I have already written about cycling and the four seasons of the year but there’s one more that brings the year to an end and starts the next – that is Christmas & New Year. Unless you are a commuter, racing cyclist or a very, very dedicated cyclist, most of us will have reduced mileage significantly by today, the winter solstice on December 21st. If you are lucky enough to have daylight, perhaps even some sunshine, it will be noticeable that shadows are at their longest as the sun is at its lowest point in the sky for the year. As a result cycling into the sun can be difficult or even dangerous as sight may be seriously impaired at such times.
Deciduous trees are now bare, the roads probably wet and muddy and wildlife will be hard to find and, as a result, the countryside takes on a quiet and still ambience. Notwithstanding, if you’re lucky cold, crisp, dry and sunny days can occur over the Christmas season, making for an enjoyable cycling experience and a pleasant, even necessary relief from eating + drinking + TV!
Living at the higher northern latitudes it’s almost certainly going to be cold and warm clothing is essential, especially for the hands, feet and head, where heat loss is at its greatest. Precipitation at this time of the year is also likely to be a factor and may be in the form of either rain or snow. The problem after all the Christmas food and drink is you just need to get out on the road whatever the conditions and then perhaps one thing can often leads to another. I’ve personally had a couple of bad falls from my bike in the snow and ice just after Christmas as a result of misplaced enthusiasm. The main roads might be OK but if it’s snowy or icy the side-roads can still be treacherous and should only be attempted with suitable equipment, such as studded tyres.
If you’re lucky Santa might bring you something for cycling on the 25th December. If you’re very young it might be your first bike and you will want to try it out, if you’re older and it’s a carbon fibre racing bike the same probably applies. All-in-all it’s a happy time to enjoy with friends and relations, whilst in the quiet moments considering cycling achievements of the previous twelve months and ideas for the year ahead that will soon begin.
On January 1st New Year’s resolutions might involve cycling and various related undertakings. But most of all, it holds the promise of 365-days or four annual seasons of cycling, adventures and enjoyment on two wheels – or three for those that ride trikes!