Hint: Any dream gift will do

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Jack Crowe

Christmas is right around the corner, and everyone should be thinking about a special present for her or his favorite cyclist.

To make shopping easier, I have canvassed the local cycling stores to gather ideas. Oak Park is lucky to have three cycling stores within its borders and one just across the street in Berwyn.

Let's see what Santa has in mind.

Brothers Greg and Jeffrey Hajduk own Barnards Schwinn Cycling and Fitness Center on North Avenue just west of Austin. Barnards is the granddaddy of local bike stores, having opened in 1911.

According to Greg, new helmets are big sellers at Christmas. Helmets make excellent gifts because cyclists need to replace them every three years as the polystyrene breaks down. At Barnards, they run between $30 to $60.

Barnards also has the perfect gift for inside training. For Christmas, Greg sells quite a few stationary exercise bicycles priced between $300 and $500.

Dan Schwaderlik Jr. owns Dan's Bike Shop on Roosevelt Road in Berwyn. Dan's has been in business since 1950. Dan's carries lots of gifts for the young cyclist, with everything from horns to bells to baskets for kids bikes. Kids cycling gloves, which run from $15 and up, are hot sellers.

Bob Lickton owns Lickton's Cycling on Lake Street just east of Ridgeland. Lickton's has been in business since 1929. Bob sees two big selling items as the Holidays approach. He sells lots of bicycle repair stands, which make repair and cleaning easy for the fastidious cyclist who has everything. Repair stands sell for between $130 to $300.

Bob adds that kids come in the store to buy computers for their cyclist moms and dads. Cycling computers are those little things on the handle bars that tell the speed and distance. They start at $20. To get something really cool, try a wireless computer.

Lisa Bogovich and Don Zordani are the brother-sister team that own Oak Park Cyclery on Chicago Avenue. Oak Park's youngest bike store opened in 1981. Lisa says that the perfect cycling gift for Christmas might be the new eight LED bike headlight by Serfas which sells for $35. Bike lights have made huge advances in the last few years and are a must to keep cycling safe through winter. Taillights retail for between $20 to $30. Lisa also recommends new specialized long-fingered gloves with a windstop and thinsulate. They are not bulky and are perfect for winter road riding. They sell for about $50.

Cyclists are not only high maintenance, they have high expectations. So I asked each shop owner to pick out one dream gift for a cyclist.

Lisa at Oak Park Cyclery recommended a Trek Madone SSL 5.9. This is the same bike Lance Armstrong road in his last Tour de France. It has a carbon frame and comes with full Dura Ace gears and Bontrager XXX Light wheels. It lists for a mere $6,999, but the personalized paint job will cost you an extra $500.

Bob at Lickton's takes a different tack. For the cyclist who has everything, he recommends an "exotic" bike trainer that operates like a video game and gives the feel of riding outside. The electric bike trainer lists for about $1,000.

Dan at Dan's Bike shop recommends a Cannondale R500 aluminum frame road bike with a carbon fork which lists for about $1,000.

Greg Hajduk at Barnards also thinks the dream present should be a road bike. He recommends a Fuji which list for between $800 to $2,000.

I recommend that all you hardcore cyclists out there clip this article, circle the items you want and leave it in an obvious place, like your loved-one's pillow. Ho Ho Ho.

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