Cycling during the coronavirus outbreak
Cycling is a great way to look after your overall wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic as it can benefit not only your physical but also mental health; it is also one of the government’s permitted forms of exercise. But, before you head out on your bike it’s important to be fully prepared.
While you can legally cycle on all roads apart from motorways in the UK, if you’re just getting started it is best to go cycling on routes you know well and are within your ability level.
Perhaps consider the traffic-free bike paths, bridleways, byways and canal towpaths in your local area. You may want to plan a quiet local route to start off and then choose different routes as your confidence grows.
The clothing you wear will depend upon the type of cycling you do, but always remember to wear a helmet. It is important to wear something comfortable; there’s no need for specialist cycling clothing if you are going for a gentle ride. If you’re wearing fairly loose-fitting trousers, tuck the end of your trousers into your socks to prevent them from catching on your chain.
As you start to do more cycling, you may wish to invest in some specialist cycling clothing. For example, if you find yourself getting a bit saddle sore, padded cycling shorts can make cycling much more comfortable and help you to ride for longer periods.
It is important to check that your bike is safe to ride, paying particular attention to your tyres. Check your tyres for stones or shards of glass that may be embedded but haven’t yet worked their way completely through, as this could cause a puncture to the tyre. Before you set off, give the tyres a quick squeeze to check the pressure and apply the brakes to ensure they are working. Check out this video for more information on pre or post ride checks.
Make sure to tell your family where you’re going and be specific of what roads or trails you’re riding, and how long you expect to be gone.
If you have a Strava account or compatible Garmin or Wahoo devices, consider signing up for the GPS-tracking options (Strava Beacon, Garmin LiaveTrack, Wahoo Live) so your family can track your movements when you’re out.
Although you may be sticking to local routes, it’s important to consider what you may need while on your bike ride.
- Take your mobile phone with you. It is recommended to have an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number saved in your contacts.
- It is a good idea to carry a pump and a multi-tool with you, in case you need to pump up your tyres or make adjustments to your bike.
- Keeping hydrated is important, so ensure you take adequate refreshments with you.
- Make sure you carry tissues and hand sanitiser in case you stop to eat while you’re out.
- Depending on the length of your planned bike ride, you may also want to take some high energy foods with you; bananas, dried fruits and energy bars can help you maintain your endurance while out for long periods.
- Remember to apply sun cream before you start your bike ride. If it is a really sunny day, take sun cream with you so you can re-apply en route.
This may seem like a lot to carry, but everything can easily fit into a small saddle bag or a rucksack. Use bottle cages to store your refreshments.
Hand hygiene is important, especially if you have stopped off on your journey. Be sure to wash your hands upon returning home. If you wear cycling gloves it’s also advisable to wash those as well. Remember, avoid touching your face.
We all have a responsibility to ride carefully and adhere to the relevant social distancing rules.
When out cycling, try to give people as much room as possible when passing. If you’re approaching someone from behind, let them know you’re there by calling out or using a bell if you have one. Always check what is behind you, indicate to show upcoming traffic what you intend to do and only overtake when it is safe to do so. When overtaking walkers or slower-moving cyclists, try and move in a wide curve and avoid pulling back in quickly in front of them to maintain a
British Cycling and HSBC UK have teamed up to provide people with ideas and inspiration to get the most out of family bike rides and to keep them as safe and fun as possible. Click here to learn more about HSBC Let’s Ride Local campaign and to access these brilliant resources.
You can also share your rides on social media with the hashtag #letsridelocal
Remember to ride safely!