It’s getting to be that tricky part of the year where there’s just about enough light left at the end of the day to squeeze in a quick trip to the trails, without having to sort out all your night riding gear. Almost enough time, but not quite. On particularly sunny days, that narrow window of sun can be a bit too enticing to miss out on. You’d have plenty of time for a decent ride, if only you could leave work 30 min early. Or an hour early. Or … you get the idea. Whatever extra time you can get away with, right?

So, here’s some of the best excuses we’ve heard to get out of work just early enough to squeeze in a couple daylight laps. If you do ditch early, remember to resist the urge to post our ride to Instagram, Strava, and whatever else you use to distract yourself from the natural beauty surrounding you on your ride. Yeah, if you didn’t Strava, it didn’t happen. But kind of like secret military bases, sneaky rides work best when they’re… secret. Especially during office hours.

1) My kid is sick
Foolproof. No one wants to be near a sick kid, or even the idea of a sick kid. If you’re talking about it/them being sick, everyone’s already wondering how contagious you are and happy to get you out of their personal bubble.
Downside: You have to have kids and, if you do, they’re probably actually sick. Gross.
Upside: If you do have kids, they’re magical bundles of joy. At least when they’re old enough to go riding with you.

2) I’m sick
Less fool proof. Better for all day misadventures than the early ditch. Why? Well, if you’re already at work, you have to actually look sick for your boss to buy the lie.
Downside: no one will believe you unless you look ill.
Downside 2 / upside: You’re actually sick. But who says you can’t ride if your sick? Just layer up.

3) I need to do a Foodora shift
Shades of grey. Get out of work by saying you’ve been called in to your second job as a Foodora delivery person is tricky, but is close enough to the truth that it could work. What’s the difference between working for Foodora, and taking a tall can and sandwich with you into the woods? Foodora for one.
Upside: Might be a great way to subtly suggest you would like a raise.
Downside: What downside? You get to ride your bike and have a great snack. Maybe invite an actual Foodora with you on the ride.

4) Food poisoning
Mixed bag. Food poisoning is a step up from generic, vague illness, and a little more believable when you show up the next day still stoked from yesterday’s ride. “I chundered non-stop till dinner, brushed my teeth, ate some toast and now I’m good to go. How was your evening?” If you really want to sell this, order in for lunch from that really sketchy place down the block. Make sure to offer some to everyone around you. Better yet, order it a couple days ahead of the next forecasted sunny day.
Upside: Food poisoning is temporary, which makes it believable.
Downside: If you sell it well enough, you might actually get food poisoning.

5) I ate a tide pod
Topical. Blame it on your kid switching it in in place of Gushers (what adult eats Gushers at work?) or some other weird candy, or blame it on mistaking it for food in a rush. Really sell it by getting some colourful five cent candies to match. This excuse is a bit embarrassing, but it’ll get you out the door. Just leave quick, before your coworkers call you an ambulance.
Upside: Everyone’s heard of this lately. Even if they know you’re lying, they want the story.
Downside: people will question your intelligence

6) I have to take my pet to a veterinary appointment
Foolproof, depending on your boss. Not everyone will give you unlimited time off for a sick pet, and eventually someone will suggest that maybe it’s time to … you know .. put your chronically ill gerbil out of its misery.
Upside: It’s easy to hide pets from co workers, especially cat.
Downside: They only live so long, so they can only be sick for so long, and they can only get you out of so many afternoons at the office.

7) My pet cat / dog / ferret / comfort peacock died
Quandry: You need a big enough to garner sympathy, but small enough that you can claim one has gone to the great farm in the sky every time you want to ride, without looking like a crazy person (p.c. term for cat person) .
Upside: Going into the woods for burial is believable.
Downside: Eventually people doubt your worthiness to own animals.

8) I have to get to my modern interpretive dance class / jazz fusion rehearsal on time
Mixed Bag. Get creative with your side project, the more unexpected the better. This is best done quickly, and by surprise. Announce you’re leaving as you’re half out the door, and end the conversation by inviting your co-workers to attend your next performance. No one will bring it up again. Ever.
Upside: Quick, can be used at the last minute.
Downside: Your next office party might involve you giving a jazz fusion recital.

9) My roommate/ relative / significant other is locked out.
Weak, but repeatable. It’s winter, it’d be cruel to strand your partner or roommate outdoors in this weather, even if they are imaginary. Really sell this one by invoking a distant relative visiting from a warmer climate.
Upside: Can be used many times, and you can blame it on someone else everytime.
Downside: Hardly an emergency

10) My grandparent / relative / long lost aunt passed away.
Morally mixed bag. If you’re really desperate to ride, step up from the pet passing and really sell the lie. This can even get you a couple days off work, if the weather looks really good.
Upside: No one will argue.
Downside: You only have so many relatives. Eventually people will realize you’re a terrible person

11) My computer crashed
Not really an excuse, but is that ever annoying. Nothing’s worse than when blue skies are matched by the blue screen of death. Fun fact: this happened while writing this story. I almost walked out the door, my computer almost walked out the window, and you all nearly missed out on all of this excellent, and essential wisdom. I didn’t walk out the door, in the hopes that you will. Get out there! Fly free!
Upside: Relateable. Everyone hates the stupid spinning rainbow circle.
Downside: not actually an excuse to leave, just makes you want to.

12) …
Was it 12? Pretty sure it was 11. Besides, there’s construction on the bridge and I have to get home on time to help my sick kid bury the family gerbil…

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