It may sound like blasphemy to some, but not everyone wants to get out on their bike over the festive period. It’s cold outside and there’s an abundance of food and tipples inside to tempt you to stay indoors.
If this is you, it doesn’t mean you have to fill your week with TV Christmas specials and repeated runs of Elf. Here are five ways to get your cycling fix without leaving the house.
Whether you’re after an interesting documentary or biopic, mountain bike antics or want to enjoy a good thriller or laugh-out-loud comedy there’s bound to be something for you here.
Here are five films with bikes at the centre of their stories that tick those boxes.
The Game Changers
If you’re looking for a way to enhance your performance next year, or have toyed with the idea of getting on the Veganuary bandwagon, you might want to check out this documentary on Netflix.
It showcases many athletes at the top of their game who are thriving on a plant-based diet. It’s definitely an eye-opener.
This Belgian drama is based on a true story and explores the dark world of doping. It follows the story of a pro cyclist with a dream of world championship, but after joining an Italian team his eyes are opened to the devastating effects of performance-enhancing drugs.
If mountain biking is your passion, you’ll love learning all about its roots.
Klunkerz is an iconic film about the early days of mountain biking as a counter-culture. It features archival footage and photos, plus interviews with Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, Charlie Kelly, Tom Ritchey and Mike Sinyard.
Wadjda is the story of a rebellious and determined Saudi schoolgirl who craves the shiny bicycle on sale in her local store. In her efforts to obtain it, she enters a Quran recital competition in the hope of winning the prize money.
It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, and it’s also a little harrowing at times. Well worth a watch.
- DVD: £5.99 / $11.74 / €7.96 / AU$19.68
The Young Offenders
The Young Offenders is the hysterical adventure of two teenage boys from Cork who ride 160km on stolen bikes in a bid to find a missing bale of cocaine worth €7-million.
On their tail is a local police officer who really has it in for bike thieves, and hilarity ensues.
- DVD: £5.25 / $4.95 / €8.08 / AU$6.42
Podcasts and radio shows are a great way to relax in the bath, help you get to sleep or just put on for some background noise. Again, there are lots of shows to choose from, but here are a few that we enjoy ourselves.
The BikeRadar Podcast
Of course we couldn’t leave this out! 2019 has seen the launch of the brand new BikeRadar podcast and us discussing everything from road tech that was ahead of its time to what the future holds for mountain biking.
Our Tech Talks get down and dirty with all things nerdy, and we’ll soon be introducing BR Meets, with interviews with inspiring folk from the world of cycling. There’s something for everyone.
The War on Cars Podcast
This podcast isn’t necessarily bike-focused, but does delve deep into the pending damnation of car culture in America. Its hosts provide up to date news and commentary on worldwide developments that move away from cars as a dominant vehicle and explore the other options that are begging for our attention.
You don’t have to be embedded in the London DIY cycling scene to appreciate Wheelsuckers — the ‘tandem’ cycling industry comedy podcast by Alex from London’s Look mum no hands! cycling cafe and Jenni from London Bike Kitchen.
Episodes range from two-on-one interviews to full-on panel discussions about bicycle culture and all that it entails. Each episode ends with a short reading from Richard’s Bicycle Book for some ’70s flavour maintenance tips.
The Cycling Podcast
The Cycling Podcast is the brainchild of journalists and publishers Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe. It’s a great way to get inside the peloton because the hosts combine elements of travelogue and local culture with insights, analysis and commentary on professional cycling from the roadside.
The Downtime Podcast is focused on mountain biking, enduro and downhill racing. The host, Chris Hall, received some specialist coaching and was so amazed by how much his riding changed that he wanted to share what he’d learned with others.
He interviews pros, covers various events and shares insider tips to help listeners get the most out of their riding.
If you’d rather curl up with a good book and put your feet up by the fire, then there are also plenty of options to whet your literary whistle. Here are just a few to get you started – but for plenty more, check out our extensive list of the best cycling books for 2020.
Where There’s a Will: Hope, Grief and Endurance in a Cycle Race Across a Continent, Emily Chappell
This account of Emily Chappell’s journey to the Transcontinental finish line as the fastest woman in 2016 is open and honest, inspiring and vulnerable, heartbreaking in places, but overall will leave you craving a continental journey of your own.
The Yellow Jersey, Peter Cossins
While you wait out the winter in readiness for the next Tour de France, dive into the story of the yellow jersey – arguably the cycling world’s most iconic garment.
Now 100 years old, it receives a wonderful homage in this book by Peter Cossins, with first-hand stories from previous winners, including Chris Froome, Thomas Voeckler and Antonin Rolland.
My World, Peter Sagan
If you enjoy a bit of Peter Sagan, from his incredible performances to his roadie wheelies, you’ll love his entertaining autobiography. Sneak a peek behind the scenes of the cycling world and catch him in his mischievous glory.
The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain Trail, Tim Moore
If you’re feeling guilty about staying indoors, you can still experience the joys of winter riding through Tim Moore’s account of riding a shopper bike along the 9,000km Iron Curtain trail. It will entertain, inspire, but most importantly, validate your decision to stay out of the cold.
If you’re a bit of a gamer then you’ll likely still get a thrill from virtual cycling as much as you would from the real thing.
You don’t need to own an expensive console to do this though because there are actually quite a few great looking cycling game apps that you can download straight to your phone or laptop. We’ve included a mixture.
This first-person downhill game has amazing graphics and will leave you wanting to get out on your local trails as soon as possible. In the game you can join a team, master all your favourite tricks, build up your rep and enjoy riding freestyle.
- £19.49 / $24.99
- Play Descenders on Steam for PC
Tour de France: Season 2019 – PS4 or Xbox
The 2019 version of this console game includes online multiplayer competitions, sprint challenges, the Tour of Flanders, and a faithful reproduction of all 21 stages of this year’s Tour de France race.
You can lead your team to victory either from within the peloton or as a team manager or leader. The graphics are solid and the AI of the characters is pretty realistic as well, so you can really lose yourself in the game.
- £44.99 / $52.19
- Buy Tour de France: Season 2019 on Amazon
Bike Unchained 2 — Google App
Bike Unchained 2 is (you guessed it) the sequel to Red Bull’s original mobile mountain biking game. In this game you can race downhill against real riders or compete in slopestyle competitions with your best tricks.
It’s very user-friendly and employs tap mechanics in order to pump, pedal and land a jump. It’s also very addictive!
- Free (in-app purchases)
Bike Mayhem Extreme Mountain Racing — Google App
Bike Mayhem Extreme Mountain Racing follows a similar vein to Bike Unchained, but this time it’s a 2D side-scroller.
The game has beautiful graphics and provides all the thrill of racing down trails, with some awesome tricks thrown in.
Another one you can lose a lot of time to, so maybe try not to play it at the dinner table or you’ll be getting some angry looks from the relatives!
- Free (in-app purchases)
- Download Bike Mayhem Mountain Racing from Google Play Store
- Download Bike Mayhem Mountain Racing from iTunes
Okay, so this isn’t cycling-centric but it’s something you can do while you’re doing any of the above. Who doesn’t love eating at Christmas? BikeRadar has a wealth of festive food ideas to fill that bike-shaped hole in your life, too.
- 8 tasty ways to use up your Christmas leftovers
- 8 tasty festive food swaps
- Fuel your festive riding with these meat-free Christmas dinner ideas
- 7 winter blues-busting meals for a happier ride
- 12 simple and warming soups for winter
- 4 festive smoothie recipes (and a bonus festive flapjack)
However you get your cycling fix, we hope you have a lovely Christmas break.