Holidays during a pandemic are different. You might not have a big gift exchange with extended family or your group ride buddies, and stay-at-home orders might make shopping challenging, even when local small businesses are desperate for your dollar and support.
Gift-giving this year is different. Timing matters less, gifting experiences is fraught with uncertainty while material goods are making a comeback. Thankfully, we've got a few great last-minute gift ideas and stocking stuffers for the cyclist in your life that may be available from your local bike shop or online retailer. They're also great cycling essentials that can keep you riding into 2021 in comfort and style.
Here are three items that have brought joy to our cycling lives. Stay tuned for more tomorrow.
Note: None of these items are sponsored or paid, and we've tried them all. We might earn a small commission via related product affiliate links.
2020 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for the Cyclist
Cove from DZR Shoes
In 2020 as we sheltered in place, we ride to social distance. Perhaps your bike has more utilitarian use now and you don’t always like the cycling shoe look, or the clomping around on slippery outsoles. DZR Shoes studio is in San Francisco where all design work is done. DZR has performance cycling footwear with urban and casual style-a ‘lifestyle’ cycling shoe.
A few years ago, we spotlighted DZR’s H2O waterproof leather shoe. DZR also has a ‘dirt’ collection with stronger materials and thicker padding for more support.
DZR’s new Cove shoe looks like a retro low-top canvas sneaker. The shoe has a matching color rubber toe cap and a full rubber rand around the DZR rubber sole which has a bike chain pattern that will grip flat pedals with or without traction pins. If you ride with clip-in pedals, the sole has a recess for a two-bolt cleat. There is a bolt-on cover for the cleat recess if you are riding with flat pedals exclusively. (DZR has two shoe models that are flat pedal only). DZR’s variable flex shank is a nylon mid-sole stiffener that makes cycling efficient, but walking somewhat normal. The Cove has a padded collar and a reflective patch is on the reinforced heel cup.
The Cove comes with two sets of laces, a color accented round pair and a flat color matching flat pair. You could do a double lace method to customize the fit. For a shoe of this type, I found that unnecessary, and the lace management is unwieldy even with the elastic lace strap on the tongue.
The cleat recess is deep, so the cleat does not contact the ground when walking. Clipping in and out of the pedal with the deep cleat recess requires a bit of practice, but is not a problem with cross-country pedals. The DZR Cove will not engage with larger platform clip-in pedals if the platform is level or higher than the engagement mechanism such as the Time ATAC MX series or Shimano M424. We did not try other platforms. It seems we could make engagement work by shimming the cleat in these cases, but it is not ideal.
The DZR Cove has European whole sizes only. Shoe fit has many individual qualities, but for my average size 10 feet, with no half sizes available, I sized up to a 44 which fit fine. It is helpful that laced shoes typically offer more adjustability than other fastening methods. The padded collar is comfortable and gives the shoe more shape and support. The insole is flat, but padded, so eventually forms a bit to the sole of your foot which reduces pressure points.
When you stand to pedal, the sole flex is noticeable, but pedal pressure is even. Walking with the Cove is somewhat natural thanks to that flex, and the rubber sole offers secure traction on pedestrian surfaces. Keep in mind, this is not a hiking shoe.
I like the Cove. It is attractive, comfortable and efficient for cycling when I use my bike around town or on more casual rides. It matches my casual baggy shorts or jeans better than my more cycling-specific performance shoes. Walking comfort and security is better too. In the case where you want the flexibility of a clipped in platform pedal, a two-sided pedal with one side platform and the other clipped in, such as the Shimano XT PD-T8000 where the cage falls away on the SPD side, may be the best option. We have not tested this.
These are the stylish ticket when you want to dress casually but ride your cool cx bike with its SPD type pedals around town.
The Cove is available in 3 colors for $99. A mid-rise model called the S240 with full leather construction, is available in 2 colors for $149.
EU sizing 41-47, no half sizes.
More info: Dzrshoes.com