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Local shops offer an array of cycling gifts
By JESSICA MUNDIE, Cycling/ triathlons
Published December 5, 2007
Giving the perfect gift for the cyclist or triathlete on your holiday gift list is easy with just a little bit of research.
Area bike shops have been busy with friends and families of athletes, and they all seem to be trying to make it fun this year. Carrying their bike club membership cards, the customary 10 percent discounts helps cyclists and their families to shop locally. This practice goes a long way to support the local supports cycling events, clubs, and teams.
"Our customers have noticed the TV commercials featuring the Bucs' Mike Alstott," said bicycle racer Rick Fidanzato, who owns ABC Bicycles in St. Petersburg. "Alstott talks about what you spend in Tampa Bay stays in the area, and it benefits. It's a great commercial."
This year, area shoppers say they are searching for more than the usual gift cards, although most cyclists are happy to get those as holiday gifts, and they rush out to redeem them after the holidays.
"Being so close to Pinellas Trail, we sell lots of accessories like lights, computers, and racks," said Fidanzato, whose store is a gathering point for weekly rides. "I think people don't mind spending a little bit more to get the high quality you get at any of our good local bike shops."
Here are a few helpful suggestions in approximate price ranges:
The $100-$500 range: In addition to the obvious gift choice of a bicycle itself, electronics top the requests for cyclists, and the leaders are still Garmin and Polar. These companies have set the standard for the best combinations of quality GPS/heart-rate monitors for the price, and they are sold at most area bike shops by the caseloads.
The $30-$80 range: Computers for cyclists are a great gift, because the giver does not have to know anything specific about the rider and his or her machine. Just pick one in your price range, and watch your cyclist enjoy the features such as trip distance, current speed, maximum speed, average speed and cadence. They can be used on any bicycle.
Some bike computers are tiny enough to make room for that heart-rate monitor or front halogen headlight on the handlebars. Race mechanics now refer to this crowded space as the "cockpit".
The $20-$25 range: Cool weather cycling apparel has become very useful for keeping rain, wind and sleet away from the rider's muscles while making a fashion statement. Gift givers may also note the increasing amounts of attractive and functional clothing for female cyclists.
NEW CYCLING BOOKS MAKE GREAT GIFTS: Nowadays, there are many books on cycling vacations, touring, training, and racing. These books make nice "one-size-fits-all" gifts, and there are several celebrated area authors to consider.
Bicycle Your France - Exploring Burgundy, is a self-published spiral-bound book by Walter Judson Moore. It has an impressive collection of advice, tips and detailed maps of the Burgundy region of France.
Published in Inverness, the book's pages are easy to tear out and stash in a backpack. Moore focuses his attention on what touring cyclists need when they pedal in a foreign country. Colorful photos are nice enough to frame, and the maps are the best around. Individual maps of Burgundy are available directly from the author at email@example.com
Core Performance Endurance - A New Fitness And Nutrition Program That Revolutizes The Way You Train For Endurance Sports by Mark Verstegen and Pete Williams, printed by Rodale Inc., is another good one. With a forward written by triathlete Jessi Stensland, this book has core training information on mind-set, movement, nutrition and specific workouts.
The book's co-author is Safety Harbor triathlete Williams, who is also the host of The Fitness Buff, the popular fitness show that airs on WTAN 1340-AM in the Tampa Bay area on Fridays at 5-6 p.m. For information about his latest projects, check out his Web site at www.petewilliams.net.
The Bicycle Book - Wit, Wisdom & Wanderings is edited by Jim Joyce and published by Satya House. It's an entertaining collection of stories by cycling celebrities such as Chris Carmichael, Rich Fries, Maurice Tierney and Clearwater antique bicycle collector Chip Haynes, who authored the familiar green spiral Pinellas Trail Guide.
Haynes is busy with several upcoming local book signing events. Contact Haynes at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.bikebook.net for more information.
ADVENTURE RACING AT FORT DESOTO: Coach Lewis Bennett hosted the final TriLewis Adventure Race on wet and wooded trails at Fort DeSoto Park on Sunday. Among the division winners for the 2-mile run/10-mile bike/4-mile run offroad event: Kevin Cook, Seminole, 1 hour, 31 minutes; George McCrearey, Treasure Island, 1:32; Adam Craft, New Port Richey, 1:33; Marisa Catlin, Valdosta, Ga., 1:39; Robin Moen, Largo, 1:47; and Leslie Gerlach, Largo, 1:55.
For 2008 events listings, head to www.trilewis.com.