Nine Christmas experiences all cyclists will recognise

It's the time of year where reindeer tails replace race numbers

Mince pie season comes round every year, and yet still we’re somewhat surprised to see the leaders of the weekly pain-chain take to the roads wearing Santa hats atop their helmets or reindeer tails pinned to their bibs.

Traditions across families and cultures are diverse. Not all of us will be eating Turkey on Christmas day. However, there’s some very clear features of a cyclist’s festive period which most of us will recognise…

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The pre-Christmas tinsel club run

best christmas gifts cyclists

Image: Stephen Fleming / Alamy Stock Photo

If you’re not a member of a cycling club, you’re missing out purely by merit of forgoing the annual merriment ride.

At some clubs, this will be the mince pie run, others the Christmas jumper ride. Somewhere in the archives I’ve got a picture of a rider carrying a small Christmas tree strapped to his panniers, complete with battery powered lights.

>>> 11 reasons to join a cycling club

At my current club, the pre-Christmas ride doesn’t involve fancy dress, unless you count the aero wheels and suspiciously vent free lids that come out for the annual ‘Downhill Championships’ (you’ve got to go down and back up the other side, no pedalling, it’s a delicate balance of physics and nerve).

However your group of ride buddies chooses to celebrate, it’s usually fun and a bit silly.

The club Christmas lunch

Image: Pete, Flikr commons

Closely related to, or on the same day as, the tinsel club run – the annual CC lunch is always an exciting coming together.

A swift glance of the room quite often expresses just how varied the community is. Or should do, unless something’s gone a bit wrong.

Get your Bingo card out for Dedicated Dave (probably still in kit), Long-standing Larry (89-year-old and still going strong), Race Organiser Olivia (searching for marshalls for the early season TT), New Dad Dan (not seen on a ride for approximately seven months), Fastest Man Matt (may receive trophies) and Fastest Woman Wendy (trophies also).

Unconventional tree collection technique

Image: Josh Larios on Flikr

Ok, so 80 per cent of cyclists drive and will take the car when it comes to collecting the living room centre piece.

However, those who managed to pick up a tree on two wheels: we salute you!

The ‘beware of ice’ email

Image: Andrew McCandlish

A bit less cheery, this one. However the warning arrives – email, WhatsApp, carrier pigeon – it’s often around this time of year and usually instigated by some poor soul’s broken wrist.

Club mates with local knowledge will know the danger spots – off-camber corners, bridges and tree covered dips are likely suspects.

Smugness when you find bicycle themed decorations

Image: Shazam791 on Flikr

If you’ve not got a bicycle, Santa on a bicycle, bicycle wheel, bauble covered in bicycles or a snow globe containing people on bicycles hanging from the tree, do you even ride one?

Christmas present confusion

Yes, merino is the best fabric available for winter cycling socks – but good luck explaining to your mother-in-law why they have to be mid-calf length, and why anything deviating from this will be immediately quarantined to the back of the draw.

>>> What do cyclists want for Christmas? 

And don’t even get us started on explaining what a smart turbo trainer is, and why they cost upwards of £500…

The bike-ride negotiations

Image: Geoff Waugh

The ideal situation is that your entire family wants to go bike riding on December 25. If not, and you’ve been smart, you’ve already negotiated a way in which you can sneak out for an hour or two to enjoy the quiet lanes of Christmas day.

If you’ve not done it yet, sorry – it’s probably too late.

Christmas pudding and brandy butter guilt

The diet starts tomorrow, right?

Honestly, it’s not worth worrying over – the summer race season is far enough away in the distance and all food is fuel (in moderation…)

The pizza cutter

100 per cent going to be in your stocking this year.