Christmas is traditionally a day for making time for family and friends, settling around the Christmas tree, munching through copious amounts of food, and for giving thanks depending on your religious views.
Boring! How about going on a Christmas day bike ride?!
London is at its most quiet on Christmas day and as bloggers such as Ian Visits have discovered, a perfect day for taking pictures of the empty streets of London. In fact, it’s a great time to recreate pictures from the movie 28 days later.
With deserted streets, you’ll be almost free from the battle with other forms of transportation, and you’ll have the freedom to peruse the roads, streets or trails at your leisure.
On the day that marks the highpoint of the festive frenzy, you will find that there are other riders who like to get out on their bikes, so if you fancy joining a group, here are a couple of suggestions:
London Cycling Campaigns’ Mithrasmas Mass 2013 Christmas Day Ride
This ride has been a feature on the London Cycling Campaign’s calendar for many a year. The ride begins at 10am at Cutty Sark Gardens by Greenwich Pier. Riders will be led along the Thames Path, heading west as far as Putney, before enjoy drinks at the Duke’s Head Pub.
There is then the option for riders with family commitments to head home via a shorter route, whilst those with more time on their hands will enjoy a restaurant feast before riding through Hyde Park towards Edgeware Road.
This ride is open to people of all levels of fitness and ages, and everyone is welcome, but you should have a basic level of road cycling experience. There will be marshals and the ride will be led by LCC representatives.
This Christmas day ride leaves from the Rapha store in Brewer Street at 10am, giving you time to “open up those brand new Grand Tour Shoes and fix some cleats before heading out”. This will be a loop of around 2 hours around North London, and it’s said to be a favourtie training ride for the Cycle Club staff.
There are only 10 spaces availalbe for this ride, and you’ll need to register for a space – this is so the ride can be carried out safely with a comfortable group, led by two staff members.
If you’re a regular on this busy forum, you’ll know this is an annual classic. Riders plan to meet at 9am, at Oxford Circus for a ride around the roads on the quietest day of the year.
This is a ride for those that haven’t got plans to celebrate December 25th, as well as those who just want to work up an appetite for their festive frolics in the afternoon.
So far there are around 20 riders signed up to go for a spin through what should be fairly empty, enjoying the sights of the usually heaving shopping streets. If you fancy this one, best to get yourself registered on the forum (you’ll thank yourself as members will keep you updated through the year on all things London cycling related!) and pop your nose in to say you’d like to ride.
Check your local cycling club calendar
I know my own club has its final pre-Christmas ride on December 22nd, and the Mince Pie Ride is a great jaunt which promises a sweet (and cream topped) end. However, many local clubs do host Christmas Day Rides – so check the website of your local group. Ideally, it’s best if you’re a regular attendee, but if not you’ll likely be very welcome so long as you make yourself known via email, forum or phone beforehand.
Of course – you might be the kind of rider that like to hear just their own breathing and the swish of wheels when they ride – in which case a Christmas day ride alone could be right up your street. This is a great chance to spend a little time away from the busy hum of festive family gatherings and contemplate your year.
If I could choose anywhere to start such a ride, it would be Richmond Park, perhaps on the CX bike so I can mash my way through some of the rougher ground, as well as enjoying some decent speed (though be wary of the 20mph speed limit, hopefully no over zealous police on Christmas day, and keep an eye out for deer!) on the tarmac. We outlined a great Richmond Park and Thames ride here.
You could also try following our night ride route around London from the London Cyclist eBook. It’s perfect for when the streets are quiet.
Would you ever consider a Christmas day bike ride? Leave us a comment below with your thoughts..
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.