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Life is much easier when you are a cyclist. Cycling gets you good friends, perfect fitness condition and great mood anytime you complete a trip, no matter if on a pristine road or through a muddy trail. Cycling is great fun on its own. What is it like, however, to do last-minute Christmas shopping by bike? You should consider these four things before you set off.

Plan the route in style

Strava map
Be creative when you plan your route. © STRAVA

While planning your Christmas shopping route, you can either use your brain or do it in style. The smartest way is to arrange the stops according to the estimated weight of the gifts from the lightest to the heaviest items, so that you will not have to carry the heavy load all the way. On the other hand, you can devise your shopping strategy using a map, just like digital artist Anthony Hoyte, who has a reputation for utilising Strava for his artistic masterpieces. Two years ago, Anthony posted superb Santa Claus Strava art created solely by his Christmas Strava ride, which sparked surprising interest from the global media. The ride took four and a half hours during which Anthony made the entire trip of 66 kilometres. If you still don’t have a present for someone, you can get him or her an original picture you drew on Strava. Print it out, put it in a frame and wrap it in a shiny paper.

Carry more than usually

Since riding with a messenger bag might feel uncomfortable after a while in the seat, you might think about another way to carry more without getting your back all sweaty. You can choose from several options including an added basket attached to the handlebars. Don’t forget that the steering will feel different because your centre of gravity will shift to the front. The rear rack is another great option, because you can attach various kinds of baskets, pouches and bags to it. If your bike doesn’t allow for any additional racks or mounts, you can seek inspiration from bike-packing enthusiasts who can transport almost all of their property on the bike, using many pouches strapped to the frame, seat post, handlebars and fork. Should it be too heavy for you, think about Asian cyclists who can carry their entire household including a wardrobe, three kids and a piglet on their bike.

Avoid bad weather

Cycling in rain
Not the best weather for a shopping ride, is it? © Profimedia

With weather apps in your mobile phone, it’s easy to pick the best weather possible. The most dangerous temperature is around zero because that’s when the moisture on the ground turns into black ice, which remarkably increases the risk of slipping and subsequent accident due to unexpected loss of traction. The best time of the day for Christmas shopping is early morning just after daybreak. Not only are the shops free of crowds, but due to better visibility the roads are a lot safer for cyclists too.

Additional gear

When entering a shop, you surely don’t want to worry about having your bike stolen. Even a lightweight lock will do the job, so don’t forget it at home. A hot drink in a bottle might warm you up in between the stopovers. Even though mulled wine from a street stall seems to be an irresistible choice, drinking and riding with all the bags might end in a disaster, so better have a drink safely at home a little bit later. Merry Christmas shopping!