Christmas gift ideas for the cyclist dad

Note: If you feel like you may have read this post before, you’re probably right.  This is an only slightly modified repost of a previous Father’s Day article.  Same principles apply though.  Enjoy

There is a very long tradition of getting dad a tie for Christmas.  But what if Dad’s favorite pastime involves a saddle, two wheels and two pedals?  As a general rule, folks don’t wear neck ties on the weekend group rides.

Luckily, there are a number of items – ranging from the relatively inexpensive to the completely extravagant – that can fill the bill.  Here’s a list of some ideas in no particular order:
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A picture is worth a thousand words

http://acme.com/chumaker/

See – told you bikes were a kick

I’m sure that many of you have seen – or at least heard of – bicycle polo.  But soccer on a bike takes the cake.  And I’m not talking about lobbing a ball around with your feet as you pedal by on your bike.  No – these guys are using their bikes – usually the front wheel – to stop and “kick” the ball.  If you think that doing track stands at stoplights shows your mad skillz, well, you’ve got to see one of these games.

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Clipless pedals – can you ever go back?

It really wasn’t that long ago that I made the switch from platform pedals and pedals with toe clips to clipless pedals.  Once I did I never went back.  Even my daily commute was done with Shimano mountain bike shoes mated to my SPD clipless pedals.  I chose that setup for my commute because it was the best balance between clipless pedals and shoes that were reasonable to walk around in.  Non-commute rides are always done on Look pedals.

Now that I’ve taken a job closer to home, however, my cycling habits and opinions are being … well, reevaluated.  As part of that process, I actually swapped out my SPD pedals for a pair of – you guessed it – pedals with toe clips.

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VeloShine – everything shiny, captain?

I’m not a huge fan of washing my bike.  I love having the bike clean – and I’d fully endorse the procedure of cleaning you bike.  I just don’t care for the actual act of cleaning.  It is tedious, greasy and wet.  Compounding the issue is the fact that the longer you put it off (presumably because it is tedious, greasy and wet) you are not only causing excessive wear to your drive train and other moving parts, you’re also making the inevitable bike wash more tedious, greasier and wetter.

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BMC & Luxembourg in, Cofidis & Geox-TMC out

The UCI licensing board has announced the recipients of the latest batch of 4 year ProTour licenses.  A ProTour license allows teams a spot in all ProTour races, setting the stage for a team’s season.

Most of the teams are current ProTour license holders, reapplying when their 4 year license expired.  However, two teams – BMC and Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project – are new to the ProTour ranks.

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See and be seen

Daylight savings time is an odd beast.  I’ve heard several explanations on its origins – ranging from bankers and stock brokers, to farmers wanting their children to be able to get chores in during daylight hours before school, to railroad interests.  Clearly they didn’t consult with bicycle commuters on their opinions, though, as the time shift puts the normal commute home into complete darkness.

It is a very subjective opinion, but city traffic in the mornings seems to be less hectic than traffic on the evening commute.  Perhaps it is because folks are anxious to get home – or to the pub – quickly after work, but not quite so rushed to get to the office in the morning.  Whatever the cause, I much prefer to ride in morning darkness compared to evening darkness.

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A view of my commute to work

It has been a while since my job switch, and things are starting to settle into a routine (which also means I’m getting back up to speed with regular posts here!)  Of course, being JustAnotherCyclist would require me to post the obligatory commute to work video.  Well, here it is folks.  This was taken with my GoPro camera mounted on the handlebars of my Cannondale R300 commuter.  I set the camera to take one shot every 3 seconds, and stitched them together into this short video.

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Made it through my first TT

Time trials.  The race against the clock.  The race of truth.  The race of pain…

Time trials are probably the purest test of physical abilities in the cycling world, with no small measure of psychological toughness required as well..  There is always some amount of strategy in every human competition, but here the strategy is simply about how to meter out your power in such a way that you don’t blow up somewhere in the middle.  There is no drafting, no jockeying for position, no antics.  Just rider, bike and the course in front of them.

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Helmets clearly don’t rock

Bicycle helmets.  They are the subject that I just can’t seem to leave alone.  As my daily commute has significantly changed, so as my approach to that commute.  One of those changes – without any specific intent that I am aware of – is the fact that I’ve shed the helmet for more of my commutes than not.  Perhaps it is the influence of all of the urbanite riders I come across.  Whatever the reason, I’ve mostly been without ye ol’ brain bucket lately.

My wife, on the other hand, is a stanch helmetarian.  She is often gently (or not so gently) ribbing me about my cycling-cap-only head.  I was this ribbing that prompted me to put on the helmet before I left for work the other morning.  As I’ve said before, I’m not against helmets, so riding with it is not something that really has to be forced on me.  This wasn’t a big deal.  Grab it, throw it on my head, strap it around the chin and forget about it.

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