Monday 30 November 2020

Christmas gift ideas for cyclists - 1

We are less than a month away from Christmas - yes that December celebration that I assume won't be cancelled by Covid-19. 

There might be restrictions on mass gatherings, but that won't stop people from enjoying a bit of turkey dinner (or a vegetarian/vegan alternative), overindulging on Quality Streets while watching the Queen's Speech or Home Alone, and of course exchanging gifts. 

So here are a few ideas:

Sealskinz waterproof socks

These are actually waterproof and windproof. The socks have a specific lining which helps to keep your feet warm at this time of year. I have worn these in wet conditions a few times, and I can say they do work. The material is significantly thicker than an ordinary sock, as it is triple layered with a mixture of merino wool, acrylic, and polypropylene. Some might feel the socks are slightly bulky within the shoe. It is important to get exactly the right size, or else your foot won't fit comfortably in the shoe, and you won't get that snug fit that you get with ordinary socks. It's that snug fit that helps to keep your feet warm too. What I like is that the socks are seamless and smooth, to avoid rubbing or blisters. 

Size: S, M, L, XL

Colours: Black/Grey Marl; Grey/Grey Marl; Navy Blue/Grey Marl; Red/Grey Marl.   

Price: £30



Sealskinz cold weather gloves with Fusion ControlTM 

With three layers, including a merino inner layer, a waterproof membrane, and a goatskin outer layer - altogether know as Fusion ControlTM these Sealskinz cold weather gloves aim to keep you warm throughout the winter months. The goatskin on thhe palms of the glove also offer better grip when holding the handlebars. I found these gloves did the job of keeping my fingers warm, when I was out on my rides into the country lanes of Kent. Again, they felt slightly bulky compared with other fabric gloves that I am used to wearing. But that could also have been because they were new. In any case, I would recommend them as they are good quality gloves that do what it says on the tin.

Sizes: S, M, L, XL

Colour: Black, Grey/Black

Material: Outer lining - goatskin leather and softshell; Palm - Goatskin leather plam; Middle layer - 100% hydrophilic membrane; Inner layer - Merino wool.

Price: £75.00


Rapha + Outdoor Voices jersey


I was lucky enough to receive one of these Rapha + Outdoor Voices jersey earlier this year. It was the first Rapha jersey I have had that is not in their signatory bold colours with the band across the chest. This is a much more laid back kind of jersey, with an association more akin to leisure bike riding and relaxing while off the bike. It's a nice light jersey in a silky-style fabric. This shade, like the other shades in the range are more around a rustic kind of look. It may be a little cold to wear this, but it can still be a good gift for when the weather turns fair or even for use while cycling indoors - which I understand many people do.

Sizes: XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL

Colours: Red, green, blue

Price: £120


Canyon Precede:On E-Bike

As this has been the year for people to take to two wheels you might want to consider this as a very special gift for a very well-deserving person. This isn't just an E-bike. It's a Canyon E-Bike. That means it's a high-end piece of kit that will be a cut above other e-bikes. Why? Because it's got automatic gear shifters, so you don't have to change gear when you ride - like with an automatic car. You just set the cadence that you would like to ride at - 85, 80, or 75 rpm - and then the motor programmes itself to find the right gear and power (or torque) to move the bike along via it's Shimano 12-speed derailleur and a belt instead of an ordinary chain. There are other modes to choose from, like Tour, Sport or Turbo. It is all powered by the highest spec Bosch motor that gives a range of around 65 km when ridden in Tour mode. You can get a full-carbon fibre bike, like the one I tried, or you can go for an aluminium version. They also come as step-through or step-over versions. I generally like a step-through as it's handy for if I am wearing a skirt. The bike has other useful touches to it, like mudguards, and a rack that can also attach to a trailer, built-in front and rear lights, a bell, and a kick-stand - which I found especially useful.

This is a high-end bike, and with that comes a higher price than you might usually spend on a bike. In fact, for what the Canyon Precede:On offers it is reasonable value for money. But it is true that for whoever you buy this for, that person will probably mean a lot to you - and that might person might even be you!

Price: £4,699


Biography of racing legend, Beryl Burton

To add to your Christmas reading least, how about the life and times of one of Britain's greatest female cycle racers, the unstoppable Beryl Burton. 

This biography by respected cycle journalist, William Fotheringham looks at the life of the Yorkshire woman who got into cycling after accompanying her husband to races. The book about what her drove her, in a world where women's cycling was a marginal sport, with fewer opportunities for aspiring women racers than there were for men. Nevertheless this didn't stop Beryl Burton from clocking almost 100 victories during the 1960s and 70s and holding the 12-hour record for both men and women! All this was against a backdrop of her having overcome lengthy spells of illness - an inspirational read.

The Greatest: the Times and Life of Beryl Burton (Hardback)

Written by William Fotheringham

250 pages - Published by YouCaxton Publications

Available at Waterstones - Price: £20.00

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