The Recreation column in this week's Isthmus suggests a handful of gift ideas for the recreation enthusiasts on your holiday shopping list. But there is no shortage of ideas from which to draw inspiration. Here are four more.
Hand-crafted custom-built bicycle
Madison is home to a small community of artisans who are establishing strong reputations as custom bike builders. Among them: Jon Kendziera of Jonny Cycles and Zack Reilly of ZR Cycles. Prices for frames start in the low four figures and climb from there, depending on frame style (touring, cyclocross, track racing etc.), materials, construction method, the bike's intended use, each individual rider's needs and other variables.
"This stuff is like crack," raves local triathlete Brad Werntz, co-founder of Boulders Climbing Gym and founder of the Madison-based Pemba Serves sales agency for such outdoor-industry brands as Atlas snowshoes and Petzl lights. "Once you use it, you just can't stop," he says of Icebreaker's Merino wool T-shirts, sweaters and other apparel. "I wear it almost every day, year round." Starting from about $10-$25 for Icebreaker gloves, socks, balaclavas and hats, up into the mid-two figures for the most comfortable leggings, T-shirts and long-sleeve shirts you'll ever wear, topping out in the low three figures for warmer layers. At Rutabaga, 220 W. Broadway, Monona.
From Ironman Wisconsin and the Madison Marathon to the Horribly Hilly Hundreds and local cyclocross races, more and more competitions are retaining photographic and videographic services to offer images and clips of race participants. Accessible via links from event Web sites, in databases searchable by participant name or registration number, in formats ranging from high-resolution file downloads to prints in various sizes to 20x30 posters to DVDs, at prices ranging from about $5 to about $50 (depending on the event and format).
Planet Bike's Aquilo Gloves
Cyclocross racer Renee Callaway, program manager for the state Department of Transportation's Safe Routes to School initiative, suggests these for the winter bicycle commuter on your list. "I've been riding in them the last few days," she says, "and I really like them." With their reinforced fingertips, gel padding and stretchy windproof material, "they're warm but you have good dexterity in case of any sudden braking or shifting needs." About $35 at your local bicycle retailer or Madison-based Planet Bike, which donates 25% of its profits to grass-roots bicycle advocacy groups.