With Christmas fast approaching the team have been putting a few ideas together to help you plan that great gift for that two-wheeled loving special someone in your life (even if that is you!). From those we have tested and tried to items on our own wish lists, you should find something for everyone and every price range below.
1.First up, check out www.aspirecycles.com and in particular their bike builder where you can customise your road, mountain or TT bike in terms of colours and components. Their range is amazing from an affordability and design perspective; the Altus is the entry model and you can build one for under £1000, through to the top end ranges of Aerobe (road) and Aelous (TT) where prices can go up to £5000. Even if you are not in the market right now for a new bike, playing with the bike building will provide you some fun!
2. Staying with the British and ‘build your own’ theme why not also give Ribble Cycles a look. Offering customisation, a multitude of options and superb value, if you are looking for a big purchase this festive season you cant go wrong with these bikes. We tested their special edition Ribble Sportive this year and the performance and value for money was unbeatable.
Apparel, Accessories and Helmets
3. On to apparel and lets start with the Castelli Sorpasso bib trousers. These are a perfect addition to your winter wardrobe, keeping your legs (and bits and pieces) warm on the colder days between 0oC-10oC, and are ideal for a commute or social ride on those cold days. They are also extremely stylish and comfortable. Used on a recent 131 mile ride by own very own @naboyle he found them very comfortable indeed! At the slightly higher end of the market these can still be picked up for a reasonable £80 when you shop around.
4. One of the best cycling helmet brands on the market are surely the Kask range. Lightweight and stylish with leather straps to avoid those under chin rubs when sweaty. Whilst at the higher end of the market Kask offer a 50% reduction on crash replacement. Retail prices vary between £100 and £200 dependent on model and retailer.
5. VOID are a name that has started to creep in to the cycling apparel field and our recent test confirms that this rise in popularity is entirely justified. Superb quality, a great choice of colours and designs and though slightly high end in price, their Limited jersey still represents fantastic value for money (if you can get it in the sale even better!), VOID are the brand of choice for one of our team!
6. It’s a must to keep your feet dry while riding, with nothing worse than soggy socks and even though they are a bit of a faff to put on, the Velotoze overshoes are a winner in the waterproof stakes.
7. All cyclists have surely discovered Wiggle and therefore their in house brand, DHB and the team are no different. The DHB Aeron Roubaix Long sleeved Jersey and the DHB Blok jersey have been the staple of our riding this year. Both jerseys great colour choices, fit and quality were particularly impressive. Both @RolyRouleur and @jenny_hagger found the Blok to be superb, whilst @nuddypants even found herself buying a second Aeron Roubaix jersey as she couldn’t get it washed and dried in time to wear it again!
8. Finally in the apparel section and another perfect purchase for this time of year are arm and leg warmers, and the team all have personal preferences. Some like the slightly higher end Castelli nano-flex range, offering superb comfort and performance for a few more of your pennies, whilst others find the no frill b’twin arm warmers great in keeping you warm for just £7.99
Lights and Tech
9. Lets start with a light shall we, and trust us you need look no further than the simply brilliant See.Sense Icon rear light. This intelligent light does everything you need and more, offering 190 lumens and with crash alerts and reacting to your situation on the road, flashing brighter & faster at roundabouts, road junctions and to approaching car headlights at night this is a perfect present for someone.
10. Headphones are perhaps a controversial inclusion on this list but these AfterShokz Trek Titanium Bluetooth Headphones are different. Working via your cheek bones you can still hear perfectly and are thus a much safer choice than standard headphones. Ideal for feedback on rides as well as blasting music on the turbo but still being able to hear the kids and prevent world war 3!
11. At least three of the team have the fantastically impressive Garmin 520 on their bikes. Offering a huge range of data fields and with the ability to plot and follow routes this full coloured display unit is a must buy, and for you Strava lovers out there it even offers in ride challenges!
12. The final selection in this section is the Go pro Hero action camera which is waterproof, great for taking on the go footage and photos and is the perfect entry level GoPro. Get out on those hills and start filing your suffering!!
Stocking Fillers and Books
13. VOID Merino buff – Given that this has been developed to meet the demands of the temperamental Swedish weather you can rest assured that this will cope with all the Great British weather throws at it.
14. Castelli Toe Covers – An ideal accessory to keep your toes warm and once the sun pops out easily removable to be stored in your jersey pocket. You can get the toe cover from retails for approx. £15
15. Primal socks – As well as being very comfortable these are bright and full of fun, what more do you want to ensure that your sock game is on point
16. Cateye led lights – Amazing brightness easy to fit and use, batteries last really well. Very inexpensive too!
Sufferfest training, perhaps for the enemy in your life, these are tough, brutal and not for the faint hearted, but well worth a look to step up your winter training on the turbo ahead of spring.
17. Veloculture Cake Stop Caddy™ – What do you do with your used inner tubes? Well the team at Veloculture turn them in to up-cycled accessories and what better accessory than a cake stop caddy. Allowing you to easily carry, money, cards and keys this is a must for the cyclist in your life.
18. The Grand Tour cookbook – So you ride like a pro? Well why not eat like one too. Just think of the marginal gains you can get by trimming down a few inches from your waist post Christmas with these tasty meals thanks to Hannah Grant!
19. Slaying the Badger – A book about Hinault vs LeMond, the greatest ever Tour De France, and written by Richard Moore, nothing more to say except BUY IT!
20. Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike – The story of the greatest cyclist ever written by arguably one of the greatest cycling writers, combine to make a truly memorable read.
That brings us to the end of our list but trust us this is just a minuscule amount of the ideas we had and perhaps you have some too, let us know in the comments below.
Merry Christmas and safe riding from the team @UKCycleChat
Banner image taken from www.katescreativespace.com