Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Crunch Time...the Christmas Edition

5:20 am. Two days before Christmas. One real shopping day left. I suppose I'd better get some presents for those I love. Remember, I put the PRO in PROcrastination.

Nah, not really, but if you're thinking you need to get something for that cyclist in your life, here's a list of a few cycling related items that your cyclist might need or want.

Cyclists love gadgets. (Except those granola-chewing, cigarette-smoking, technology-eschewing singlespeeders, although they still love gadgety accessories, like a Surly Flask and Cage for their bikes.) The shinier and fancier the gadget, the better. But know your gift recipient. If they're ham-fisted or like to crash a lot, don't by them something fragile. Get them something like the Garmin 500. No mapping function, so if your cyclist is prone to getting lost, find a different model (or don't, maybe that's your diabolical plan) but does everything a cyclingcomputer does, at a lot higher cost and instead of a magnet and wires to tell you your speed, it uses a shit ton of rare-earth element using satellites orbiting the Earth. How's that for gadgety?

Guaranteed the cyclist on your list needs more cycling clothing. Just because they have more jerseys than dress shirts means NOTHING. A couple tips on buying clothing.

1. Don't buy "full-kit" stuff for your cyclist. Nothing screams douche-nozzle louder than a guy or gal rolling up in a full Astana kit, especially 'cause they're gonna get stomped by the guy on the road bike wearing baggies. I guess if your cyclist can back it up then maybe, just maybe, it's ok. But that is highly doubtful. Unless your name is Lance, Floyd, Alberto or Tyler and you can afford Spanish Beef, leave the kits to the pros.

It is kinda retro-cool to have someone roll up in a full Team "Z" kit, but still has a fairly high douche factor.

The only possible exception is getting your hands on a All Hail the Black Market kit, although they are not in production right now, so good luck and besides, where are you gonna get one in the next 24 hours?

2. Don't buy stuff that will fit your cyclist on January 1st. They're fat and out of shape on January 1st. Nothing will piss them off more or motivate them more to ride then to get some cycling clothing that should fit them but won't until May.

Any cyclist worth their weight in Tufo tubulars (and crowding the age of 40) knows the joy and comfort of bib shorts. No pinching or binding. Regular shorts roll off your gut like trying to keep a rubber band on a bowling ball. Get a good pair of bibs. Anyone that says they don't like bibs is either lying or hasn't tried 'em. Just like anything in life, don't shop only by price, but by quality. I bought a cheap pair of bibs once and the pad shredded my t'aint like a kid on wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Oh yeah, no white bibs either.

In addition to the bibs, gloves are on this list. Go find your cyclist's gloves. Smell them. When you come to, you'll realize at some point, no matter how many time you wash 'em, they stink. I think gloves start to rot the second they cross the threshold of a bike shop when you purchase them. Look at their gloves, go get something similar. You'll be good to go.

Other than that, cycling related t-shirts and socks are a good bet too. Just a small tip on this. If your significant other has a bike brand they REALLY love don't buy them a tee of a competing bike company. If they like Trek, no Specialized tees. If they love Moots, no Litespeed tees. If they love Giant, well, they don't deserve a tee. Nah...but you get the idea.

You'll need to know your cyclist and whether they use or like a hydration pack (aka; a Camelbak). If they do, go find theirs. Do the same thing as you did with the gloves and take a whiff. After you clean up the blood from hitting your head as you went down, wipe the vomit off your shirt and high-tail it down to the shop to get the SAME EXACT MODEL. The odds are, your cyclist has a particular affinity for that model, so don't deviate from this.

If they are a no-go for a hydration pack, then bottles are always good. Camelbak makes the best bottles on Earth, so go find those. Get multiple sizes and colors. No cyclist can resist them. I guarantee it!

Stocking stuffers
Multi-tools, tubes, handlebar bells, tire levers, patch kits, Clif bars, etc. all make great stockingstuffers for your cyclist and is all stuff they can't get too much of.

I forgot to mention, all this shit is expensive. But that's what you get for not planning ahead. Maybe you'll be like your aunt Maybelle and get your Christmas shopping done in August next year for 2012, but until then, you've got a list of stuff. Now you can relax for another 24 hours before you have to go panic buy. Kick back and relax. You might want to double check the hours of your LBS (local bike shop) though, you know, just in case they're closed on the 24th.


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