Canadian Cycling Magazine 2022 gift guide
Holiday inspiration for cyclists of all disciplines and all agesPhoto by: Matt Stetson
Here’s the best way to use this gift guide. Give it a good read. Then leave it open on your monitor, or phone or tablet. If it’s a portable device you’re using, make sure its battery is well-charged. Then leave the phone or tablet in a conspicuous place, open to the gift guide. The kitchen table is good. Coffee table in the living room: also good. Be subtle, but not too subtle. It’s good to get the message out there.
For the rider who needs a bit of help keeping everything organized (which is probably most of us), the Thule RoundTrip duffel ($190, thule.com) is like a checklist and bag in one. Little logos indicate the best spots for a helmet and sunglasses. Stow dirty shoes in their own compartment. With the duffel’s smart layout, a rider shouldn’t forget anything for a race or big trip.
It’s called the Campagnolo cap ($45, campagnolo.com), but we Canadians know what it really is: a tuque. This tuque is soft and floppy. It’s for a hip rider who needs some warmth off-bike.
The Rapha Peaked Merino hat ($70, rapha.cc/ca) combines the temperature-regulating abilities of wool with a windproof panel at the front. It fits under a helmet well. The winter cyclist on your list will want to wear this from October to April.
The Biemme Summer cap ($25, biemmeamerica.ca) is a classic, and stylish, casquette for big rides with long coffee breaks on bright patios.
The Specialized/Fjällräven bucket hat ($70, specialized.com/ca) not only keeps the sun off, but its mesh sweat band on the inside snags moisture. It packs up nicely into a handlebar or frame bag.
The Bollé C-Shifter sunglasses ($200, bolle.com) with Volt technology enhance colour contrast on the road. The Cat. 3 lens, with its 16 per cent visible light transmission, makes it great for bright, sunny days. Thermogrip rubber at the temple tips and nosepiece keep the sunnies in place.
The Lifts and Trails Mountain Bike Edition game ($42, liftsandruns.com) can keep the family’s stoke going when singletrack in under snow. It’s a snakes and ladders-style game created by six-year-old Rio MacDonald of Whistler. Let ’er rip!
This box set of four Rapha handbooks ($70, rapha.cc/ca) has information for cyclists of all abilities. Beginners will find a lot of useful information in Getting Started in Road Cycling. Riders ready to tackle more challenging surfaces will turn to Exploring Off-Road. Longer Rides and The Self Sufficient Cyclist by Guy Kesteven round out the collection.
The Garmin Varia UT800 front light ($140, garmin.com/en-ca) can automatically pick the best setting when it’s paired with the right Garmin computer. In the dark, it can project a beam as strong as 800 lumens. Once the sun is up, it’s on to day flash.
Protect a rider with the Garmin Varia RCT715 rear light, radar and camera ($520, garmin.com/en-ca). The device not only boosts visibility, it sends alerts about the speed of approaching vehicles and records video of the traffic behind.
The Trek Commuter Pro RT front light ($215, trekbikes.com/ca) features Kindbeam, a light that will hit the trail, but not the eyes of other riders. The high setting is 1,000 lumens, which can run for about 1.5 hours.
With the Kryptonite Incite X6 front light ($125, kryptonitelock.com), it’s not necessarily the brightness of the beam that counts, but how focused it is. The beam is measured in lux, 60 lux in fact. One lux is equal to one lumen per square metre, so the Incite X6 can illuminate the way ahead at night, while also staying out of the eyes of other road users.
The Kryptonite Incite XBR rear light ($70, kryptonitelock.com) can act as a brake light. It will switch on its extra LED when its acceleration sensor detects a drop in speed of more than 5.76 km/h. That’s an added bit of safety on a dark road.
The Magicshine MOH 55 Aquila Pro light ($420, livetoplaysports.com) is heavy-duty. Its battery can keep it running for 89 hours. At full blast, the MOH 55 Aquila Pro casts a 4,000 lumen beam. The USB-C connection allows the light to work as a power bank to charge other electronic gizmos. The MOH 55 Aquila Pro is perfect for bikepackers heading out on multi-day (and multi-night) adventures.
The top-of-the-line Garmin Edge 1040 Solar head unit ($980, garmin.com/en-ca) has a lens that can draw power from the sun, boosting battery life on a long ride. The cycling computer is also packed with training metrics, such as stamina insights, which, with the help of a power meter and heart-rate monitor, indicate how hard and how long a rider can push during a race.
The Giant Dash L200 ($440, giant-bicycles.com/ca) and Dash M200 head units ($380) can manage a ton of performance data: power, speed, cadence, TrainingPeak’s training stress score, intensity factor and normalized power. The head units are practically identical, however, the L200 has a larger, 2.7″ screen. It’s easy to keep track of ride intensity as training zones are colour-coded. Seeing red? Then the effort is a hard one, so keep pushing to hold it, or back off to save some energy for later.
The Abus Bordo Lite Mini 6055C Symbol lock ($100, hlc.bike) provides a fun way to secure a little rider’s bike. The Bordo uses symbols instead of numerals to create a combination. Will the adults have trouble remembering cat, crown, heart and paw print to unlock the 5-mm steel rods?
Clothes for Her
After some Type 2 fun—fat biking on a cold day, for example—some Type 1 fun is in order. The Jolie Ride Slo Hooddie ($120, jolieride.com) is the perfect top for cosy, post-ride hangs. It’s made from organic cotton and recycled polyester. The hoodie is designed and built in Quebec.
The women’s Pearl Izumi Rove jeans ($140, pearlizumi.ca) are meant for riding. They have seams that are designed to minimize discomfort in the saddle. Roll up the left leg to expose a reflective strip. A right zippered pocket secures small, but important, items.
The Specialized/Fjällräven saddle-to-table dress ($220, specialized.com/ca) looks great on and off the bike. It has a reflective side cinch to adjust its length for riding. The fabric wicks moisture and dries quickly.
Clothes for Him
On-bike, the Easton All-Day henley shirt ($80, eastoncycling.ca), with its wool/polyester blend, is comfortable. Off-bike, the stylish top will help a rider clean up real good.
The Specialized/Fjällräven rider’s flannel shirt ($210, specialized.com/ca) has a button-up collar that can help to keep out the wind. The same goes for the cuffs with elastic and snaps. The polyester flannel has a reflective yarn in it to boost visibility out on the road.
The Chpt3 Most Days performance jersey ($160, nomadfrontiers.ca) is good for, well, most rides. It has a snug fit, well-designed back pockets and a sharp look. The fabric uses HeiQ Pure, a silver-based treatment that keeps microbes and odours at bay.
The latest Shimano S-Phyre RC903W shoes ($630, bike.shimano.com) are refined road-racing platforms. The top-end footwear was revamped this past September to improve comfort and power transfer. This women’s shoe has a special colourway giving the heel a bit of flash.
Time to Ride
The Tudor Black Bay Chrono watch ($6,200, tudorwatch.com) is a luxury self-winding timepiece. If one of the members of Fabian Cancellara’s continental Tudor Pro Cycling Team were to take it out on a ride, he’d look great, but he’d have to take his arm off the bars every so often to activate the self-winding feature. Water is no worry; the Black Bay Chrono is waterproof to 200 m.
The Apple Series 8 watch ($569, apple.com/ca) can track all sorts of training and recovery metrics, such as heart-rate variability and sleep. For safety, it has fall detection. In a crash, it can initiate a call to emergency services and any emergency contacts. That’s peace of mind on a rider’s wrist.
The Osprey Syncro 12 pack ($200, osprey.com) is built with the company’s AirSpeed back panel, which gives a mountain biker an excellent amount of ventilation. The shoulder straps keep things snug and stable. The pack has a 12-l capacity. Its reservoir holds 2.5-l of water, while the rain cover keeps unwanted H2O away.
Keep a little rider hydrated with the Osprey Moki 1.5 pack ($100, osprey.com). The bag comes with a 1.5 l reservoir. The front stuff-it pocket is perfect for stashing snacks.
The Rapha Trail hip pack ($120, rapha.cc/ca) is made with recycled nylon. Pouches at each side hold water bottles securely. The pack can take 3 l of stuff, but with the draw cord (perfect for carrying a jacket) it feels like more.
Everyone loves cool socks. The Stance Batman Comic socks ($37, stance.ca) put the logo of the Dark Knight right at a cyclist’s calves. There has to be some kind of performance advantage there. The Stance ATAT crew socks ($37) have subtle graphics of the Empire’s heavy weapons moving across the cold expanse of Hoth. The cycling/Star Wars/sock nerd will be in heaven.
The Bontrager Verse Comp saddle ($135, trekbikes.com/ca) is at home on roads (paved and gravel), singletrack and ’cross courses. It’s also designed for all rider types and genders. Available in four widths: 135 mm, 145 mm, 155 mm and 165 mm.
The Prologo Dimension NDR saddle ($219, prologo.it) is geared for off-road riding. Compared with other saddles in the company’s lineup, this one has 3 mm of extra padding. The Nack rail, a combination of carbon fibre, Kevlar and aluminum filaments, keeps the overall weight down to 170 g.
Only a 3D printing process could have created the honeycomb structure of the Fizik Vento Argo R3 Adaptive saddle ($350, fizik.com). Fizik is able to tune the behaviour of various saddle zones, adjusting their level of cushioning. The saddle comes in at 224 g.
The Trek quilted joggers ($65, trekbikes.com/ca) let a cyclist kick back in comfort, maybe around a campfire or maybe on the couch as a tough cyclocross race streams on the television.
The GoPro Hero11 Black Mini action camera ($590, GoPro.ca) captures ride footage in 5.3K video quality. Two mounting options make getting just the right angle much easier. It’s waterproof to 10 m.
The Mission Workshop Mission saddle bag ($89, missionworkshop.com) stays secure at the rails thanks to a massive hook-and-loop strap. Inside, smartly placed elastic compartments hold essentials for roadside maintenance.
Give the gift of accuracy (±0.15 bar or ±2 p.s.i.) with the Pro digital pressure checker ($37, pro-bikegear.com). It works with both Presta and Schrader valves. A pressure release button can get the tires sitting just right on a set of wheels.
Do you know someone who tightens bolts on their carbon-fibre frame with Allen keys alone? They go free-hand? They make you nervous because they are always one twist away from breaking something? Help out the person who’s playing overtighten roulette. Give them the Lezyne pocket torque drive ($85, hlc.bike). It comes with six common bits and has a range of 2 to 6 Nm.
The Topeak Mini 20 Pro tool ($63, topeak.com) is small and mighty with 23 functions in a compact form. There are eight Allen keys and two Torx bits. The chain tool works with Shimano and SRAM compatible chains—single and multi-speed up to 12-speed.
Grip it Good
The Deity Slimfit grips ($32, hlc.bike), made with a Kelvar-infused rubber, have knurled surfaces. Their outer diameter is 30.5 mm. For something a little wider, the Race Face Getta grips ($27, raceface.ca) measure 33-mm wide. (They also come in a 30-mm diameter.) Race Face says its rubber compound is a closely guarded secret. Both brands secure their grips with solid collars.
Is there someone on your list who drinks a lot of coffee? The Yeti Rambler travel mug ($52, yeti.ca) holds 887 ml of joe and keeps that wonderful brew warm. The Rambler bottle ($50) manages 769 ml of hot or cold liquid for before or after a ride.
The FSA K-Wing AGX Carbon handlebar ($433, fullspeedahead.com) is a significant upgrade for a gravel or cyclocross bike. Matched with an FSA ACR stem, the handlebar can ensure cables and hoses are hidden away from the wind. The flare at the drops, a 12-degree outward bend on each side, give an adventurous rider more control on steep descents.
The Leatt MTB 2.0 X-Flow gloves ($62, leatt.com) excel in slightly cool conditions, both damp and dry. The light reinforcement on the pinky and ring fingers, as well as the knuckles, offers protection when branches start reaching out toward a mountain biker’s hands.
So Canadian, eh? The Handup Gloves Most Days gloves—Canadian Special Edition ($47, livetoplaysports.com) feature a red-and-black plaid pattern on their backs and small maple leafs. The palms, made of leather for excellent bike feel, spell “Give’r” when you put them together. Give’r indeed.
The expanded polystyrene foam blocks within the Lazer Strada KinetiCore helmet ($150, lazersport.ca) make up tuned crumple zones that redirect energy from a crash away from the head. This technology helped the lid to get a five-star rating from Virginia Tech’s helmet testing facility. A Lazer Universal LED taillight ($40) boosts visibility at the back.
The lightweight trail-oriented Scott Argo Plus helmet ($140, micasport.com) uses MIPS to address rotational forces from a crash. The Halo fit system snugs up the helmet’s fit. The vents work with inner channels to keep things cool on hot rides.
On the way to school or in the park, the 21 vents of the Smith Zip Jr MIPS helmet ($100, smithoptics.com) allow for good airflow. A size extra small weighs 240 g.
With the Smith Wilder Jr MIPS helmet ($100), a little shredder gets top-end protection from the MIPS layer. The VaporFit system helps the lid to sit right on the young rider’s head.
For the pickup-driving mountain biker who only needs to transport a bike or two, there’s the Race Face T2 half-stack tailgate pad ($97, raceface.ca). It can keep two bikes steady and well-protected on shuttles up bumpy roads.
The modular Yakima EXO system (livetoplaysports.com) is a mountain biker’s dream for getting to and setting up at new trails. A killer arrangement includes the GearLocker box ($820) on the lower SwingBase unit ($900). Above, on the TopShelf mount ($676), there’s the DoubleUp rack ($800), which can hold two bikes.
To keep hydrated, there’s NamedSport Isotonic Hydra Zero tablets ($9/tube of 20 tablets, unoimports.com), which come in orange and lemon. Each tablet contains magnesium and potassium, as well as B vitamins.
NamedSport bars ($30/box of 12) are a tasty mix of fruit paste and crisped rice. Each bar packs 120 calories. Flavours include banana, peach, strawberry and wild berries.
A glass of the Athletic Greens AG1 supplement (US$99/one-time purchase of a 30-serving pouch, athleticgreens.com) is packed with 75 vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. The drink can give a boost to a rider’s gut-health.
Off to the Races
The Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix and World Cup cyclocross are all on the Flobikes streaming service (US150/year, flobikes.com). Tons of post-race interviews deepen a fan’s understanding of the competitions.
The GCN Plus streaming platform ($60/year, plus.globalcyclingnetwork.com) carries the Giro d’Italia and Milan-San Remo. The hard-core CX fan needs this service to catch Superprestigue and X2O Badkamers events. If there’s a lull in the racing (which is, like, never), GCN documentaries are there with more cycling-related content.
The virtual worlds of the Zwift training platform ($19/month, zwift.com) are steadily expanding. This past fall, the third expansion for Makuri Islands, Urukazi, was released, as well as HoloReplay—a training feature that lets a rider take on an avatar clocking their best pace from the past 90 days.
The FulGaz virtual training program ($17/month, fulgaz.com) makes an indoor training ride a little more outdoorsy. On-screen, real-world routes go by, while their grades are simulated on the smart trainer. A roadie can prepare for an ascent of Alpe d’Huez all winter.
Support Those in Need
A bike can change a life. The donation of one World Bicycle Relief Buffalo bike ($205, worldbicyclerelief.org) can mean access to school or the ability to transport food from a farm in a developing region. From Nov. 7 to Dec. 31, Trek will match donations up to $500,000.