With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, the Gazette reached out to three local businesses for their gift recommendations for the bike, book, or board game lover in your life.
Fernando Darakchian at Cranky's Bike Shop had three bikes to recommend for a range of riders, as well as a list of biking accessories for those not in need of a brand new rig.
“The cruiser comfort bike is an excellent option for those recreational bikers who want to explore the bike paths here in St. Albert,” Darakchian said.
Cranky's has Townie Originals in two colours, arctic blue or curry, and comes equipped with front and back LED lights and a saddle seat. The shop's website notes the Townie Original is the bestselling bike in the United States, and is currently on sale for $699.99 rather than its standard $929.99 price.
“For the rider who is looking to step up to the more performance-oriented side of mountain biking, the A10 is a great full-suspension option at a low price point,” said Darakchian.
The Instinct A10 comes in four different sizes, and is also on sale right now for $2,695.
“The cyclist who is looking to extend the riding season will find fat bikes a great source of fun, as well as a way to stay active on the cycling side during the winter months,” Darakchian said.
The blue and grey Farley 5 fat bike comes with 4.5 inch wheels designed to ride comfortably over sand, snow, mud, and dirt. Cranky's currently has the Farley 5 in stock in multiple sizes for $2,699.99.
When it comes to biking accessories, Darakchian said Lezyne's M-Caddy with a CO2 repair kit, as well as a multi-tool, are must haves for any biker, as you never when you'll get a flat tire or have a bolt come loose.
Darakchian also said a trainer is an excellent accessory for bike enthusiasts in Alberta who aren't quite up for winter riding.
Trainer's “are awesome for those who want to stay active in the winter with their own bike,” he said. Cranky's currently has the Saris Mag+ in stock for $156.00.
Those who want to hold off on biking gifts for once the weather gets better could look for a new (or used) book for their loved ones.
Lisa Bailey, the co-owner and operator of Bailey Books in Riel Park, told the Gazette something book lovers may really appreciate is a signed or special edition of one of their favourite books, which her shop specializes in.
“There's something so exciting about holding a book signed by the person that wrote the words within, and any book nerd would be happy to display a signed book as the focal point of their collection,” Bailey said, adding that if a signed copy can't be found, gift givers could consider getting a unique edition of a reader's favourite.
“If their favourite book is something really old, a first edition might be too pricey but maybe there's a nice leather-bound copy with gilt edges and beautiful details,” she said. “Sometimes it's nice to have a beaten up paperback to read and a beautiful hardcover to live on the shelf as decor.”
When it comes to specific book recommendations, Bailey, naturally, had a ton.
“For young readers I would suggest the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan or the Bartimaeus series by Jonathan Stroud,” she said. “Both are fantastic adventures filled with magic, danger and a few important life lessons.”
Bailey said the shop currently has Stroud's Bartimaeus series in stock but not the Percy Jackson books.
“If there's a horror fan needing a gift, I was recently terrified by the book Devolution by Max Brooks,” said Bailey. “It's about a family of Bigfoots living in the Pacific Northwest who lose their usual food source and begin looking at humans as a viable alternative.”
For science fiction fans Bailey recommended any book by American author Blake Crouch.
“They're all awesome,” Bailey said of Crouch's novels. “Recursion is about non-linear time and memory mapping, it's a great adventure and a very creative concept — I've read it multiple times and I'm still a bit confused, which is delightful.”
Another science fiction recommendation Bailey gave, although she hasn't read it yet herself, is Frank Herbert's classic Dune, which has recently had a second movie adaptation with a sequel set to come out next year. Bailey said the shop currently has quite a few copies of Dune.
Tim Relph, the store manager of St. Albert's iconic games shop Mission: Fun and Games, has multiple recommendations for Christmas gifts, which could also just be fun activities for families during the holidays.
1. Pigs on Trampolines
“This is a title that is silly fun for families and kids of all ages,” Relph said. “Use one of three trampolines to bounce your flying pigs back into the pig pen — simple to teach and easy to learn.”
Relph also said Pigs on Trampolines tends to sell fast, but the shop is expecting a restock of the game soon.
“An easy-to-learn and very portable card game great for anyone that likes to play trick-taking games,” Relph said. “The catch is that you can't rearrange the cards in your hand, but you can rotate the cards for different playing options.”
“[Scout is] light on rules, with some complex strategy.”
3. Puzzle Advent Calendars
“Puzzle Advent Calendars are a great gift idea for the avid puzzler in your life,” he said.
“Sometimes 24 small puzzles are better than one big one, and the surprise makes it all the more exciting.”