It’s just under a month until Christmas, so if you haven’t gotten your shopping done you might want to get busy. Supply chain issues continue to plague Canadian retailers, and if you leave things off ’til December 24th, you might be stuck stuffing your friends’ and family members stockings with coal (as long as that train isn’t delayed due to a mudslide). With that in mind, here are a few suggestions, if you’re buying for moto-minded people.
Once again, heated gear ranks high on CMG’s “Buy” list. Not only does it make spring and fall riding more comfortable, it can help riders add a couple of weeks of motorcycling to either end of their season. In other words, you’re giving the best gift of all—riding time!
One thing to keep in mind is, some heated gear can be a bit tricky to install, especially heated grips. Heated jackets or vests are less complicated, usually just requiring a direct wiring connection to the battery, or in the case of a battery-heated vest, like the ewool Pro+ we just reviewed, there’s no wiring at all.
This is stupid-simple, and if you’re buying for someone who doesn’t already have heated gear, that’s a good place to start. The ewool Pro+ and similar battery vests also work for other applications outside motorcycling (hockey games, sledding, hunting, etc.), so they’re practical.
Heated gloves or glove liners are also a smart Christmas buy; they warm your hands up better than heated grips, and don’t require handlebar surgery. FortNine offers a few pairs, and ewool also has heated glove liners. Your local moto dealership might have access to other brands, and might also be able to get you something quickly if you’re in a pinch—it’s a good idea to check there for suggestions.
It’s surprising how many people don’t have a good motorcycle rainsuit. Scott’s Ergonomic Pro rainsuit is the best we’ve tested at CMG. It’s mucho expensive, though. Your local dealer can order it in, or you can buy it off FortNine (men’s jacket here, men’s pants here; women’s jacket here, women’s pants here).
It’s getting harder and harder to get your hands on good motorcycle movies on DVD or BluRay, partly because … not many people are putting good motorcycle movies on DVD or BluRay. Unless you hear a reliable word-of-mouth recommendation, how do you know if the movie you buy will be worth watching, or a stinker?
Enter TMFF Cinema. This is an offshoot of the Toronto Motorcycle Film Festival. TMFF Cinema is a year-round streaming service providing motorcycle films over an online connection. You can find full details of signing up for the service here.
We’ve long recommended Canadian ex-pat Mark Gardiner’s books as excellent moto-reads. His best-known in recent years are his bathroom readers filled with two-wheeled trivia. This year he’s once again selling his first and second motorcycle trivia bathroom books and he also has Riding Man (about his adventures racing the Isle of Man TT) and this collection of his Backmarker columns.
On to the “other” Mark, CMG’s own Mark Richardson. His Zen and Now, a retracing of Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, will give you insight into the original book, and is a good read on its own. Speaking of which, if you have a pseudo-intellectual in your family that you want to bamboozle, Pirsig’s original book is still available and will tie their brain in a knot … or maybe convince them to buy a motorcycle. Win-win.
Former CMG contributor Jeremy Kroeker still has his own travel books for sale, including Motorcycle Therapy, Through Dust and Darkness, and the Motorcycle Messengers and Motorcycle Messengers 2 anthologies (which also contains stories by other CMG staffers). It looks like the Oscillator Press website says all four books are in stock, but given Canada Post’s current slowdowns, we’d advise you order ASAP if you want one of these for Christmas.
If you want a book that’s specifically about travel inside Canada, you can check out Beyond the Coffee Shop by Nick Adams. Who’s he? Amazon’s write-up tells us “Nick Adams emigrated to Canada from the UK in 1977 to work for the Ontario government as an archaeologist. He soon fell in love with Canada’s north and, for the past few years, has been exploring it by canoe and on his beloved 1970’s Moto Guzzi motorcycles.” Sounds like pretty classic Can-Con! All that’s missing is a CBC Radio 1 appearance.
Many riders have a lame, el cheapo factory-provided toolkit on their bike. Or, they’ve just plain lost it. CruzTools’ kits are decent replacements with a lifetime warranty; see them here at FortNine, or call your local dealership and see if they can get them in.
The Motion Pro Multi Purpose Tool is an extremely useful kit and also a fun-to-play-with gadget. It’s actually quite useful around the house as well, not just a gearhead’s piece of bike equipment. Your local dealership should be able to order one in, or you can find it online.
Buying for kids? Celebrate Duke Caboom’s freedom with one of these toysets (although you might have to shop around to find a place that actually has it in stock). Maybe not quite as fun as the old Evel Knievel sets, but at least it’s lawsuit-safe!
The Euro toymakers at Playmobile have this sport-touring motorcycle set, a highway patrol set, a daredevil motocross set, or an ambulance bike set.
Lego doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of motorcycle-themed sets these days, except for the Panigale V4R model—shop around, and you might find one in stock at a local box store, or online. If you can’t afford that, or can’t find it, Meccano’s Ducati is more affordable, and seems to be easier to find.
Everyone needs a good motorcycle T-shirt, and BC-based Bret Taylor has excellent examples on RedBubble. Otherwise, classic Dad-clothes retailer Marks Work Wearhouse often has a decent selection of retro-styled motorcycle-themed shirts in stock.