A week ago we were bursting with excitement – time with the family, shiny wrapping paper, amazing food and all manner of festive entertainment. And now, after a few days at home, we’re starting to get itchy feet.
We all love Christmas – but there are times when we find ourselves getting a tiny bit bored after the fifth consecutive tear-jerking family film and the tenth ‘Year in Review’ round up.
Here are some cycling themed activities to keep you entertained…
Set 2017 goals
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Now is the time to start thinking about your 2017 challenges.
Perhaps you’ve been thinking of cycling London-Paris? LEJOG? Or tackling your first sportive or 100 mile ride? If you’re looking for inspiration try to rope in a friend or two to train and do the challenge with.
For the best chance of success, make sure any goals you set are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-related.
Find a cycling club or social riding group
From within the friendly confines of a cycling club is a great place to find motivation, friendship, and new places to ride. By joining a cycling club, you're almost guaranteed to really up your cycling game, fitness and skills.
This quiet period is a great time to spend a little while checking out the websites and social media platforms for your local clubs, to help you work out which one is best for you.
Many clubs welcome newbie riders, and offer a variety of different paced rides depending on your ability and fitness. If you think your fitness isn’t up to scratch or a club sounds too serious Breeze rides are great for total beginners and offer a nurturing, fun environment to help you get on two wheels.
Different clubs suit different people so if the first one you try isn’t for you don’t give up, try another one. British Cycling’s club finder is a good place to start - and you can check out this guide on finding a group to ride with for more advice.
Become a paid up member of a cycling charity
We love our cycling charities. These guys campaign tirelessly for politicians to put their money where their mouth is and invest in better infrastructure and safer roads - which would make all of our commutes better, whether we cycle, drive, walk or take the bus. After all, one more person cycling to work is one less car. You could opt for annual or even lifetime membership of the national cycling charity, Cycling UK; choose to support sustainable transport charity, Sustrans; or if you want fund work in the capital, go for the London Cycling Campaign.
Create your own Strava art
Because why not? Ditch boredom, and use the creation of something beautiful as motivation to ride. Check out your local roads on a map to see if you can spot any natural shapes, carefully plan your picture, map the route, upload it onto a GPS ideally, and try to do it without taking a wrong turn. Strava art has become a big thing, from festive snowmen to marriage proposals, to a thanksgiving turkey.
... Remember you can pause Strava if you want to leave a gap between your lines
Get bike maintenance savvy
If you haven’t learned how to maintain your bike yet, now is the perfect time.
From fixing punctures to adjusting cables, there’s nothing quite like saying you did it yourself, plus learning some basic maintenance tips and tricks will help you understand your bike better and could stand you in good stead if you get a mechanical when you’re far from the nearest bike shop. Not to mention it’s the perfect excuse to retreat to the shed/garage.
From free online tutorials, available from the excellent Made Good site, to the classic Haynes Bike Book, and our own TWC posts, there’s a wealth of helpful resources out there, and you’ll probably be surprised how much bike repair stuff is easy once you know how.
We know learning a new skill helps keep your brain sharp, so it’s worth giving it a go. DIY isn’t for everyone, of course and sometimes you’re just too busy, in which case bike shops– the ones that aren’t closed for the holidays - tend to be quiet this time of year, so it’s a good time to book it in for a service.
Go for a ride!
Shake off the mince pies, turkey and fuzzy Christmas head on two wheels. You can even decorate your bike for the occasion.
The roads are quiet, and you don’t have to work (hopefully). Just make sure you take clothes for if the weather turns, be careful of icy roads, and don’t take risks if you’re not confident.
Looking for a challenge? Check out these ways to stay active over Christmas..