The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 22: Holiday survival


Whether you are a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Chrewlim, old-fashioned atheist, or “other,” there is no harder time for old bicycle racers than the holidays. This is the time of year that you have free time, but all the time is spoken for. The weather is crisp and sunny, the roads are clear, and everyone’s out biking except you. But that’s not the worst of it …

  1. Staying sober. Even if you are a drunk, now is a bad time to be that way. Why? Because it will interfere with your training. So when you’re at the office party and everyone is sloshy nasty liquored up, just imagine that everyone at the party is sloshy nasty liquored up and the dreadful sweating person with bad breath and spittle coming of the mouth corners is the person you’re going home with. Insta-sobriety.
  2. Gift-foisting. The holidays are hard because you have to spend money on other people. This is no fun. So instead of spending money on them, buy something for yourself and tell them to give it to you. It is always better to give and receive.
  3. Grinch rides. In addition to the difficulty of sneaking away from family, it often happens that your typical partners-in-crime are unavailable to ride, making it even harder. Snoop around to find a handful of other like-minded grinches who won’t mind a super-early ride on Christmas morning that “accidentally” lasts until noon.
  4. Go nowhere. Set the bar low for seasonal expectations. Never leave the house. Refuse to attend parties. Tell your family you can’t/won’t/don’t know how to go with them. This takes years to perfect, but eventually you’ll be viewed as a boring old stick-in-the-spokes who no one would want to be around anyway. This creates the perfect diversion for lots of riding while they’re out shopping/eating/partying/being normal.
  5. Use the five-second rule for food. If the chocolates, cookies, cake, and other goodies have been in your house for more than five seconds, throw them away. Don’t spare a moment’s thought for the kind person who sent them to you or the doting granny who slaved away for hours in the kitchen or for fifteen seconds on Amazon. Do the dumpster sprint now.
  6. Maintenance avoidance. Now is the time to catch up on all your bike maintenance projects instead of shopping, family dinners, or visiting friends. Learn how to disassemble and reassemble a SRAM e-tap derailleur. Blindfolded. With Old No. 72.
  7. Stuff your playlist with heavy metal. Nothing kills the Christmas spirit and crushes sappy seasonal songs like the greatest hits of Bloodlust from Thraxon, Broken Skull, Neurotic Thrombosis, The Death Spirals, or Bad Meth Kitty.
  8. Change religions. No matter what you’re invited to, say you can’t do it because you’re a “—–.” The more obscure, the better. Useful religions to mouth in a pinch: Obscurantism, Pedantism, Microschism, Plontist, Scatologist, Plythionictictist.
  9. Kimchi. Eat tons of it in the week leading up to the holidays. You’ll be invited nowhere. Guaranteed.
  10. Go ride your bike. No matter what.



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