Cycling for sanity during Covid-19 and the importance of sticking to the rules

Although this warm weather has created challenges in the population as a whole with the strict requirements to stay at home and for social distancing, it has also led to an explosion in the numbers of people taking to their bikes.

The daily exercise has been encouraged by the government and cycling has been specifically put on to that list of designated exercise.

This is understandable and to be welcomed, but it also creates its own challenges.

Cycling compliantly

How can social distancing be properly observed when the roads are crowded with bikes?

Even in the countryside this week, on open roads largely devoid of cars, it was difficult finding space at times between cyclists.

Also, it would appear that some cyclists do flout the rules, riding together in groups of two or more and not keeping a safe 2+ metres distances apart, when not part of the same household.

Spain and Italy experienced a similar issue, and so authorities responded by banning leisure cycling all-together.

If cycling was banned in this country, it would be a tragedy.

Cycling, in what is a very difficult time for many of us, is one of the very few outlets available currently which gives mental health relief and can ease the immense psychological pressure of isolation.

However, there is some irony here in that cycling is a sociable leisure activity.

Whether you are a road bike cyclist or mountain biker, or just leisure cyclist on Sunday afternoons with the family, much of the appeal is the social interaction.

Cyclists typically enjoy a catch-up chat while peddling and/or stopping over in a café for a coffee and cake!

And yet the guidelines are very clear – no cycling with more than 2 people (at a 2+ metres distance), the exception being where cyclists are from the same household.

Quite rightly too. As cyclists, we know how important breathing is in any regular ride, so this is a rule that needs to be complied with.

Lone cycling is safe cycling

On the other hand, for roadies in particular (and I am one of those), lone cycling is being undertaken all the time in our training rides, or just in our regular rides anyway.

It is part of the very appeal to many of us, namely, time out for ourselves, getting away from it all and a great form of self-meditation and “me time”.

So, lone cycling should come naturally to us... shouldn’t it?

I think what the national lockdown has done is enforce a self-isolation which is not natural for us as human beings, being the social beasts that we are.

In normal life, we are usually coming into contact with more people and being far more social, making lone cycling a nice escape from the hustle and bustle.

Unfortunately, we have not had normal life and normal life will not happen for the next 3 weeks at least, so this creates extra challenges!

So, to conclude, it is understandable that people are craving social interaction but there is no excuse for flouting the rules! We desperately need to be able to continue our leisure cycling, no more than ever, to keep sane and healthy.

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Author: Jan Canter, Solicitor, Cycle Accident Claims Management.

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