Ten days ago, England began its second national lockdown, and despite the many restrictions imposed, cycling remains one of the very few things we are still allowed to do (always keeping safety precautions in mind!)
Cycling will help to keep you fit and improve your mental health during these uncertain times: in fact, taking your bike out and riding around your local area is a wonderful and effective way to clear your mind, get out the house and relieve yourself after a stressful day cooped up indoors.
Even a simple 30-minute ride is enough to keep your body fighting fit and ensure that your fitness does not go backwards while you cannot go to the gym.
But what are the dos and don’ts of cycling during this second national lockdown?
In this blog post, we’ll answer some of the most common questions on this topic.
Can I cycle during the lockdown?
Yes, you can and you are encouraged to do so!
It is relatively easy to maintain social distancing while cycling. If you plan on cycling on cycling lanes, then you should plan your route around less congested areas. If you have to go to places that may be a little busier, then consider cycling during times when it is less likely too busy, such as early in the morning or late at night. Just make sure you have reflective clothing and bright lights to help keep you safe.
What about over 70ies?
Even if you fall into the vulnerable category of being over 70, or you have an underlying health condition, you can still get some fresh air and ride your bike outdoors during the lockdown. If you were able to cycle before lockdown, you should still try to get out on your bike, if you feel comfortable to do so. However, you should take extra to avoid people and exercise at a quieter time, to help reduce the risk of exposure to others.
No matter what your age, you should wash your hands upon returning from your ride and avoid touching your face if your hands are not clean.
What if you are unwell or not feeling like leaving your place?
If you are unwell with a continuous cough or fever, you are advised to stay at home to help reduce the risk of exposing others.
If you are not comfortable leaving your house or garden, you can still cycle without having to leave your home. You could buy a turbo trainer or exercise bike. They are easy to set up and you can even binge your latest Netflix series while getting the physical and cardiovascular benefits of cycling.
What are the guidelines for exercising in public spaces during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The government is clear that we should all try to stay active during the lockdown as they understand the benefits to both our bodies and mind. All sport and leisure facilities are to remain closed, so now more than ever cycling is an excellent way to get your daily exercise during the lockdown.
During the second lockdown the guidance is that you can exercise outdoors, by yourself, with people you live with, those in your support bubble or one person from another household (if you are alone and respect social distancing rules).
Being able to exercise with one other person is an improvement on the restrictions placed during the first lockdown in March.
There is no limit to how many times you can exercise each day, as long as you are acting responsibly and “limit transmission risk” wherever possible.
Are bicycle shops allowed to stay open?
Your local bike shop is still allowed to stay open.
Thankfully, our government appreciates the benefits of keeping cyclists well equipped and on the road, so again they are allowing bicycle shops to remain open during this lockdown.
Naturally, they will have to abide by the same guidelines as grocery stores and other essential retailers permitted to continue to operate during the lockdown.
Do I need to wear a mask while cycling?
The government has not given any guidance requiring you to wear a mask during outdoor activities. However, it does state that you should not wear a face mask or covering if it is going to “negatively impact on your ability to exercise or participate in a strenuous activity.”
Wearing a standard face mask while cycling can impact your ability to breath.
It can also feel uncomfortable and make your face all hot and sweaty. There are some sports/anti-pollution masks that you may have seen on some cycling commuters. They have added air vents to allow more air through; however, it is still not the same as cycling without any face covering.
If you are cycling with someone that is not from the same household or your support bubble, then you need to maintain social distancing throughout your ride, whether you are wearing a mask or not.
In conclusion: it is ultimately down to you if you want to wear a face mask while cycling. You don’t have to wear it while you are cycling, however, if you are to stop for a – takeaway -coffee or snacks from a grocery store, you will need to wear a face mask. So, it is worth carrying a face-covering mask with you while cycling.
Can I cycle in a group during the lockdown?
Although you may have been able to enjoy a group ride with your club or friends in previous months – while observing social distancing – the new rules that took effect on the 5th of November mean that you are no longer able to ride in a group.
So the answer to this question is: no, you cannot cycle in a group during this lockdown, however, you can ride with anyone in your household or 1 person from a different household.
We hope this article has helped answer some of the questions you had about cycling during the second lockdown.
We are in this together and we all have cycling to help us get through it.
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- https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november / point 4