All right all you good little boys and girls, let’s think about what we want Santa put under the tree this year.
How about a wool PISGAH jersey made by local Pisgah Works? It’s a full zip, with a silver pull ornately designed as a dragon. It has a hood, complete with tiny visor so that it can be worn under the helmet. The visor keeps your face from being leaked on by the annoying drip through the slits in the helmet. The extra-long sleeves have thumb-holes, which are perfect for those days you don’t want a gap between your glove and sleeves. It’s even perfect on the days you almost needed gloves. Of course it has snug rear pockets. The best part is how frigging cool you look, and everybody tells you so.
You just can’t get enough base layers, either. That includes socks, which have become nearly as important as shorts. DeFeet, which is a local company, has always kept my toes comfy whether they’re wet in the summer or the winter. Everybody needs a thin, long-sleeve thermal layer with a neckline that doesn’t choke or bind and tucks down low into the shorts. As for tights, it’s that time of year that if you don’t have fleece tights, you probably won’t ride.
Since buying whimsical, yet highly functional gear can be a little costly, a great stocking stuffer would be a cool riding shirt from Club Ride. Not only do you look like a sexy cowboy, but the material does not hold stink. You can finish an epic Sunday in it and still wear it to work the next morning. Not only is the line American made by some hot dude in Idaho, but he buys tricot material from a local company who also serves Patagonia.
Who wants to struggle anymore with a hand pump. What we need is a sturdy floor pump with a gauge. It works well for cars and motorcycle tires too.
It’s pretty much guaranteed that riders are going to go through some tubes, so might as well fill the stocking with a few to stash in the backpack. Other safety necessities might be a small first aid kit (with painkillers and a suture kit). Even a whistle is a good idea, as well as a fistful of Cliff Cubes, which are yummy gummies filled with the necessities for trail-burned legs on a long ride.
Speaking of packs, Camelbak is no longer the only choice for hydration. Osprey has busted out with a system that craves details. The bladder has a long handle and screw top that never suctions on too tightly, requiring a Hulk grip to open it. It has a firm back that allows the bladder to slide easily into the pack, providing a smooth surface on the rider’s back. It has small, waterproof, zipped compartments that can be washed out. Never does the tube down to the valve flop around tapping your knee in that irritating fashion. The chest strap has a super magnet that holds the valve in place, just inches from your thirsty lips. Plus, they’ve got a cool purple one that funds breast cancer research.
The only other thing I can think of beyond a Go-Pro video camera is a small private fridge in the garage filled with beer.