David's top 10 festive cycling tips

Santa loves a cycle at Christmas

David's top 10 festive cycling tips

We're all feeling a bit too full, sluggish, tired, and cosy indoors as Christmas Day is nearly upon us once more. But what if you want to find some motivation to get outdoors and into the saddle? Here are my top ten tips for cycling over the festive period.

Escape the house on Christmas Day for a ride

The roads will likely be blissfully quiet, so you should have greater freedom when choosing your route. If you're stuck for ideas on where to ride, why not tap in your postcode into our routes library for some inspiration. If you fancy joining a group ride to make things more social (and you live within easy reach of London) then CTC's Central London Christmas Day ride is one for you. This ride, which now has legendary status amongst Britain's cycling community, has taken place every year since 2001. There are plenty more happening around the country too, so check out our list of CTC events and rides for more information too.

Decorate your bike using battery powered Christmas lights 

Granted, you won't want to replace your standard bike lights with them, but wrapping fairylights around your frame is an easy way to embrace the festive cheer - and you'll likely get a few friendly sideways glances from passers-by. Do remember to stay properly lit up though and check out our handy guide to cycling lights.

 

Make sure you add in a stop for mince pies and something warming."

David Murray, CTC Campaigns and Communications Manager

 

Organise a fancy dress Christmas night ride

Dig out and don your most outlandish outfits, fetch your bike lights, and make sure you add in a stop for mince pies and something warming at a nearby hostelry. Remember though, if you are going to drink alcohol and cycle while it is not illegal in the same way as it is for driving, there are still laws in place for cycling under the influence.

Go on a Christmas themed mystery ride

Have you got a Holly Lane, Robin’s Wood, or Star public house near you? See if you can create a ride that takes in as many festively themed places as possible (we're fortunate enough to have the Christmas Pie trail near us). Grab your OS map and hunt them down, then join the dots before you head out the door.

Wrap up 

They say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. To stand any chance of riding through the winter without catching a cold, you will want to invest in some decent winter clothing. Luckily, there’s plenty of it around and you don't have to spend a fortune buying it, especially if you're a CTC member and have a Cotswolds in the vicinity! Think layers (so you can take some off if you get too hot as well as put more on if you start to chill). Keep your fingers warm and working with a pair of gloves and overshoes to keep your shoes from getting wet. A pair of waterproof trousers are also handy to keep the wind off your legs as well as the rain. 

Check the weather

Of course this is something we have to do year-round in the UK, but it's even more important in winter when getting caught out causes more discomfort than the warmer months. Weather forecasts are notoriously unreliable, but it will give you a rough idea of the temperature and can be a reasonable indicator for the cold wet stuff.

Ride in a group 

With winter set to encourage you to stay indoors because of rain, wind, snow, dismal mornings, and little daylight, it's easy to be enticed into taking up festive excesses and ditching the pedals. The solution - riding in a group. It simply means that, if you decide not to go for that ride, you’re letting down your riding chums just as much as yourself. Riding in a group is also loads more fun, and you can accidentally ride much further than you might have done on your own without even noticing it happen! We've got hundreds of groups across the UK, just find your nearest group and drop them a line. If you're not a CTC member, you can even go along as a non-member to try it out a few times first.

Set a goal

Setting yourself a realistic, tangible goal gives you something to aim for and a reason to get that front door opened, even when the weather’s not so great. You also become your own champion when you meet your goal! 

Some goals for 2016: 

  • Ride your first ever sportive (I bet you didn't know that CTC local groups put on hundreds of sportives a year!)
  • Join a cycling club (like your local CTC group) or you can set up your own CTC group. 
  • Complete a challenge ride like a century ride or a hill race.
  • Go touring.
  • Aim to do a certain number of miles on a bike you wouldn't often ride.

Mix things up

If you're normally a road rider, why not try something different and see if you can borrow a mountain bike and head for the mud and grit? Likewise, if you're always off-road, swap those knobbly tyres for some slicks and head off into the lost lanes around where you live! 

Always eat cake!

Last but not least, the food of all cycling champion's - CAKE is a must. Giving yourself a reward for all the hard work you've just put in will help you when you next think about not going for a ride again. 
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