Eugene Weekly's Gift Guide 2009:
Tak a Cup o’ Kindness Tippling under the tree
The Art of Holiday Shopping Campus museums make the season bright
Beyond Water Pipes Alterna gifts from the “pipe & tobacco” shops
Won’t You Light My Bike Tonight? Seasonal cycling gifts
Purl It Together The joys of fuzzy yarn shops
Plantin’ in the Rain Winter supplies to brighten a gardener’s heart
First Time’s A Charm Two artists take on the Holiday Market
Annex of Art DIVA delights in new holiday space
Won’t You Light My Bike Tonight?
Seasonal cycling gifts
by Alan Pittman
Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer would be out of a job if Santa had a Superflash.
Planet Bike advertises the very shiny, nose-sized flasher as the “brightest, most visible tail light on the planet!”
The light combines a red flash with a focused 1/2 watt strobe visible up to a mile away. And it’s LED, so it runs 100 hours on two included AAA batteries and costs $22.95.
With all the inexpensive, teeny, powerful, last-forever LED lights out there now, there’s little excuse not to have a well-lit bike. Besides, it’s the law. State law requires a white light in front and a reflector or blinker in the back.
If that doesn’t convince you, the throbbing red light is such a romantic gift: “Oh honey, gold earrings would just sit in my jewelry box, but the cycling safety device shows you truly care about me and future children faced with global climate change.”
Planet Bike also makes a Beamer 5 LED front light for $25.95. (All bike stuff prices from Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life, which kindly loaned review samples. Many items are also available at other local bike shops.)
Planet Bike of Madison, Wis. isn’t a cycling Scrooge. The company says it donates 25 percent of its profits to promote and facilitate biking. “We truly believe in the potential of the bicycle to help improve the world and the lives of the people in it,” the company advertises.
To get in a ho-ho-holiday spirit, there’s nothing better (and cheaper) than adding a string of LED Christmas lights to your visibility arsenal. A short string powered by two AAs only costs $5 at TrueValue hardware. Zip tie the little battery pack onto a back rack in a plastic bag to keep it dry.
Another good stocking stuffer is the Cyclelogical Chopspokes ($7). The package of 10 little reflective tubes clip on spokes to make eye-grabbing patterns in car headlights (tiny.cc/chopspokes).
A bike bell will add to the cheer. The Incredibell BrassDuet ($9.95) from Mirrycle has a nice ding ding to it and a little guard that helps keep a mitten from muffling it. Mirrycle also makes one of the best bike mirrors out there ($14.95). The well-bolted mirror won’t flop around and helps when yet another insane driver is trying to sneak up on you.
Besides cars, rain is the worst local menace to cyclers. But the secret to a happy heart is warm feet. Showers Pass makes a Commuter Shoe Cover that does the trick. It’s a bit pricey at $39.95, but warm dry feet are priceless.
If you don’t buy the warm feet thing, buy the Sugoi Zap helmet cover. It will keep the egg noggin dry for $27.95 in eye-catching day glow green.
Santa wouldn’t have to worry about the sleet sogging his gifts if he had a set of Axiom Typhoon rear panniers ($99.95). The big sacks sport the same rubberized roll down protection as dry bags for whitewater rafting, clip easily to a rear rack and look very seasonal in red. A recession-proof but less waterproof option is the Avenir elastic rack net ($4.95) and a recycled plastic bag.