Thursday, November 26, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015

We know, we know - everyone has a gift guide these days, but for the hard-to-buy-for, cyclist-who-has-everything on your list, here's ours, with some great things you might not have seen elsewhere. We're sure the lucky person who receives one of these gifts will be thrilled!

 Happy Holidays!

How 'bout a modern but retro jersey from our friends at Nalini? This is not an old, scratchy relic from the past nor something to wear only when the temps drop. This jersey is as comfortable as your favorite t-shirt and might quickly become your favorite.

Have a tool "junkie" on your list? Look up the phrase pleasure to use and there should be a photo of this kit. Silca's HX-ONE will delight anyone who appreciates quality tools. This is one of those iconic things that fathers will pass down to their sons.

Extra virgin olive oil. This is far from the stuff you find at the supermarket, some of which might be five years old! Olive oil's not like wine, it doesn't get better with age. It's more like fruit juice - the fresher the better. Everybody and his fratello brags about Tuscan oils, but we're partial to Sicily - a flavor we find more balanced and more versatile. Our friends at Gustiamo just got some from the recent harvest. It'll never be fresher and tastier than it is right now. This is the "good stuff", to be used sparingly rather than something to cook with.

Here's something that combines pleasure to use with a great result. Tullio Campagnolo, the same guy who invented the quick release for your wheels after his frozen hands couldn't undo the old wingnuts holding his wheel on, had a similar revelation when too many vintage wine bottles were destroyed while trying to get the corks out. The Campagnolo CAVATAPPI remains an icon, still in production today.

Many of us are "getting up there" age-wise, with eyesight to match. While we might be putting off getting prescription glasses, we could use a little help reading the tiny print on a wine label or seeing the distance on our cyclometer. DUAL has the answer, with tiny magnifiers built-in to the lenses. Even better, the lense quality is amazing with excellent clarity. People like the quality of these so much they've added versions without the magnifiers - they're that good!

Something to enjoy reading during a snowy winter. Perhaps an inspiration to improve your home workshop? It's all here in BIKE MECHANIC. Read Larry's full review HERE.

Cyclists can always use tires. Treat 'em to the best. Challenge Strada open-tubulars might not be a tire they'd buy for themselves and we'd not suggest these for an all-weather commuter bike, but they'll improve the ride of ANY bicycle more than any other single thing you could imagine. These fat 25's should fit on most any bike and if you swap 'em front-to-rear as soon as the rear one shows some wear you'll get good mileage out of them, but the smooth, plush and fast ride is what they're all about. Your riding time is precious, why waste any of it riding on stiff, unyielding tires?

A gift any chocolate lover will LOVE. Legend has it that the folks at Caffarel taught the Swiss everything they know about chocolate. If you've joined us at our Italian HQ, Hotel Ariotto, you've probably sampled the gianduotti from Novi which are excellent. Caffarel's original version is even better!!! These are far from inexpensive, but just one, slowly melting in your mouth is so satisfying, they're worth the price. Perfect to place on the saucer when you serve that after-dinner espresso.

Espresso you ask? Larry loves our Gaggia Classic with it's chrome housing and parts you can replace, but after trying out ILLY's  iperespresso capsules he swore the next machine we would get would be one of these. Gaggia makes one, perfect for our apartments in Italy. This is truly no-brainer espresso, just pop in the capsule and push the button. While far from an heirloom you'll pass down to your grandchildren, these low priced machines do a fine job with both espresso and cappuccino.

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