Only 10 sleeps until Christmas, but it's not too late to fill your loved one's cycling stockings. Forget boring bike lights and unimaginative inner tubes, we give you our top selections from a year's hard graft trawling bike shows and reviewing the latest offerings from books to energy boosters. Here's Ride Velo's best little presents for 2016 which are guaranteed to delight the cyclist in your life.
There were many great cycling books published this year but our favourite had to be Chris Boardman's Triumphs and Turbulence. An utterly entertaining read from start to finish, it proved to be a fascinating insight into British Cycling and the great man himself, as well as being hugely funny to boot. Our fiction favourite was Ventoux by Bert Wagendorp . Quite a highbrow novel, the Dutch author tells the tale of four friends reunited after many years to revisit ghosts from the past, while cycling up Mont Ventoux of course! Funny, clever and moving.
Ride Velo's favourite artist Eliza Southwood published The Cyclist's Bucket List this summer. We loved it, reviewed it, and it's proved to be hugely popular with the punters too. It's a beautifully illustrated and designed pocket book with a tick list and note space for all your favourite and most classic rides, from Mont Ventoux (obvs) to the rather more obsure Col de Aubisque. If you buy just one cycling themed present this year then please make it The Cyclist's Bucket List. It's a thing of beauty and pipe dreams for only £12.95.
This year we have been mostly jotting down our story ideas and interview notes in our Le Peloton notebook. It's just a simple notebook, but it's the perfect size to fit in your coat pocket. It's hard back but not heavy, the spine is quality and hasn't shown any wear despite 6 months of daily use. A ribbon bookmark ensures that you never lose your place. But above all else, just seeing its stunning cover reminds you of the whirr and excitement of the Tour de France every day of the week. At £6.95 it's a perfect Secret Santa present.
Our top discovery at the NEC Cycle Show this year was Lucho Dillitos - a Columbian sugar high for the health-conscious bicyclist. Ride Velo hates energy gels, getting stickiness splattered all over our bikes and ourselves too often. Non-cyclists hate us for littering the countryside with their gaudy yellow wrappers. Plus they taste vile! But Lucho Dillitos have revolutionised our rides. They are very delicious, reminding me of those boxes of candied fruits you get at Christmas, and even better, the neat little squares are wrapped in bio-degradable fruit leaves which you can cast aside into the bushes with a clear conscience. £14.99 for 10 bocadillos from good cycle shops and their website.
Now you can't go wrong with a T-shirt, or can you? There are so many bad ones out there! Please don't buy anything with a naff slogan such as: Put The Fun Between Your Legs or God forbid: I'm In Touch With My Inner Tube. No. Personally, we love a little Brighton company called Junk Funk who sell lots of cycling bits apart from T-shirts. The T-shirts are always great, though, in retro, stylish and colourful designs. Check out these two at £25 each:
For lady riders, we found these earrings by Target Velo at Spin London earlier this year. Mini cogs, gears and cranks are used in inventive ways to create gorgeous silver earrings, and they also do a range of fun necklaces from only £10. What better way to exhibit your love of the bike?
As women's cycling participation increases so have the number of brands and classy clothing choices. Velo Vixen stock a huge range but our favourite addition to their collection this year were the gorgeous merino wool products from Findra. Their neck warmers are deliciously soft and a bargain at only £26. But if you're feeling generous the lady in your life will be eternally grateful for an elegant cowl neck merino jersey. Worth it for £90!
Ride Velo will be stocking our very own cycling products in the coming weeks, including our range of water bottles, gloves and T-shirts. We think the quality, design and performance is second to none - so watch this space or subscribe to our newsletter for more information. But for more inspiration for this Christmas check out our other Christmas recommendations here.