Cruising into the end of a winding and wild year, I wanted to share some of my favorite products and brands which make great gifts for the cycling fanatic in your life (and some ways to enjoy the holiday when you’re off the bike, too). Some of these are brands I met for the first time through this blog, others I’ve known a while, all are things I use and love. [featured image from https://cleanenergydurham.wordpress.com]
- BEST STOCKING STUFFER // UnTapped slopeside syrup is not just a sweet way to refuel on the go, it’s from my new home state of Vermont where co-founder Ted King and his partner Laura are an amazing part of the cycling community. Their mullet protocol gravel race was sorely missed this year and I can’t wait to get back to it next year. Check out my 1×10 interview with Laura and Ted here.
2. BEST APPAREL // Velocio makes high-performance and fun cycling apparel. They were kind enough to send me a kit last year, and it’s my go-to (and probably the only reason that the staff at a local bakery mistook me for Ted King [“I WISH I was that fit!!” he says as he noms on some chips] a couple weeks ago). Check out my 1×10 with Velocio founder, Brad Sheehan, here.
3. BEST COLD-WEATHER GEAR // BarMitts, neoprene “mittens” that attach to your handlebars, are part of my strategy for winter biking and have been a great addition. I also just love a brand that “does what it says on the tin,” as with these mitts that attach to the bar. Moving from Los Angeles to Vermont took some adjustments, and these make it a bit easier to motivate on a cold day. And I’m loving pants from Craft, which offer some of the best cold weather protection and performance around. Keeps your favorite cyclist going year-round.
4. BEST CAT-LOVING BRANDS // Thinking back to my LA days, two brands I love are SWRVE and Team Dream. With great gear, friendly and welcoming spaces (think ping-pong and tie-dying), and dedicated cat content on their socials, these brands just get me.
5. BIKE BRAND MAKING A DIFFERENCE // If you’re going big with a bike purchase (best gift ever), I have to shout out Salsa Cycles. My Salsa Casseroll is my “all-the-things” bike, and I’ve been so pleased to see their parent brand, QBP, take big strides to increase diversity in cycling through efforts like their gender-diverse Bike Mechanic scholarship. Check out my 1×10 interview with Jessica Grenwis of QBP here. They also sponsor the inspirational font of joy that is the Mirnavator (Mirna Valerio, an ultrarunner, cyclist, body-positive role model, diversity advocate… and fellow Vermonter)!
6. BEST REMINDER TO CHILL OUT // Campandgoslow celebrates biking at your own speed with fun accessories like shirts, patches, and bar tape. I won a raffle (hooray!) earlier this year and my Campandgoslow mug is a daily mood boost (the coffee helps). Check out my interview with them here.
- BEST WAY TO SHOP SMALL // Living La Vida Local (I could not stop myself). Above all, I’d encourage you to support your local bike shop for your holiday gifting. For me, that means Slopestyle Ski & Ride, Onion River Outdoors, Vermont Bicycle Shop, and Old Spokes Home. Check out my 1×10 interview with the crew at Old Spokes Home in Burlington here.
- BEST WAYS TO ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS WHEN YOU AREN’T BIKING // Finally, a few off-bike suggestions for enjoying the holidays or giving gifts to the less-cycling-obsessed:
Booze – If you like that sort of thing; get the good stuff! Barr Hill makes award-winning gin and gives generously to the community.
Candles – This list is highly subjective, including many brands that I’ve gotten to know through this blog or my time in Los Angeles and Vermont. For the most biased reco yet, my partner recently started a candle company called WANDERNESS, to celebrate the joy of travel. During this global lockdown, these scented candles have been a great way to reminisce about favorite trips (and since we are all home, all the time, a brighter and better-smelling house is definitely welcome too). Her company also donates 10% of profits to charity.
Books – Local bookshops are hurting, and the holidays are a great time to support them. Our downtown shop is Bear Pond Books, but you can find yours at IndieBound.
Bakes – Our family show is the Great British Bake Off; to make it easy to get into the spirit at home, King Arthur Flour mixes have everything from Babka to classic dinner rolls (my favorite food in this world).
Barr Hill Gin, WANDERNESS candles, King Arthur Babka Mix