The Chainlink

How to Stay Active When Bikeless Over the Holidays

By Brett Ratner

Most people agree it's hard to stay fit this time of year. There's the treats everyone brings to work, the company Christmas parties, and finally the mountains of food waiting when you travel to your parent's/inlaw's/relative's/friend's house for the holiday weekend.

If that's not bad enough, there's the double whammy of being off your bike for days on end.

If you happen to find yourself bikeless over the holidays, here are a few travel-friendly suggestions to help you keep moving (and hopefully prevent you from going crazy, too).

Workout Apps

Sure, it takes some willpower to peel yourself off your parents' couch, but if you can muster the strength, your phone can be an effective personal trainer. Most apps are free, and require little-to-no equipment. So, all you really need to get started is to clear out some floor space in your old bedroom. Here's a pretty comprehensive list of popular workout apps potentially worth checking out, and I'm sure it would be very easy to find suitable choices in your Apple or Android app store too.

Available apps offer all sorts of workout routines, from aerobics, to strength, to flexibility, to a combination. For me, personally, I've been using Yoga Studio, which in my opinion offers plenty of challenge and nicely complements cycling. And at $3.99 it has paid for itself many times over in terms of money I've saved on gym fees.

Running, at least to me, is nowhere near as fun as cycling. But it's hard to beat for ease and convenience. Simply lace up a pair of shoes and head outdoors. If you want to track your distance, there are lots of smartphone apps available...such as Strava.

Hiking & Walking

Don't like to run? Hiking is a great way to get out of the house, as well as achieve some much-needed quiet time after that super fun discussion of politics with your relatives. The downside to hiking is that it might require some driving to get to a trail. If that's not an option, you can always go for a long walk. For me, I do better at walking if I have a destination. Coffee shops are always great options. Bars are even better in the event that political discussion was really intense.

Bike Rental

Absolutely need some saddle time? Bike rental can be a nice solution. As I wrote about in an article earlier this year, and then another article later in the year, I'm a huge fan of renting bikes. It's generally not cheap, but when compared to the effort and expense of shipping a bike or taking a bike on an airplane, it's worth it to me.

The catch here is that to have access to decent bike rental (or perhaps a bike share program) you may need to be visiting an area popular with tourists or a big city. But if you have rentals available and appropriate weather conditions, it's a great way to inject some awesome into your trip.

Specialized Outdoor Sports and Activities

On the other hand, there's absolutely, nothing wrong with taking a break from your bike. It'll still be there when you get back. So if you're somewhere cold, why not try some cross country skis or snowshoes? If you're somewhere warm, why not enjoy a round of golf? If you're somewhere that's warm AND has beaches...I hate you...but regardless, why not take a surf lesson or go snorkeling? No matter what, if you're active during your trip, you can attack that mountain of food and not feel too guilty about it.

About the Author

Brett Ratner ( began commuting by bike in 2005. Shortly thereafter, his interest in cycling expanded to century rides, bike camping and trail riding. The competition bug bit in 2012 and nowadays he races cyclocross, track, mountain bikes, criteriums and gravel for The Bonebell.


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