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First of all, let it be said that we’re not suggesting you spend all of the holidays training like a maniac. 2020 has been a wild and challenging year, and we all deserve to take a break and enjoy some self-care over the Christmas season. Of course, cycling can certainly play a role in that, and the holidays offer some great inspiration for bike-themed fun.

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Depending on your situation and the regulations where you live, you might be celebrating very differently this year, perhaps just with your immediate family or even on your own. Ironically, many of us who lament the onslaught of social and family obligations that December usually brings could find ourselves missing them when they’re no longer an option. An excellent way to combat the blues that may accompany an absence of holiday parties is to make other entertaining plans for yourself. If your bike brings you joy throughout the rest of the year, why not get it involved in celebrating the holidays? Here are some strategies to get out on your bike while enjoying a happy and healthy festive season.

Winter Cycling
Cycle through the holiday season. © Profimedia

Make a plan you’re excited about

Even though much of the usual hustle and bustle may be cancelled this year, that doesn’t mean that the change in pace over the holidays won’t still make it tricky to stick to a plan. Although there’s nothing wrong with enjoying the downtime, having upcoming activities to look forward to can help prevent feelings of loneliness or depression. Whether items from the following list inspire you, or you commit to riding on certain days (weather permitting), markdown your plans on a calendar. You’ll be more likely to follow through, and you can enjoy the anticipation and satisfaction of knowing you’re going to do something good for yourself.

Tackle the Rapha Festive 500

There are many things to love about the Rapha 500, and this is the perfect year to participate if your hectic holiday schedule usually doesn’t allow it. From Christmas Eve – Thursday 24th December 2020, to New Year’s Eve – Thursday 31st December 2020 (inclusive), your challenge is to clock in 500 km and log it all on Strava. Whether doing it alone or with someone from inside your social bubble, you’ll receive plenty of support through the active online community and will go into 2021 feeling strong, accomplished, and ready to kick some butt. Registration is now live on Strava, so check out the 2020 Rapha Festive 500 and sign up today!

Plan a virtual cycling & Holiday drink date

If you’re looking for something a little more laid back than a 500 km challenge, you can still enjoy the support of other cyclists without breaking any social distance regulations. If you’ve got a cycling pal, near or far, who you’ll be missing over the holidays, why not plan to do rides on the same day and celebrate your accomplishments afterwards with a cup of eggnog or your favourite holiday beverage? Festivities may have to be different this year, but that doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all the fun.

Virtual Cycling
Organise a virtual ride. © Profimedia

Spread some cheer in the neighbourhood

You might not be able to invite loved ones into your home to celebrate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the spirit of the season to them. Decking out your ride with festive décor is sure to put a smile on the face of everyone you pass. With a few simple additions like candy-striped bar tape and battery-powered fairy lights, you’ll turn your bike into a highly visible spreader of yuletide greetings. If you decide to get the lights involved, just be sure to attach them securely to avoid any safety hazards. To really draw attention to yourself, strap a portable speaker to your bike, pump the holiday tunes, and wave from your merry-making machine while you get in touch with your inner Saint Nick.

Tour the sights by bike

If pedalling around dressed up like a Christmas tree isn’t your style, but you’re a fan of holiday decorations, you can still get in on the action! Get the family bundled up and head out to tour the houses in your neighbourhood that are decked out with Christmas lights and decorations. It’s easier to get around and see them on your bike, and you can stop and take pictures of any awe-inspiring displays. If you live in a bigger community, your local council may have even devised a map to highlight city Christmas lights and installations. Check out your district’s website before heading out to explore.

Bicycle near river
Tour the sights by your bicycle. © Profimedia

Get inspired by the true spirit of the season

At the end of the day, the holiday season is about spreading goodwill to all. If there’s a cause particularly near and dear to your heart, December is the perfect time to use your bicycle to support their efforts. You could raise money for a charity or organisation by cycling a certain number of kilometres or ride to a nearby seniors’ home or care facility to drop off baked goods or holiday greetings cards. There are plenty of ways you can do something positive for the community while clocking a few extra miles in the saddle.

Regardless of whether your holiday plans allow you to get out on your bike or not, take the opportunity to pause and reflect on the things dear to you and tell your loved ones you care. Here’s to brighter days ahead in 2021!