Friday Group Ride #434

Friday Group Ride #434

I’m not really a Christmas guy, and I don’t care much for New Years either. Thanksgiving is more my speed, gratitude, family, friends, cooking, the smell of wood smoke, and near perfect riding weather. Christmas is a project I don’t need at a busy enough time of year. As the son of a Welsh farmer, I abhor the conspicuous consumption of it. New Year’s Eve is actually my birthday…and I don’t drink…so that gets complicated and anti-climactic and too busy, too.

But there’s no use living in denial. Christmas is upon us. The frenzy of acquisition approaches fever pitch. Stockings are hung by the chimney, albeit haphazardly, and my boys are dreaming of Xbox games and new skateboards. Among like-minded loved ones I have reached an understanding that we will not be exchanging gifts, but will very much be looking forward to spending some time together.

My curmudgeonliness is a struggle for my wife and kids. I have some very serious passions, e.g. cycling, but I also only want very specific things, and none of them has the experience to know what those are, nor do they have access to the industry discounts I have. Also, I already have too much cycling stuff, which is a blessing for which I am not short of gratitude (see: Favorite Holidays, Thanksgiving).

Nonetheless they ask, “what do you want for Christmas?” And I say, “nothing,” or “whatever you want to get me,” or some other series of unhelpful mumbling.

The stuff-of-the-minute on Planet Bike is actually pretty exciting. Cycling clothing is getting better and better. The traditional companies have all upped their games, and there is a sea of niche producers now that have piggy-backed on Rapha’s original idea with stuff that won’t leave you looking like a rolling billboard. Cycling computers are better and better. No one gets tires for Christmas, but I actually think tires are great right now. Frame bags have proliferated in quantity and quality, too.

So, this week’s Group Ride asks, what’s on your list? Are you getting cycling stuff for people? If so, what? And if you’ve asked for something for yourself, what is that? Or are you like me, too particular to buy for, and too jaded to ask for it anyway?

Image: Omata

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  1. Kayce

    I am in the same boat as you for the most part. Industry discounts and picky. So bike stuff is out, except the collection of bicycle themed ornaments that I already have a good collection of. Lucky for me my family is good at getting me gifts for my other passion: cooking. Its really easy to find a cool new craft food item that fills my same needs for handmade, local, and unique. But I don’t get any of it for cheaper than they can, and not so lost in the weeds of it all to be too particular. Its a very nice fit.

  2. TS

    I am with you all the way. The exception is that I am not privy to industry discounts. I love the “spirit” of Christmas. Getting together with family, helping the less fortunate, cooking and eating. In the eyes of my loved ones I am impossible to buy for. I want cycling stuff but I know what I want and I would never ask anyone to pay the prices required to obtain that gear. My list includes tires (there truly are great options out there), clothing and way up there is an extra set of wheels for my gravel bike.
    I have asked for tubeless sealant (a great stocking stuffer at a manageable price) but the rest is on me and I am OK with that.

  3. Aar

    I’m too particular and my wife is blissfully happy being in the dark about the cost of cycling products. I don’t give cycling gifts unless they’re requested. This holiday season, I changed the saddles on my bikes and since the saddle are made by “the big S”, I also picked up a bunch of SWAT accessories. That’s my gift to myself.

  4. Mike

    I used to be very Grinch-like but now with 2 young kids its hard not to get swept up in all of it as they get so excited. We try to keep it low key though a few gifts for the kids to open and then make/bake the rest. I am also way to picky for the wife to get me anything cycling related so I bought myself a new saddle, fabric, this year as my gift. Of course the list of wants is very long but the new dirve train will have to wait.

  5. Winky

    I’m not well-connected enough to get any discounts on anything. So I’m happy(?) with full-whack (you know, for suckers) prices on a few small cycling-related gifts. As for my wife? She’s hard to buy for. She has a passion for cooking, but kitchen gifts seem somehow sexist. She’s outright said that she has enough jewelry and perfume (do I believe her?). As well as the standard kitchen gifts (I buy them anyway), she’s getting a gift certificate fora high-end department store.

  6. Mike Cassie

    I know I’m in a very lucky position where I have all I need, of course there’s the stuff I want but let’s not go there.
    The last few years I’ve asked my mum to simply get me something small split between birthday and Xmas, the dates are close together, and the rest of the money she would normally spend on my gifts should be donated to charity. She can pick the charity or charities, I have another way of donating money to charity. For every mile I ride on my bike outdoors, I donate 10p to charities of my choosing. Strava is handy for something!

  7. Harris

    I give cycling themed gifts to my dad and brother. Usually books, accessories and small tools they wouldn’t otherwise think to get for themselves. I find problematic that I don’t keep a running tally on what I give them; sometimes they get the same book or tool twice! This year is the year of the junior drop bar racer type at my house for my 10 year old. Bought it from a buddy, tuned it up, waxed it and blinged it out with new tape, cages, lights, etc. and we are hoping it takes hold.

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