You should buy stuff from Einstein Cycles for Christmas. Absolutely. Who is going to scoff at some nice merino socks, warm winter gloves, a Salsa Mukluk, or a new Ec hoodie? But beyond the dollars and presents under the tree, there are some very nice, simple things you can do for your Spandexed Someone that doesn't go in a box. It won't cost you money. But it'll be unforgettable all the same.....
1. Volunteer As A Team Car. Do this just once and you'll be a hero forever. The next time your husband, wife, or pal heads out on a Tuesday Night Ride, toss a set of wheels in the back, grab some snacks, fill up a few bottles, and be the group's team car for the night. How cool is that? Riders, especially your pal, can slip back for food, clothes, or a chat on tactics. You can hop out and give someone a wheel, and maybe even very safely give them a professional foul of a helping hand back up to the group.
2. Make A Kid-Watch Coupon Book. Child care is tough. If there's someone on your list with kids, just offering to watch the rug rats during a big race or ride is a massive help. Make a coupon book with a few "Free Child Care" coupons for them to play throughout the year. Maybe they get to do Pancake Ride, or a special Speed of Light, or the first big Tuesday Night Ride of the year. Pick a duration, a level of involvement (don't change diapers unless it's a blood relative) and a fair length of time.
3. Segment Hunting Lieutenant. For the Strava enthusiasts out there, what a wonderful gift to help them take on a particularly tough or prestigious segment out in the wild. Head out with them and give them the world's best leadout for the Town Line Sprint, or churn out a hard tempo at the bottom of Grandview and try to get them high up the leaderboard. My brother has a special place in his heart for the Center Road Climb segment, just a mile from our house. His present for this Christmas is a helping hand getting that KOM back this spring.
4. Wash Their Bike. After a long hard day in the saddle, especially in brutal conditions, the last thing a tired body wants to do is scrub the muck off their bike. Take care of it for you cycling pal, and do a darn good job. Pop those wheels off, get out the hose, the towels, the polish, the whole nine yards. A good 30 minute cleaning can make their bike like new, and they'll be especially grateful if they've had a bad go of it in the rain or mud.
5. Be Their Umbrella Babe. You're a special someone to your special someone. Pal, spouse or friend, you're a big deal to them. Go to a race with them. Get their bottles ready. Steady their nerves. Be there for the dramatic jacket toss on the start line. Hand up their snacks at some important part of the course. Take their picture. Be there at the end like a loyal soigneur and usher them through the swarm of press and fans to the car, bag of warm, dry clothes at the ready. Especially if they're new to racing, this kind of help is invaluable and gets them excited, knowledgable and prepared for the next time they tow the line.