It’s the often happy, usually damp or cold, always stressful time of the end of the year, there and here. Let’s help us all get through it.
We are perennially late and little in our holiday push. It’s like we’re juggling flaming bowling pins up through Thanksgiving, and then a look at the calendar tells us we’re behind on flyers that help us sell stuff, and with end of the year expenses, we need it.
Gift shopping is fun for the really wealthy who in addition to being really wealthy also have lots of time and creativity, but for normal people it can be stressful and hard. So, to somewhat balance out the you help us and we’ll help you equation (and this is also us helping us by alerting you), we’ve compiled a list of things that are not only good, but make good gifts, too.
Please look them over and see if any of them make sense for you or any of the people on your list. One last sentence on that: If you can help us both, now is a great time. Thanks. - Grant
It will be either an unexciting but appreciated present, or the best thing in the whole damn stocking. Email or print, you-pick-em amounts on Gift Certificates here.
Mark’s Tool Wrap
No matter how bag-y or basket-y you are, this tool wrap is a nifty way to keep all your tools in one place. It can go in the bag, in the basket, or on the seat rails. Close it with a unincluded strap—get an Irish strap and cut it, or buy a pair of toe straps and use one, throw the other one out. Stuff a multi tool and a patch kit in there.
These are too dorky for mainstreamers, but here at Rivendell they’re cool and smart. They’re waterproof and windproof and slightly fuzzy on the inside, so they’re perfect for chilly riding that’s not actually cold, or for wearing over our Cheap Wool Gloves, which by themselves aren’t all that warm. They go on and off in a second, and an elastic loop hold them to your wrist. Never heard of “Half-mitts”? Perhaps you know them by their other name: Coldthumbs, but there are ways around that. Wear gloves with these over. Wear fingerless gloves with a full thumb (get a pair of our Carolina-made ragwool knobby gloves and slice off the fingertips but not the thumbtip. You think they’ll ravel, but they won’t. Back to the Halfmitts: They’re red, and one size fits all. They’re our own design and made locally and useful. The wrist straps mean they’re always there, can’t get lost, no hassle on and off, no putting them away.
It’s a beautiful poster, and if you’re super rich, present it with a gift certificate at a local framing place, too. Or, if you’re poor-but-handy and have good taste in mat colors, frame it yourself. Should retail for $150+ but we sell them for $32.
This is the most useful garment we have. Sold them for years, and I have one on now. Feeling fine. Made in Australia, all soft Merino wool, way underpriced, black or mossy green. In cool to cold weather you can wear it every day from October thru March. You can sleep in it on cold nights. Everybody outside of Africa and Arizona needs one of these.
It’s not a bike bag, but it’s super useful on the bike, in a basket, on your hip. Sling it over your shoulder or wear it around your waist. A beautiful bag.
Eleven months out of the year the only soap we sell is Grandpa’s Pine Tar soap, which—if you haven’t tried it by now, why not? Now for the holidays we’ve got two others—made locally by a guy who quit his IT job to make really good soaps. He has a stand at the local Farmer’s Market, where I discovered Soap No. 2: Clove, which is killer; and talked him into making Soap No. 3: Anise (smells like black licorice). Soaps 2 & 3 are made with coconut, olive, and palm oil and shea butter and essential oils for smell and some kind of flower pedals for color. The guy is a loony stickler for only the best ingredients, and he knows his soap. The Pine Tar soap (not from him) comes in the same box it always comes in, and the Clove and Anise each come in a two-pack wrapped femininely in something that looks like and is similar to organic papyrus, and tied with raffia n(point being, they present well). These are, all three, usual and pungent soaps. Great smell.
Let me give you a Free Tip here—from somebody who never stinks OR uses deodorant, and sweats averagely, and it’s been that way for years: Scrub and froth in the shower, go at the armpits, and rinse. Then suds up the armpits again—with any of these soaps, or even a combo—and leave the suds there to dry. You won’t stink. This has been my trick for almost 40 years, and it works. You should have smelled me before!
See all our soaps and goops here.
In a stocking. It’ll always fit, and what bike rider doesn’t like a nice chunk of metal? It can be a Christmas tree ornament, or a napkin ring. Whatever—-lugs are cool just lying around. Start your collection with a Riv one.
Listen: These are The Best Thing We Sell. They’re Simple Genius and they Work Greatly. A friend of mine commutes on his motorcycle in the rain, and they work for that. Will they work for your 3-mile ride across town in a downpour, or a four-hour unavoidable pedal to the next town? U-betcha. Made in Connecticut of Scottish waxed cotton. Stiff, waterproof, simple, perfect. Three sizes and each is adjustable.
Book of Nonsense (by Edward Lear) (for kids)
Written in 1848 and maybe the best funny children’s book of all time, and totally fine for adults, too. It’s largely limericks (There was a young man from Nantucket…etc), but also includes short stories, poems — including The Owl and the Pussycat), and a science lesson. Cloth cover, sewn-in bookmark, acid-free paper and a library (extra tough) binding make this a hundred-year book. We sell roughly a hundred of them a year, with many repeat customers. This is a classic book that every child deserves to read, but good luck finding it in your local book store. With Lear’s own illustrations.
All books go up in price by $2 for the holidays, but wait:
We include with each one a $2 book mark. How do you know it’s worth $2? It’s a $2 bill, is how. We all know they’re out there, we all had a few as kids, but it’s probably been a while, too longa while. What a fun thing, what a neat cheap fun way to make any book-gift even more better, if I may say it like that. These are so-crisp-and-clean-you-can-eat-off-‘em $2 bills, too. Nothing somebody’s going to touch and saw “eeeeewwwww” at.
The moneymakers among you will instantly figure out that with a five percent credit rebate that comes a month later, the $2 actually costs you less. You get one per book you buy. That’s the only way. You can’t say, “Charge my card $10 extra and send me five $2 bills.” You can say, “Charge my card $20 extra and send me five $2 bills,” though. We’re not fools.
In the 1800’s a particular brand of possum was introduced to launch a fur trade in New Zealand, and all hell broke loose. With no natural predators, they multiplied like rats, and now every night these non-native possums eat 22 thousand tons (so, 44,000 pounds) of native trees and plants crucial to the survival of the whole damn ecosystem. In the most beautiful country in the galaxy. The government wants to fix the problem, so they thought hmmm…let’s incentivise woolleries to make garments out of the fur. Let’s subsidize those business. Let’s go!
And it’s not like those possums are the skanky American ones with the long, hollow, broken, yellow teeth and creepy eyes and ratty tails. These are super fluffy, soft, always clean, never road-killed possums, and the fur is out of this world. The following garments are a blend of possum, merino, and mulberry silk to add structure, and are so soft that even wool-haters can wear them. We’ve bought holiday stuff from this company for years, and always sell out, and it’s always good gifty. Vegans, listen up: The possums are are destroying vegan habitat and the normal natural animals are dying with it. This is your chance to get in on the cozy while still staying true to your cause. Sort of.
Here’s what we have (beware: one thing is merely sheep, not possum):
We haven’t gotten them in yet so links and pictures coming soon!
Blue calf-high semi-furry possum sock. Thin enough to fit into tight wingtips; long enough to cover all but the highest part of your shin when you sit cross-legged and cavalier during scoldings and negotiations. Really cozy, medium-thick, super nice, works with normal or dress shoes. It’s 90 percent possum, 10 percent silk.
Possum neck gaiter—ribbed and black and natural tan. Everybody in the world who has one of these loves it. Super soft, warm, no constricting, and wearable not only on your neck, but on your head as an ear-and-above warmer, too. It weighs like an ounce, you can stuff it anywhere and unstuffy it and it looks like you just unwrapped it. Natural and black. Roughly ten inches tall and wide enough to fit over your head and cuddle your neck. Can you wash and dry it? Yes, but go easy on the drying. Still, you can do it—-yes, it’ll shrink, but it’ll stretch out again and will never not fit over your head. Laundering is not a problem.
Possum fancy scarf. It’s black and tannish in kind of a checkery knit. Women picked it, but it’ll work fine for guys. Same furry soft possum as the other possum items, just in a scarf.
Striped Black Possum Glove. These are sized for a typical adult woman’s hand. If your lady has monster hands like Seinfeld’s date in that one episode; or tiny hands like the lady in the SNL skit, they won’t fit. One of the stripes is red.
Double-thick Possum beanie. Most wool hats these days are lined with women-pleasing microfleece. This one’s fleece-free and super soft without it. Has a cute bulbout look that doesn’t make a guy look effeminate, but makes women look cute and cozy. Dark grey or plummish.
Thick BILL BEANIE.
It’s Radar O’Reilly style, with a bill and and earwarming band to pull down when…your ears are cold, too. It’s best between 45°F and ten below zero. It’s made by another, different than the other New Zealand possum woolier, a blend of possum and merino, and it’s too thick to go under a helmet. Wool beanies are so useful, everybody needs a couple or a few of them, and this one is totally luxe. Brownish for boys, and pinkish heather for girls. It’s a $45 beanie, but that’s cheap, considering what it cost us. But, you can’t hold it in your hands & think what’s the big deal? this is normal. It’s no softer or better than our other possum wool beanies, but it is more complicated to make because of the Radar styling.
Grey Salaryman’s thin hot weather 100 percent sheep wool sock. Not possum and cheaper because of it. I/Grant insisted on this one, because sometimes I want thin socks for hot weather, and these feel great and don’t shrink much despite—are you sitting down?—being 100 percent Merino wool. Not even just ninety. Basically, it’s a thin grey sock with ribs. Good with sandals, sneakers, wingtips. If you like wool sox all year ‘round but you need them thin sometimes, this sock is your man. Sox are natural stocking stuffers,
If your person eats with untinsels and isn’t all-fancy all the time, this is a killer utinsel. Ideal for chunky soups and all salads, especially big ones in a bowl. The curved edge hugs and the tines stab enough to be useful. Real forks and real spoons are lousy for huge salads served in monster bowls. Like, when everybody is finished with their salad and there’s still some in the serving bowl, and what are you going to do—-transfer it to a Tupperwear and let it rot forgotten inside the refrigerator? No, you eat it with one of these. Yum.
I eat off one of these at least 250 days a year. It’s big enough for a four-egg omelete, and has a lip big enough to hold like nuts and nutshells. It stacks easily and is easy to grab. You will never break it. Want to personalize yours? OK then, here: Put it empty on the stove and heat it up for a few minutes. Heat makes titanium go all rainbowy, and since your rainbow won’t be exactly like any other, that’s what we here call personalization. This is the way one writes after just having read the book Room, by Emma Donoghue.
Rivendell flying saucer.
It’s like a Frisbee, basically it IS a Frisbee, but it’s made in Michigan by DiscCraft, and they make the best flying discs I’ve flung. This one here is 128g, perfect for playing catch and fun, too light for Ultimate and throwing in strong gusts. But overall the most pleasant to throw disc. It goes with a flip of the wrist. We have two bright, hard to lose colors: Orange and Limey Yellow. Easy to find when a throw goes errant. How do you fit it in a stocking? You put a note saying, “Look under the couch for something that didn’t fit.”
MUSA SS WOOLY T.
Cut full, buy your normal size. Super light and soft bluish gray T with raglan sleeves and fancy side seams. No matter how sensitive you are to wool, you will not mind this T at all. I/Grant think it is too smooth, but I still wear it.
AUSSIE SS WOOLY (non-Turtleneck) LONGSLEEVE or SHORTSLEEVE T.
Cut normal, buy up a size if you want normal fit, and up two if you like loose. Simple T-cuts, no raglan nonsense, and a heavier, midweight wool. Rare is the guy who can’t wear this next to his skin, but you could then wear a MUSA wooly under it. We’ve sold these for 15 years, and there never wear out. Tip: If you buy up a size or two and find the length too long, just cut it off with a scissors. It won’t fray. You don’t need to hem it. Just go. These shirts are fantastic and are the best deal in woolies in the country. Black or Mossy green.
Some highlights from our biggest-of-any bike shop book collection.
Any Eben Weiss/BSNYC book.
Either of the two, for now. The first, self-titled BSNYC, shakes sense into bike riders, makes sense of the nonsense, and advocates strongly for a common sensical approach to riding. Eben is smart and funny, cusses now and then so if you can’t handle that don’t get it or get over it, and all in all this is an important book for any 21st century bike rider.
The second, called The Enlightened Cyclist, is about bike commuting, and hidden in the humor and attitude are tons of good tips for getting there safely without bothering any other road users.
Both are easy to read (accessible to all) and they’ll change your way of thinking about things you do on the bike every day.
the all of it. By jeannette haien.
The book title is all lower case on the book, so it is here, too. We’ve sold about sixty of these in the past three months—more than any other bookseller in the country, probably—and many who’ve read it have come back for a second to give away. If your Christmas present client reads novels, it’s a good bet he or she has not read this one—-published years ago and not widely available. It’s a quick read as novels go (145p), but it’s still a few hours of great entertainment, and in that quite important regard, can hold its own against 95 percent of the box-contents under the tree. Put it into the stocking. It’s a thin book that’ll roll up easily, and unless you’re really hurting this year, it’s kind of a too thin, floppy inexpensive book for an only-gift. I mean, maybe not, but the point is, this book will fit into a stocking, and that’s where we suggest you put it.
Brooks-Huckleberry Bikes/SF Event Dec 8
Here are some links: