Ten things every cyclist does at Christmas
Christmas is a funny time of year. We all eat too much, families and friends reunite, and we
clamour to fulfil the wistful goals set twelve months ago. With miles to scoop up, achievements to
unlock, cafés to visit, town signs to sprint through, cyclists can go a bit loopy around this time of
One minute we’ll be standing empty-handed by the buffet table at the Christmas party
brimming with the virtues of bike riding, the next we’ll be stuffing our faces with pigs in- blankets
wracked with guilt and mentally plotting a long and punishing route to work it all off. Here are ten
things every cyclist does around the Christmas period.
1. Ride for fun
Christmas or not, we are firmly wedged between cycling seasons, so it is the period during which
cyclists everywhere can get away with riding just for the joy of the ride with no intervals to squeeze
in, efforts to complete or events on the horizon to complicate matters. As the offices gradually
empty for the festive period, there are more and more groups of jolly bike riders out in the lanes,
enjoying a Christmassy café ride with friends.
2. Ride to eat
Speaking of café rides, Christmas – more than any other time of year – is characterised by the
‘ride to eat’ philosophy. Your local café’s festive spiced latte and mince pie will prove too tempting,
not to mention the succession of parties. First, the finger-food buffet at the office Christmas party,
then the over-enthusiastically rich puff-pastry tartlets and mulled wine at your neighbours’ festive
gathering, capped off with Christmas Day’s turkey and trimmings, chocolates and nuts, wine and
beer, beer and wine, pudding and pie, not forgetting the completely unnecessary leftover
sandwiches to finish off the evening. Every cyclist will experience that moment of smug clarity at
least once over the festive period: I’ll just ride harder/longer in the morning.
3. Eats too much
4. Ride out of guilt
There’s a fine line between riding to eat and riding out of a heavy sense of guilt at having over-
indulged on Christmas treats. It’s easy to do at this time of year, and frankly, we’re lucky to have
provided ourselves with such an accessible pastime as cycling. We can enjoy the freedom of the
roads even while working off festive food.
5. Share the joy of cycling
The weather may be pants in December, but for reasons explained above, it’s a great time of year
to be out on the bike, if only to stay friends with the bathroom scales. It’s also a time for sharing
and by spreading the cycling love by way of new bikes, kit and apparel, or just by persuading
friends and family to join us on a Boxing Day constitutional, we all have more fun and grow the
6. Talks too much about cycling
Everyone has their passions, but could it possibly be said that cyclists are the most insufferable
chatterboxes at any party? Probably. We’ve all found ourselves in the position where we’re slowly
losing the attention of a suddenly glassy-eyed friend or colleague as we talk their ear off about the
ins and outs of the latest controversy *ahem* rocking the cycling industry. That, or the complete
embargo on any mention of cycling at all!
7. Wish it were summer already
The passing of the winter solstice – the shortest day of the year – means that we are now
beginning that agonisingly slow creep towards warmer weather, short sleeves and summer bikes,
and it’s not even Christmas Day yet. That the approach to summer always feels three times longer
than the run-up to Christmas is by-the-by, it’s coming.
8. Gather far more new cycling kit than absolutely necessary
It’s Christmas, a time for giving and receiving, and in the case of cyclists, a time for expanding the
collection of unlikely odds and ends, miscellaneous items of apparel, obscure tools we might use
once ever, and enough cycling nutrition that would challenge even Santa and his nine reindeer on
the hungriest of Christmas Eves.
9. Last-minute rides
Christmas Day falls a week before New Year, meaning that there are just seven short days to fill
with guilt-fuelled riding. That’s not to mention those last-ditch efforts to fulfil the mileage or
elevation objectives set for the year. We’re all guilty of a little cramming after letting things slide as
autumn turned to winter, living off mince pie diets, over-indulging on food and under-using the
cranky winter bike. Stat-boosting bike rides are a reason to get out the door between Christmas
and New Year, just in time to push reset and start all over again.
10. Sets impossibly long list of goals for new year
As the turkey leftover sandwiches and Christmas pudding settle on our waistbands, the panic sets
in as the door begins to close on 2017 and cyclists everywhere vow to be fitter, stronger and faster
by this time next year. This is the time of ill-conceived promises, unrealistic objectives and guilt-
fuelled goal-setting as we watch this year’s aspirations slide beneath our wheels. Perhaps let’s try
this Christmas to be smarter about our resolutions, set achievable targets and improve the
chances that by Christmas 2018, we’ll look back with a satisfied smile having well and truly earned
every last crumb of festive indulgence.
All that’s left is to settle into the festive spirit, eat lots, ignore the training plan and try not to bore
every single friend or loved one who crosses your path. Enjoy those last bike rides of 2017,
whatever shape they take, and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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