Holiday Gift GuideJan Heine
It’s the season for giving nice things to people you like. It’s an opportunity to show appreciation and love. Giving something that delights and is useful creates lasting memories. Every time we use a gift, we think of the person who gave it to us. It’s always fun to use nice things, but the memories add a little extra happiness. With that in mind, here are a few gift suggestions – either to give to a cyclist in your life, or to suggest to someone who wants to give you a memorable gift.
A subscription to Bicycle Quarterly will delight most cyclists, no matter their taste in bikes. Each magazine covers a variety of topics: amazing rides, beautiful bikes, shop visits, product tests… Since it’s a subscription, it’s a gift that keeps on coming throughout the year. Please subscribe by Friday, so the hot-off-the-press Winter edition (above) will reach the gift recipient by the holidays. (From $ 36)
If you or your gift recipient already have a subscription, Bicycle Quarterly past editions will bring many hours of reading enjoyment. Choose among favorites or just select the ‘Past Year of Bicycle Quarterly.’ (From $ 34)
Books can be great gifts. They take us to faraway places and stimulate our imagination. They inspire us in a way that online content just can’t. Great books are hard to put down, and you almost read them too quickly the first time around. But then you return to them over the years, time and again, and always discover something new. Books are fun, and that’s why we are committed to the printed page.
If your cyclist loves bikes, our The Competition Bicycle is a beautiful book full of amazing bikes. The companion volume to our classic The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles (sadly no longer available), it shows the actual bikes ridden by great champions (and some lesser-known competitors). We’re not just talking about pro racers like Eddy Merckx or Fausto Coppi – whose amazing bikes are included – but also mountain bike pioneer Jacquie Phelan, randonneurs who competed in Paris-Brest-Paris, and even a bike from the hotly contested Paris newspaper courier races. The Competition Bicycle is a book that not just for fans of bike racing (and racing bikes) – each bike tells the story of epic adventures, and together, they chart the development of bicycles from high-wheelers to modern bikes with indexed shifting and disc wheels. The Competition Bicycle is now out of print, and we have just a few copies left. Your cyclist will be glad to have this book in their library. ($ 60)
Rene Herse: The Bikes • The Builder • The Riders is the tale of cycling in mid-century France. Historic images by professional photographers take you into a magic world where cycling wasn’t just a hobby, but a way of life. It’s a big book – 454 pages – because there’s so much to the story, and there are so many amazing photos. As so often, the real-life stories are better than the best fiction. Now comes with a four-page update that brings the story into the present. ($ 86)
If your cyclist is interested in how bikes work, The All-Road Bike Revolution is a fun way to learn about what makes a bike fast, comfortable and reliable. Illustrated with Miyoshi’s whimsical, yet easy-to-understand drawings, it makes reading about bikes as much fun as riding them. ($ 28)
Each of these books is a best seller among cycling books. When you read them, you’ll know why.
We probably don’t need to tell you that bike parts rarely make good gifts, unless they are specifically requested. The exception are little-known, but useful, tools that every cyclist will appreciate. The Nana minipump is tiny (the size of a large pen) and ultralight (25 grams), yet it inflates tires as well as a big pump, and only marginally slower. Perfect to carry on every ride – it fits in a jersey pocket (and also a stocking). Your cyclist will appreciate it. ($ 38)
The Kool-Stop Tire Bead Jack is one of those tools that you hope you’ll never need, but when a tire fits too tightly on a rim, it’s pretty much essential. The bead jack allows you to install even a tight-fitting tire with relative ease, and it eliminates the risk of pinching a tube. Every cyclist should have one in their toolbox. ($ 13)
Our Musette bag is probably the most useful gift for a cyclist. Made from ultralight Silnylon, it weighs just 25 g and folds up smaller than an energy bar, yet it can carry three full-sized water bottles, or some pastries from the bakery to your picnic spot, or some veggies from the farmers’ market on the last few miles home. Your cyclist will bring it on every ride and only unfold it when they need the extra capacity. ($ 19)
If somebody is asking you what you would like for the holidays, a Berthoud mirror is a good choice. Its jewel-like finish and cute box mean it feels like a ‘gift’ in a way that a bottom bracket just won’t. Available in black, silver and with leather inserts (shown). Be warned that mirrors are a very personal taste. It’s fine to ask for one, but don’t give a mirror to somebody who hasn’t suggested that they want one! ($ 89 – $ 99)
Rather than ask relatives or friends to give you bike parts, why not suggest a jersey or a cap? It’ll feel more special to give a piece of clothing than a part that will become invisible to them once it’s integrated into your bike. Our short-sleeve Rene Herse x Velocio Ultralight Jerseys are amazingly comfortable, lightweight and breathable. ($ 149) Our Long-Sleeve Merino Wool Jerseys (above) are so nice that you can wear them as sweaters and people won’t notice that you’re wearing a cycling jersey until they see the three rear pockets. ($ 195) Our US-made cycling caps come in two sizes, because ‘One-Size-Fits-All’ just isn’t true for many of us. ($ 29)
Those are a few gift ideas that will bring joy to those who give and those who receive them. Even though it’s tempting to rush around looking for gifts, let’s not get too caught up in the ‘holiday frenzy.’ These short days of the off-season (in cycling terms) are a wonderful for spending time with family and friends, for reading books, and for reflection. Beautiful gifts can be part of that, not an end in themselves.
Jan, Natsuko & the Rene Herse team