Friday 16 November 2018

Christmas cycling gift ideas - 1

It's that time of the year again, when on-line shopping goes bananas as people go on the hunt for Christmas gifts for their friends, their families or even just for themselves.

Here are some ideas:

The joy of socks!

Primal socks - as seen at the Cycle Show

Socks, socks and more socks. You can never get tired of them. If you're anything like me, I constantly lose them and always end up with odd pairs. Well if you're going to wear odd pairs why not do it in style and flair with a pair from Primal. I love them.

Not sure if it was a good idea, but I wore a pair of them at a cyclocross race recently, thinking they would be fine.

My favourites: Wild ride; HT.A link; Floral Explosion
But by the end of the race they were completely unrecognisable - covered from ankle to toe in mud. Shame really as they were the zany purple and green ones (Wild ride).

Still, at least they looked good on the start-line of the race!

Socks: £8-£15

Don't be afraid of the dark

Light with helmet mount
To enjoy a bike ride at night it pays not just to be seen, but also to be able to see the path ahead.
This Lezyne Macro Duo 700 dual front and rear helmet light could do the trick. The front light has various settings that go up to a maximum 700 lumens, so that's enough to light up a path or road with no streetlights, or a country lane. The rear light is 30 lumens. 

It's a good complement to lights that you have on your bike, whether they are commuting ones for urban streets, or high-power lights for a night mountain-bike ride.

Dual front and back light

I bought these for when riding around country lanes at night. The good thing about a helmet light is it is particularly helpful when going around bends and corners as you get an advanced view of what's ahead, rather than relying on just the light on the bike. These will also come in useful for me when I do the Rapha 500 and ride along gravel tracks. I won't have to stress too much about getting home before nightfall. Mind you, I don't intend being out all night either - I still want to have a bit of a Christmas!

Lezyne Macro Drive Duo 700 Light Set: £70
Available at Sigma Sport -

Irongran: How keeping fit taught me that growing older needn't mean slowing down 
by Edwina Brocklesby

I must declare my interest: I have known Eddie for around 15 years - since when I joined the Serpentine Running Club. She has always been so full of enthusiasm and energy for doing sport, in particular, triathlon. She's done many marathons, including the London marathon on a number of occasions. As if that's not enough Eddie has taken part in Ironman triathlons, including Kona Hawaii, and regularly represents Team GB at the age-group world triathlon and duathlon championships. And she's 75 years young!

This book tells of how Eddie got into running and multi-sport races, and how she was spurred to do even more sports following the sudden death of her husband from cancer. Eddie has always had a positive outlook on life, and in the book she talks about how she juggled her job in social work with all her training. Even with all that going on, she still had the time to set up a charity, Silverfit, which is specifically aimed at people approaching the third age.

Having read the book I would definitely recommend it for anyone into sport - not just older athletes or would-be athletes.

Available at

Bike monthly

Cyclists around Yorkshire
We might live in an age of digital diaries and planners, but there's still a market for arty calendars. So how about this bike-themed 2019 calendar from Lucy Pittaway, the official artist of the Tour de Yorkshire cycle race from 2016 to 2018. 

Her paintings have been a feature over the last three editions of the four-stage race, notably the one of the riders going over Park Rash (Welcome to Yorkshire!), and the ones of them going up the cobbled main street in Haworth (Pedals, passion and glory). 

Lucy has produced a calendar with depictions from different stages of this year's tour. I look forward to hanging it up on my wall next year.

Homeward bound

2019 Cycling Calendar: £14.95

Bikes and Bloomers by Kat Jungnickel

While all the focus in women's cycle racing is on achievements in this contemporary era, some may want to know more about where it all began, and how women got into cycling in the first place. As you can imagine, like many issues around gender, it wasn't an easy task. In fact, back in the 19th century it was even a clandestine activity for the fairer sex.

So with that, women had to dress in such a way that they could hide their bloomers underneath their full flowing skirts and hitch up their costumes quickly when they wanted to go on a bike ride. Bike riding was quite frowned upon back in those days. Some even thought that that, as well as other sporting activities would have a detrimental effect on women's health. So many women felt they had to hide their secret interest in cycling from others. It took a groundswell of radical women to bring about the emancipation of women on bikes (in parallel to gaining the right to vote).  

Kat's book details this story of how this liberation came about, while looking through the prism of the various fashions made available by different female pioneers. It's quite a fascinating read.

Available at

A splash of colour

Tripper Day jersey and Neon Crush warmers
 I have been a fan of the clothing range from Primal for a few years. I have always had a penchant for bright colourful clothing when out on a bike - not just because it helps you be seen by other road users, but just because that's my taste.

The whole wearing black them has never really appealed to me. So it's been the fashion for a few years now, and various brands go for black, but in my humble opinion colour is what it's all about, and lots of it!

So, it you're after kit with lots of zany designs and colour you can't go wrong with Primal. There are jerseys armwarmers and socks (as seen above) in a whole spectrum of colours.

Neon Crush Thermal arm warmers: £20
Tripper Day women's jersey: £50

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