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Friday, 16 November 2012

Christmas presents for cyclists and why Pink Stinks

Christmas - a time for "guiding" your friends and family

Like many cyclists, I am rather picky about the parts and accessories I like. It's not being difficult, honest, it's just that my bike, like yours, is a very personal expression of me. Many cyclists have a very close relationship with their machine(s) and it's the customisation that makes a bike"yours". Of course, these changes are never ending as stuff wears out, or you notice a little carbon item that will be vital to your enjoyment and safety. Well, ok, vital to your bling factor......

So, what's a keen cyclist to do at this time of the year? Well, no one wants to look difficult or ungrateful but having in a previous life been given lovely cycle gifts of dubious origin I started to be very specific with what I might like as a gift. 

I have to say that Aldi and Lidl often have really good bits and pieces for bikes and bikers, but be selective. This offer (now expired) included a bike repair stand for £30. Now, it would only be useful for occasional use but it's the way to go for repairs and far better than wedging your bike against the garage wall. They have also offered some excellent value cycling shoes - so good, my wife has two pairs!

So - presents........ Gift vouchers might be a good way to go, depending upon where it was from. I know people don't like giving value presents - but it's effective. One of my favourite bike-part porn sites is ChainReactionCycles (CRC) and they do vouchers from one pound. They also deliver virtually everything for free. Merlin Cycles do a similar "e-voucher" and are also home to the UK's best value own-brand hard tail MTB's

The other possibility is what I might call consumables. Chain lube, energy bars, more energy powder (match whatever is already in the house, carefully) are all welcome. A bottle of Finish Line Green and Red chain oils would never be a wrong option, nor would any bike cleaning items from the big manufacturers such as Finish Line and Muc Off and Park Tools - name but three of the many cleaning products at Chain Reaction Cycles

Cycles for kids for Christmas

I had bikes as a kid for Christmas. As a kid, I didn't really care, but I guess things have changed since 1968.......Cycle fashions come and go and many bikes for kids are made to look a bit "mountain bike-y" or a bit "BMX-y" and there is nothing wrong with that. It is important to remember though that knobbly tyres offer less grip on tarmac/pavements and a BMX style one speed bike will be a pain to go any distance on.

So what's out there? Well, Halfords do a service and CRC have a long list of kids bikes. But whatever you do, please avoid PINK BIKES FOR GIRLS. Ok, so it's a personal bug bear.........

The Pink Stinks website is one to have a look at for "pink issues".

The pinkification of being a girl - and skiing......

It's not just cycling that has a pink problem, skiing has a similar problem. Apparently, a ski insider tells me, "women's specific" in skiing means "fat calves, wide arse, can't ski for toffee". This has a number of strange effects. Women's kit has to have some flowery/butterfly/kitten motif, probably some crystals (bits of cheap glass glued on somewhere) and a range of colours that we had hoped, died sometime in the 80's, but that designers think that women might just like resurrected. 

At the performance end of skiing, this ends up with hardly any skis being long enough for good women skiers (who then properly, select a weapon from the men's range - or "unisex" range)

But are the marketeers so limited in their thinking that the only way they think they can sell sports stuff to women is to make it pink? It beggars belief!

Recipe of the week - Christmas pudding vodka...

Ok, so it's not a particularly healthy recipe, well, actually rather unhealthy, apart from probably some vitamin C content....but if you are struggling for a pressie for a cyclist, I have yet to meet one who after the tea, cakes and long ride, wouldn't fancy sitting down to a post shower "nip".

This comes from the Hairy (Motor) Bikers recipes, which of course now include odd diet food like lasagne made with leeks instead of pasta. Isn't that just spiced mince in a dish?

Anyway - this looks like it can be made in three days, I'm making mine next week, just in time for the festive season!

Christmas Pudding Vodka        Please note the recipe repeats itself. Odd for the BBC!

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