You may have noticed that Christmas is all but upon us?
Eating, drinking, and being merry is well underway; cheeky egg-nog for breakfast…mulled wine for lunch…few after work drinks in the evening and home in time for despair and regret by midnight.
Ahhh…it truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
Apart from summer, because the cycling is better. And late October, when the clocks change and we get an extra hour in bed. Also spring, when we get one of those out-of-the-blue warm days and we all remember what it feels like to be free of depression and hopeful for the future.
But apart from that, Christmas rules!
Now, I’m not going to give you a full run-down of Christmas gifts for the cyclist in your life. You have the internet and access to all the search engines just like me. You know where to buy the stuff.
I’m just going to point you in the direction of three, slightly off-the-beaten-track items that any cyclist would be overwhelmed with gratitude to receive. Not novelty cyclist’s socks or jewellery made from bike chains but proper, high quality, useful stuff.
Pearson is officially recognised as the world’s oldest bicycle business. Some say (although experts are currently using advanced dating techniques to verify this) that they pre-date even Spanish pro-cyclist Alejandro Valverde!
Recently, they’ve ventured into the world of clothing, and I was lucky enough to try out their insulated jacket; it is a phenomenal piece of kit.
A softshell outer layer allows breathability whilst repelling showers of rain.
The thermal lining of the inner traps body warmth; when you’re working hard, even in cold conditions, you feel a kind of Ready-Brek glow around the torso.
It looks great, it’s implausibly lightweight, and much of it is made from recyclable material, earning you extra heaven points for your pearly gates online account and swipe card.
Invani, by contrast, are new kids on the block. And they’ve got a trick: reversible cycling kit. And they’re extremely well priced – for £85 this feels like your money’s worth.
There are two brilliant things about this jersey:
One, is the fit. It’s a touch looser than what you might call ‘race fit’ but it has a kind of silky clinginess which means no flappy material, and as much in the way of aero as any amateur cyclist really needs.
Second, is the reversibility. This is no afterthought. It looks as smart and clean one way as it does the other. The collar and cuffs, the zip, the pockets, the seams; all are, well…seam-less.
For a mid-price piece of kit it’s tough to beat.
Well…where to start?
OK, the price. These are premium shoes made from high quality materials. But if you buy a pair of £125 shoes from some other well-known brand Dromarti will outlast them. Three, four, maybe five times!?
Who knows…most of the first Dromarti’s are still going now.
First time you wear them you think: ooohhh, these are comfy.
Then three of four wears later you realise they’re changing. Moulding to your feet through wear. Softening up with every pedal stroke. Several hundred miles later and they are getting more comfortable with every ride and you’ve formed a near emotional bond with them.
Pair that extreme comfort with the stiffness of a carbon sole and you have what are certainly the best cycling shoes, by far, that I’ve ever worn.
They also look timeless. Which means that when you’re still polishing them and caring for them and riding in them seven or eight years from now, fashion will not have rendered them obsolete.
If you really, really, really love the cyclist in your life…