Snot-rockets have become the new half-wheeling – the most annoying, risky faux-pas you can commit on a club ride. Longdrawn-out sociable coffee stops are out, in favour of downing an espresso in an empty car park. Jersey pockets are stuffed full of hand sanitiser and masks. Welcome to Cycling 2020: Covid-19 edition.
While riding became incredibly popular during lockdown, with thousands of new recruits discovering the joy of life on two wheels, for the old-timers, this winter’s training may not feel quite so joyful. The current advice is, you may have up to 30 in a coached session, but outside of formal training sessions, you must follow the rule of six. Because you are outside and not facing each other while riding, the risks are not high, but the social catch-ups before and after, as well as the coffee stops, require distancing.
Continually washing hands, avoiding physical contact, being especially careful on public transport while getting to rides, limiting group sizes – we need to be constantly alert to the risks of transmission. This is tiring. With the threat of a second lockdown lurking, what do we – as cyclists – need to know and do to act responsibly and keep ourselves and others safe?
Rebecca Robinson is a sports and exercise medicine consultant at the English Institute of Sport, and works with Olympic and Paralympic athletes. She is clear that the benefits of being on our bikes outweigh the risks. “We know that exercise boosts the immune system, as well as being really important for our health.” Indoor training is a great alternative, but if it involves other people, the risks are higher, so greater