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2016 Christmas Gifts for the Discerning Cyclist

VecchioJo curates some potential presents for the fusspot-belge in your life

It’s getting harder and harder each year isn’t it? They’ve got a whole cupboard of Park Pizza Cutters and the third drawer down in the kitchen is full of Campagnolo corkscrews, there’s enough knick-knacks and dinky homewares with cycling motifs on them to fill several bags to take down the charity shop, but at least those humourously themed cycling t-shirts do make good oily rags. Avoid that uncomfortable forced grin this year by picking something from this scrupulously curated selection of gifts to appease the most persnickety of cyclists.

Café Du Cycliste Jacqueline Fluro Audax Gilet £112.50

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Of course it’s wise to be visible when you’re out on the bike but there’s no need to look like a railway worker or have your hi-viz jerkin flailing in the breeze like a plastic bag caught on a tree, and making roughly the same noise, it can be done with style. Thankfully the Café Du Cycliste Jacqueline gilet manages to be both highly conspicuous and noticeably dapper. A high performance windstoppper gilet there are mesh sides for temperature control and it’s slim cut for non-flappy efficiency on the bike and equipped with two rear cargo pockets for on-the-go essentials, plus the Jacqueline has reflective elements dotted about the place for increased safety.


Phil Wood Keyring £39.50

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Phil Wood have been making some of the nicest cycling components for over 40 years; their shiny hubs, bottom-brackets and little bits of cycling jewelry eliciting low grunting nods of desirability for decades. You might not be able to stump up for a set of their hubs but show the special cyclist in your life that you care with one of these lovely keyrings. They come in a range of colours so you can make sure it matches their bike. They have standards, you know that.


Restrap Link magnetic belt £29.99        

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It may be just a belt, and up there with socks as the most perfunctory and middle-aged of Christmas presents, but the Link is a natty belt. It has a unique and patented magnetic buckle that’s a ridiculously satisfying joy to use. With one single movement the Link can be fastened, removed, loosened and tightened on the go - with just one hand. Magic. The Link has a break strength of 50kg and a ladderlock system for custom size adjustment; it’s handmade in Yorkshire from recycled materials too.


This is Cambridge oversocks £23.50

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The folks at TiC have been gradually upping their kit game since they started making just cycling caps a few years back and these oversocks are the newest addition to their spiffy wardrobe. Made from a durable, densely knitted Cordura blend they offer both good insulation and wind resistance for those colder, dry rides, while still being highly breathable to allay clammy foot. The reflective yarn and pink or orange fluro colours provide excellent “What do you mean you didn’t see me?” visibility. Also, socks for Christmas.


Hackney GT base layer £38.00

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A belt, some socks, and now a nice vest. This Christmas is getting better and better. Well, they call it a base layer…. Made to Hackney GT’s own exclusive pattern that’s cut to a UK tailored fit it’s made from fabric sourced from a pro-team supplier in Belgium. Designed to both remove moisture from the body in the summer and act as insulation in the winter there are three pretty patterns to choose from. Just because it’s a vest it doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty, cycling lingerie if you will. Treat your little princess to something nice.


 Silca Seat Roll Premio £48.00

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The Rules say that a saddle-bag has no place on a road bike but anyone that rides a bike for any considerable distance knows to ignore The Rules and that a seat-pack is quite a handy way of carrying the few essentials that you might require on a ride. Note ‘a few’ - there’s no need for something the size and sway of an elephant’s testicle, unless of course you’re pedaling across a Continent in one go. Silca have removed the ineffective straps and retention hopes of other saddle-bags and replaced them with a BOA dial, you know, that cool thing you have on your shoes, so you can crank that bag right into the saddle so it doesn’t shimmy, rattle or fall off. Made from a waxed canvas and quilted with reflective thread for improved visibility it has 3 pockets for your bits and pieces. Annoy the annoying people that quote The Rules with a smile and style.


Wheels MFG pressfit bearing kit £89.99

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You could get a nice new cordless drill for Christmas to help you eventually put those shelves up in the spare room, but this would be more useful now that all your old technology bottom-bracket tools are obsolete. This professional workshop quality pressfit bearing tool from Wheels Manufacturing is reassuringly heavy and comes with large handles and brass inserts in those handle faces for smooth operation. Each drift is machined with multiple steps to fit all the common bottom bracket shell and bearing diameters. But most of all its red anodised.


Purity “Saddle Black” beer £1.95 a can           

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Saddle Black is a gnarly black beer using Pilgrim, Chinook and Cascade hops to help give a full smoky and citrus aroma. Tasting notes suggest that it’s more flavoursome than an old saddle, with the roasted malts used to craft this tipple giving a taste of chocolate and espresso, whilst the use the of smoked malt give Saddle Black a well rounded finish. The aromas are a mix of black pepper, deep fruits, orange and spices and the mouthfeel is full bodied and complex with a lingering bitter finish. Surprisingly drinkable for its strength it’s best served with dark chocolate and dark fruit puddings, or strong cheddars according to Purity. It’s a beer for after 100 winter miles for sure.


100 Greatest Cycling Climbs – Prestige edition £225.00           

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This isn’t just a picture, it’s a data visualization don’t you know, and a companion piece to Simon Warren’s famous bible -  “100 Greatest Climbs, A Road Cyclist’s Guide to Britain’s Hills”.

The art quality print, printed on museum-grade DaVinci Archival 225gsm stock using fade-free pigment inks, features all 100 climbs featured in the book with each climb’s data listed both horizontally and along radiating lines, redolent of spokes. The horizontal lines chart the height gained, while the radiating lines represent each climb’s distance. The graphs represent Simon’s difficulty rating and are colour matched to the regional sections in the book.

This Prestige edition is heat mounted onto aluminium reinforced Kapa board to provide a high degree of stiffness, it’s then open framed and comes with 100 red push pins allowing you to record each of your climbs by pinning each one. Strictly limited to just 100 copies, each Prestige edition is signed and numbered by Simon. Now, that’s a lot nicer than a “Keep Calm and Pedal On” poster isn’t it?


Cinelli Imperial Leather bar tape £84.00

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You spend most of the time on your bike holding onto your handlebars, so it makes perfect sense to not scrimp on their covering. Cinelli Imperial Leather bar tape is a thick leather wrap that offers comfort as well as style that will improve with age, gaining a patina of suave. Of course the debonair cyclist never crashes, or leans their bike against a wall.


“Mountains” book  £34.95

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“Mountains” is a body of work by photographer Michael Blann that brings 3 year’s work together into a coffee table book that charts Europe’s most famous cycling roads. Using a high definition camera Michael’s images demonstrate the beauty of the mountains and how their roads are transformed with the sights and sounds of millions of fans when the Grand Tours roll through.

Under pinning the photos are essays from such as Romain Bardet, Greg LeMond, Stephen Roche, Geraint Thomas, Lizzie Armitstead, Robert Millar, Andy Hampsten and Ivan Basso who recount their personal recollections and memories from within the pro peloton, and any dedicated cyclist would be happy to add their stories to those.


Rapha Repair Essentials Case £45.00

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This emergency repair kit includes the essentials needed to change a tube*. A pair of Lezyne Power Tyre Levers in a Rapha sheath, Rapha logoed patches with a tyre boot for larger slashes, and a 700 x 20/25c inner tube (also Rapha branded) all housed in a Rapha Lightweight Essentials Case with its ring-pull zip fastening and internal zip pocket. You can justify it by saying the Lezyne Power Tyre Levers are about the best out there, and they’re pink.

*Puncture Mending Valet not included.


Donut Ahead Cap £12.00        

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Don’t be fooled into buying one of the poor copies you may have seen, the discerning cyclist demands the original and best.


A framebuilding course  £1200 + materials

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There’s a lot of bragging rites to turning up on a bike ride with a custom-made bike, that goes off the scale when you’ve designed and made the steel framed machine yourself. There are quite a few frame-building courses about but this one from Reilly Cycleworks allows a maximum of two students per course so you’re ensured personal attention for the 5 days it lasts. Tuition is by Mark Reilly and Adrian Parry, Mark has 30 years experience of building award-winning frames, whilst Adrian joined Reilly from Roberts Cycles in Croydon, where he worked for over 25 years.

On the course you can choose whatever bike frame you want to make; from nippy track frame, through road, touring or cross bike to mountainbike. You’ll then get the choice of Reynolds or Columbus steel tubes and the classic option of a lugged frame, or the smoothness or a fillet brazed joint. Finishing off the build with whatever paint scheme you desire you’ll be able to turn up at the next Sunday ride with more exclusivity and pride in your bike than is actually possible for even the most discerning cyclist to bear without imploding. If that price is a bit spendy just offer to pay for the lugs.

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Jo Burt has spent the majority of his life riding bikes, drawing bikes and writing about bikes. When he's not scribbling pictures for the whole gamut of cycling media he writes words about them for and when he's not doing either of those he's pedaling. Then in whatever spare minutes there are in between he's agonizing over getting his socks, cycling cap and bar-tape to coordinate just so. And is quietly disappointed that yours don't He rides and races road bikes a bit, cyclo-cross bikes a lot and mountainbikes a fair bit too. Would rather be up a mountain.

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