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British Cycling calls on government to allow small group rides to continue as second lockdown looms

Plea from governing body as well as counterparts in athletics and triathlon comes ahead of new National Restrictions for England coming into force on Thursday

British Cycling has called on the government to continue to allow small group rides ahead of new National Restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus coming into effect in England on Thursday.

> What the new lockdown rules mean for YOU as a cyclist in England

Under the restrictions, which in effect create a second lockdown and are intended to last for four weeks until 2 December, people will be permitted to exercise outdoors, but only with members of their household or support bubble, or on their own with one member of another household.

Under current restrictions, people can meet up outdoors in groups of up to six people, and the national governing body for cycling, along with its counterparts for athletics and triathlon, have written to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden calling for exemption from the new rules for small group rides and runs, as well as coaching sessions for youngsters and people with disabilities.

In the letter, British Cycling Chief Executive Julie Harrington, British Triathlon Chief Executive Andy Salmon and England Athletics Chief Executive Chris Jones say: “While riding and running alone, with members of their household or with one other friend will suit many people, we know that so many others – those who rely on the support and encouragement of a friendly group, or may lack the confidence to go out alone – will simply stop altogether.

“Figures from Active Lives [the survey by Sport England]  showed that during the lockdown levels of reported happiness fell and anxiety rose sharply, impacting women, the elderly and people with disabilities most.

“Given the darker days and more inclement weather we should expect this month, we fear that these trends could be felt even more starkly during this new period of restrictions, and prohibiting small group activities will deny millions of people the right to be active at a time when they need it most.

“We know that sport must play its part in this national effort, and we fully accept that as governing bodies we must play our part while the rest of the country is being asked to make such enormous sacrifices in their own lives.

“However, we also believe that we have a duty to enable people to lead healthy, active lives during this period of extreme mental toil – particularly when, as we have demonstrated over the course of this year, it can be done safely.”  

Both cycling and running saw increased participation levels during lockdown earlier this year, and once restrictions began to be lifted, British Cycling introduced small group rides of up to six people, as well as coaching sessions for groups of up to 30 riders, split into smaller bubbles of six people in line with guidance from the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport.

As the governing body points out, “All activities take place outdoors, riders are able to maintain social distancing throughout and face-to-face interaction is limited – meaning that by the Government’s own definition the activity presents an incredibly low transmission risk.” 

British Cycling added that it will inform affected groups of the status of its sanctioned activities from Thursday, once Parliament has debated and voted on the new measures.

As we reported yesterday, national cyclists’ charity Cycling UK has also called on the government to clarify how the forthcoming rules will apply to cycling.

> Cycling UK urges government to give clarity on new lockdown cycling rules

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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alansmurphy | 3 years ago
1 like

Our club has got it sorted, I'm riding with Dave, Dave is riding with Barney, Barney is riding with Ian and Ian is riding with Jo...


bikeman01 | 3 years ago

So it's ok to meetup with 6 outside if you're on foot but not if you're astride a cycle!

More illogical nonsense from 'we're just following the science' brigade.

andy_d_t replied to bikeman01 | 3 years ago

No - you can only meet with 1 person from tomorrow!

Hirsute replied to bikeman01 | 3 years ago

Only if you are meeting with under 5s.

peted76 | 3 years ago

It seems 'every sports body' is doing the same.. I wouldn't hold much hope.

JMark | 3 years ago

Sorry, isn't this just gammon fodder, why push on this? You can't play football in the lockdown but luckily for us you can get out on your bike. Going solo isn't such a big sacrifice.

zeeridesbikes replied to JMark | 3 years ago

Totally agree. I feel really lucky to still be able ride and at the moment, so considering what others are having to give up not being able to ride in a group seems like a small thing. 

davids replied to JMark | 3 years ago

There are some (of us) with health conditions that can mean solo riding is a real challenge

kinderje replied to davids | 3 years ago

The restrictions are not saying you have to ride on your own, you can ride with one other if nobody in you household cycles. I agree with the two replies above, we're lucky as cyclists. All arguments being put forward have merit but if everyone gets their wish we don't end up with a lockdown, and probably don't slow down the rate of infections. 

wycombewheeler replied to davids | 3 years ago

Riding with one other is also allowed

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