Here we are once again with the holiday season zooming in on us at the speed of light. Likewise, here we are once again faced with having to find that perfect gift for that special cyclist in our life. How often have we agonized at trying to figure out what our cycling-significant other would like or possibly even need in the way of a Christmas present? How many times have we leafed through the pages of the cycling mail order catalogues or wandered aimlessly up and down the aisles of the bicycle shops in search of that one item that shows our cycling companion that we really and truly care for them and their chosen passion? How many of their friends have we bugged to no end about what kind of gift to buy only to find out that they hadn’t bothered to pay any more attention during the last year than we had? For all of you who are finding yourselves in this exact same predicament, well, this is your lucky day (or night, depending on when you are reading this article). Just in the St. Nick of time, it’s:
Bertha’s Answers to Your Cycling Gift-Giving Dilemmas.
Yes, fortunately for all my loyal readers who are now in need of a cycling-type gift for the upcoming holiday season, I have been accumulating letters over the last few months from people all over the country who, unlike a lot of you, were smart enough to not wait until the last moment to realize that they needed help with their cycling-related shopping. Hopefully some of their letters will guide you towards making thoughtful choices and help you to get into a cycling-educated, gift-giving mood. Let’s head directly to that ol’ mailbag right now:
Several years ago in one of your More On Cycling articles, you suggested that in order to save money, one could simply wrap their handlebars with plastic electrical tape rather than go to a bicycle shop and buy some authentic handlebar tape. Well, I took your advice and saved a whopping eleven dollars and thirty-eight cents. However, after a couple of weeks of riding in the July heat, the tape got really sticky and my hands became pretty much glued to the handlebars. At the time, I was descending a fairly steep hill near the lake and wasn’t able to reach for my brake levers when I came to the sharp turn in the road near the water’s edge. Unable to neither steer quickly enough nor stop my bike, I went off the side of the road and plunged into the lake. Fortunately for me, there were some fishermen close by and they were able to haul me and my bike out of the water. Needless to say, I think your suggestion about using electrical tape was pretty stupid and I wanted to know what you have to say for yourself.
Danny – Gravel Switch, Kentucky
Dear Danny – It’s obvious that your problem would have been non-existent if you had been riding a bicycle with coaster brakes. Readers – please – let’s try to keep our letters on the subject of Christmas gift-giving dilemmas for the cyclist in your life.
Several years ago, I used to read your More On Cycling column in my local bike club newsletter as well as a few other major publications. I must admit, when I saw recently that you requested cycling gift-giving ideas or questions, I wondered what kind of moron would actually write in to you. Oh wait – please disregard this letter.
Name withheld – The Woodlands, Texas
Dear Anonymous – Point well taken!
I remember quite a while back in one of your articles you mentioned that one of the best ways to clean your bicycle was to simply ride it through an automatic carwash. You may remember that I wrote to you about this once before. That time I was merely complaining about all the broken bones and lacerations I suffered from being beaten up by the brushes and rollers from one end to the other of the carwash. So, as time has proven, the body has healed – but unfortunately the bicycle has turned into a heap of twisted framing and rusted components. Needless to say, I think your suggestion about riding through an automatic carwash was pretty stupid and I want to know what you have to say for yourself.
Imelda – North Pole, Colorado
It’s becoming pretty obvious that I’m never going to be able to live down that slightly questionable advice – but, at least we can twist this letter around so that it is a little more to the topic at hand. Yours is not the only bike that has been rendered useless by the harshness of the carwash brushes and cleansing agents involved. Like many before you who have suffered the same unfortunate tragedy, it is simply time to go visit your local bike shop and purchase a replacement bicycle. Or, better yet, make sure your significant other knows you need a new bike for Christmas!
My wife is a cycling nut! She started cycling because I was into cycling when we got married. Now she is just totally into it. She has a titanium bike and she has all the latest specifically-made-for-a-woman cycling stuff. She has all the coolest gear, gadgets and gizmos one could ever need or want for the sport of cycling. She has every book ever written about cycling and has been on every great cycling ride and tour that has ever been organized in modern times. I tell you, I don’t think that there is anything she could possibly need in the way of a cycling-specific Christmas gift. Do you think maybe I should just buy her a vacuum cleaner instead?
Jerry – Embarrass, Minnesota
My Dear, Dear Jerry,
You truly need to fully understand the term that even you, yourself, used in your letter – cycling nut. A true cycling nut does not have to be satisfied with only one of everything. Go ahead – buy her another titanium bicycle. I swear, if you buy her a vacuum cleaner, I hope she shoves it in your ear and sucks out what little brains you have left!
That’s about all we have time for now cycling-readers. Hope that you and your families have a safe and happy holiday and that you be sure and save a little time to…
Enjoy the ride!
(Let us take this opportunity to once again remind everyone that More On Cycling does not recommend riding your bicycle through an automatic carwash, using plastic electrical tape instead of actual handlebar tape, or using a normal, household vacuum cleaner to try and remove any portion of a human brain via the ear canal – everyone knows that's what a Shop Vac is for!)