Looking for the perfect gift for the cyclists or traveler in your life? Our staff in Italy and the USA are here to help with 17 gift giving ideas.
The Price Family:
Monica Malpezzi Price – Co-Owner and Director of International Operations
For the little ones I suggest putting them directly on a balance bike – a tiny bike without pedals. Strider balance bikes run about $100. The Italian baby and toddler equipment manufacturer, Chicco, makes a balance bike called the “Red Bullet” that sells in the U.S. for about $45.
My daughter Lidia has been riding a Red Bullet since she was just over two and a half. The Red Bullet and her little scooter are her favorite mobility toys (along with the tricycle that the neighbor kids on the farm have.) Both have helped her learn to balance without training wheels. If you have kids on your list aged four to seven who haven’t yet learned to balance on a bike put them on a small children’s bike and remove the pedals. They’ll use it as a balance bike for a few weeks and will be ready for pedals.
Maria Elena Malpezzi Price- Co-Owner and General Manager:
I recently splurged on a new coat and got the Nano Air Patagonia jacket. I tried it out on Sunday in the backcountry and I have to say on a 30F degree day that included a wind chill it lived up to all the reviews and hype I have read. It was selected for Outside Magazine’s Gear of the Year list, and was declared the world’s best mid layer. It is pricey, but if you (or a loved one!) have been searching for a jacket that is breathable, warm, insulated but not too bulky so it easily fits under an outer shell this may be it!
Rick Price and Paola Malpezzi Price – Founders:
I like to give Christmas gifts that make the recipient safer on their bike. Helmets are always a good choice as are lights and reflective material to make them more visible.
For the bike commuter in the family I like the Nite Rider Lumina series headlights. And for commuters and recreational cyclists who ride on the road at night or during the day a bright rear light makes a big difference in visibility. When I’m driving the van down the road and there are four cyclists 500-600 feet ahead I’ll always see those with lights first. I especially like the Cygolite “Hotshot” and Portland Design Works’ “Danger Zone Light.”
If you have young cyclists in the family my favorite bicycle book is The Bear’s Bicycle written by Emilie Warren McLeod and illustrated by David McPhail. Four through eight year olds get the messages in this book and mom, dad, grandma and grandpa will enjoy reading it to them. The book is out of print but you can find it used online for a penny.
Our Staff in Italy:
Bea Tassinari – Office Manager and Country Coordinator for Italy
Here is a gift I like to make and also to receive. After my travels I select a photo that best reminds me of the trip and have it printed on canvas, like a painting. I usually prefer a black and white version and think 27 x 40 inches is a good size. So why not choose a great picture that recalls moments spent together with family or friends, or a recent trip and have it print on canvas? My favorites are a picture of the kid that was taken in Mali, Dogon villages, and an old man in Mandu, India. I still remember the moments in which the pictures were taken! Many companies offer the service including Snapfish, Canvas World, and Shutterfly to name a few.
Igor Baccini – Logistics & Resource Manager
PD-A530 – A530 SPD Sport / Multi-Purpose Pedal – I got these pedals about two years ago when I got tired of having sore feet every time I used my touring bike with standard shoes or flip flops…..I know you shouldn’t ride your bike in flip flops but when you are camping at the beach and it’s a quick ride to the grocery store it’s too tempting! I think these are ideal pedals for touring and for people who are getting familiar with clipless pedals as you can un-clip and flip over the pedal to have a wide solid platform to rest your feet on stretches where “being attached to the bike” makes you feel uncomfortable. As for other SPD pedals they feature spring tension adjustments and the package includes Shimano cleats. This model also come with reflectors that you can install on the front and back side of the pedals that will increase your visibility quite a bit! Shimano also makes a cheaper multi-purpose model but I prefer the A530 as they are lighter! Enjoy your rides!
John Giebler – Director of Tours
If you want the best vacation pictures, nothing will get you the quality a big, heavy DSLR can produce. But it can also produce its share of pain as it hangs around your neck or weighs down your bike. So I’ve been using my phone camera more and more, and getting great results. After all, great pictures have more to do with the photographer than the camera. As Lance Armstrong said, ‘It’s not about the camera.’ At least I think that’s what he said.
If you want to edit your pictures, there are a couple great apps I use, and that’s where the Christmas gift idea comes in. The main app I use is Snapseed. It allows you to not only make adjustments to the whole photo, but you can select parts of the picture and only enhance those.
The biggest difference between a DSLR and a phone camera is that the depth of focus is very wide. In other words, almost everything in the photo is in focus, regardless of if it’s close to you or in the distance. With a DSLR you can make the subject in focus and everything else a bit blurry, and it usually makes the photo stronger. With the second app, Filterstorm Neue, you can select parts of the photo to make blurry.
With these two apps, you can make extraordinary photos and still be light enough to fly up the hills.
Snapseed: The sites to download the app vary depending on your phone’s operating system, so simply do an internet search to find your version.
Michele Boglioni – Route Manager
I suggest a Ride with GPS subscription. This is the same software we use for creating routes and tracks for scouting tours. You can upload all of your riding logs from your GPS and store them. It gives you the same performance tracking things that other software like Strava do, but it excels at routing and mapping. You can also print maps and cue sheets for rides you have taken, or want to take, and you can upload photos and videos taken during your ride with the GPS location. You can also connect the software with some of the major social media outlets. You can also download an app for smartphones so you have Ride With GPS on your phone so you don’t need an actual GPS device.
Silvia Leoni – Rental Coordinator
In the winter I often cycle with a hat underneath my helmet. But what about having the hat on top of the helmet for a stylish look? Especially when you are cycling in town or you are cycling to an event. I find that some cyclists, especially in Italy, are self-conscious when wearing a helmet and sometimes they avoid wearing it. With this fashionable helmet they might feel more at ease. It is a good idea also for children, to introduce them to wear a helmet which looks like a nice hat.
Stefania Casadei – ExpeditionPlus! Coordinator
While researching for water purification systems for my vacation I learned about SteriPENs. This handheld UV water purification system is great if you’re travelling in countries where you’re not sure about tap water quality, it saves you from buying tons of plastic bottles (and saves the environment from its waste!) I’m not sure I would trust the system to purify Amazonas River water (as I’ve seen using it on a blog!), but it looks like a great solutions for less extreme situations, where I hope you’ll find yourselves on your next adventure!
Merry Christmas and Happy new Year!
Joeann Gutoswki – Business Manager
I thoroughly enjoy my compact size binoculars and think they make the perfect gift. They fit nicely in a jacket pocket, pack, or purse. I also find them comfortable enough to hang around my neck during early morning walks with my dog to spot birds. I use my binoculars to watch wildlife when I am camping and hiking. I keep them handy at home for identifying birds in my backyard, and they are discreet enough to use to get a closer look at performers when attending a live performance. Consider the typical light conditions and activities for which the binoculars will be used. For my everyday use a general purpose type has enough magnification and allows enough light in. However, there is plenty of information available if you want learn more than the basic specs of the magnification power and objective lens diameter to assist you with your selection. REI has a handy dandy guide.
Julie Horton – Purveyor of Cycling Adventures
Since colder weather has arrived in Colorado I’m focused on ways of extending the cycling season and products that will keep me warm. One of my absolute favorites is my Smartwool Cuffed Beanie. I love it because its reversible, fits comfortably under my helmet, covers my ears (which many beanies don’t do), and is the perfect weight for the coldest days when you combine it with your helmet. It’s also my go to hat for backcountry skiing and running.
Jami McMannes – Bicycle Travel and Support Architect
The Burton Sleeper Travel Hoodie is my companion on any flight. They’re pretty hard to come by these days, but if you look hard, you can still snag one. This stylin’ hoodie is not only a fashion statement, but is so practical! In one sweatshirt, you get:
• Comfortable, cozy snugness.
• A hood that comes equipped with an attached eye shield for restful snoozes.
• Much needed thumb holes.
• An internal pocket for your passport and other precious documents and cards that you want to keep accessible.
• A special audio pocket and supplemental headphone port holes for your I-pod and earbuds.
• A special pouch that houses your inflatable neck pillow!
• And, if that wasn’t enough-Burton sends along earplugs, a travel toothbrush, and yet another eye mask.
Don’t leave home without this one, folks!
During the off season our tour leaders head to all corners of the globe so we are very pleased we were able to track down a couple of them for their ideas!
Andrea Garreffa – Tour Leader Italy
Battery free magnetic bike lights made by Reelight. Designed in Denmark these lights are simply terrific! I first saw them when I went to Copenhagen some years ago. I noticed that almost everybody had them on their bike and I found it incredibly smart. They work on the electrodynamic induction principle, and work by screwing two magnets onto the spokes and mounting the light onto the wheel axle. The light contains a copper wire coil and current is generated when the magnet passes the light. Sounds complicated but they are easy to install and offer Reelight offers international shipping. I never ride my bike without them!
Enrico Dal Monte – Tour Leader Belgium, Italy, France and Spain
Many of the people I meet on our cycling tours have a Road ID bracelet with their name, address, phone number and blood type. It’s a great idea and hopefully one that will catch on in Europe.
Jo Kent – Tour Leader France
Icebreaker merino wool t-shirt. You’ll never go back to polyester!
ExperiencePlus! Traveler Jane Cotter
Jane sent us this article on a bike that inventors say can’t be stolen. It’s a super clever design from students in Chile that may be coming to a bike shop near you!