You have a little more than three weeks until Christmas. If your Christmas shopping isn’t done, get busy! Here are a few ideas for the moto-person on your list, or maybe you can forward this to that person who’s always wondering what riding gear you need?
It’s simple: Heated gear lets you extend your riding season into late fall and early spring. Once again, eWool’s expensive-but-convenient heated gear gets props from CMG. The ability to run off a battery or be wired into a 12V system is surprisingly rare. The eWool Pro vest, will work even without a pain-in-the-neck wiring session, with more than enough juice for most casual riders to squeeze in a short cold-weather ride on battery power alone. Hard-core Henry can wire it in for all-day comfort.
A battery heated vest is an easy way to keep the cold at bay. Credit: ewoolIf you’re looking for something more affordable, consider Aerostich’s Warmbib. At $97 USD, this hand-made piece of gear is highly practical and not too expensive. It will make chilly days much more bearable!
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).
If you want a one-piece suit, Nelson Rigg’s SR6000 Stormrider seems to be very well-liked, with less entry points for water to seep in.
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.
Aside from that, you can always peruse Amazon for the latest releases, but frankly, there isn’t much new on the market this year. TMFF Cinema is a better bet!
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, former CMG big cheese 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.
This is only one in a series of books that he’s written about motorcycle travels all across Canada. Nick’s books are also available on Amazon Kindle, and can be read through a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Taking vintage bikes through deserted wilderness roads or busy highways, Nick’s adventures are well worth a read. See them here.
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.
Other than that—although Canadian Tire’s tool selection is perhaps not as fine as it once was, they still carry Knipex pliers and other better-quality hand tools. A gift card to C-Tire might not be the most inspiring thing to see in your stocking, but it sure comes in useful when you need shiny new tools that couldn’t afford otherwise.
Buying for kids? There’s always the option of Duke Caboom toysets. Who needs Evel Knievel, or even Super Dave Osborne? Duke Caboom is a hero the kids of today will recognize!
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.
Gadgets and miscellany
Who doesn’t love a good gadget for Christmas? Aerostich’s catalogue is full of fun stuff, starting with these moto-packable golf clubs (asking price $397 USD). Maybe a bit rushed to get them across the border before December 25, but worth a try? They also have a great selection of signs, posters and prints here.
Another wall-hanger that might be hard to get before December 25, but is well worth the wait: Amanda Zito, aka @blindthistle, best known for her YouTube channel As The Magpie Flies, is selling these 2023 calendars to fund her channel’s exploration videos next year. $66 CAD is a lot of cash for a calendar, but they’re filled with beautiful and unique artwork, and did we mention the funds raised go towards her channel expenses?
What about a place to hang your moto gear? Helmet Butler is running a sale right now, offering not just a storage spot for your helmet, but also your jacket and other equipment. More details here.