In a showing that would make a NSW Cup rugby crowd look huge, cyclists have again failed to take advantage of the best riding day of the year. Official figures, gathered by me, show cyclists riding in the lowest numbers on Christmas Day since records began in 2009, a mere 35 whom I saw on my ride. (I'll ignore 2012's feeble effort of nine {yes, 9} because it was on a totally different route.)

This morning my annual research took me on a 70km or so loop – distance indeterminate because Garmin battery went flat :-( – from Artarmon via The Spit, Mona Vale, Church Point, Akuna Bay, Pymble and back to Artarmon. It was overcast and dull with mist obscuring distant features though the temperature was ideal, in the high teens, I guessed.

Typically for Christmas morn, there was virtually no traffic between 0600 and 0700 and what there was seemed dominated by garbage trucks, their sickly-sweet-scented plume of gases generated by putrescible rubbish filling my nostrils as each passed. I didn't even see another cyclist until Military Rd and the next two were on the climb of Battle Blvd. Wakehurst Parkway beyond Seaforth had a couple but numbers only started picking up on Pittwater Rd where they reached double figures.

I passed Santa (#11) just before MV shops. Still cycling in his fur-trimmed red suit with a sack of toys over his shoulder, he seemed overdressed for the humid conditions. I couldn't understand what he said back when I so commented. It may have been "Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas" or "F@#$ off and mind your own business". Whatever, it was muffled by that thick, white beard.

In the normally cyclist-thronged Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park there were riders in ones and twos more often. The guy who sucked my wheel after I caught him near the top of the climb out of Akuna Bay was number 27. He said he was doing a loop from Narrabeen. By the exit of the park my count had reached 30. Which means there were only another five to be seen all the way from there back to Artarmon via MV Rd and Pacific Hwy, a distance of ... oh, I don't bloody know coz the Garmin battery was flat ... but it's probably at least 20km.

Amazingly, that last 20km was very relaxing with still-light traffic approaching 0900 despite me using normally extremely busy major roads. It capped off a great ride. You don't know what you missed if you didn't get out there this morning.

So, now it's your turn. Let me hear your feeble, pathetic, snivelling, contrived excuses* for not getting any exercise on the best day of the year for it. I've heard them all before, of course but, please, feel free to trot them out again. I know you wanna. Make my day. Punks.

Go on. Do it. Do it now! There's plenty of virtual space below.

*I will accept excuses like "I was cooking Christmas lunch for 14 people".

Views: 458

Comment by Robflyte on December 25, 2014 at 8:55pm

I was cooking Christmas lunch for 14 people, would you believe a glazed ham for 9, how about whipping cream for some pancakes?

It was a great ham BTW, the pancakes were great as well.

Comment by Neil Alexander on December 26, 2014 at 8:33am

Yeah, I can believe it.

The cooking lunch excuse was my wife's. I had to accept it. For obvious reasons, not limited to the self-interest one.

Comment by Bill Parker on December 26, 2014 at 8:34am
The NSW government strategy of discouraging cycling seems to be a success then or everyone has adopted leather saddles and can't go out if the humidity is greater than 30% lest the saddle gets damp and crumples into a shapeless mass.
Comment by Dabba on December 26, 2014 at 1:28pm

Not being a member of "the I'm a sucker for christmas spending" religion, and retired as well, christmas day was just another day.  Short 30k ride around Newcastle and saw about a dozen cyclists.  Probably getting in training for post rail closure transport!

Comment by Bob Moore on December 26, 2014 at 4:12pm
We had a Christmas Eve dinner and I stayed up way past my normal bed time. I still woke up early on XMAS day, thought briefly about doing something energetic, then rolled over and slept in to 11 am, when it was time for more ham, Belgian beer etc.

Made up for it slightly by riding over to Middle Head today with a few BikeLeikies, namely Sue, Bob,Patrick, Ross, Garry and John,to see the yachts go flying out the harbour with a stiff SW breeze. Those Maxis are Huge! Mordor-like monsters. Ham sandwiches for lunch, and had to stop at the Kauri Foreshore Hotel on way home.

There was a smattering of cyclists around, some roadie groups, but not a huge number.
Comment by Susan on December 27, 2014 at 8:10pm
Did you miss the memo? There are reports and photos on Instagram of hordes of cyclists at Bondi Beach on Christmas morning.
Comment by John Knight on December 27, 2014 at 10:06pm
I rode on Christmas morning NA!
From Riverview to Riverview and back, accompanying my oldest daughter on her new bike!
We saw no other riders!
Comment by Bill Parker on December 28, 2014 at 6:59am
On the basis of Susan's authoritative report the problem Neil reports appears to be restricted to the car centric north shore and not the people, bike friendly and enlightened areas south and east of the great divide(harbour, middle harbour). I am sure Manly would have had a good bike turn out as well, you need to change your route for next year Neil.
Comment by Neil Alexander on December 28, 2014 at 10:41am

Update: Today was a much more popular day for riding, apparently. Being Sunday. And the cafes were open; that always helps.

It was dull, overcast and threatening rain when I left at 0700 to ride a route which took in Mona Vale Rd through St Ives, Terrey Hills, Akuna Bay and West Head. I saw no cyclists on my patented back street route (PBSR) from Artarmon to St Ives (despite most of it being signposted cycle route) but as soon as MV Rd hove into view, groups of cyclists were everywhere. All the way out to West Head and back, there was almost never a moment when one or more cyclists were not visible either just ahead of me or going the other way. Counting them was impossible.

Traffic was minimal until the return trip along MV road after 0900. By then, with the skies lightening, every motorist on the North Shore seemed to have felt compelled to drive to collect the Sunday paper or a carton of milk because both lanes each way were chockers. I abandoned any idea of using the Christmas Day homeward route and turned off onto my PBSR on which I saw one other cyclist at the Mowbray Rd crossing.

Thanks Susan and Bill for the info about OTHER PLACES. For some reason I don't often cross that big bridge thing to the dark side, so such a radical change of route next year is not gunna happen. (I kinda like the National Parks on my northern doorstep.) But I'll take your word for the fact that there are lots of riders over there. It may be the case that there is even a cafe open on CD somewhere over there. I have heard rumours of it from riders over there on previous occasions.

Comment by Neil Alexander on January 1, 2015 at 12:58pm

Update, New Year's Day: Didn't see many cyclists out this morning, either. That is most likely because I didn't get out of bed myself.

Unusually, for recent years, I stayed up to watch the fireworks and slept in. Had a pretty good vantage point without all the other slack-jawed gawkers getting in the way. Thanks RussW!

I promise to make up for it with an MTB ride later today and a couple of road rides over the weekend.

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