We’re being polite here and calling them discerning, but in reality they’re absolutely impossible, especially when it comes to present buying.
That t-shirt you bought them last year is long since an oily rag because the design on the front was of a climb they haven’t ridden, those nice espresso cups with the World Champion bands on are untouched in the back of the cupboard because they’re not the World Champion, and let’s not talk about the time you bought them a bike-shaped pizza cutter. That was a quiet Christmas wasn’t it? They went on lots of long rides didn’t they? Ensure the right kind of peaceful Yuletide with the discriminating cyclist in your life by choosing from one of these painstakingly curated items.
Calculating how much pasta a cyclist wants for their supper is always tricky; do they want a lot, or more? Runwell are a company from Japan that makes a range of absolutely exquisite tools and these wrench shaped spaghetti measures take the guesswork out of essential post ride portion sizes. Although we all know that For 4 equals For 1.
Cartes du Tour is a sumptuous cartographic history of the world’s greatest cycle race, chronicling the way the Tour de France route maps have evolved over time, not only plotting the route but also the history of the race and that of the country it traverses. Written by famed cycling author Paul Fournel and with a foreword from Christian Prudhomme (the current director of the race), the book isn’t just a graphic history of the Tour but with incisive writing the book weaves an impression of how the Tour has developed during those three weeks in July.
Cartes du Tour has a map for all 105 editions of the TdF hunted down via shops, flea markets and internet auction sites and ASO, the Tour’s owners, allowed access to their archive of road books, maps and associated resources in order to cover every edition since the Tour’s start in 1903. Something to get lost in whilst the Strictly final is on.
Cyclists of a certain persuasion will go on about the benefits of a post ride massage, which is where Palermo Rosa oil comes in. It’s blended from nine specific oils to act as a restorative aid from the stress and fatigue of training and racing with lavender and geranium essential oils chosen to help your mental balance and physical recovery. Whilst you can add a few drops of Rosa to a bath or rub a small amount directly onto the sides of your head before sleep to benefit from the unique sedating and relaxing properties of the oils it’s best rubbed into the legs where any recovery benefits will be outweighed by them looking and smelling awesome.
This isn’t just a cycling computer, it’s a high precision measuring instrument that looks like it’s been ripped from a World War 2 fighter plane. In stark contrast to the screen (oh, the omnipresent screen) of most devices people bolt to their handlebars that spew out an ever scrolling (oh, the omnipresent scrolling) flow of information the Omata’s old-school dials show only the essential ride information of speed, distance, elevation, and ride time. Remember when computers just did that and it was fine?
The Omata is encased in a tough aluminum housing where all the gubbins hide and via some sort of steampunk magic convert GPS signals into rotary mechanical movement to show ride information via the various display dials. Luckily those modern internals allow you to download your ride to whatever application you chose, let’s say Strava, when your ride is over.
The Omata One comes in two variants: metric with a grey dial, and imperial with white and did you notice that the speed you’re most likely to be hovering around on a ride, 18mph/30kph, is placed right in the eyes-ahead 12 o’clock position on the face. Nice that.
For the cyclist that’s always going away on training weeks (or as we know them, holidays), or for that bike-packer that likes to go against the trend and ride without a beard this mini shave kit is perfect. Taking up little room in a bag with 15ml of Pre Shave Cream, a 10ml tube of Shave Cream, 25ml of Aftershave Balm and a mini natural bristle shaving brush there’s all you need to remain stubble free and with the cream’s Eucalyptus and Menthol formula feeling refreshed too. Also good for legs.
Petrichor - the smell that accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather. Anyone that rides the roads will know that very particular smell as it carries up from the tarmac, and now the dedicated roadie can exude that aroma in this fragrance that tries to emulate that evocative outdoors moment.
It’s a scent that comes not from the air but from the ground as rain hits and perfumes from oils that plants have released into the soil are liberated alongside other earthy aromas. And as moist air transmits odors far better than dry air it is in the first fall of rain that we notice them most, a sensory moment that Demeter Fragrance Library’s “Rain” cologne captures.
There is also the deeper question of why we find that smell of rain pleasant in the first place, and there is a theory that we associate the scent with the color green from somewhere deep in our evolutionary history, hinting at the link between a season's first rain and the expectation of plant growth and associated increase in animals, both crucial for food and survival. A cultural synesthesia if you will, a blending of different sensory experiences to form a collective consciousness of smell. You don’t get that with Lynx Africa.
Café du Cycliste say this hooded jersey is designed for gravel use and with unbeaten tracks in mind. The Solenne comes with all the technical aspects of a cycling jersey of warmth, breathability and three rear pockets but with the casual styling of a hoodie with a more relaxed fit, drawstring hood and front pockets. Good enough to look stylish both out in the wilds and crunching across the gravel of a pub car-park.
Socks for Christmas used to be the boring but useful thing you got for that person you didn’t know what to give. Second only to the scented candle in that respect. Things have changed now and socks are very much an important part of one’s attire for the discerning cyclist. There’s an arms race involved in turning up to the ride with a new pair of socks in a fresh and unique design, they call it the sockgame (with a hashtag) but it’s very much not a game, at all. Socks match top match handlebar tape. There’s a vast array of brands and styles to choose from but these from Pongo London (Pongo stands for Passion ON the GO rather than anything sock whiff related, they say) are both stylish and esoteric enough to win on all fronts. For now we’ll take these sustainably sourced Italian merino winter ones available in a selection of contrasting colours to match your kit, but we’d happily save any of the other designs in the sock drawer for summer months.
If your cyclist isn’t into socks (unlikely) they might be into caps (definitely). And coffee (absolutely). Luckily Look Mum No Hands in that there London can help with their Sweetshop Bundle of a LMNH cycling cap and bag of Seasonal Espresso coffee. The cap is exclusive to this coffee bundle; made in Italy, covered in a colourful pattern of fruits and sweets and features the LMNH and Square Mile logos with "ENJOY" on the peak. The 350g bag of whole coffee beans comes from award winning Square Mile coffee with an ever changing blend that’s always sweet and characterful to create a fun, wildly complex and fruit-driven espresso. A cap and coffee, now there’s a damn fine Christmas.
There’s nothing more discerning than telling someone they’ve been doing it wrong for years. Most people assume that the limit screws on Shimano derailleurs are adjusted with a standard cross-head screwdriver, and for the most part they’d be right enough, any old small Phillips will happily do the job, once you’d poked the crud out the heads. Even a teeny flat screwdriver if you’re struggling for tools. But that would be Wrong, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. Shimano limit screws have always been JIS (Japanese Industrial Standard), which looks the same but is oh so subtly different to a Phillips screwdriver. One tweak with a JIS screwdriver and you’ll see. The pleasingly weighty aluminium handles on this Park tool are knurled for tender grip and a depression in the end gives you somewhere to rest a thumb for delicate adjustment pressure. This should have your cyclist friend scurrying for the shed to play with this for hours, allowing you to settle down for post pudding port and a snooze in perfect tranquility.
We all have a favourite jersey hung forlornly in the cobwebbed corner of the wardrobe or at the bottom of the pile that’s no longer worn but you just can’t part with. It might not be this year’s team, it might have a few holes or it (ahem) might not fit any more but it has some tug of sentimental value that never sees it thrown out. Send such a jersey (clean please) to VeloCulture and they’ll upcycle it into a lovely cushion. You can even keep the TV remote in a pocket.
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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 road.cc 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.