Twisted holiday: Best gifts for road cyclists.
Just based on the road mileage you’ve ridden this year, you deserve a few things. After all, who better than you to select that perfect gift for that special person this holiday season? Get out the credit card and let’s indulge in a little merited wish fulfillment. Here is my top ten so far ….
The MissionWorkShop Trigger Jacket ($285)
Oh, it’s expensive until you consider what Assos will charge for a bootie. We know nothing about this San Francisco company other than the essential: their stuff looks bad-ass. The Trigger is just one of several pricy but dazzling and stylish rain gear options. This is for the money-no-object crowd or for the guy who just wants that one killer piece the redefines or accentuates his whole conceptual package. Check their sh**it.
Hill Killer long sleeve jersey ($80)
This is a mandatory and one look at the Hill Killer design will confirm your agreement. What other jersey would you ever consider other than this in-your-face affirmation of wattage and intent? Yeah, you could go with the Castelli option but what are you saying? What are you willing to die for? Nothing. The Hill Killer is a motivational force and your go-to-mountain jersey. ‘Nuff said.
Defeet Woolie Boolie ArmSkins ($29.99)
The Woolie Boolie socks have been our default winter sock for ages. They’re warm, they age well and they’re not as thin skinned as most cycling socks so they fill up our Sidis to perfection. The Defeet Armskins are just as sweet and warm. As much as we lust after and adore the latest petrochemical technical wear, wool is often the right choice for a wide number of reasons.
Rapha Classic bib shorts ($220)
These bibs redefine what plush means in cycling apparel. Winter is for those long, endurance base miles and this Rapha Classic bib is the butts-down winner in the four hour comfort contest. The pad is just pure luxury, like a black caddy that will barrel down the road forever on cruise control. Rapha is the call when you tell the wife not to expect you back home for quite some time. Bonus: Rapha has done a better job of marketing their “passion” for the long road than anyone. You get the plush ride and the badge of authenticity.
Tyler Hamilton’s Secret Race ($20)
If you read both the Lance Armstrong books and got all inspired and empowered then you owe it to your revisionist guilt to rebalance things. The Hamilton-channeled-through-Danial Coyne book is a fantastic read and will give you every insight you’ll ever need into the sordid, scary and weird world of pro doping at the highest level. Fact is, Coyne is 100 times the writer that Sally Jenkins will ever be. His earlier book Armstrong’s War is THE definitive account. The USADA Reasoned Report showed that Armstrong was not only a doper but a bully. Hamilton tells that story in the most personal and powerful way.
SKINS compression leg sleeves ($90)
Skins Marketing guy Jamie Fuller pulled off the free advertising PR coup of the century when he filed his lawsuit against UCI president Patrick McQuaid. But on further review the SKINS man is a passionate advocate for clean cycling — you can tell by the number of times he says F**k in every interview. We’ve been testing the SKINS leg sleeves for a month and we love them. If you’re a young racer, then you ned SKINS to upgrade your recovery program. If you’re an aging hammerhead, the benefits get even bigger. I live in my SKINS and they’ve also made me feel so much sexier when I slip into bed with the wife. This holiday throw some love to your road weary legs.
Subscription Cycle Sport magazine (13 issues/$50)
Why am I recommending this Xmas cycling gift? Because I write for them on a regular basis and they are the kings of pro cycling magazine brilliance. We’ve written over a dozen stories for these pros and there is nobody you want ordering wine in Montpellier on a rest day in the Tour other than Ed Pickering and Lionel Birnie. The writing is insightful and the photos are hors category. Plus you can also order it for less on your iPad.
Garmin Edge 200 and Strava ($129)
What’s the one purchase that has changed our road biking life in the last year? Our Garmin 200 and a Strava account. Let us be the last person on earth to tell you that Strava is super cool and Garmin has the best device. Just get with the program. The interface is fabulous and once you’re in, you’re addicted. All Garmin units are near-Apple in their simplicity and intuitive usage and Strava is just crazy fun. Especially if you tend to ride solo, the community and competition and motivation that Strava builds into the experience is several tons of fun.
Capo Thermo-Roubaix gloves ($45)
The stocking stuffer deluxe. Other than Assos and Castelli, you’d be hard pressed to find a company turning out more beautiful and functional and sexy cycling gear than Capo. Their top end Drago and Padrone lines are drool-worthy and yet you will still save over those outrageous Assos prices. We’ve been wearing the Thermo-Roubaix gloves for the last month and now we’re officially married. These are super windproof but so svelte and well-fitted that you could wear them performing at a piano recital or dealing blackjack in Vegas. If you want a little introduction to the world of Capo, raise your hand.
Road ID Sport ($15 – $30)
Two weeks ago we had the worse road crash we’ve ever had. A downhill decent in near darkness on a rough road made worse by a recent storm. We hit a pothole 2 inches deep and went down hard. We could have broken our wrist and collar bone, shattered our jaw, ripped open our face and cracked our head and spent the rest of life in a wheelchair. Several small miracles occurred and we walked away with nothing more serious than road rash. But it was a scary reminder that crashes are inevitable and a Road ID is your best shot at making sure the paramedics know who to contact. I highly urge you to buy one immediately as I did yesterday. There is just no excuse for not.