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It’s getting cold outside; your children are steaming through their advent calendars and your neighbour has once again put out that gaudy light display. To quote a rather popular Christmas campaign, the ‘holidays are coming’.
Is the cyclist in your life a gravel fanatic? Look no further, here at The Bicycle Chain we have compiled a list of potential gifts to get you started.
Make 2020 the year of gravel
Gravel bikes are a booming industry, with many riders wanting to incorporate both on- and off-road sections into their rides. A road bike may well fly on the asphalt but the minute you turn onto the dusty stuff you will be cursing not only punctures but the chatter that vibrates through the rigid road frame too. On the other hand, a cyclocross bike may be perfect on the trails but it just won’t feel the same on the tarmac.
That’s where the gravel bike comes in, something you can ride that gives you equal performance on all sorts of terrain. These are built for performance without compromising on comfort.
A gravel bike has a bit more clearance to take wider tyres but retains more of a road style geometry, so provides playful handling and predictable steering. The majority come with hydraulic disc brakes too, to give you safe and reliable braking off-road. They are complete swiss army knife bikes and can be used not only as a training bike but a reliable tourer and commuter bike too.
Here at The Bicycle Chain, we have a few different models, including top-end bikes like the Specialized Diverge Expert Gravel, or the slightly more entry-level Trek Checkpoint ALR 3. We also stock a range of women’s specific gravel bikes from Liv, like the slick-looking Avail AR 1.
What else does a gravel rider need?
Unlike other disciplines in the sport, there is no set dress code in gravel riding. That’s part of the charm, if you want to ride out in full lycra, go ahead, but equally if you feel the need to don the baggies no one’s going to mind.
Now that the icy weather is drawing in, it’s important to think about the kit that will keep you dry and relatively clean. When riding in the depths of winter it’s a good idea to cut out the leg warmers and just opt for full-length tights from the get-go. Tights are super-warm and they do away with that uncomfortable (and sometimes unsightly) seam where shorts meet leg-warmer.
You’ll find an array of thermal options for both men and women at The Bicycle Chain, and if you want to avoid looking like you’re doing a production of The Nutcracker, you can chuck your baggies on over the top.
It is always important to layer up at Christmas and when you’re on the trails you will need a jacket that can withstand the kicking of water and mud. We have some great options for men and women from Altura, some which come with the added perk of a detachable hood. Our Endura women’s range has the option of pretty much every hi-vis colour imaginable.
It’s important to keep your extremities nice and toasty too. Our range of off-road waterproof gloves will keep your hands from shivering when the frostbites.
As we have already mentioned, gravel bikes can be used in a multitude of different ways, and if you are planning a gravel tour for 2020, you will need the correct hydration equipment. We stock many Camelbak products to manage hydration on the go, from smaller belt packs to large 20-litre backpacks, and everything in between, we have got you covered.
Another onboard must for gravel rides is a reliable pump, just in case the worst happens. We stock a range of Topeak and Giant pumps to keep you from feeling deflated this Christmas…
So, there we have it, a little summary of gift ideas to put under the tree for the gravel rider in your life this Christmas. The Bicycle Chain is here to service your cycling needs, so pop down to one of our stores this festive season to find the best winter deals.