The holidays are upon us and that hopefully means cycling gifts you don’t have to pay for yourself. If however, you’re in the giving mood — for yourself, or you know, someone of almost equal importance, here are a few possibilities we’ve discovered.
The commemorative 25th anniversary Hampsten Gavia shirt ($30)
Yup, we’re coming up on 25 years since Andy Hampsten beat the snow and arctic winds and apocalyptic conditions and crushed his rivals on the Gavia to win the Giro d’Italia.
The good folks over at redkiteprayer have put together their own Gavia shirt with the approval of Hampsten himself.
This item is fresh out of the box and most likely you’ll get all the road cred a man could possibly earn without actually winning the Giro.
Leather bicycle wallet ($18)
We ran across this gem on the etsy website. Handmade, handcrafted, 100% cowhide and imprinted with that most wonderful of inventions, the bicycle.
This wallet is the perfect gift because when you’re not sitting on your bike, you can at least sit on your bike wallet and calculate how much more money you need to buy that $550 pair of Assos bib shorts.
They can also custom stamp up to ten words on your wallets. So you can add something inspirational like shut up legs or Merckx is Santa — whatever.
Cycling Evolution pajamas ($40)
For those who spend every waking hour thinking about bikes and every sleeping hour dreaming about bikes. And really, this is more of a gift for your significant other.
You want to cuddle on a cold Winter night, slowly building the erotic fire as you regale him or her with power data analysis from various top pro cyclists as they raced up Alpe d’Huez or Ventoux.
That is sure to laugh you both into wild new sexual territory. Then again, maybe not. Maybe you’re both exhausted from that 2 hours ride and you just want to play Words With Friends and go to bed.
Either way, the Cycling Evolution pajamas — in several colors and patterns — have you covered.
IcebreakerMerino Wool base-layer ($99)
Regular readers of Twisted Spoke know we’re a bit of an Icebreaker evangelist.
We love high tech synthetic fabrics but for the base-layer, we’re full believers in merino wool. You can’t beat something like the Oasis mid-weight base-layer.
It’s super soft, highly breathable and unlike synthetics, doesn’t stink with body odor or fail to insulate once wet.
Icebreaker is tops when it comes to merino quality and fabric construction and a wool base layer is a versatile investment for cycling, skiing or any outdoor sport. Looks great under an unbuttoned flannel shirt, too.
(Lose the half zip and there’s an Oasis crew on a web sale for $56!)
Mio Alpha Heart Rate Sports Watch ($199)
We received a Mio Alpha for review and so far we’re super impressed. First and perhaps most earth-shaking news: no chest strap! Gone, history, ancient technology.
The Mio picks up your heart rate with sensors reading your pulse at the wrist and we can say with 100% proof that it’s as accurate as your strap model. We tested the Mio while wearing a Polar and later, a Sports Instruments chest strap monitor. Accurate within one beat. On that alone, it seems worth the price.
Then it has Bluetooth 4.0 to connect to your smart phone and recharges off your computer with a simple USB connection. We downloaded the Strava Ride app to our iphone 5 and in 2-3 taps, it found the Mio and instantly showed us our heart rate along with all the Strava data. Bang. Love it.
Wheelmen. Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever. ($14 hardcover)
We reviewed this book a week or two ago and it’s on several cycling gift lists.
Definitely worth the read if you want an in-depth understanding of the creation of the Lance Armstrong legend, the money-making machine fueled by greed and corruption at every level.
The two Wall STreet Journal reporters bring a rigorous, well-researched look at the tangled web of relationships and how they all contributed to creating the greatest sports legend of our time and how it all exploded into fiery wreckage with a global debris zone.
Just cozy up to a warm fire with the snow outside and delve into the nasty and ambitious world of Lance Armstrong. It ain’t pretty but it is engrossing.
Hincapie Arenberg Zero Vest ($150)
The vest is so simple and so complicated. It’s in that confusing no-man’s land of performance variables — is it for wind or rain or warmth or racing or instant packability — is it a three season option or dialed for a specific weather condition?
The Hincapie Arenberg Zero is the bad-ass of vests — it’s built for cold and rain — or shall we say a bad day on the cobbles of Arenberg. It appears so well constructed that you could crash in the Arenberg trench and the vest wouldn’t have a mark on it as they drag you away to the ambulance with a broken collarbone and facial injuries.
The robust zipper means business, the cut is form-fitting perfect and the black fabric and textured front give it high marks on the fashion scale. No, it’s not the hyper-light, paper-thin vest that packs down to the size of an iPhone. This is the Roubaix vest for the classics hardman or just us bad-ass guys.
Knog Blinder Road 3 Lights ($95)
We had a bad crash a year ago and the physical consequences could have been catastrophic. Luckily we go off with some road rash instead of a crushed skull. What caused the cash was inadequate illumination — on a dark descent back into town we didn’t pick up the three new potholes until it was too late.
A Knog Blinder Road 3 mounted on the helmet or bars would have solved that visibility problem. It packs a mammoth 300 lumens of light in a lightweight 105g, 100% waterproof, USB rechargeable package. Can you say sweet?
The double LED lights give you wide and narrow beam, high and low — a total of 11 light modes. It also mounts simply and securely with zero fuss. We also appreciate the cool, minimalistic styling. As crash protection on a dark night, the Knog Blinder will keep you in one piece.
Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator ($40)
This is a company we think is brilliant and all their products are worth a try. It’s all-natural plant based sports nutrition.
We’ve been using their Recovery Accelerator for six months and love it. As their website says: “addresses all key elements of post-workout recovery: muscle glycogen replenishment, muscle tissue repair and protein synthesis, hormonal support, soft-tissue repair, immune system support, inflammation reduction and rehydration.” And guess what — we’re addicted to the tropical flavor.
We down a mix bottle immediately after a strenuous weight lifting session or a hard ride. It really does the job and keeps us fresher the next day. Plus, we like knowing this isn’t a lot of processed crap that ultimately is a bad idea.
You should know that the guy behind Vega is Brendan Brazier, a former Ironman triathlete. When Garmin’s Dave Zabriskie wanted to go vegan, he consulted with Brazier. If you’re after clean fuel and clean recovery, Vega is king.