10 Things I Love: A Holiday Gift Guide
Posted on November 18 2016
There are a several magazines and blogs I read that have a "Stuff I/We Love" each month ( like Fast Company's "The Recommender", Bicycling's "The Selection", Tim Ferriss's "5 Bullet Friday" newsletter) which all put together a little collection of things they dig. Whether it's a tangible product or something intangible like a website, film, or app, I'm always curious about what kind of stuff other people are using and find valuable/helpful/cool/inspiring.
I have been wanting to incorporate something similar in my blog but have never gotten around to it. So in the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, I put together my own list of goodies I have been using over the past year so...and I figured it could also double as a gift guide. So here you go...hopefully you'll find some gifts you'd like to give and gifts you'd like to receive (sharing this post is a great way to drop some hints!). And dropping a few hints doesn't pan out for you, there's absolutely nothing wrong with buying yourself a gift this holiday season.
Gore Phantom 2.0 Soft Shell Jacket
With the weather starting to get a little on the nippy side in many places of the country, don’t let the cooler temperatures keep you off your bike! I have been wearing Gore jackets for years, and I have to say the Phantom 2.0 is by far my favorite. It’s super warm, has a really flattering fit, and has lots of reflective accents on it to help keep you visible in low light conditions. One of my favorite things about this piece is the sleeves zip off to convert the jacket into a short sleeve jersey, so you essentially have a jacket, jersey, and vest all in one garment. I love the high-vis yellow because it just makes me feel so much safer on the road, but if high-vis isn’t your cup o’ tea, it’s available in 10 different colors.
Bike Heart Tee Shirt
Yes, this is a shameless plug for our own product but if you are looking for a fun gift to give, the Bike Heart Tee Shirt is a dead ringer. Everyone really digs this design, so we sell lots of these tee shirts. I get compliments each time I wear mine, which is as flattering as heck since I designed it. This shirt has been so popular that we just added more colors to choose from. I love the cut of this tee shirt…I call it “just right fit” since it’s not too fitted and not too loose. Just the perfect women’s cut. We also offer it in a cute baseball style ¾ sleeve tee.
Camelbak Magic Hydration Pack
I have a confession: I own eight hydration packs. Yes, I have issues. But the one I use the most is the 2-liter Camelback Magic pack. It’s a women’s-specific pack so it fits awesome and it’s the perfect size for a 2 – 3 hour ride. The bottom front pocket is oversized smartphone friendly, which is a really nice feature (and if you own one these “phablets”, you know what a struggle it can be trying to fit it into any sort of pocket). Even if you don’t mountain bike, I use this little pack for day hikes all the time. There’s plenty of room for snacks, sunscreen, and whatever else you carry with you on a hike.
If you have been a really, really good girl, you should ask Santa for a Turner Czar. And if Santa doesn’t come through, dip into your “invest in me” fund and buy yourself this amazing 29” wheel mountain bike. I have had my Czar going on two years now and I have to say it’s the best suspension mountain bike I have ever ridden. It’s light, it’s nimble, and handles with laser-sharp precision. One of the many things I love about this bike is it truly makes me feel like a better climber than I actually am. In addition to being a kick-ass rider, David Turner has been making bikes with his name on the downtube for well over 20 years, so he knows a thing or two about how to do it right. There aren’t too many bikes you can buy these days where you can go to a demo event and have the guy who owns the company and designed the bike answer all your questions… AND have him personally get a bike set up for you to try. That’s service you don’t find much these days. And creativity must run in the family...David's wife Christina (who is also a kick-ass rider herself) makes an awesome line of bike-related jewelry called Mountain Gems.
Take notice of the comma…trust me, nobody wants to give or receive a saddle sore! Bicycling magazine editor Molly Hurford has taken on the delicate subject of taking care of our girly bits in her book Saddle, Sore. Being a cyclist can often bring about all kinds of health concerns “down there” we don’t often talk about, not even with our girlfriends who also ride. Molly, along with a team of medical professionals, coaches, athletes, and bike industry employees, gives us some invaluable advice about how to keep our hoo hoos happy and healthy on the bike. I consider this book a must read for ALL women cyclists. Another great read is Molly’s most recent book about nutrition called Fuel Your Ride. She breaks down the science of nutrition into easy-to-read chapters you don’t need to be a doctor to understand.
Petal Power Joy Ride Chamois Cream
Speaking of keeping hoo hoos happy, our sister company Petal Power makes a pretty awesome chamois cream. Unlike many other chamois creams on the market, Petal Power uses all natural and plant based ingredients. It doesn’t contain any menthol or peppermint oil, so there’s no burning or tingling. It also contains no tea tree oil or lanolin, both of which can be highly irritating to the skin (lanolin is actually one of the most irritating ingredients used in skin care products). No petroleum products (mineral oil, petrolatum, and paraffin wax all fall in this category), no parabens, no animal testing. That's a lot of "no's", but it's what Joy Ride Cream doesn't have in it that makes it so fantastic. This cream is super mild, long lasting, and it smells amazing.
Gift membership to your local IMBA chapter
Every mountain biker should be a member of their local International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) chapter. It’s so important, I’ll say it again: Every mountain biker should be a member of their local IMBA chapter! If you know someone who isn’t a member, why not give them a gift membership? Membership dues and donations are what local chapters use to create new trails, preserve existing trails, and advocate for mountain bike access. It’s seriously the gift that keeps on giving!
Ortlieb Bikepacking Bags
I did my first bikepacking trip about a month ago. Granted it was just a short overnight in our local mountains, but I experienced enough to know I am officially hooked. There’s just something about traveling light and sleeping under the stars that’s so good for the soul. Ortlieb has been making bombproof waterproof bags for a variety of different uses in Germany for many a year, so I was glad to see they introduced a bikepacking bag line at Interbike this year. I ordered a handlebar pack, accessory bag, and seat pack…all three pieces mounted up to my bike quickly and easily. All three pieces have a lot of adjustability so you can expand/contract the bags based on how much you stuff into them by simply rolling the ends down and snapping them into place. Getting a set of bags was the first step I needed to make a trip happen, so now that I have my Ortlieb’s, I’ll be ready to roll for future adventures.
Rainbow Rim Trail with Western Spirit Cycling
A lot of people are opting to give the gift of experiences instead of material stuff. For an experience of a lifetime, book a mountain bike tour of the Grand Canyon North Rim with Western Spirit Cycling. I have done several trips with Western Spirit, two of which were at the Grand Canyon North Rim. It’s unreal. The Rainbow Rim Trail is located along the northern side of the Grand Canyon, it’s really the only place you can ride your bike on singletrack along the rim of the canyon (you can’t ride your bike on the trails within the Grand Canyon National Park; the Rainbow Rim Trail is located outside park bounds). It goes without saying that the views are absolutely spectacular, but the best thing about this trail is it’s super mellow and incredibly fun. Sure you can go ride this trail on your own, but do yourself a favor and let Western Spirit handle all the logistics for you. Their guides are some of the raddest people on the planet…they’ll take you on all the best trails and cook you amazing meals. You don’t even have to do the dishes. Basically all you need to do is ride your bike on sweet singletrack and take in the splendor of the Grand Canyon.
Custom LOVe kit by Pearl Izumi
Yep, another shameless plug for our own product, but if these kits weren't so darn cute, I wouldn't bother. I worked with Pearl Izumi Custom to design and create our first round of limited-edition kits and I am SO STOKED with how they turned out. The LOVe kit is based on Pearl Izumi’s top-of-the-line Elite jersey and shorts, so they are made with all the best Italian fabrics and have an uber-flattering fit. We only ordered 25 total kits and that’s all we’ll order since we want to keep them truly limited edition. So if you want one, don’t wait too long or they’ll all be gone!
prAna Kara Jeans
OK, it’s not bike related, but we do more than ride our bikes, right? When I’m not riding, I practically live in prAna’s Kara jeans. They are a slim-leg jean, but they aren’t so skinny that you feel like you are wearing more of a “jegging”. prAna considers these a low rise fit, but you’d never know it. They sit low on the hips, but I don’t feel like they expose half my booty when I bend over. The Kara jean has just the right amount of stretch, so if you need to hop on your bike to buzz down to the corner market to grab a quart of milk, it’s totally doable. The downside of these jeans? They come in so many fun colors, it’s all too easy to go buck-wild and order 6 different pairs to match everything in your wardrobe.