Bicycle Santa’s Holiday Gift Suggestions

by Eric Shalit on December 13, 2010

There's nothing quite like seeing the expression of joy on the face of an otherwise psychotic child or family member when they open a present specially chosen for them by Bicycle Santa.

It may be a bit late for holiday gift suggestions for some, but for me it’s never too late. I’ve tried to recommend something gift-worthy at various price levels. Some of these recommendations are things I either helped Santa get for my bicycle-family, things I’ve asked Santa to get me, or things I just went and got for myself and my family…just because anything that makes you want to ride your bike more and use your car less is a good investment.

Handmade Saddle Cover by Randi Jo Fabrications: $28

These are beautifully engineered and sewn by Randi Jo in her Cottage Grove, Oregon shop. Doubles as a Speedo for those European vacations.

I’ve got Brooks leather saddles on my bikes. They will last forever if you take care of them. Keeping them from getting soaking wet is the main thing. I met Randi Jo at the Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show last year. She makes these herself right here in the good ole US of A (yahoo!). These are not the cheap spandex shower caps commonly sold in bike shops (and made in China). You should have Randi Joe make you one of these even if it’s too late for Xmas.  She also makes cycling caps and accessories.

  • Tough Ultrex outer fabric.
  • Inside lining for to protect waterproof membrane.
  • Cordura under flap (protects the underside too!)
  • Openings for saddle loops
  • Industrial Strength snaps to hold it in place.
  • Available in a variety of colors.

Randi Jo Fabrications

Bicycle Quarterly Magazine Subscription: $30

Current Issue of Bicycle Quarterly

This is an essential magazine for the serious cyclist. Published by the amazing Jan Heine of Seattle. I anxiously await the arrival of each issue and read it cover to cover.

Jan is also the author of the gorgeous and informative large-format (coffee table) books 'The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles' and ' The Competition Bicycle – A Photographic History'.

Bicycle Quarterly Press

DiNotte 200 Lumen AA Light with Helmet Mount: $119

With the helmet mount accessory you can shine your DiNotte light directly into the eyes of inattentive drivers. "Can you see me now?".

This is a great headlight. Considering all the $ you spent on your custom titanium bike and the potential cost of a hospital stay, there’s no excuse for not investing in good lighting. Here in Seattle, it’s dark by 4:30 PM on the shortest day of the year. You can easily find yourself in the dark after a daytime ride. While this light will illuminate the road to some degree, its main function is to make sure you’re seen by cars and pedestrians.

If you won’t buy these lights for yourself, buy them for a loved one, or ask Santa to get you one. This is their most affordable LED headlight. I bought one about 4 years ago for $170. I’m still using it and the price has since dropped dramatically. This version uses 4-AA batteries. They make numerous different bike lights. Mine is mounted on my helmet so I can shine it directly into the eyes of inattentive drivers. “Can you see me now?”. I just bought one of these for my son who is a car-free cyclist.

DiNotte Lighting

Ibex El Fito Merino Wool Tight: $160

The Ibex El Fito is available as a full length tight, 3/4 length knickers, and 3/4 length bibs.

I’m still perplexed over whether to use the plural ‘tights’. Whatever you call them, they are supreme. Anything by Ibex is wonderful. Merino Wool is heavenly. The sheep that grow this stuff are gods on earth. I wear these and love them. Not at all like the itchy & scratchy stuff you were forced to wear as a kid.

You can click here to read my earlier full review of this ‘tight’.

Click here to visit the Ibex home page.

Showers Pass Elite 2.0 Rain Jacket: $235

Women's version shown.

I ride year-round, which here in Seattle, means I ride in rain. If it wasn’t for this jacket I wouldn’t be riding in rain. If cheap and waterproof are what you’re after, cut some arm holes in a garbage bag. That will keep you as dry as anything.

What you’re paying for in quality rain gear is breathability. That takes hi-tech fabrics. Showers Pass is based in Portland where it rains as often as here in Seattle. Their products are engineered for Pacific Northwest weather. I’ve been wearing the Elite 2.0 for 3 years so far and highly recommend it as essential gear. They make a full range of jackets, pants, and accessories. I’ll soon have a review of their Roadie Pants.

Showers Pass

Monkeylectric Lights: $65

This is not a photo of me.

I wrote a post about these last week which you can read here. I just set the lights up last night. My first reaction was “Whoa!”. Now that I’ve calmed down a bit I want to say “If you buy Monkeylectric Lights you won’t need to buy a Christmas tree”. I’m not exaggerating.

From the photos and videos it may be easy to assume that individual LEDs attach to each wheel spoke. Not so. The entire device is self-contained on a waterproof circuit board. There are 16 lights on each of two sides, so you only need one per wheel to put on a show. Also, it's very lightweight.

Very easy to attach to any wheel, baby stroller, or mid-size pet like a dog or goat. Warning: staring at Monkeylectric lights for a prolonged period may induce seizures and excessive drooling. It’d be great to have one for each wheel, but there’s nothing shabby at all about giving just one as a gift.

I’m voting this BEST HOLIDAY BICYCLE GIFT for the $.

Special Offer: The kind folk at Monkeylectric have given me a 15% discount code to share with you for purchases made by 12/31/10:  BIKECULT923.

Monkeylectric website

Eleven Gear Jerseys: $78-$96

Rear view of the Traffic Master Jersey

Eleven Gear makes jerseys that are both fun and functional. I previously wrote about the Traffic Master Jersey here and the Coral Snake Jersey here. Wear either of these, put on your Monkeylectric Lights and Christmas Carolers will likely gather ’round you in song.

Eleven Gear website.

Front view of the Coral Snake Jersey.

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