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Don't mess it up! As warm weekend looms, cyclists reminded to ride responsibly

Arguably there's never been a better time to be a (solo) cyclist but after two weeks of lockdown, Cycling UK says sunny weather may prove too tempting for some riders...

With a warm weekend looming, cyclists in the UK are again being reminded to be responsible with their riding in the coming days to avoid a ban being implemented similar to those in force in a number of countries on the continent.

Ahead of last weekend, both Cycling UK and British Cycling urged people not to repeat the behaviour exhibited by a minority of riders the previous weekend when some ignored government advice and continued to ride in groups as well as congregating for a mid-ride coffee stop – with the latter’s CEO, Julie Harrington, even publishing an open letter last Friday evening warning that cycling could be banned altogether.

> Warning that cycling could be banned if people don’t ride responsibly

As it turned out, there was no repeat of that behaviour last weekend, and by and large it seems that people have been following instructions not to go out other than for essential reasons – one being to undertake exercise, including cycling, but only alone or with household members – responsibly.

But the forecast good weather following a second week of staying at home in line with instructions not to go out other than for essential reasons – one being to undertake exercise, including cycling, but only alone or with household members – may lead some result in some people letting their guard down, warns Cycling UK.

Cycling dos and don'ts - cycling responsibly in a time of pandemic

> Daily exercise rules: current cycling dos and don'ts

“With good weather expected for the weekend many of us will be tempted to go for a long ride to escape from the tedium of lock down and remote working,” the charity’s head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore told us.

“But whilst getting out for fresh air and exercise is really important for both physical health and wellbeing reasons, and recommended by Governments across the UK, it’s crucial that people pay attention to the guidance on social distancing and leaving our homes,” he said.

One problem with the government guidelines is that the absence of limits on time or distance spent exercising leaves them open to individual interpretation, but Cycling UK is urging people to show restraint and not overdo things.

“Daily exercise is one of the ‘reasonable excuses’ in the regulations for leaving home, and whilst it’s true that there are currently no legal restrictions which limit the time you spend on your ride or dictate that you must start and finish from your front door, it’s obvious that the intention was to enable people to maintain a reasonable level of outdoor exercise during lock down,” Dollimore explained.

“That’s why Cycling UK’s advice is, wherever possible, to seek out quiet and uncrowded places to cycle close to your home, preferably places you can cycle to from your own doorstep, and to go out for long enough to keep yourself in good shape physically and emotionally, but avoid doing more than this.”

He added: “Restrictions on movement, and consequently on cycling, are greater in some other countries. We should all think about getting out for a ride this weekend, but If we want to avoid similar restrictions and get back to normal as soon as possible we should also make sure that the nature and length of that ride is reasonable in all the circumstances. If you think this weekend’s a time for extreme downhill riding, you really need to have a word with yourself.”

> How much distance should you leave to the cyclist ahead in a time of pandemic?

You can find Cycling UK's Q&A on cycling during the current restrictions here, while BritishCycling's advice can be found here.

Simon joined road.cc 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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33 comments

Avatar
Greebo954 | 3 years ago
4 likes

So Michael Gove said '' do no more than you normally would'' and everybody loses their shizzle over a world class triathlete going 200 miles.

Eyebrows will be raised and mutterings from Knighthood questers if I dare to start doing what I ''normally'' do this time of year, you know what with it being sportive season and Sundays usually being taken up with 75 - 100 mile rides.

And yet....not a single squeek from anybody mentioning the huge number of ''huge'' people who suddenly appear outside on the trails and paths looking completely bewildered at all the nature and stuff! People on the Ridgeway in Wiltshire wearing jeans and Nike fashion trainers walking dogs fatter than they are the poor little b*ggers. The bikes that have been dusted off from the back of the garage sqealing like a shunter locamotive from a total lack of lubricant and tyres so flat the wheels are on the rims!

 Do ''no more than you normally would''? Then tell 90% of the people I saw today to  get back indoors, sit on the couch, open another packet of biscuits, tune in to the Big Brother re-runs and leave the outside stuff to those of us who actually knew it was there before googling it last week.

There will be more early onset coronaries this weekend than cyclists with gravel rash.

 Just saying  1

 Actually it's really good to see, hope the lazy sods keep it up after.

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kil0ran | 3 years ago
3 likes

It was glorious out there today. Plenty of people on bikes - I saw age range from toddlers all the way through to probably 80-plus on my ride. People on dutch bikes, people on top end pro kit. And a distinct lack of arsehole drivers. Reminded me of riding at 5am in the summer months even though I was out way gone 10. The only people I saw "misbehaving" were the older generation in the bus queue in town, unless of course they count the local care home as "same household". Whenever I encountered walkers I took the option to ride down the centre of the road, mainly because there were so few vehicles about so it was easy.

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HoarseMann | 3 years ago
0 likes

uh-oh...

 

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mdavidford replied to HoarseMann | 3 years ago
7 likes

Hmm - I see they've gone for the head-on shot, for maximum foreshortening. How 'close proximity' are they really riding? Makes you wonder how long they waited for a moment where there were enough people there to fill the frame.

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Awavey replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago
2 likes

note also theyve gone for the advice is "remain at home" as well angle so the Mail are reinforcing the message to its readers that even if these cyclists were socially distancing, they are "bad people" for being outside anyway

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Dnnnnnn replied to HoarseMann | 3 years ago
1 like

And also...

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Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
5 likes

You don't have to "rules lawyer" this - just bear in mind 2 things.

1.  Use your common sense.

2.  Don't be a dick.

Ride in a group where you aren't obviously a family living together - you're dicks.
Do 200 miles - you're a dick.

Its not about our individual personal convenience it's about us as a group being seen as being responsible.

In the current climate no-one is gonna care or take time to analyse whether it's a few bad apples ruining it for the rest of us - so it's up to us all to play it safe - to the point of calling out (politely) silly behaviours.

 

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Awavey replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 years ago
0 likes

exactly this, and keep in mind even if you do ride sensibly and maintain your distance and do everything right. alot of local councils/health trusts etc are going further than the legislated government advice, and suggesting you stay at home regardless.

so everyone who isnt a cyclist who sees you out on your bike, will automatically assume the very worst of you and that you are breaking the rules theyve imagined exist, and some of them will go the full Piers Morgan route on you, if youve seen his latest ramblings about staying home this weekend.

ride safely, ride sensibly

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 3 years ago
7 likes

Over the past two weeks I have been cycling through central and north London regularly, as part of my job has been to service and provide cycles and eBikes to NHS workers. The reduction in traffic has been an eye opener and a deserted central London has been quite gobsmacking at times. Like a post apocalypse (without the zombies) Yesterday I cycled back my usual route but i have never seen anything like it in London. It was like the Day of the Triffids with cycles rather than triffids. Cycles were everywhere and every type of cyclist - teenagers, older people, mums and dads with their children! , sporty types, cargo bikes,  Bromptons, tricycles and so many children. These cyclist all exist but you never see them because normally they dare not ride on the road, they dare not pootle along, they dare not take their children for a ride, they dare not use the public highway which is their right and which they, too, have paid for. 

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Mungecrundle | 3 years ago
4 likes

Personally I won't be out doing a sneaky 100 miles. I'll probably use my exercise time for a walk with Mrs M, as we have done every day so far. But if you really must go and cycle my suggestions would be:

Dial it back a notch, keep your head up, enjoy the scenery, don't group ride and above all don't be posting it all over strava or social media.

Stay safe and think of others.

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Sriracha | 3 years ago
0 likes

Two different ideas seem to getting confused (as in, fused together).
On the one hand some EU countries have banned cycling:
"The restrictions appear to be in place not primarily over fear of infection while cycling, but rather the potential cost to emergency services in the event of a crash."
https://www.cyclist.co.uk/news/7869/spain-bans-cycling-amid-coronavirus-...

On the other hand, some UK Police people have been getting excited about "lycra clad" cyclists going about in club groups, as evidenced by their lycra being all of the same design. The talk in the UK has all been about cyclists flouting social distancing regulations, swarming in cafés etc.

Now commentators are putting these two together to warn that if UK cyclists can't learn from the experience of their continental cousins and so behave themselves then they will suffer the same punishment.

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ktache replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
1 like

There also seems to be a lot of conflation of what a minister might have said, perhaps during a radio interview and THE LAW.

For example Grant Schapps declaring only one shop a week, or anything that Michael Gove might possibly say.

The police seem to have admitted that they went a bit to far and that driving short distances to exercise is now possible.

What I think we really don't need is any form of mixed message, or any official making it up as they go along.  But then this does appear to be the MO of the current government.  Oh, for even a Theresa May...

Not Grayling of course, John Crace mentioned that his birthday is April the 1st.  You cannot make this stuff up.  It's on his Wiki page, but that mightnot mean anything.

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bikeman01 replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago
2 likes
Sriracha wrote:

"The restrictions appear to be in place not primarily over fear of infection while cycling, but rather the potential cost to emergency services in the event of a crash."

Which is frankly ridiculous. There's less traffic and cyclists very rarely end up in ICU without the help of a motorist.

I can't believe everyone is suddenly worried about cyclists. If they are it shouldn't the the threat of using an NHS bed to wake them up. No this is sour grapes from those that see cycling as somehow flouting the rules. This is victim blaming at it's worse. 

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Organon | 3 years ago
1 like

Just don't ride where people are likely to walk. I agree with the Richmond Park ban, places like that and the canalways will be heaving this weekend. Let the pedestrians take the blame, ride solo.

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OldRidgeback | 3 years ago
0 likes

I think I'll get up early and hit the BMX track for some training laps first thing.

The park was very busy today and the track was full of random riders wobbling along very slowly. 

I'd rather have been and gone before they get there.

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srchar | 3 years ago
0 likes

If the "no group riding" rule can't be enforced, how will the "no riding" rule be enforced? By drivers punishment-passing you while shouting "you shouldn't be on the fucking road!"?

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Russell Orgazoid replied to srchar | 3 years ago
1 like

That's exactly what will happen.

Best not group ride. 

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Hirsute replied to srchar | 3 years ago
5 likes

How will that be different from normal ?!

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Boopop | 3 years ago
2 likes

I've been thinking about this for the past couple of days. How exactly is a 4 hour ride once a week more dangerous than 4 1 hour rides every week? Especially if you keep within about 10 miles of where you live for that four hours. If I'm having to ride in and out of the suburbs to get to where I want to exercise, I think doing that once a week is less dangerous and involves less chance of catching anything than doing it four times a week.

My impression is this one hour thing is done more to make sure other members of the public don't think cyclists are "taking the piss" rather than any actual risk assessment.

People mishandling avocados has resulted in injuries requiring trips to A&E - are we banned from eating them? (https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/shortcuts/2017/may/10/avocado-h...) Also I know of people who are doing DIY right this minute. I am grateful for being to ride my bike, just that for me (and I suspect many others) a weekly 40-50 mile ride gives me a better mental health benefit than short 1 hour rides.

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mdavidford replied to Boopop | 3 years ago
10 likes

There is no 'one hour thing' - that was just an off-the-cuff response to a press conference question, and even then it was qualified with 'I would think, for most people...'. It doesn't represent any kind of rule, guidance, or recommendation. The important word is 'reasonable' - take reasonable care to minimise close contact with other people, or surfaces that might spread the virus; take reasonable care not to put yourself in a position where you might require medical assistance, public transport, someone to come and retrieve you in a car, etc.

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Boopop replied to mdavidford | 3 years ago
2 likes
mdavidford wrote:

There is no 'one hour thing' - that was just an off-the-cuff response to a press conference question, and even then it was qualified with 'I would think, for most people...'. It doesn't represent any kind of rule, guidance, or recommendation. The important word is 'reasonable' - take reasonable care to minimise close contact with other people, or surfaces that might spread the virus; take reasonable care not to put yourself in a position where you might require medical assistance, public transport, someone to come and retrieve you in a car, etc.

Seems to be reported differently depending on where you look. That guy that did 200 miles got a lot of stick on social media for it, but then for all we know he does 200 miles every week. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Awavey replied to Boopop | 3 years ago
2 likes

The 200 mile guy got stick because it wasnt a sensible thing to do at this moment in time, even if technically he was allowed to do it as there is no 1hr limit,that was just something Gove said on Andrew Marrs show which the newspapers spun into this is 'government advice'.

It's just about riding sensibly at the moment and to be aware people are taking note.

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Hirsute replied to Awavey | 3 years ago
4 likes

That for me fell into 'just because you can, doesn't mean you should'

I don't know how he planned to resolve a mechanical if he was halfway in, 100 miles from home.

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Boopop replied to Hirsute | 3 years ago
1 like

The same way he'd plan to resolve it if he was 20 miles from home, I would imagine. Not everyone has family waiting at home available to pick you up in case of a severe problem. I certainly don't!

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Dnnnnnn replied to Boopop | 3 years ago
1 like
Boopop wrote:

for all we know he does 200 miles every week. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I think the point is that it's better meantime not to do some of the things we used to do every week, even if the letter of the law still allows them.

Long solo rides are quite possibly safer than half an hour's walk around many parks but too many people doing them (especially when visible to all online) risks giving easy material to those who'd like to see us kept off the roads entirely.

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notjustacyclist replied to Boopop | 3 years ago
1 like
Boopop wrote:

I've been thinking about this for the past couple of days.

You are overthinking it.   Just follow the guidelines, end of.  

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Wheelsgoinground replied to notjustacyclist | 3 years ago
6 likes

"end of" is a terrible, autocratic thing to say in a discussion. It's like a parent exercising power over a rebellious teenager. "I have spoken, I don't want to hear any more of your reason or logic"

Guidelines are open to interpretation. Boopop is an adult; thinking for himself and trying to work out what's best.

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ktache replied to Wheelsgoinground | 3 years ago
3 likes

End of is a ludicrous way of making any sort of point, especially on this website.

If anyone would like to peruse the actual legislation for England, here is a link-

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/350/made

It has Matt Hancock's name at the bottom, and he only ever tells the truth, I think we can all count on that...

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grumpyoldcyclist replied to ktache | 3 years ago
0 likes

So clear then, none of this one hour nonsense. Only issue I have is I live in Wales, wonder if it's different..............

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ktache replied to grumpyoldcyclist | 3 years ago
0 likes

Here you go mate

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/wsi/2020/353/contents/made

and while looking for this I did come across the Guidance about Social Distancing from the Cabinet office, which does include a mention of a single form of exercise

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/full-guidance-on-staying-at-h...

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