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The holidays are virtually here, I know. But a shocking amount of people wait to buy gifts until the last minute. Trust me, I've been one of them in the past. Some people even wait till the holidays pass by to give their gifts. In that spirit, I present you an impromptu list of transportation-themed gift ideas. I've culled some from the archives of On Foot, some from elsewhere. Surely you must know some friend who's obsessed with bikes or trains or cars or a good stroll, no?
Here's a few ideas, and let us know any other sweet gift ideas for the transit-obsessed. Consider these for Christmas, Hanukkah, the New Year, or any other occasion coming up. Happy holidays!
A silk WMATA-adorned tie: Take a glance through the many items of Metro's online gift shop for an experience that's both enjoyable and strange. My personal favorite may be this outlandish Metro tie, which shows the many colors of the transit map. The ad copy should assure you if you have any doubts: "This silk tie is just what you need in the office or around town." Absolutely.
The Metro map, arranged out of threads and ready for your wall: Here's a gem from the depths of Etsy. I love the simplicity of this gift as well as how D.C.-specific it is. Everyone has a little wall space to spare for an item like this.
Cycling T-shirts? A sure winner: Take a glance at all the wonderful bike T-shirts out there. I've checked before and there's a breathtaking amount, some quite stylish. Here's a gallery of some of the best to give you ideas as you begin.
Turn someone into a Zipster: Zipcar may have lost a few of its public spaces but it's still the overwhelming force to reckon with in the District's car-sharing market. Cute, welcoming, and aggressively visible, Zipcar is a good bet for anyone who wants to stay car-free with the occasional option of driving. Even better news — the local Zipcar D.C. office recently acquired the sweetest-looking office cat. Here's their holiday gift form if you want to buy membership for a friend.
A pedestrian safety decal for your wall: Here's a gift that says, yes, pedestrians are important, and I know this so deeply I've taken the spirit from our streets and onto my walls. It's a slick image. Buy different sizes for anywhere from $32 to $96.
A Metrobus token-as-earring: Coins of old have been repurposed. This is another very straightforward but very cool gift for a bus rider. Old tokens have also been fashioned into cufflinks.
A Revolights T-shirt: December is a dark month, so what better time to celebrate the possibility of better LED bike lighting, hitched directly to your bike tires? I interviewed one of the creators of Revolights earlier this year and while the glowing new bike-light system won't be released until 2012, the creators sell T-shirts for just under $20 now.
Pedestrian safety gear: Buy a bright vest. Buy a good traffic sign. You can never be too safe.
A membership to the Washington Area Bicyclist Association: Are there more passionate and intense biking advocates than the folks at WABA? Probably not. They've been around since the '70s, meet constantly, and run a robust blog and Twitter feed for the city's cyclists. Lately the organization has taken on driver harassment and the biking gender gap. Membership for a year costs $35 and makes a great gift for any friend who wants to be more involved.
Experience the joy and nostalgia of a toy VW bus: The iconic hippie wagon comes to life in this 1.1-pound model composed of 174 pieces for you to assemble. This model runs for just under $25 and is one of many available on the Internet. Don't doubt the virtues and personality of the VW. I realized the power of the old vehicle when interviewing the director of a forthcoming documentary chronicling the VW bus's history and appeal.
For more gift ideas — if, say, you have friends who aren't fanatics about transportation — consider checking out TBD's holiday gift guide.