I know, it’s still November... just! If you’re like me you might still have your head buried in the sand, but make no mistake; CHRISTMAS IS COMING.
To keep your cycling-mad loved ones (and maybe yourself) happy, check out this list of not-very-expensive goodies for inspiration!
1. Slap Wraps
Slap wraps start out straight (uncurled), then when you slap a wrist, ankle, or other appendage* with them, they coil into a neat little circle. Grab a couple of these – a steal at £2.50 each – and slap them round your ankles or wrists when you ride for extra visibility. You can whip them off when you jump off the bike, or leave them on if you’re going raving! They also make fabulous bike-themed Christmas tree decorations.
2. Anthony Oram T-shirts
We *LOVE* these tees in the shop - if you don't snap them up they will end up in our wardrobes instead of your stockings! They are only £25 and come in a number of superb quality designs.
3. Torq Bars & Sachets
Torq use all natural ingredients, so unlike some of the energy gels, bars and drinks out there, your insides will say 'thank you' rather than 'help us'! The pocket-sized selection we stock are must-have companions for winter training rides, and the larger tubs are great value, and handy to keep in the kitchen at home.
Ding-a-ling-ding! You can always shout at people to warn them you're coming, but it's much nicer (and more effective, in my experience) to have a nice bell to ring. The sound actually travels further than the human voice so if you or someone you know relies on the vocal chords, save them for carol singing and grab a shiny new bell to adorn those handlebars.
Lights are a legal requirement between dusk and dawn, and for a good very reason. They make you far more visible on the road to both vehicles and pedestrians, and this of course means you are looking after your personal safety, and are at less at risk of harming someone else because they didn't see you coming. Accidents on the roads are sadly all too common (especially in London), so investing in a decent set of lights is the smart thing to do. We have a great range for all personalities, including USB-rechargeable lights. Prices start at £9.99.
6. Green Oil Natural Bike Oils & Cleaners
Green Oil is excellent quality (we use these products in our workshop rather than petrochemical-based ones), reasonably priced, and good for you, your bike, and the earth. What more could you want? They only use plant-based and sustainably sourced ingredients that do not compromise on performance; somehow the Green Oil wizards manage to avoid padding out their range with nasty chemicals. Green Oil chain lube is £5.99 and not just for chains, it's a must-have for every cyclist's under-the-bed-box, and there's a handy mini version for just £2.38.
7. Chamois Cream
Chamois cream (usually referred to as 'shammy' cream), is a great gift for someone who likes a longer ride. It helps protect the bits that get most intimate with your bike! Chamois cream can make the difference between a happy smooth bum, and having your sit bones rubbed raw and staying sore for days. We stock Endura's antibacterial cream which costs £9.99.
A couple of pointers with regard to saddle/short comfort: cycling shorts are designed to be worn as a second skin; ie, on their own with no undies; the extra seams in your pants are not designed for comfort on a bike. If you find that you are getting sore on short rides to the shops, it's definitely worth checking that your saddle and shorts are the right fit.
8. Lezyne Lever Patch Kit
A puncture repair kit, (and/or spare inner tube) is something you should never go on a ride without, for fear of a visit from the dreaded puncture fairy. You can be sure she will only strike when you decide to leave them at home and there's no overground trains running. This nifty kit by Lezyne (£6.99) has everything you need to fix a puncture quicksharp, unless it's a huge hole in which case you'll need a new inner tube. It includes some instantly adhesive puncture patches (no need to wait for the normal bonding agent to dry and get your hands dirty), a tyre boot for temporally fixing small splits in the tyre and the all-important levers to get the tyre off. Don't forget to check the tyre for whatever caused your flat before you set off again!
9. Spare Inner Tubes
If you can't be bothered faffing about with fixing a skewered inner tube on the road, just carry levers and a spare. Cyclists can never have too many. Ours are £5.50 each and we have every size imaginable!
10. Handlebar Heroes
This is one for the kids - big or small! Handlebar Heroes wrap around the handlebars and stem of a bike to sit on the front, turning your bike into a unicorn, dragon, or horsey-hybrid! The mini ones are £3.50, larger ones cost £10 or £12.50 depending on the level of detail.
11. Vulpine Merino Socks
Merino wool is like magic! It keeps you warm when it's cold, cool when it's warm, and feels great against your skin. It also dries more quickly than cotton if you happen to get wet feet. The merino socks we stock by Vulpine are comfy and stylish and start at £15.
12. Endura Luminite Waterproof Gloves
These gloves are a must have for the dark winter nights. They keep your mitts toasty warm and dry in the inclement weather, and also have more panels than basic gloves for a better range of movement. The padded palms and reflective bits help make the rider as visible as possible - which is especially important when sticking a hand out to indicate! They retail at £32.99.
13. Bontrager Trip 100 Computer
Great for people who want to track their rides with a bit more accuracy, whether for training or purely interest, this is a fantastic stocking filler at £34.99.
Much like your puncture repair kit, a pump is a pretty vital bit of kit. There are some really great mini-pumps out there now, so it's not necessary to take a track pump out on the road to get up to the desired pressure. Our range starts at £14.99 and our pumps are sleek, small, and powerful. We also have bigger track pumps that save time (and muscle arm ache) to keep at home. If you're unsure of what pressure you should be going up to, it's normally printed on the tyre walls.
A life saver in many situations on the road, a multitool can help tweak a multitude of things on the bike, saving you a long slow walk home if something goes wrong. It's worth carrying one even if you don't have any mechanical know-how, as many people do and are willing to help a stranded fellow traveller! Multitools start at £14.99 and there are some that are so neat and compact that they're no longer than my little finger!
17. Katie’s Bike Keychains & Cufflinks
These make fantastic little gifts! Each piece is handmade with love by a bike-mad lady called Katie. Get 'em in your stockings folks; it's only a matter of time before these cost more than Tiffany's. Prices are £6 for a keychain and £30 for cufflinks.