Every so often we delve into the depths of Google’s cavernous data web to learn what it is the world is asking about cyclists.
With Christmas fast approaching, we weren’t too surprised to find “what do cyclists” yielded the autocorrect “want for Christmas.” Well, it beats “wear under their bibshorts,” doesn’t it?
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We’ve already put together a bumper list of the best Christmas present ideas, as chosen by the Cycling Weekly editorial team.
But rather than only share the items that have taken our fancy, we decided to speak to retailers and find out exactly what their customers have been buying – either for loved ones to give to them, or to give to loved ones – this December.
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“Smart trainers are big and growing,” said Drew Hutchinson, Buying Manager at Evans Cycles, when asked what their biggest category has been in the Christmas lead up.
“Customers are loving the latest tech which can now replicate gradients and even blow wind to match your speed.
“The Tacx range of smart trainers have also been in high demand,” he added.
“Mountain biking is growing, especially in the older age group. They tend to be buying lots more protective gear and full face helmets so we’ve seen big growth here this Christmas, and over the previous six months,” he said.
Of course, kids bikes remain a Christmas constant and will always see a surge in the festive period, as well as over the summer holidays.
At Wiggle, Brand Marketing manager Jack Humphreys pulled out some similar trends.
“Technology continues to be a fantastic gift for Christmas with both wearable tech and bike computers, like the Garmin Edge 520, flying off the [figurative – Ed] shelves,” he said.
“For the super committed cyclist looking to move their training indoors, the Tacx Neo Direct Drive and the Wahoo Smart Trainers appear to be a gift of choice, with growing popularity year on year.
“We can’t be sure if this is people buying for themselves or their loved one though!” Humphreys added. We reckon it’s a bit of both.”
You’d expect slightly different buying patterns in a local store vs a retailer with a big online presence too, but at Reigate’s Maison du Vélo, smart trainers were also on the up.
“Smart turbos have most definitely overtaken sales of standard turbo trainers, and we’ve had people come and buy items like the Tacx Neo 2 as Christmas presents, either to give to someone, or to have someone give to them” said manager, Paul Drake.
“Some people struggle with the set-up, but we offer a full tutorial when you buy one. Bring your bike and laptop or iPad in and we’ll take 45 minutes to an hour to set you up, and get a Zwift account sorted too if you like.”
Clothing is another area that sees a lot of Christmas demand.
“In the last few years, temperatures have really dropped around late December and in January, so people know its going to be cold in the early months of the year,” Drake said.
“We’ve had a lot of people come in and try on jackets – like the Assos Mille GT Winter Jacket – so that they can tell their significant other, parents or children which size to buy!
“If you’re buying for a cyclist you live with, you can always have a sneak peak in their wardrobe to pick the right size, but if you shop in a local store then a swap or return will be faff free.”
“Gloves are a big one too, and socks as a stocking filler, as well as cleaning products.”
Asked to suggest one ideal Christmas present around the £100 mark, it was a bike fit that Drake pulled out as his star choice.
“A level bike fit is £70, or £150 for level two. Now is a really good time for a cyclist to have a bike fit, as they’ve got plenty of time to adjust to changes in position before the season really ramps up.”
So, there you have it: cyclists have been storming the shops after smart turbos and winter clothing.
If you’re not keen to splash out the big bucks on a fancy whirring turbo trainer, and aren’t sure what size clothing to go for, a bike fit is a great ‘voucher buy’ you can pick up on Christmas eve and present in an envelope on the day, too.