There's a reason why bike manufacturers agonise over every curve, scallop and carefully machined perforation on their designs. Yes, sure, performance, but there's also the unbridled perfectionism of the discerning cyclist. We're sticklers for beautiful, thoughtful, heritage-infused design, and by golly do we like a good font.
If you know a rider who also considers him or herself to be a bit of an aesthete, here’s a list that’s sure to make them happy. (Likewise, if you’re a bit of a bike snob yourself, prepare to want.)
The Handmade Cyclist prints
There are cycling posters, and then there are The Handmade Cyclist’s cycling posters. Taking inspiration from cycling’s most iconic climbs, routes and monuments, THC’s graphical style means the images are arresting for cyclists and civilians alike – although anyone with a fondness for bikes will appreciate them all the more.
Bellroy Elements Phone Pocket Plus
Getting out for a ride is a great way to escape life's drearier elements, but remaining in touch is a necessary evil. Having cash for catastrophes (and cake) is helpful, too. This slim wallet has space for an iPhone 6-sized mobile, cash, 10 cards, your passport, keys and a smaller items such as a spare SD or SIM card. It’s made from treated, water-resistant leather, and has a waterproof zip. It looks the part, too.
Most helmets are resolutely not works of art. Meanwhile, the Whisper looks as much like one of Gaudi’s architectural works as it does a bonce-protector. With 39 large vents and a well sorted fitting system, it’s a cool and comfortable lid – others may be better finished at the price, but few are as distinctive.
Rapha Team Sky Long Sleeve Training Brevet Jersey
Team Sky’s (soon to be defunct) partnering with Rapha was an inspired piece of work. Although the special-edition Brevet jersey carries its sponsor’s branding, it does so in a way that doesn't make you look like a big advert on wheels, and the colour combo is now iconic. This long-sleeved Brevet is highly visible in the dark, warm enough for colder conditions and, as we're used to from Rapha, beautifully finished.
Bialetti Moka Express
Coffee is the lifeblood of the cyclist, particularly on a fresh winter’s morning. This solid aluminium Italian design classic comes in various sizes that will produce anything from a single perfect measure of espresso to nine of them. Simply add water and ground coffee, heat on the stove and the former percolates through the latter, creating magnificent shots in minutes.
Cyclepedia: 100 Postcards of Iconic Bicycles
Four years ago Thames and Hudson made a book featuring medical-grade photography of 100 of history’s best known, most innovative and craziest bike designs. That book, Cyclepedia, has now given rise to this pack of 100 postcards, which details each of the bikes individually. Fine presents, both.
Loopie Route poster
Is your giftee proud of a ride, race or sportive they've completed? Or have they just got a really interesting cycle commute? Whatever – immortalise it in a Loopie Route poster. Provide the GPS data from Strava, Garmin Connect or another service, and Loopie will conjure from it a ribbon of yellow set in a geographically accurate landscape of black or white. Available in sizes from A3 to A1.
NB: Loopie Route has been overwhelmed with demand so can no longer deliver new orders before Christmas 2015.
The Rules: The Way of the Cycling Disciple
It’s hard to know if the rules set by the ‘keepers of the cog’ are tongue-in-cheek or serious. In truth, they are the former in tone, the latter in practice. Some examples:
Rule 12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1 (where n is the number of bikes you currently own)
Rule 22: Cycling caps are for cycling. “Cycling caps can be worn under helmets, but never when not riding, no matter how hip you think you look.”
Rule 32: Humps are for camels: no hydration packs.
This book will not only keep your riding chum on the straight-and-narrow, but put a grin on their face, too.
Full Windsor Shop The Nutter Multitool
If your riding friend has a Brooks leather saddle, The Nutter (which comes in brown or black leather) will strap on to the tabs at its rear and look terribly sophisticated. If not, it’ll look lovely all the same – and it’s a clever piece of kit. Functions include a Nylon tyre lever, a 15mm box head spanner, a spoke key, a Philips and flat-head screwdriver, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8mm hex tools, a bottle opener and a T25 Torq key, all in a neat 110g package.
Crane Suzu Lever Strike Brass Bell
The city cyclist (or those found on busier trails) will have a better time on the bike if he or she alerts others of his or her presence when at a junction or heading down a bridleway. Crane’s Suzu brass bell is a miniature work of art – iconic and sonorous, with nary a Mickey Mouse sticker in sight.
Vulpine Raw Selvedge Men’s Cycling Jeans
Yes, they are simply jeans, but they’re jeans designed with the city cyclist in mind. The Jinzus are cut for cyclists’ over-developed quadriceps and feature a seamless ‘diamond gusset’ which means the rider isn’t forced to sit on an uncomfortable bind of selvedge denim and thread. The material is thick and tough, so a rider won’t wear them through after a few city commutes, and the belt loops are sturdy enough to hook on a D-lock. Simple, functional, and good-looking.
Clug bike clip
Bike storage, particularly for the more aesthetic city cyclist, can be a challenge, but it’s particularly tough to find a solution that looks good when it’s not holding a bike. Meet Clug. This robust plastic clip comes in sizes suitable for skinny road tyres, middleweight commuter bikes and mountain bikes (although fat bike riders may still struggle) – mount them on a wall at the correct height, wheel your bike in (either horizontally or vertically if you’ve mounted it higher) and it’ll be held fast with a satisfying ‘clug’. Hence the name.
Santini Replica Molteni Jersey
Does your cycling chum deserve to wear the iconic Molteni/Arcore shirt worn by Eddy Merckx during his incredible run of form from 1971 to 1976? Almost certainly not, and wearing the world champion bands has got to be against The Rules for your mate Dave (see above) – but this is a fine-looking warm weather shirt, made by Santini in 100% polyester. There are few frills here; it has three pockets to the rear and a 14cm zip at the neck for ventilation. But if it looked good enough for Eddy…
Brooks England Pickwick Rucksack
Brooks leather, water-resistant (if not water-proof) canvas and classic, roll-top styling? Oh go on then. We haven't tried the Pickwick out on the bike, but it's certainly one of the most sophisticated-looking cycling bags out there, and its 24l capacity (with stealth tool/lock storage) should be sufficient for most commuters. Given Brooks' status as a artisanal-grade crafter of bike accessories, we suspect it'll be well made, too.