Do you have a little bit of extra time off between Christmas and New Year? Are you looking forward to spending at least some of the Christmas holidays with your bike? Absolutely! But unless you are lucky enough to have family and friends as passionate about cycling as you are, those extra rides can be a source of conflict. Not everyone understands why you would want to go out in the freezing cold and ride into a block head wind rather than sit by the nice warm fire watching repeats and eating mince pies!
If, like us, you find the fire more inviting and the Christmas food a little tastier after going out on your bike, here are our tips on how to squeeze in a surreptitious ride without upsetting anyone, or their plans.
1) Deliver the Christmas cards and presents
Why give the postie or Santa an extra job when you could load up your own sack (ok panniers) and deliver cards and presents yourself. The card delivery ride is a fun tradition in the home of many cyclists. It’s greener than driving and a time efficient way to get a ride in whilst ticking off a Christmas chore.
2) Forget an essential when you go shopping
Who forgot the brandy butter? Not a problem with a cyclist in the house ready to heroically jump on their bike and nip out to replace the missing item. Ideally your local shops will have sold out, necessitating a 20-mile round trip to find what is needed. You may also win bonus points for saving Christmas lunch.
3) Ride don’t drive
Ride don’t drive when possible is our golden rule all year round, but even more so at Christmas when you are visiting far flung friends and relatives. If you have to travel by car as a family set off 30 minutes ahead by bike and jump in once the car over takes you. Doing this barely cuts into family time and if you offer to be designated driver for the return journey, allowing someone else to enjoy a tipple or two, everyone is happy.
4) Wait till everyone is snoring on the sofa
One of the greatest Christmas traditions of all is the post-lunch snooze fest. Invariably there will be a point in festivities when the majority of your family will be ‘resting their eyes’, now is your moment to disappear. Mutter something barely audible about “just popping out” and whilst they doze sneak in a ride. Chances are in their sleepy state no one will know whether you were gone for five minutes or thirty.
5) Get up extra early
Getting up early in the holidays may not seem your idea of fun but if you are serious about cycling it is a sure fire way to get your riding done without cutting into the festivities.
With more opportunities for catching up with day time sleep (see point 4 above) getting up an hour or so earlier won’t leave you tired. Plus, you can relax with your crew in front of an afternoon film without itching to get out the door, making it a more enjoyable experience for everyone.