On March 23rd the Government announced the corona-virus lockdown. No-one is allowed to leave their home with a very small number of exceptions:
- Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.
- One form of exercise – for example a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of your own household.
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
- Travelling to and from work, but only when absolutely necessary and cannot be done at home.
Within certain parameters you are therefore still allowed to cycle. The national cycling charity, Cycling UK, has been working with the Government and Public Health England to provide detailed guidance on its website www.cyclinguk.org.
For health, fitness and well-being Cycling UK is encouraging people to cycle, but only if done from the home, alone or with members of your own household and then only if there is no reason to self-isolate e.g. over 70 or with an underlying medical condition. The recommended hygiene and safe social distancing measures should also be adopted.
Here’s a quick summary of some of Cycling UK’s other guidance:
Cycling to School: Schools have closed, but some pupils still travel to them daily. Providing your child is old enough to go out alone, is in good health and there’s a safe route, its OK for them to continue or start cycling to school. Parents are however encouraged to stress the importance of keeping two meters away from others, taking tissues with them which they must dispose of safely and to wash their hands at the end of each journey and their cycling gloves when they return home.
Family Cycling: Providing everyone is well and not self-isolating, riding as a family is OK too. Its best that these rides are started from the home and all public venues are avoided. Fortunately, less traffic as a result of lockdown makes the roads around you a safer prospect. For ideas on where to ride have a look at a map of your local area or the various maps and family friendly rides around the City which are free to download from the County Council website – just search for Worcestershire Cycle Routes.
Cycling to Work: If it’s still essential that you travel to work you should consider cycling (or walking) to avoid public transport where possible. This has two massive advantages. It’s easy for you to socially distance thereby avoiding catching the virus whilst also improving your own health and fitness to fight it off if you do get it. Demand on public transport is reduced so it’s easier for critical workers who have to use it can keep a safe distance from others. To identify the safer routes from home to work www.cyclestreets.net is recommended.
Cycling for the Essentials: As outlined above, there are lots of reasons why cycling (or walking) to do your basic shopping, picking up medicines or helping those who have to self- isolated is a good idea and especially if you can’t arrange for essentials to be home delivered.
Bike Shops: To help you get or keep your bike on the road the Government has exempted bike shops from their much wider mandatory closures. Some local shops have chosen to close until further notice. Others, like electric bike specialists, On Bike and Echelon Cycles in Pershore ask you to pre-book an appointment. Currently Halfords are still open, as are mobile bike repairers Mobilecycletech and Cycle Worcester. If you can fix your own bike and only need spares, online bike specialists Wiggle and Chain Reaction are still operating.
As with all things in this fast-changing crisis, the information provided above was correct at the time of writing, but may be subject to change. You are therefore strongly recommended to check the Cycling UK and other websites for the most up-to-date position.
Keep safe. Keep healthy.