. It's perfect for a cheeky scrub up in the car park after nailing a hundred miles, with micro-fibre towels and minty Post Race Wash spray helping freshen you up nicely. Other useful items in the pack include lip balm, sunscreen and 'hygienic wipes'. Eww.
Leave it in the car and never get caught with a sweat on.
Sugoi Zap Jacket • £100
During the day, Sugoi's Zap Jacket looks like a normal,nicely understatedrain jacket, but after dark it takes on a whole new identity. The waterproof coat is shines like a glow-worm with a torch up it's arse,when car headlights catch it. This is thanks to thousands of reflective glass beads embedded in the fabric.
Cannondale Hooligan 1 • £750
If the cyclist in your life has been REALLY good, consider buying him or her an actual bike. Cycling maths state that if N is the number of bikes you have, then N+1 is the number you need, after all. Find a Hooligan under the tree and memories of getting (or not getting), their first BMX will come flooding back. It's a three-speed, attention grabbing urban bike that will add a whole heap o' fun to even the most tawdry and tedious commute.
Polaris Cascade waterproof socks • £32
Wet feet don't have to be a given when riding this winter. Polaris' Cascades look like regular Merino riding socks, but they have a waterproof membrane that'll keep the worst of the rain out. They're also sufficiently expensive that gratitude levels should be through the roof, at least by receiving-socks-on-christmas-day standards.