Sometimes it's hard to squeeze in a decent bike ride on a normal working week. If you've got a job and a family, just getting out on the bike for some QT can be tricky.
Factor in the extra responsibilities of Christmas and all of a sudden your bike becomes a neglected bystander to the festive season. As you hoover up industrial quantities of food and drink, cram whole forests worth of wrapping paper into the wheelie bin, entertain friends and family and ferry relatives around in the car, your bike will stand in the shed like a restless animal. If it could vocalise, it would probably let out a plaintive and sorrowful cry.
If you're afflicted with the cycling bug (and if you're reading this website you probably are) then you'll no doubt be hearing the call of the bike right about now. If you're a single-minded, devil-may-care individual, you've probably answered the call already, sated your bicycling beast. If you haven't already, it's time to cut out an hour from your familial obligations and head out for the obligatory rite of the "Christmas Quickie".
The best time to do this is in the morning. Get your bike ready the night before and get your cycling kit ready too. While the rest of the household is slumbering and taking advantage of holiday-time lie-in, you can make good your escape.
Go stealthy, and go quiet. If you get a "Where are you going?" call from upstairs when you breach the threshold of the house, don't crack, don't give in. Feign deafness, close the door quietly behind you and pedal off into the sunrise.
In a few moments, the guilt will fade you'll be out onto the road or trail and feeding your cycling fire once more. You'll feel great that you're making an early counter-attack against the calorific assault your body has endured over the past few days.
If your family's security systems are too strong for an audacious early morning flit, there are other ways to get your Yuletide cycling fix. I find a great one is to be more than willing to do that essential and inevitable Christmas errand running. You know the drill. You've forgotten to get a card for your son's friend's birthday on Boxing Day. In your frenzied pre-Christmas shopping, you've forgotten the get normal, basic stuff like milk and bread.
This is where you and the bike step in. Willingly volunteer to save the day. Grab your bike, your shopping list and your rucksack and head to the shops... via the most circuitous route your cunning mind can concoct. Turn your normal 5 minute spin to the local shops into a 1 hour blast, taking in the local woods, the canal towpath or your favourite local hills. Just make sure that you come back with the goods.
So remember, when it comes to grabbing a slice of festive freedom amongst the mayhem of the average family Christmas, the early bird really does catch the cycling worm, and if not, you can always sneak a cheeky ride when picking up a bumper pack of mince pies and an extra can of squirty cream...