All across the land, sometime on December 25th people will be regretting the time they once said they liked something in a casual offhand remark, and have been given presents based on that ever since.
That time you were twelve when you said you thought owls were cool, and therefore have received strigine-related gifts every year graciously but never actually said anything about it; or you made the mistake of laughing at a Peter Kay joke once, and now you have the annual tradition of having to leave the thoughtfully-gifted DVD close to the television for six months before you sneak it down the charity shop.
Unfortunately as A Cyclist, you can’t escape this situation. You are forever cursed with the belief that you’ll like anything, absolutely anything, related to bicycles.
Anything, absolutely anything with a bicycle on, or something that was merely close to the bike section in Halfords. Despite road.cc being kind enough to offer a healthy selection of Christmas Gift Guides to suit any pocket and cycling discipline for you to pick knowledgeably from, you might still be tempted to go off-piste and buy any of the following as a lovely gift for your cycling companion... but please don’t. Please please don’t. Especially if they ride a bike and said they liked owls once, because that particular niche is strangely well catered for.
On the same day in mid-August that the marketing manager from John Lewis rings up a young wistful female singer based somewhere near Barnsley to ask them if they’ll do a cover of Clarence Carter’s “Back Door Santa" for their festive advert, the tired old janitor in the Park Tools factory reaches over to a dusty switch and flicks it to On.
Yep, the Park Tool Pizza Cutter is a Christmas classic. There are no statistics on what percentage of them are sold in the month before Christmas, despite our extensive research taking us to page 5 on Google, but we’re guessing it’s all of them.
Every cyclist has at least one of these. They don’t need another.
An item of festive fun clothing you can only wear for a week a year at the most... such wackiness. Although you might get more use out of an owl jersey.
While to the cyclist giver’s eyes it looks small, compact, full of useful features, easy to store in a back pocket or tool pouch and the perfect gift... sorry to rain on your gift-buying parade, but it's a cheap bit of stamped metal where very few of the tools will work on a modern bike.
Those that might are specifically designed to round off, bend or scratch anything they touch on a bicycle, and then take a gouge out of one of your knuckles on the way out. While you’re not looking at the Park Pizza Cutter, buy any of the other Park tools as a gift instead. Any one of them, we promise it will be better than this. Although ironically, this does look like it might make a functional pizza cutter...
Just because the person you like enough to give something to at Christmas likes bicycles, we repeat: it does not mean that everything they own needs to have a bicycle on.
It would be nice that you might know well them well enough to understand that they are quite likely to have a well rounded personality that’s mature enough to harbour many and varied interests, and there’s an entire world of non-cycling related gifts they would appreciate. So, maybe pass on that tie/mug/t-shirt/candle with a bicycle slapped on and choose something completely different instead. Although come to think about it, I have met a few people on bikes who are the exception to this rule.
The market is awash with things that have been designed for putting on a bicycle by people who have never ever ridden a bike, but think people that do would benefit from.
Usually, it's some kind of ‘safety’ feature. Cycling indicator products like gloves are a classic of the genre, as are indicator helmets and indicators on seat posts, or indicators that fit on forks, and rucksacks with indicators, and handlebar-mounted indicators... you get the idea.
Someone trying to be useful comes up with a new indicator design and placement idea every six months, and has seemingly never done the basic research to find out that a very similar bicycle indicator system launched six months ago has disappeared without a trace. You can put 'safe bicycle infrastructure' on your Christmas wish list as many times as you like, but your auntie will still get you indicators instead...
These are the days of reuse, recycle and repurpose, and it’s a very worthy approach to adopt across all aspects of our lives, there’s no argument here. Apart from bike bits, that is. There’s a reason why they’ve been thrown away, and it’s because they’re worthless bits of rusty bent metal.
This doesn’t stop any number of gifts being made available that look like the creator has been let loose in your spares bin. In my humble opinion, reuse, recycle and repurpose is a smug delusion, because making something out of an old bike bit merely briefly delays its inevitable journey into landfill via a lengthy period in the third kitchen drawer down.
This thoughtful art piece made out of old bike chains is almost a road.cc Christmas tradition now; we just can't not include it in this guide when it comes to selection time.
I’m not sure if this has started a trend, but dogs made out of chains seems to have become quite The Thing now. It's understandable really, as the market for Things With Dogs On is absolutely huge, and the market for Things With Bikes On is pretty healthy so the shaded bit between the two has definitely got to be worth tapping into.
There’s also the lucrative bicycle/owls crossover...
This is prime Secret Santa material, so expect this if you’re The Cyclist in the office.
It’s a fun bike thing, it’s about a tenner, you get to put it together, and you love tinkering with bikes, don’t you! Things move and look, and it even comes with a track pump.
Surely you’re going to cherish it. Spend seven minutes putting it together whilst on hold to HR, where it can then sit in your desk for a couple of years becoming a place to hang rubber bands, before you eventually throw it in a bin when you move floors. Then, many decades after your death the mini track pump will have made its way along the refuse chain to float in the Indian Ocean, where it chokes a baby turtle. Some gifts do just keep giving...
We have all had moments where we’ve caught ourselves gazing lovingly at our bicycles. Whether that needs to be celebrated with a piece of furniture that proclaims to turn your bike into a spectacular work of art is probably a discussion to be had, especially between yourself and your partner.
When some Ikea boxes and a hook screwed into the wall just won’t do, this storage system for your bike and all your cycle related stuff has been created, it says here, to blend beautifully into the most sophisticated surroundings. Designed to be the most efficient organiser, it’s equipped with a selection of drawers to stow clothes and bits and comes with wooden pegs to hang accessories off. But the take-my-money feature is the stylised handlebar-shaped clothes rail made of satin stainless steel, which incorporates a touch-sensitive and dimmable LED lamp which casts an evocative light on your machine, showcasing it as the work of art it is.
Who are we kidding? No-one is ever going to get this bought for them at Christmas, and it looks like they never will, because the above OTT system is no longer available at the time of writing. You can grab a vertical bike stand from the same brand for a shade over a grand though, bargain...
There are socks for cycling in, and socks with cycling on... and it’s important to know the difference when choosing this most traditional of Christmas gifts.
When perusing the choices, there are pages upon pages upon pages of the former to suit all ride occasions and disciplines. So why you would bypass all of these, which can just as easily be worn off the bike, for something that just lets anyone who glances at your ankle know that you ride a bike in your spare time is something we’d have to have a quiet chat about while I do the washing up and you do the drying...
The Campagnolo Corkscrew used to be second only to the Park Tool Pizza Cutter as the go-to Christmas gift for cyclists, but it has fallen from grace recently as a result of both Campagnolo and wine corks being something you might have to explain to younger riders.
Just in time to purchase for the cyclist who has everything, Campagnolo have launched a limited edition version of their iconic corkscrew with a fancy gold plating that costs a handsome €1,950. This is about ten times more than their standard version, which isn’t cheap for a bottle opener either.
To sommarise, you’ve either got to like your wine or your Italian bike components quite a lot. I’m happy for you not to buy this for me and put the money towards the winter heating bill instead.
You in cycling kit, but as a small cuddly cushion. This is ready to become sentient in the middle of the night and leave the house to wreak bloody vengeance upon anybody who has stolen your Strava KOMs, maybe using the Cyclists Tool as a weapon. Sleep tight everyone!
What Cycling Thing do you not want to see under the tree this Christmas? Let us know in the comments as always...
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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.