How to Do Rest Days and No-Bike Days

By Christopher Ashley

You’ll need a day off cycling for two reasons. Either you need a rest from your obscene daily commute or you need to spend some time with your family. So how do you spend this downtime?

Teach the kid some maintenance

This is a boss move and bound to earn you some bonus points with your other half. Keeping the kids occupied for an afternoon is always appreciated and shows what a conscientious and engaged parent you are. Especially given that you’re gifting them life knowledge and experience.

So, what’s in it for you? You rest your legs and you’re one step closer to training your own in-house bike mechanic. OK, the kid will learn some skills, but true value will be found dropping Colin on the climb on Sunday’s club ride – because Colin was too demoralised by the sight of your sparkling drive chain.

Take the family on a long walk

You promised your wife a no-bike day because she’s grown wise to the fact that you spend your rest days recruiting the children into fixing your punctures. What I really mean is – you’re teaching kids the value of recycling inner tubes. So, what can you do to keep yourself match-fit?

I remember my dad taking the family to see a “historic Roman fort” in Cumbria when I was 11 years old. We reached a peak and finally glimpsed a disappointing view of stones that my dad assured my mother were Roman. When my mum was out of earshot, dad turned to me and my brother, winked, and whispered, “Would have been quicker on a bike, right, lads?” Years later, half way up Hardknott Pass, I realised he’d taken us on a reconnaissance mission.

Read some literature

Books are definitely not bikes, so you can rest easy that your better half won’t give you a hard time improving your mind. Just change the dust-jacket so she thinks you’re reading Proust. In reality, you can sharpen your mind by reading an inspirational work by William Fotheringham. Maybe “A Sunday in Hell.”

The film is a classic, but Fotheringham’s book fills in the long shadows cast by the film’s near-apocalyptic portrayal of the Paris-Roubaix chase. You may not have considered that the helicopter shots were some of the earliest use of ground-breaking camera stabilising technology. By the time you put the book down, you’ll want to be put back on your bike.