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.
While there are plenty of interesting documentaries and biopics out there, sometimes you just want to enjoy a good thriller, a laugh-out-loud comedy or a heartwarming story.
Here are three films that tick those boxes, and they all have bikes at the centre of their stories.
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 (2016)
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 7,000,000 euros.
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
Alleycats follows a group of fixie riders who find themselves embroiled in a world of corruption, power and illegal bike races.
The opening act is heart-stopping, and you’ll be seduced by the charms of the London alleycat scene.
- DVD: £5.75 / $N/A / €13.79 / AU$14.02
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.
Queens of Pain (2018)
You may remember this from our Christmas gift ideas for designer cyclists, and it’s so good we wanted to recommend it again.
Queens of Pain tells tales of various women cyclists in racing history, profiling their many achievements and sharing their inspirational stories. Best of all, it’s the kind of thing you can just dip in and out of, in between the inevitable social duties.
- £25 / $35 / €30 / AU$45
I like Alf (2018)
I like Alf is a book that takes 14 lessons from the life and career of Alf Engers and his pursuit of speed.
It features first-hand accounts, interviews with the man himself and gorgeous photos that really take you back in time. Told against a backdrop of cycling clubs, shop-owners, framebuilders, racers, team managers and more, it’s a golden nugget of racing history that’s sure to have you hooked from the get-go.
- £11.75 / $17.95 / €16.61 / AU$25.67
The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle (2018)
Of course, not everything’s about racing. If you fancy something a little lighter, or even something to share with the younger members of your family, The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle tells the story of a 12-year-old girl and her bike, Clunk.
Together they set off on a pilgrimage across the US, having some interesting experiences along the way. It’s light-hearted, an easy read if your brain is addled with sugar and sherry, and makes the perfect coming-of-age story to empower the little lady (or gent) in your life.
- £13.26 / $16.99 / €14.76 / AU$24.99
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.
Pro Cycling Manager — PC
With Pro Cycling Manager you can see how you’d fare at managing a pro cycling team through a challenge-packed 2018 season.
Make all the decisions, deploy all your tactics, and see how your team compete in over 200 races across 500 stages around the world. It even includes La Vuelta and the Tour de France.
- £34.99 / $39.99 / €19.90 / AU$50
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 Mountain Racing — Google App
Bike Mayhem 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
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.
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 Look mum no hands! 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.
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.
The Cyclingnews Podcast
Okay, so this one’s more of a joke, but who doesn’t love eating at Christmas? Find fun ways to get your cycling fix at the dinner table, whether it’s loading up on mince pie-flavoured Torq energy bars, slicing and dicing with that pizza cutter, or wearing your tacky Christmas cycling jersey while you carb-load for the New Year.
However you get your cycling fix, we hope you have a lovely Christmas break.