But when circumstances conspire against your best intentions, you can plan ahead and build in motivation to keep riding between Christmas and New Year’s, and beyond!

(It has nothing to do with willpower because it’s all about “want power”) 

Your ambitions to keep riding throughout the holidays are nothing short of noble. Yet once the Christmas turkey and mince pies arrive, if you’re second-guessing your determination, the week ahead of you may instead look like a minefield littered with your best intentions instead of a road paved with them. Pre-empt yourself by building motivation into your week with these tips and tricks that’ll help you keep riding between Christmas and New Year’s, and beyond!

  • Sign up for special holiday rides - What better time to ride a bike in the city when most of the usual traffic has taken a holiday as well? Southwark Cyclists’ annual Christmas Bike Ride sets out from Cutty Sark Gardens at 10:00 on Christmas morning to take advantage of London’s empty streets for a two-wheeled tour of the city’s lesser-known features. Your local bike shop or cycling club may also organize holiday rides so it’s worth making contact since some events may be unpublished but still open to the public. Or, you could start your own tradition, like a night ride on New Year’s Eve to see the festivities or watch the fireworks.
  • Schedule a ride with friends for each day of the holiday week - Hold yourself (and your friends) accountable by scheduling a ride at a specific time each day of the week following Christmas. Factor in a stop for coffee as an added incentive, or invite someone new to cycling to join you — they’ll help remind you why you started riding in the first place.
  • Get a new gadget - A cycling computer or camera for your handlebars or helmet will transform every pedal stroke into a chance to collect data. Whether your project is a fitness or performance goal, or a creative endeavour, you’ll have to go out and get the material to work with, which means putting in some time in the saddle. A ride can be your means to an end, or it can open up new opportunities to challenge yourself both physically and creatively.
  • Create a reward scheme - Make each ride an award-winning event by assigning rewards to each effort throughout the week. A reward could be as simple as a points system where time and distance each have a points value that get added up at the end of the week to exchange for a prize (like a new piece of bike gear, tickets to live entertainment, or a special treat you’ve been eyeing). You could also assign a monetary value to each mile ridden, set mileage goals and then share your plan with your favourite charitable beneficiary. Then donate the value in pounds of your accumulated mileage.
  • Set daily distance goals - Events like the Festive500 challenge cyclists worldwide to ride 500 kilometres between Christmas and New Year’s, and then share their achievements online. You could become one of the tens of thousands of participants in this annual event or you could create your own challenge either for yourself or for a group of friends. Set reasonable daily distance goals and don’t shy away from implementing mini challenges in your ride, like town line sprints or hill intervals — you may suffer in the moment but you’ll feel fantastic when they’re done!
  • Explore new routes - Take your ride routine in a different direction (quite literally) by trying out new routes. To find them, you can search online resources for user-generated routes that are nearby, or you could go multimodal and either ride to a far-flung destination and take the train back, or do it the other way around.

Bad weather, overindulgence, and even loads of free time can all conspire against getting out for a bike ride during the holidays. Counter the conspiracy with this handful of suggestions, which highlight some of the best motives for sticking to a ride routine when your regular routine goes on vacation as well.