cycling home for xmas...

Ah, the lure of Christmas is upon us. The opening of the presents in the morning. The smell of the roasties in the oven. The constant sound of Roses (no Quality Street here thanks!) being ripped open. The arguments over Monopoly and who owes what - can't wait! It's been a year of change for us here at NITP, we have moved to the picturesque County Down overlooking the Mournes. With the relocation has also been a change of employment which means riding at the moment has been hard to squeeze in. Doesn't mean though we don't know what to ask Santa! If you're stuck for a few gift ideas, here's a few recommendations from us. Some from our reviews and some from past Xmas lists but all very welcomed by the cycling lover of the family!

Blank Cheque

Our top review this year was undoubtedly the Hammerhead Karoo 2. What a great piece of kit it is. Massive upgrade from my Wahoo ELEMNT Bolt (although there is a new model of this). The maps alone are brilliant, it's been used for basically everything but it's very good at showing where the trails are. At £359 it will be the pricier present to buy but it's definitely value for money.

If the person you're racing for is a full on road racer/time trialist, Nopinz have really made an impact this year. Our good friend Chris Detsicas put their Pro-1 skinsuit (£149) through a few rides and he reported back you can feel an aerodynamic benefit. So if you know the person you're gifting too appreciates any marginal gain in performance, a kit from Nopinz would be right up their street.

Know they like to explore and adventure but have nothing to carry their tools and essentials in? Restrap are your premium choice when it comes to bar bags etc, doubt you can go wrong here with their very broad range! KYou might of come across his handy work especially with his latest project when he was asked to design shoes for a certain Mark Cavendish. Shea (wanna guess where he's based?!!) is The Shoe Dr and is super talented, it's very clear he loves what he does. We have a pair of white Fiziks which need some love so if you're in the same boat as us, drop him a message but he's a busy fella so get in line!

I think we would all would love a new bike wouldn't we but seeing parts are like gold dust and getting one in time would be extremely difficult. If someone has a couple of grand lying around, you could see if Fustle can make something in time. Gravel specialists, I've seen their bikes and they're kitted out to the max.

Buy Them Their Next Adventure

Next best thing would be a weekend away next year. You would have to do a bit of research and test the water with suggested locations either here in the UK or abroad (all budget depending too). Call us bias but Northern Ireland is full of options. We've noticed so many glamping pods popping up in the area and you could always hire a van and tour around. Our lads back home in London took us to Bike Park Wales for our stag do many moons ago, we wouldn't say no to going back there either.

Or what about entering them for a race/event next year? On our little island/Ireland, Lakelander Gravel Grinder 2022 will be the gravel event you have to tick off. You could also look into the Fred Whitton Challenge in the Lake District although every year is full of photos of broken riders walking up those climbs!

If they're not ready for an event, you could get in touch with a coach such as Richard Lang over at Spoked who will put together a specific training plan to meet your goals and needs. Want something more practical? You could look into a technical coach especially if you're an off-roader. Tommy Magnenat who is based here in Co. Down offers coaching to get you ready for the trails you watch others nail. He would hate us as a customer - 'I ain't going down that, I'll see you back at the car park!'.

Stocking Fillers

More accessible and easy to buy, the next section is the niche and quirky options if your budget is a little lower but the quality is still very high. Staying on our adventure theme, Simon Warren's book 'Ride Britain' (£25) will definitely get the juices flowing to get out there and explore. We're just waiting for Simon to pop over on the ferry and write a book about this place (offer is there mate if you want some suggestions for Co. Down!).

Prints have become a big thing in cycling. Mementos or just brightening up the home, kinda spoilt for choice. You can grab prints as well as his books over at Simon Warren's 100 climbs but other worthy mentions must also go to Handmade Cyclist and ProCyclingTrumps. HC has a lot of retro style products at hand with the espresso cups looking a very good purchase seeing coffee fits together like a marriage when it comes to cycling. PCT are your more personalised prints. We have one of us and of lil' NITP and they're brilliant. You can create your own criteria with your own scores or swap out Monopoly this year for an actual game of trumps with so many packs to choose from. Speaking of games, Brainy Bikers offers to test the knowledge of your recipient via some very well researched and challenging quizzes. Oh and they do prints too! Definitely one for the know it all or the one who wants to know more!

I don't know if many do take advantage of their rewards on Strava but we've given Tribe a few goes this year. They've been so nice that Mrs NITP steals from the box before I even have a chance to take any out on rides. You can create your own box and if you're a premium member of Strava, you get 30% off a box - steal!

Winter is always the time of year when everyone gets their indoor trainers out and boot up Zwift. In our opinion, we're a massive fan of Zwift. We're a gamer at heart so it ticks a lot in our book but set ups can be pricey if you're someone who wants the best of everything. But if you're buying for a Zwifter, a tee or a cap from their accessory section won't break the bank.

So I hope this has helped to some degree, I can't put my personal address on here for obvious reasons (last thing I want is fan boys and girls outside chanting 'NITP'!) but if you really want to buy us something, take your pick from the list, we're not choosey! Have a great Xmas and hope to see you riding sometime in 2022!

Ben aka notinthepeloton