It's the time of year when holiday wish lists start circulating around the internet like bad White Elephant gifts from office parties of seasons past. So we figured we'd do one of our own. If you're looking for a friend, loved one, or are shopping for yourself, hopefully these few favorites of ours spark an idea or two for you.
Looking for the best in a particular category doesn’t always mean looking for the most expensive. Opinel doesn’t make the lightest, slimmest, or most tactical knife, but the knives they have been making since 1890 are without question some of our favorite. Break one out to cut into your post-ride charcuterie, and you’ll make everyone, even the lawyer on the Super Record Pegoretti Responsorium, jealous. Pro tip: the carbon sole of a cycling shoe is a great le coup du savoyard surface. Just be sure to practice in private before showing off to your teammates.
There’s an end-grain walnut cutting board sitting on our kitchen counter that we once bought for the price of two FMBs. We’ve used it, loved it, but it hasn’t seen a drop of oil since we brought it home. Now it’s cracked, dried beyond repair, and in desperate need of being replaced. If you have one of these eyesores taking up space on your counter, or (and this is worse), if you’ve been using an 11”x14” sheet of off-white polyvinyl to trim filets or slice heirloom tomatoes, add Skratch Labs’ new cutting board to the top of your list. Now. Throw in a box or two of their chews while you’re at it. Made by Epicurean, the cutting board will last just as long as the Shun Santoku knife you treated yourself to last year. If you’re like us, the box of chews won’t last a week.
There hasn’t been a range of kit we’ve been more excited for. David Millar is an icon, and Castelli makes functional, wearable kit that’s proven to be second to none. Detailed, understated, refined. Chpt.III will be the official alternate kit of Team Yacht Club, once we can get our hands on it.
Summer’s memory, just like the tan lines we diligently cultivated, is growing faint. The days are short, and the miles you put in now are the ones that will pay dividends in the spring. If you’re looking ahead to the season to come, you’re bound to be burning a candle at one end, and riding in the dark means visibility is crucial. Giro’s Empire shoes have quickly become a team favorite, and the new Empire ACC Reflective shoes will ensure you’re visible to motorist and to everyone you’ve dropped while taking a 1k flier to the next city limit sign.
Cavendish has his Jawbreakers. Hesjedal’s got his Pocs. Griepel’s magnetic Lazers balance precariously on his helmet straps. You’ve surely found your own style for training and racing, but everyone - everyone - needs a rotating set of casual sunglasses for downtime pre-/post-race, and for those short cafe spins when wool jerseys come out of the drawer and the topic of discussion turns from tire pressure to patisseries. If you can only have one pair of casual sunglasses, we recommend looking to the likes of Fausto Coppi and Steve McQueen. The common thread? Persol. Ask for the 714s.
Every trophy room, library, and custom bike gallery needs a centerpiece. The Lannan Gallery in Boston has ours. At the top of our list this year is this hand crafted model of the “Flying Cloud,” the American clipper ship that held the record for the fastest passage between New York and San Francisco from 1854 to 1989.
We’ve ridden with Roche, “accidentally” angered Voigt, and had a drink with Pat McQuaid (and his wife). One thing still on our list is sharing a pint of Belgian’s finest with De Vlaeminck. Until we can make the trip to Kaprijke, we might as well have coffee with him every morning. Thanks to Rouleur x Rich Mitchelson’s Legends Mug, and to Grimpeur Bros’ 9 Dub Espresso that’s always firing up in our Bialetti, breakfast with The Gypsy can be a daily treat.