It wasn't that long ago that you were frantically running around, buying presents for everyone else. In the Christmas spirit, you made sure everyone received gifts that didn't put undue expectation on them as to what they bought you. But the time has come - it's time to throw your toys out of the cot and march off to your nearest bike store for some eye candy! Maybe some flirtatious touching of bike bits just to satisfy your urges. The urge for new toys...
Your head needs protection and that's reason enough for a new helmet. Brands have been coming out with continually better designs, lighter in weight and more minimalist in appearance. Check out these sexy lids from Kask (Infinity Aero) and Poc (Octal) just to get you started. Get a crazy color because it's more visible and ever so badass.
Sunglasses are required at all times when cycling. If it's not bugs, it's the 40km/h wind in your eyes as you hit peak wattage. If you feel you need to express your love for yourself, check out something with interchangeable lenses, photochromic tint, and maybe some custom colors on the sunglass arms to match the new helmet. Oakley make some incredible custom creations, so let the creative juices flow!
3. CYCLING SHOES
Women love shoes. Let the truth be out - men love shoes too! Especially those silly inflexible cycling shoes upon which we slip and slide through the cafe trying to maintain some level of 'swagger'. Cycling shoes have some really neat features to them, from adjustable venting and heel cups to heat moulded inner soles. Try on as many brands as possible because the one size fits differently in nearly every brand of cycling shoe. Some brands do replacement guarantees, whereby if the shoe doesn't fit you can exchange it for free.
4. CYCLING COMPUTER
The trick to buying presents for yourself is to make them small enough to slip into the house and not stand out on the credit card statement. A computer could potentially fit this bill unless you buy the fully equipped version you really want! Cycling computers have come a very long way, offering you training insight like never before. Along with this, these little gadgets teach you how to train yourself via their free online web services and training diaries. Check out something with GPS capabilities as well as heart rate and cadence for the complete experience. Keep your eyes on the road though!
5. CYCLING CLOTHING
You can't expect others to buy your cycling kit for you as it's usually best to try these things on. Why not spoil yourself with some clothing: a new pair of knicks and matching top for the next bunch ride or trail shred. Think 'plain but pro' if you're unsure, with single colors being the go these days. Black knicks are best especially in wet weather. This also means you can buy different tops to match the standard color of knicks. Keep it tight, but not too tight - you're not Beyonce' in a crop top.
Nothing can put a grin on your face like new tires at 110PSI. It's like riding on silk... If you're looking at a tire upgrade, what's the motive: More durable, lighter, faster, or purely aesthetics? Your local bike shop will recommend something, maybe with a bit of everything you want! There are some real standout tire sidewall colors too, so go nuts!
7. BAR TAPE
Not all purchases have to be expensive, so check out some new bar tape for your road bike (or grips for your MTB). A good quality bar tape can make future rides far more comfortable as well as eliminate potential nerve issues in your hands. If you have large hands, wrap your new bartape over your old bar tape (called double wrapping) for an extra padded feel for large paws. Again, avoid boring colors... pink, yellow, orange - Just not white, because it'll be grey in one ride.
8. NEW BIKE
We've really eased you into this, but here it is; It's time for a new bike. Just bought one? There's always space for one more, or N+1 as the rule goes, with N being the current number of bikes. If you have enough road bikes, live on the edge and try a new discipline. Hit the dirt once a week or maybe even a mix of both surfaces on a shiny cyclocross rig. Rumour has it that cross training makes you a monster on the bike, and the change of scenery makes you 10 years younger at heart. Just do it, the mortgage can wait, it'll always be there anyway...
Okay, so maybe a new bike was a bit bold, but you can always opt for a new wheelset. Whether it be for road or mountain biking, cyclocross or commuter, a new wheelset can really add some zazzy flare to your bike's handling. A better wheelset is the single best way to upgrade your bike, so aim for something lightweight, with high quality internals and a reliable warranty - with wheels, you get what you pay for. If you want to let everyone know you've got new wheels ensure you have a nice noisy freewheel body, so people can hear you coming when you stop pedalling. So pro!
We've got you all worked up into a froth, but the reality is it's sometimes best to be sensible. If you love your old steed, or just want to say "I love you," then book her in for a service. Bike shops offer preselected services as well as custom services for particular things. If your bike is more than one year old, go for nothing less than a general service. If you just got the bike, have a look at a basic service to keep her running smoothly.
We're pretty sure these ten suggestions will help alleviate that itch in your pocket until December 2015 - if not, pop into your local bike shop and see what else is on offer. There's sure to be something to catch your eye.