Christmas gifts for cyclists


If someone you know is happiest on two wheels, here are some ideas for perfect presents.

Bike chocolate bar, Design Museum

Power that pedalling! Milk chocolate with sea salt, 50g, £795, Design Museum

Tatty Devine bike necklace


Cycle chic with an acrylic necklace by Tatty Devine, £40, exclusive to the Design Museum


Ted Baker bike clip

For the smart cyclist around town: a slap-strap style bike clip in a brogue finish. Ted Baker bike clip, £13, John Lewis 



Green up the garden and free space inside with this planter that functions as a bike rack. PlantLock, £155 from Front Yard Company 


Bike pasta

Perfect for carb-loading with sauces like carbon(frame)ara. Foska Pasta da Bici, £5.95 for 500g from Evans 

See my Christmas gift guide for colouring-in fans

The five best… things I tried this week

Bingley five-rise locks

Bingley five-rise locks

British skyr: Skyr is an Icelandic yogurt-type dairy product which has recently hit our supermarket shelves. I first tasted it at a breakfast buffet in Iceland in 1990, and went back for more every morning. It’s like yogurt but has a higher protein content. This morning I ate Hesper Farm skyr – Britain’s first home-produced skyr: creamy, thick and tangy. I bought it from Town End farm shop, when we stopped off on a bike ride from Malham Cove to Gargrave.

Straw Poll beer: Brewed by Thwaites, this is a light ale with a very subtle hint of strawberry – nothing like traditional Belgian fruit beers (which I’m also very fond of). Supped after a long walk at a hillside pub in Foulridge, Lancashire it was very refreshing.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal: I’ve been narrowboating before but not on this canal. The stretch we covered included the above-mentioned Gargrave, five miles from the magically stunning Malham Cove, the impressive staircase of five locks at Bingley, Salts Mill gallery at Saltaire, Skipton Castle, Bolton Abbey.

Digital detox: Not my choice! However, the twisting, turning canal, sometimes high in the hills, sometimes sunk in the valleys, meant an elusive mobile phone signal, affecting our 3G, 4G and thus internet access. Very, very frustrating but in the end, very relaxing.

Memory foam bike saddle: I’ve been using the saddle that came with my bike, but storing my bike outdoors over the winter has caused deterioration. Then I was offered the chance to try the Selle Royal Classic Freeway Fit Foam saddle, £29.99 from Halfords. Initially mounting up near home I thought it felt harder and less squishy than I would have imagined. However, last week, on gravelly towpaths, rutted dirt tracks and potholed country roads, it’s proved its worth. Its solid malleability offers sound shockproofing against the cycling surface, and now I don’t want to ride on anything else!

See my five best… pubs on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal