Holiday Gifts: From Whiskey to Wool

Welcome to the JoyRide Holiday Gift Guide! From foam rollers, to wool socks and whiskey, to rejecting consumption altogether in favor of something more meaningful, we've got you covered. Enjoy!

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Strong is the New Pretty, by Kate T. Parker Each page is filled with gorgeous, inspiring photos of girls being confident, wild, resilient, creative, determined, kind, fearless, joyful, and independent. You know, normal. Great gift for girls or parents of girls, coaches, or teachers. $18

TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller For someone who has made a practice of rolling out their muscles, this short roller is a smart buy. My favorite part is that it’s hollow, and I can stuff socks and snacks into it when I pack for my girls’ bike trips.

Many a time we’ve had roll-out parties in some VRBO living room after a long day shredding. We just hang around, rolling out together, trading balls for rollers while sharing tales of the trail. Even if someone already has a foam roller, having another one for travel or to keep at the office or cabin is a great idea. $40

Saris Bike Rack I don’t like bike racks. The constant looking in the rearview mirror to check on the bikes and visuals of potential mayhem while speeding down the highway make me shudder. I feel obligated to strap it down to the point of rubbing off paint and then add bungees for good measure. One added bungee on a trunk rack was all that came between a borrowed Pivot Mach 429 and the Scottsdale freeway on one girls’ trip. Horrifying experience. And the roof-top racks … the sound that makes your heart drop when bike hits garage and bike rack rips off car roof. Never again.

Enter the Saris SuperClamp EX2. It’s easy, it doesn’t scratch up my bike, and I trust it. Bonus: I can use the remote tailgate to let groceries in or dogs out without obstacle. I LIKE THIS RACK. A LOT. (And so does Hurl.) Made in Wisconsin, fatties fit fine. $469




When it comes to Christmas, it pains my spirit to witness how much energy we put into continued consumption and retelling of “existing narratives” that don’t serve the greater good of our culture. On that note, giving “new narratives” is the theme for my contribution to gift giving this year. 

Give an Adventure: Do research or draw from your existing knowledge. Make a map. Do it by hand or use one of the available apps: Blackriver, Ride With GPS, etc. Direct the beneficiary of your gift to new places. Make a cue sheet (preferably by hand).

Give them information about the city/neighborhood they live in and are unlikely to know. As a bonus, offer to go with them, stick a few beers or sodas or a flask in your pack. Stop in some trees or near a river or under a bridge. Talk and enjoy the day together. 

Stop in some trees or near a river or under a bridge. Talk and enjoy the day together.

Give Your Time: Don’t post anything on social media. Instead give your full attention to those around you. Pick up trash, intentionally stop and talk to strangers, visit one of the many homeless shelters and offer to do some dishes (literally and metaphorically). Make someone a book. Tell someone a story.

When people ask what you want for Christmas, tell them you’d prefer they make you something, or suggest you’d love for them to take the time and resources they’d spend trying to find you a gift and make or do something for themselves that they have not yet had time for this year.




SunLeaf PlantScent Moisture Sticks Like chapstick for your face, great for winter riding / wind burn.  Not greasy, easy to pack along — love them.  Also, locally made and organic, and you can buy at Seward Community Co-Op and around town. $10, so a great stocking stuffer.


Surly Bikes Jerseys ($180) or IO Merino Altitude Long-Sleeve Shirt ($95) Both are Merino wool and super well made — I wear the crap out of these. The Altitude shirt is extra long and lightweight with a perfect amount of stretch so it doesn’t bag out. Both come in men’s and women’s. They are spendy but worth it. 

Far North Roknar Rye Whisky Gorgeous design, local, and excellent in an Old Fashioned in my humble opinion. 

Minnesota Mittens Recycled, local made, SUPER warm, like 30 below in January warm. They sell them at Patina, and other places. $20


Tommy 'Hurl' Everstone, Columnist


Quilted Heated Mattress Pad Let me tell you, after nearly 50 laps around the sun, nothing has better prepared me for the icy Midwestern winter than this godsend of radiant warmth. Every night from, oh, about Halloween until the 4th of July (j/k, but barely) I crawl into this warm cocoon of high flannel delight and marvel at the apotheosis of coziness, drifting off into untethered bliss. I’m sure there are many variations on the market.

Mine has dual heat zones and a 1–10 setting so I can dial in the right amount of roasty toasty. A 10-hour auto–shut-off lets me get up and go without worrying if I turned it off or not. OK, who am I kidding, I rarely get out of the rack before that happens. Highly recommended. $35 and up

Wool Neck Gaiter Like the Wu-Tang Clan say, you gotta "protect ya neck" and there’s really no better way to seal out icy drafts when you’re riding in cold weather than with a neck gaiter.

A simple cotton bandana might do the job, but this is a gift guide! Why not splurge for that special cycler in your life and get them something like the soft, merino wool Winter Collar from Rapha. This is my favorite, for its light weight and versatility. It stays put, and I pull it up over my ears and chin when it gets really blustery. The Merino Wool Buff is also a good option. $25 and up


Rold Gold Peppermint Dipped Snowflakes Maybe your goal is to win the stocking stuffer game amongst your nieces and nephews? Perhaps you are hoping to make an impression on the holiday party snack judges? Or maybe you’re simply tired of toeing the line between naughty and nice, and you want to treat yourself to a little wicked holiday over-indulgence? Who am I to judge?

The nutrition label on the package claims that there are “about 9” servings contained inside this ruby red bag of holiday snack ambrosia. Well I’m here to tell you that about 9 times out 10, I’ve eaten the entire bag! $3


Patrick Stephenson, Managing Editor

45NRTH Greazy Oh man, do I love this winter cycling cap! I might actually be wearing it as I write this. It’s lightweight and both super warm and super stylish, with two layers of Merino wool that cover your ears, shade your eyes and fit sweetly beneath your helmet. I’ve worn this cap in dead winter (January and February sub-zeros) and kept super warm, all while looking good. And did I mention the Greazy is Minnesota-made? Yup! $40

New York Times Subscription The Year of Our Lord (YOOL) 2017 has been a dark one for people with tender hearts and a blue lean. I happen to be one of those people, and The New York Times has, with its incredible, clear-eyed investigative reporting, not to mention its arts coverage and A+ columnists, kept me sane. Just like my bike. Yes, I pay $15 a month for stories I could BASICALLY read for free online, but as I get older, it’s becoming more and more important for me to support what I love with fresh green dollars. Now I never need to worry about exceeding my 10 stories a month limit again, and neither will your loved one. $15/month.


Camper Cabin Adventure Winter camping is still a bit beyond my (and my tent’s) capabilities, especially with a new baby in the house, but I love renting a camper cabin at one of our many state parks. Seriously, these gems are scattered all over Minnesota, and a visit to one makes for the perfect give-an-experience gift.

Gather up your friends, head woods-ward on a dark winter’s night, backpack in along a no-lights-for-miles forested path, and open the door to your electric stove– or fire-heated camper cabin with two sets of bunk beds. It’s like camping without any effort and all the fun. Plus there’s usually a nice wooden table you can drink ciders, listen to Taylor Swift and Kanye West, and play cards around till the night closes in.

Don’t tell anyone I told you about this, as these are hard enough to find a free weekend for already. Let’s not even mention how far in advance you have to reserve a yurt. Camper cabins typically run $75 a night — a bargain with four people! You can also reserve a camper cabin at the amazing and privately owned True North Basecamp for a more upscale experience, with WiFi, right-on-the-trail access and heated bathrooms. Starting at $75 a night.


Dena Alspach, Publisher


Just Ride by Grant Petersen When I started riding again after well, not for a while, a friend gave me this book. Written by Grant Petersen, bicycle designer and founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works, it answered some questions I thought were maybe too dumb to ask. Petersen not-condescendingly weighs in on etiquette and safety tips, how not to worry about clothing and shoes, and what to do (or not do) with all those gears. $19

45NRTH Wool Knee High Socks These work equally well for cold weather riding or lets-stay-in-tonight whiskey drinking. Just the right weight and tall enough to peek out over 18 eyelet Doc Martens, the bottom of one sock reads warm and the other reads biscuits. So yeah, you'll want a pair for yourself, too. $30

Happy holidays from all of us at JoyRide! Let us know what you're giving and getting this year with a comment below, or on Twitter @joyridemn.


JoyRide StaffComment