The 2016 Consummate Athlete Gift Guide
I’m already thinking about Christmas shopping because, well, I work on a lot of gift guides. I’ve been helping put together Bicycling’s gift guides (I’m loving the Under $50 one!) and the one I came up with over at SaddleSoreBook.com, but I wanted to throw together a personalized one that really highlights a few things I think are rad, and that I would a) give someone, b) love to get, or c) think will make someone a better consummate athlete. While most of this is athletically-based, I did throw in a few non-athlete stuff (one of which supports an athlete’s dreams, so I think that counts!)
7mesh Revelation Raincoat
For someone who spends a ton of time outside, it’s hugely important to stay dry and cozy in any conditions, which means raingear is ultra-important. And this is the most waterproof raincoat I’ve ever ridden in and I freaking love it. Fits great, fabulous pockets that keep your phone completely dry, the hood is actually properly sized, and I love that the back is just a bit longer so it’s ideal for riding, but doesn’t look super goofy on walks or runs. (It’s available in men’s and women’s!)
New Edition of “Saddle, Sore: Ride Comfortable, Ride Happy”
Know a new cyclist? Save him or her some serious saddle-related distress. The new edition of Saddle, Sore is out and it is jam-packed with new information for men, pregnant and post-partum women, women in menopause, and so, so much more. There are more questions answered, more experts added, and tons of cool new sidebars with sections like what to look for in a bike fit. It’s a funnier, funner read and I’m stoked. Ahem. Please be a hero and get her (or him) some chamois cream too.
Timbuk2’s Custom Tuck Pack
I’m digging this newest fully customizable bag from Timbuk2: I use these roll-top backpacks for everything, especially grocery shopping since I can leave it up for some extra room! But don’t laugh when you see me rocking my customized black-on-gray-on-black bag when there were thousands of bright combos to choose from… I just love neutrals! It was super fun mixing up the fabrics and it was one of the hardest decisions of my life. When I clicked on a color, I remembered my first custom Timbuk2 bag was also black and gray, a decade ago. And I still have and love it—I got it when I was working at a fashion magazine in NYC and it was the first bag that wasn’t $15 from a teen store at the mall, and it was so freaking exciting. (Also, custom Timbuk2 bags are really reasonably priced: this customizable one is only $99!)
Cat’s Tongue Towels
Cat’s Tongue Towels are always go in my saddlebag and my race bag before rides and trips. They’re designed to get grease off, whether it’s off of your hands when you have to stop to change a flat (anyone else end up with grease smeared on their face after a ride?) or off your bike where the chain left a mark, the towels work really well. I LOVE the individually wrapped ones for rides and when we fly places, but the canister is perfect for sticking in your car and having at all times.
Bonus: use offer code MOLLY for a 25% discount!
Rhys May Jewelry
Before my wedding, I was lucky enough to actually spend some time with cyclist and jewelry maker Rhys May. I’d been following(stalking) her work for a while, and then I realized she moved to Western Massachusetts to join the JAM Fund cycling team. So, when I was up there for work, I emailed and asked her to make me a necklace designed to look similar to my wedding flower: origami lilies that my mom painstakingly made. So, Rhys made me this amazing necklace! She makes amazing custom stuff, but also has an Etsy shop with a few standards: the earrings are great, as is this Three Points necklace that I almost bought before I had the idea about the lily necklace.
Sombrio Women’s Summit MTB Shorts
This summer, I went downhilling for the second time and it was freaking awesome. (It was also my bachelorette party.) That made me finally feel badass enough to get baggy women’s MTB shorts, in the form of Sombrio’s Summit shorts. SO good. They fit really well—not too high-waisted, but not too low on the hips either. Great cell phone pocket that doesn’t get in the way while you ride, and Sombio has a thin chamois short that goes with it. Basically, you actually feel cool and legit in these! Know a woman who loves to get rad? Get her these.
Punk Rock Journal
Ever wonder what your favorite old-school authors would look like if they were punk? (Oscar Wilde: very naturally punk as F.) This little writers journal is one of my favorite things—all authors reimagined as punks, and in an adorable journal format. I love, love, love journals. It’s my favorite gift for anyone who loves to write, loves to list, or generally loves cool little twee stuff.
Performance Bike Women’s Jacket
I’ve mentioned this jacket before but I think it’s a great present for pretty much any kind of athlete. It’s cozy for riding and running and walking around town. And every athlete absolutely needs a really great jacket to get through cold weather seasons. This one looks great, feels great, and the magnetized scarf-style collar makes it actually stylish looking. Fold down flap for the butt makes it great for riding but it tucks up for when you’re out and about. Bonus: there’s a men’s jacket that matches, so it’s a great his and hers present. (Also just under $100, which is amazing!)
Rapha Essentials Case
This $60 leather wallet is a perfect gift for the upscale athlete. Looks fly as hell, super classic, a few colors so there are some individual decisions to be made. If your athlete is a minimalist who digs on neutral, high-quality style, this is a perfect gift. It’s also a good ‘intro to Rapha’ piece if you’re trying to convert a cyclist or athlete who tends to opt for aggressively colorblind kit normally.
Something Under $10
This is my sister and my goal every year: to get each other presents that are packed with meaning, are actually use-able, and are under $10. Sometimes it’s a book, sometimes it’s jewelry. Last year, Colleen found me a pendant with a tiny map of Toronto in it (it’s more steam punk than twee looking). Perfect. I’ve gotten her velvet flares from a thrift shop (trust me, this went over amazingly). I’ve gotten her truly rad notebooks (actually, I get everyone notebooks. I have a problem. That’s why I couldn’t help including the punk rock journal in here.) So if you have a significant other or sibling or friend who you know is on a limited budget, why not suggest this in lieu of the “oh shit, how much do I spend?” conundrum? Or, even better, what about just a “treat each other” lunch, dinner or manicure, and hang out while gift-giving? I’m a huge fan of making gift guides, as you might have guessed, but I do have to say, a lot of my favorite presents weren’t super pricey or extravagant, they were tiny, thoughtful, and just well-chosen with me in mind. (That said, I will not say no to the new Apple Watch. But we can all dream, right?)