NEWS 2019 Holiday Shopping
What do you buy the cyclist that already has everything?
Here are a few things that can be picked up at local shops that stood out to our team here at MCBC. (This is a legit list – no sponsorship tie-ins or free swag. It’s the stuff we bought and use while riding.) As always, please support the local shops that support MCBC: Mike’s Bikes, The New Wheel, StudioVelo, Sunshine Bicycles, and Sports Basement.
Spurcycle Bicycle Bell
I’ve seen the Spurcycle bell prominently displayed on many bike shop counters, they are a thing of beauty. At $50+ dollars, it seemed like a luxury rather than a necessity. At a flash sale, I decided to pull the trigger. I wasn’t halfway home before buyer’s remorse settled in – “$50 for a bike bell?!?”
That quickly changed to awe when admiring the fine craftsmanship and engineering that went into the design of the American made bell. Spurcycle considered everything from the brass striker, to how the handlebar band is tightened.
What is even better is the expressions of joy and appreciation on people’s faces as you announce your presence with the pleasing ring. That makes the Spurcycle bell worth every penny. You will be hooked after the first “pinnngggggg!”.
Pizzazz is what comes to mind when describing the Velocio Ultralight gloves. They are lightweight and well made, but it’s the bright and pleasing colors that make them stand out from the crowd. The gloves slip right on and offer compression that keeps them snug to your hand. The padless gloves feature comfortable microsuede palms with silicone details for added grip. The Ultralights are the closest thing to riding without gloves that I’ve experienced. And with no velcro straps, you can safely toss them in the wash with the rest of your kit.
As the temperatures drop the layers go on. If you rely on your jersey pockets to store your cell phone, keys, snacks, etc. you know what an ordeal it is to access these items with a vest or jacket covering them. This is when the cargo bib shorts really excel. The Sportful Supergiara bib shorts feature a cargo pocket on the left leg and a few smaller pockets on the back to stash everything you need while out for a ride. The bibs are lightweight, comfortable and functional. I’ve since purchased a second pair of the Supergiara and a pair of Rapha Cargo Bibs. They are my goto bottoms and I’m not sure I will ever again purchase bib shorts that do not have a side pocket. It’s like, duh!
I have five reasons for recommending this bag: It looks great! It is easy to access while riding. The bag holds a fair amount of stuff for its size (small pump, patch kit, tool, snacks, etc.). It doesn’t get caked with debris like a saddle bag, and it is made locally.
These socks are awesome. Since my first ride wearing them, these socks are on my feet every time I jump on my bike to take a ride. Not only do they offer exceptional breathability and a slight compression that prevents swelling, and they have super cool colors and designs that you don’t see everywhere. More importantly: Buy the winter-weight Mt. Tam wool sock and help Fairfax Open Space Committee preserve our open spaces by purchasing undeveloped land.
So this one has a big-ticket price and it is worth every dime – YOLO – Specialized Turbo Levo Expert Carbon
This bike is beautiful! I am not going to sell you on the geometry, specs, or tech of this bike because frankly there are 101 reviews out there that will tell you everything you want to know. I’ll sum it up with “it is the bomb!”. I truly can’t imagine it being any better. The ride doesn’t feel any different than when I am on my standard full suspension mtb with one huge exception – I am not in pain while riding it.
What I do want to sell you on is why this bike has a place on the trail and potentially in your garage. It seems that everyone has an opinion on e-mtbs whether they have ridden one or not. Until you find yourself in a position where an e-bike makes the difference between being left behind, sitting on the sofa or joining your posse of friends and family for a ride that you will begin to understand why e-mtbs have a place on the mountain. If like me, you are rehabbing an injury or if you are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the kids consider demoing an e-mtb. It will only take one ride to convince you to add one to your quiver in your bike shed.
Keeping toes toasty is top of Steve’s list.
A good pair of wool socks is a must-have for riding during the winter months. Steve isn’t brand loyal, but he is adamant that nothing beats a good pair of wool socks for riding in the wet and cold conditions. Pick up a pair and your cyclist will be grateful for the warm toes.
… and keeping dry is top of Bjorn’s.
Like Steve, I’m not brand loyal, but I encourage all people who fall off in the winter to consider the adage, “there’s no such thing as bad weather–just bad clothing!” Regular winter riding–and especially commuting–depends on the following accessories and clothes:
For your bike: fenders, bright rechargeable lights, and waterproof panniers.
For your body: wool socks, waterproof shoes or shoe covers, tapered rain pants (get a pair that isn’t too loose, but still allows full range of motion without exposing your ankles), and a high visibility raincoat (no matter what kind of riding you’re doing, get one with good ventilation; commuters should look for a jacket with a hood that will fit over your helmet), and waterproof/windproof gloves (don’t go overboard; you need good dexterity to shift and brake).
Lastly, riding in the winter, I’m often reminded of the importance of having a pair of low-light sunglasses. For that reason, I’ve become a big fan of sunglasses with interchangeable lenses. I like the Smith PivLock series, but I’m sure there are many others out there!