In just under a month’s time it’s my birthday. Not a big one (that’s next year) but another year notched up nonetheless. I’m trying to think about what I would like from my ever reliable gift givers and as usual they will have to resign themselves to supplying mountain bike related presents.
First up I think it’s time for a new crash helmet. Four or five years is a decent life span for a helmet but it’s time for a change. Last time round I bought a Giro Animas, based mainly on how it looked (well I had a £20 Specialised helmet from the early nineties before that) but it’s never really felt a comfortable lid for my aero head.
I’ve tried my wife’s Specialized Instinct which is miles more comfortable but I think I’m leaning toward the Fox Flux helmet. I saw this at the Cycle Show last year and apart from being really impressed by the matt camo finish (old habits, sigh…) I found it really comfortable and it covers the side and back of the head more. I’ll try a bit more before I buy but this looks promising.
Next, I’m leaning toward the idea of the Hope Vision 1 LED lamp to supplement my Hope HID. The HID is adequate and gives great coverage but I could do with more penetration (leave it..!) and I reckon the Vision 1 would work well on the helmet, plus it can be transferred to the bars quite easily if I’m going down the pub on the On-one.
It carries four rechargeable AA batteries and put out 240 lumens which is close to half the HID so it’s no slouch. Considering it’s a little over £70 that seems like a bargain to me and like the HID there’s no baggy wires trailing everywhere.
Quite frankly I’d say that some of our riders (Nicola and Hannah I’m looking at you!) would get all the lighting they need by buying two and running one on the bars and one on their helmet without having to worry about wires and faffage. Job’s a good ‘un as Dave would say.
The next thing on my list is knee pads. Like most men, the idea of protection seems anathema to the live free lifestyle (ahem!). It’s bollocks of course and the only time you realise you need it is when you’ve done something you shouldn’t. So I’m thinking with plans to go to Wales, play more in our Leith Hill / Holmbury Hill / Pitch Hill honeypots and learn a few more bike skills it’s time to take the sensible option.
Colin already has, which may have contributed to his unique bandy-legged riding style (sorry Colin…) but it needs to be done. Any suggestions for suitable coverage for someone who still wants to rack up the miles? I guess elbow pads should be thrown into the mix too.
Then it’s time to think about clothing. Now I like cycle clothing. I like the whole getting ready for a ride thing, strapping yourself into lycra and baggies and wicking what-nots etc. It feels a bit gladiatorial without the risk of getting mauled by a rabid lion in the Colusseum, topped off by the final click of the Camelbak straps and snap of the cleats on the pedals.
But my clothing looks sad. Not my Gore Phantom jacket which was good for most of last year or my indispensible Helly but I could do with another pair of baggies supplemented with a three quarter length version, some long sleeve tops, a gilet and a couple of short sleeve shirts that don’t make me look like a washed out watercolour (can I help it if I have clearly got blue blood in my veins?).
Then there’s off the bike. I’d like some T-shirts that reflect my mountain bike interests without looking naff – sort of nice but with added meaning if you’re in the know.
Another gift I would really appreciate for my too-long moments off the bike would be subscription to Singletrack magazine, easily the best magazine on the market for us clansmen and women. I nearly succumbed at the Cycle Show last year (and wish I had) but it’s never too late and I like the idea of their exquisitely unadorned-for-subsciber tomes dropping through my letter box every two months or so.
I could go on. Fortunately for me both my bikes are as good as you can get for what they are so there’s no need for spurious component changes, but the forks on the On-one need servicing and bits are wearing out on the Orange Five. And I could easily find bits to replace and upgrade although there’s no necessity worth inventing. But isn’t it nice to have an interest that gives such fertile ground for worshipping at the God of consumerism?