We all know one don’t we? If you get them some socks they’ll not only be the wrong colour, but the wrong length, the wrong wool/polyester mix and most likely the wrong brand. And that’s just socks, everything they own has gone through a long and exhaustive selection process that involves exclusivity, style, and an exacting and personal combination of criteria that you can only blindly and hopelessly guess at emulating. Ensure whatever you get that awkward, difficult, fussy, picky and critical cyclist (although they would just say they’re particular) in your house isn’t on ebay by the time the Queen's Christmas Message is on by picking from the list below. There are no socks.
Reynolds 753 T-shirt £25.00
Uninspired by the perpetual cycle of motivational and witty (maybe) bon-mots that grace the usual cycling t-shirt or don’t feel the need to have a map of a mountain on your chest? Then this less cloying way of showing your cycling allegiance down the pub might be more your style. Harking back to a time when a steel bike was all there was rather than somehow justified by being more real than anything else an embroidered version of a Reynolds 753 steel tubeset frame sticker oh-so-subtly graces the front of this 100% cotton t-shirt. A Reynolds 531 t-shirt is also available, but show that you’re thinner, lighter and just a little more sophisticated than anyone that might wear one of those with this one. From alwaysriding.co.uk
Fassa Race-Day Bag £175
Race days can be a bit of a panic. Where did I put my shoes? Where are my gloves? Do you have a spare safety-pin? The Fassa Race Day Bag has been designed to help you arrive at the start line stress free with a unique 6 bottle holder tray (two for pre-race, two for race and two for recovery, replace any with beer as necessary), and room for your helmet, shoes and race kit. Made in limited numbers in Dorset the roll-top opening and bright orange interior ensures kit and kipple are quickly accessed and found. Made from a hardwearing 600 Denier Polyester with a PU coated internals it’s easily cleaned of mud, sweat and disappointment. From fassa.cc
Knob of Happy Bottom Bum Butter £3.50
Looking for a stocking-filler for that picky person in your life? This works on a couple of levels. A weekend away of riding, or going to a race and just need to take a finger or two of chamois cream? This 10g knob of Happy Bottom Bum Butter is just the thing when you don’t want to pack a bit pot of lube. Made just up the road from Charlie The Bikemongers in Dorset from 100% natural ingredients Bum Butter is also vegan friendly. Packed with clove oil to help with pain relief, Egyptian geranium oil to repair any damaged skin and with tea tree oil to act as an antiseptic and keep things downstairs anti-bacterial, we liked it. Speak to Charlie.
A bespoke saddle
Does the dearest in your life have an old, much ridden and worn, loved but tatty saddle that’s sadly detracting from the look of their bike? Grafton Saddler can reupholster it into something beautiful. Using traditional shoemaking techniques and quality natural leather each piece is designed, hand cut, punched and stitched in their Shoreditch workshop and if you can’t quite stump up for a saddle renewal they can also do you a bespoke wrap of bar-tape. Your cycling bae could be the only person on the ride with a saddle covered in stingray leather, imagine that. Grafton Saddler
Mavic neutral service replica car £40.00
It’s not a toy if you keep it in its box and call a collector’s item right? This is a replica 1/43 scale model of the original Renault 504 car as used by Mavic when they first provided mechanical support to the professional peloton. It is a toy if you spend the EastEnders omnibus on Christmas afternoon driving it all over the Col de Sofa. From rouleur.cc
Cactus Tongue SSL-ROADIE Bike Hanger £129.99
The discerning cyclist requires something as elegant and beautiful as their bike to hang their pride and joy out the way, or more likely to make it a feature of a wall as it’s obviously a work of art. A plastic coated hook from B&Q just won’t do. The Cactus Tongue bike hanger is made in the UK from gracefully formed stainless steel, combining strength and timeless looks that will fit with any décor and it comes with a choice of hand stitched leather contact pads available in a variety of colours to suit the bike/saddle/bar-tape. This Roadie version is designed with minimal projection from the wall in mind. From cactustongue.co.uk
Lezyne Classic Chain Drive £44.99
Buying tools for a cyclist at Christmas isn’t as much of a faux-pas as offering a power-drill or iron as gifts (ahhh – that happy year a car-vacuum was unwrapped) especially when they’re like this resplendent Lezyne chain tool. Made something special by that classic wooden handle the working part of the tool is a contrasting steel body that’s 10/11/12 speed compatible and with a Campagnolo peening point. The Chain Drive works with any style of chain and there’s even a hollow handle to store spare pins. Available via Upgrade Bikes
Coloured BOA Dials £ 12.00
That little princess in your life has already got the swanky fancypants racing slippers that cost as much as most people’s bikes, but the trouble is everybody else has got similarly spangly shoes too so they don’t feel so special any more. Ensure they maintain their precious levels of exclusivity with some coloured BOA dials so they can customize their kicks beyond their particular level of what is lowly and ordinary. Available from Sigma Sport amongst others.
Pave Cobble cheese £9.75 (200g)
Cyclists don’t need much to get them excited about food, and give it a tenuous cycling link and they get positively giddy. Pavé Cobble is so named as a homage to the famous cobbled Spring Classics of the Paris-Roubaix and Tour Of Flanders by goatherder and cycling fan Roger Longman, one of the pair behind Somerset’s White Lake artisan cheese makers. It also looks a fair bit like a cobble. It’s a lactic style ewes milk cheese which is ashed then formed in the shape of a flat-topped pyramid and offers a creamy slightly citrus flavour. If you’re in any doubt Pave Cobble won the Supreme Champion award at the 2017 British Cheese Awards, the Tom Boonen of cheese, if you will. Blessed are White Lake.
GODS, ROCKSTARS and THE COBBLES - Karen M. Edwards 40€ plus p+p
While we’re on cobbles… Karen M. Edwards is a relatively new name on the cycling photographer scene and comes from a background in art and design with a career in fashion as well as being a cyclist so she might see things with a different eye to other snappers sat backwards on a motorbike. “GODS, ROCKSTARS and THE COBBLES” sees three races from the 2017 cobbled classics season - Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix through the Irish photographers lens. Heavy laden with pictures and light on words each book comes with a poster of both GOD and ROCKSTAR Peter Sagan. Available from karenmedwardsphotography.com
Cross Spikes $17.99 - $125.49
Any fool can stride into a bike shop, slap down four grand on a CX bike and another £150 on a skinsuit and pretend they know what they’re doing on a cyclo-cross race course, the true mark of a discerning cxyclist is knowing what’s makes the difference and what doesn’t. A condition specific set of shoe studs for your cyclo-cross loving friend will make that difference, probably. But more discerningly, no-one can see you have them on, and that’s the difference. Made (amongst other aerospace and other high tech doodads) by Horst Engineering in Connecticut “Cross Spikes” are the only cyclo-cross toe spike system in the marketplace, apparently. They come in durable and corrosion resistant stainless steel or titanium and are available in a range of shapes for running traction in all the miserable conditions you’ll encounter on a CX course. Available in sets of four for a pair of shoes, or if you’re anticipating a full season they come in boxed selection kits so you can faff with your stud choice after you’ve faffed with your tyre pressure before the start. If you needed an excuse they’re used by ‘cross luminaries Katie Compton, Adam Myerson, Ellen Noble, Jeremy Powers and our own Helen Wyman. Sure you could go down Sports Direct and buy some studs for £2, but you know, football. From Horst Engineering
Domestique Gin £45.00
Once you’ve worked your way through all the bicycle related beers and bottles of wine tenuously linked to cycling but eagerly bought because they have a bicycle artfully scribbled on the label you might be stuck for somewhere to go for a gift for the cyclist in your life that likes a recovery tipple. But fear not, the answer to this (as to so many of life’s questions) is gin. Premium cycling-clothing brand Ashmei have paired up with Puddingstone Distillery to produce Domestique Gin, a drink that’s steeped in the very spirit of cycling. With botanicals that produce a fruity, citrus and juniper nose with a subtle palate that blends sweet and savoury this limited edition booze comes in a laser engraved, stainless steel bidon that handily fits in your bottle cage. From puddingstonedistillery.com
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.