Presents for women’s cycling fans 2016 – Part 2: things made by professional cyclists
I always laugh at myself for my inability to write snappy, SEO-able titles, but I’m proud that I’ve managed to edit this down from “Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Solstice/Any-other-celebration/secular/birthday/payday gifts for women’s cycling fans, women who love bikes, and cycling fans in general I guess, that are made by, or with, or help support professional women riders”. I’m ridiculous!
But it’s a category I always really enjoy, because there are always interesting things to see, and of course I really love things that support the riders. You can find the 2014 edition here, and last year’s. Have a look at all of them, because a lot of those things are still for sale.
Let’s start with things that support professional women’s cycling teams. I pulled together posts of how to buy 2016 team kit and other goodies earlier in the year, and these always make good gifts – you can find the post full of 2016 WorldTour team shops, and USA domestic squads as well.
And another one, from a great UK domestic team, who I really like:
As always, if there’s anything I’ve missed, please do leave a message in the comments, or tweet me, and I’ll edit it in. And I don’t get any financial benefit from sharing these links – I just enjoy it, and hope you will too.
So in no particular order…
Kit collaborations with cyclists
I’ve featured all of these on the site before, but they’re all so good, I need to keep sharing them:
You all know Helen Wyman as a fantastic cyclocross rider, with a excellent social media, I hope? She was the first pro rider to have a collaboration with the amazing Velocio.cc, a lovely cycling kit company set up by Kristy Scrymgeour, one of the absolute legends of recent cycling (from her own racing, to running the amazing press and PR of the ground-breaking HTC-Highroad, to running her own team, which ended up as Specialized-lululemon, and then Velocio-SRAM).
Wyman’s collection is all about winter riding, with her signature jersey for women and men, women’s thermal bib-shorts and jacket, and zip-up overpants, that are great for racers and commuters alike, in women’s and men’s sizes.
And if that’s not incentive enough, the kit’s on sale right now! Click through and check it out.
At the other end of the cycling spectrum, there’s an ultra-light kit for hot weather racing, designed by fan-favourite (and stage winner in this year’s Giro), Tiffany Cromwell. Cromwell is a trained fashion designer, and used to ride for Scrymgeour’s teams, so it was a natural collaboration.
Things designed by Iris Slappendel
Another cyclist who’s a professional designer is Iris Slappendel, who has a degree in product design, and worked as a designer throughout her career, including designing the UCI’s Road World Cup jerseys and the Netherlands’ National Team kit design for the 2016 Olympic Games. She has a kit design on Milltag – women’s jersey and bibs – that are on sale right now!
Slappendel also designed the kit for Strongher.cc, the club set up to celebrate and support women to ride their bikes. They have a fantastic website, and Slappendel designed the jersey and bibs women’s sizes, of course), and the unisex cap and socks – which you can find here.
You can find out lots more about Stronger.cc, and join them, here. And they’ll be appearing in this guide later on, too!
The final Slappendel design is for Voxwomen, the women’s cycling media company – their branded Ass Saver. Never heard of Ass Savers? They’re a really simple clip-on mud-guard, that you can add to pretty much any bike. All proceeds of this one go to Voxwomen and Slappendel – buy it here.
More cycling kit and clothing that supports women’s cycling
I am a HUGE fan of Velo Sister, one of the many women’s cycling initiatives from the inspiring and awesome Nic , who started the shop because she couldn’t find bike-related clothing, and wanted to do her bit to help women’s cycling (she’s very much like that, doing the “be the change you want to see”).
50% of the profits from each product go to some fantastic UK charities Wheels For Wellbeing, which support people with disabilities to be able to enjoy cycling; Boot Out Breast Cancer, which is pretty self-explanatory; Freedom from Torture, which provides medical services to people who arrive in the UK having been tortured, and fights for their rights, and the Racing Chance Foundation, which supports women who want to race road bikes, from brand-new beginners to professional riders, including running a team that races in Europe. You can click on each product to see which charity it supports
The clothes are hats, hoodies, t-shirts and vests in women’s cuts, and I especially love the Chain Fox design, which supports Racing Chance. There’s a great size guide too, and it’s all win-win – lovely things that help a good cause!
You can find out more about Racing Chance, and support them by buying goodies from their online shop, on their website, where they also have a calendar of events they run, especially the introduction to racing sessions. I interviewed one of the founders, Heather Bamforth, about their work too, if you want to know more.
They sell cycling kit and casual clothing in men’s and women’s sizes, as well as accessories like arm- and leg-warmers, hats and socks – and all proceeds go to their mission. There’s also the club you can join, that will enable women to take part in races in the UK.
Another Foundation that helps women race road bikes is the USA’s Amy D Foundation, named for pro rider Amy Dombroski, who died in 2013, when she was hit by a car out training.
The Foundation helps USA women ride road, cyclocross and MTB, and has a scholarship programme, as well as a road team. You can support them by making a donation, or buying products and services from their partner organisations, including Amy D cycling kit and shoes from Pearl Izumi, T-shirts, stickers bidons, caps and a pintglass from Handlebar Moustache, an Amy D edition Lazer helmet, and a coffee roast from Grimpeur Brothers coffee.
The Amy D Foundation also works with Little Bellas, an initiative set up by 2016 Cross Country MTB World silver medalist Lea Davison and her sister Sabra, who’s also a pro MTB rider, to help get more girls in MTB. They run courses and talks and are inspiring at every level (I especially loved their tweets of young girls from the Little Bellas programme cheering for Lea at MTB Worlds this year) and I bet it’s only a matter of time before we see girls who’ve gone through their programme racing World Cups!
You can support their work by buying things on their website on their webshop, including their 2017 Calendar, cycling jerseys, a T-shirt and a bracelet. And there’s information about more ways you can get involved – donating, starting a Little Bellas chapter, and becoming a mentor, as well as tons about how they help girls MTB (so if you know a girl who might like it, get her involved as a gift!)
Colombian BMX rider Mariana Pajón is an absolute superstar of the sport, winning her second Olympic gold in Rio, and inspiring people everywhere. She set up her Foundation to help kids in Colombia, especially street children and those from poor neighbourhoods, to achieve and be inspired, and hopefully have better lives, using sport as the medium to reach them. They’re selling a shirt to help do more, which you can buy if you scroll down here.
Another BMX star giving back is Aussie Caroline Buchanan, who runs the Buchanan Next Gen programme and team to help Australian girls get into BMX. She doesn’t seem to have anything for sale to support it right now, but if you find something, please do share it, and I’ll edit it in – and check out her work, and her website, she’s a real star.
Team Africa Rising started as Team Rwanda was the beginning, founded in 2006 to help bike riders from Rwanda to compete, and become professional riders, as well as help people from Rwanda become coaches and mechanics. They’ve since expanded to other African countries with a history of conflict, and next year will run the first African UCI-registered women’s cycling team, giving women from Rwanda, Ethiopia and Eritrea the chance to compete in UCI events.
They have a webshop where they’re selling things to support their work: everything from Team Rwanda replica cycling kit (men’s cut), to the film about their work, Rising from the ashes, to coffee, T-shirts, socks and caps. And for women’s cycling fans, this t-shirt celebrating Rwandan cyclist Jeanne d’Arc Girubuntu.
More Foundations you can support
There are more Foundations who help aspiring professional riders, that you can support, for yourself, or in someone else’s name as a lovely gift:
Global Relay Bridge the Gap was set up to help Canadian riders aged 19-25 to be able to become professional riders, which is always complicated in Canada by the fact they all have to leave home to do it. They also run some races for junior riders, and you can find out more about their work on their website, and donate to the fund.
- Another Canadian initiative is the Shelley Gautier Para-Sport Foundation to help more disabled people in Canada get into para-sports, whether it’s competing at a high level, or realising the can do things like Para-cycling for leisure or fitness. Started by tricyclist Shelley Gautier, they’ve begun with para-cycling and para-sailing, and are planning to expand on from that, and run public sessions as well as helping people find specific adaptations tailored to their disability. It’s really exciting work, have a look at their website, and donate to them here.
The Dave Rayner Fund supports U23 British road riders to live in continental Europe and race for a full season with a non-British team. In the past they’ve mostly supported male riders, because of the way their criteria work, but they do support some young women too. You can donate to their work, buy caps and kit from their partners, and buy tickets for their annual Dinner, which always have amazing cyclist guests, auctions, and are raucous, hilarious events. The book about Rayner’s life, and the work of the Foundation, Everybody’s Friend, is available to buy from Prendas.
- A similar fund set up for Scottish riders by Brian Smith is the Braveheart Fund – they support women and men to ride road, track and MTB at the professional level. Donate to them here, join their Fundraising Ride, and buy tickets to their dinner and auction, which also has tons of special guests and sounds like an amazing night!
- Much newer than those two, but growing fast, is the Emerald Fund, set up to support Irish road cyclists become pro. They’re supporting their work through selling Emerald Fund kit (men’s sizes), their banquet and auction in January 2017, in Belfast, and a sportif.
More things made by/with pro cyclists
Canadian rider Lex Albrecht has a wide range of designs from Modify Watches, fashion and sports watches with themes celebrating things she loves about cycling, coffee and Canada – and you can customise by choosing your own strap colour.
If you are in the USA, and want products aimed at cyclists, runners and triathletes without leaving your house, USA pro rider Laura Jorgensen has created a company that will deliver them right to your door. They do boxes that are specifically for the different kinds of athletes, with food, drinks, bars, gels, and things like safety and skin care products, and fun things they find. They’ll also do you custom boxes, and one-off gift boxes.
Want more things to eat? JoJé bars, aka Harmony Bars, were co-founded by USA professional cyclist and a private chef, Jess Cerra, who “wanted an energy bar that would taste great and provide her all of the nutrition to train and compete at a high level” – so she created her own! Find out all about the flavours (including espresso chocolate almond and pancakes and bacon) and ingredients on their site, buy them from these USA-based retailers, or order boxes of them (in the USA) from their website. (you can find some of Cerra’s recipes on her personal website as well)
Scotti Lechuga’s paintings
The final USA rider in this sub-section is Scotti Lechuga, who, as well as racing, paints.
If you’re interested in buying one of her paintings, contact her via her twitter.
Bike holidays and rides
If it’s cold and miserable where you are, and the cyclist you love isn’t enthusiastic about riding their bike, how about buying them a bike trip, or entry into a lovely ride, to give them something fun to work for and look forward to? Of course you can probably find some local to you, but I have some suggestions…
The Amy Gillett Foundation was set up in to honour the memory of Australian cyclist Amy Gillett, who died in 2005 after being hit by a car, training for a race in Germany. Since then, the Foundation has done excellent work to help make bike riding safer in Australia, including direct campaigns like A Metre Matters, funding research into road safety and using it to influence policy. They also run the Amy Gillett Cycling Scholarship, to help an up-and-coming Aussie woman to train and compete in Europe, including Carlee Taylor, Rachel Neylan and Kimberley Wells.
Their webshop seems to be down, but you can donate to their work as a gift, in someone else’s name (or your own) – and they run some gorgeous mass-participation rides all over Australia. They take place in the Australian Spring and Summer, so there’s time to plan ahead – Amy’s Gran Fondo is in September, along the Great Ocean Road, for example, and the Share The Road Tour was a six-day ride from Canberra to Melbourne in November, supported by team cars and soigneurs, with pro riders riding alongside. Keep an eye on their website for the 2017 events.
If you’re thinking of going on holiday, why not make it a bike holiday? And who would be better to lead a bike holiday than current or former professional women cyclists? Imagine not just the tips you’d pick up, but all the stories they could tell you….! If you’ve got a woman who loves bikes in your life, imagine how happy she’d be with one of these as a gift:
Also in Australia, this is the second year Strongher, the awesome women’s cycling group, is running a trip Down Under, lead by former professional Loes Gunnewijk, who had a brilliant cycling career racing with and against the best of the best, and is a really funny, interesting and excellent person to talk to in real life.
The trip runs from 20 to 27 January 2017, and will cover around 850km riding on some amazing roads. Find out more, book places, and check out photos from the 2016 trip here, and of course, keep an eye out for Strongher’s future events on their website.
Rides with Marijn de Vries
Marijn de Vries had a fascinating way into pro cycling – as a tv and radio journalist who was very sporty indeed, she set herself a challenge to see if she could become a pro cyclist for a radio show, and did it – and then blogged so many of her adventures as she learned and raced and inspired. Since she retired, she’s been doing all kinds of interesting things, but one of those is leading bike rides.
I’d love to do one of these – Marijn is excellent company, and I’ve only heard good things. She has 3 trips in the works for early 2017, starting in Girona in Spain: 28th February-5th March; 25th-30th April; and 2nd-7th May. There’s a lot more information through those links – click through and dream of riding on sunny roads!
If you read my blog, you know I love the Adventure Syndicate, a collection of women who have incredible adventures on bikes – you can listen to my most recent podcast, with co-founder Emily Chappell here. Their goal is to inspire and enable more people, but especially women, to have adventures too, and especially get into endurance cycling, and one of the many things they’re doing is running a training camp.
It’s aimed at cyclists who want to increase their strength and endurance, whether for building towards a long-distance event or training for a season of shorter races, and it will have bespoke programmes for each person’s goal, so if endurance is new to you, don’t worry! It’s 9th-16th January 2016, based in Girona, Spain, and you can find out more here.
My final thing to think about as a gift, is also a way to support women’s professional bike races. Turning up at a race, whether road, MTB or cyclocross, is a great way to get close to the riders, and you can talk to them at the start and finish, as well as show the world there’s definitely a real-live audience.
So if the bike fan in your life is thinking of going on holiday, or on a “stay-cation”, how about combining it with a race? It makes more of a difference than you know. One way to do it is to start with the UCI 2017 road calendar, cyclocross calendar or MTB calendar and get in touch with race organisers, if their routes aren’t up – but you can block the time out now! Or maybe you can look up track events in the velodrome near you, and watch all the amazing, adrenaline-fuelled action. Bike races in real life are the best gift!
Wow, that’s a LOT! But the next part of the Gift Guide is coming soon: a miscellany of bike-related things, including bike art, games, more cycling kit, things to watch, and wear in different ways. You’ll like something in there I’m sure – and it’s packed with recommendations from awesome bike women on twitter.
- Part 1 of the 2016 Gift Guide, the book list, is here.
- Part 3: things you can buy (or donate to) that supports ‘everyday’ women’s cycling, for all kinds of women
Huge thanks to my wonderful Patreon supporters, who fund me to do this kind of thing.