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What a girl wants: Holiday gifts for the female cyclo-phile

From novelty shoe covers to charity donations, Emily Zinn runs through top gifts for riding women this holiday season

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With the holiday cheer come the cold chills of shopping dread. When it comes to fun and novel cycling gifts for ladies, Google searches rarely turn up anything that isn’t glittery, pink and purple or covered in flowers, but there are plenty of items that fit the first description without being the latter. Here are a few items that would appeal to the casual weekend warrioress or the bicycle-obsessed lady who would be unrecognizable to her own family without her helmet.

Girl Bike Love kit >> $75-$95 (jersey), $155 (bibs)

Girl Bike Love is this writer’s favorite by-women-who-ride, for-women-who-ride resource to find out what’s going on in the world of cyclo-femmes and catch up with the girls.

GBL’s kits are going back on sale for a limited-time Christmas run through December 3 (so now’s the chance to buy), deliverable by the holiday.

Wear the colors, because the name says it all. Girl. Bike. Love. The Century Jersey is $75, the Women’s Ascent Jersey runs $95, Women’s Ascent Shorts are available for $110 and Women’s Summit Bib Shorts are $155.

Maloja MatildaM Skinsuit >> $170

Think there’s no such thing as a skinsuit for casual riding? Wrong. This funky number keeps it fun with the mock belt and collar. I’ve seen these skinsuits on a few start lines and they are a charming way to race in plain kit and make the wearer look like an understated superhero. It comes in moonless (black), hazelnut and, fittingly, blue steel. Sizes run from XS to XL for $170.

Podium Shoe Covers >> $30-$40

Add class or casual to any ride, along with aerodynamics and warmth, with novelty shoe covers. The roller skates, flip flops and talons all deserve honorable mentions, but you can’t beat the Chuck Taylor-inspired shoe covers in the winter months. They’re available in two sizes and a range of insulation. Summer weight runs you $30, spring/fall versions go for $35 and the fleece-lined winter weight costs $40.

Rapha Women’s Merino Jersey >> $165

Few things are better than casual apparel that feels luxurious. Ultra-soft merino wool, form-fit, with that Rapha class and wool mesh under the arms make this an incredible gift. It’s the perfect casual jersey for when it’s just above frosty in the morning, or for hanging out at a race all day after you’ve finished. There’s a splash of pink on the back button pocket with a reflective logo, but it can be removed for a more basic look. It does well in the wash and feels amazing. It comes in sizes XXS through XL for $165.

Specialized Stumpy II >> $125

While technically a men’s shoe, the only people I know who own these Specialized casual flats that mimic the popular S-Works road shoe are women. With a low-top look, but a cyclist’s flare, the white patent leather looks sleek with jeans, and of course wearing them announces to the world what you would rather be doing.

Available in men’s sizes 7 (40cm) through 14 (47cm) for $125, the flats are cheaper than the performance road version, and you can cinch them down nice and tight without ever having to tie your shoes.

“Bicycling for Women” >> $19

From riding while pregnant to equipment choices to tips on comfort, Gale Bernhardt approaches beginner and intermediate training, nutrition and bike fit through women’s needs. Accessible to newbies to the sport, but with a detailed and scientific grounding geared toward women looking to train aggressively and race, with helpful charts and illustrations, “Bicycling for Women” is available in paperback for $18.95.

World Bicycle Relief donation >> $50-$134

What do you get the girl who has everything? A gift that benefits somebody who doesn’t. A bicycle can be the difference between a job or attending school and the alternative for a struggling family, and World Bicycle Relief has already put over 120,000 bicycles in deserving hands around the world, with a focus on providing bikes for female students.

The organization offers gifts in all price ranges, from chocolates to T-shirts to fine art to African bicycle tours to benefit the fund, and there’s always a good, old-fashioned donation.

Fifty dollars provides tools for a mechanic, $134 is all it costs to get two wheels under someone who needs them.