How can you cycle safely in lockdown and where can you go?
While the current lockdown is a very challenging time for everyone, it can be particularly difficult for those of us with children. Whether you spend your time playing board games, doing arts and crafts, or baking, no one enjoys having to stay in all day long. If your children are particularly adventurous and usually take part in a range of outdoor activities, then this period can feel even more stressful. As part of the Government's lockdown rules, we can only go outside for exercise once a day. Of course, it is difficult to know what this form of exercise should look like and how far we are permitted to go.
Taking the kids out for a bike ride is a fantastic idea as it enables everyone to get some fresh air and reconnect with nature. Cycling increases our energy levels, keeping us feeling fit and positive. In order to have a safe and enjoyable bike ride with our families, we have put together everything you need to know about cycling during the lockdown.
Am I allowed to cycle with my family?
Under the current rules, announced by the UK Government on Monday 23 March, everyone is allowed to go outside for one form of exercise a day. This includes cycling, walking, and running. If you and your family are keen cyclists, then there is no reason to stop now. You’re able to go out for a bike ride with your family as long as they all live in your household. The only exception to this is if you or a member of your household are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, in which case you will need to stay at home for a minimum of seven days. Remember, you cannot go out with anyone outside of your household and need to practise safe and responsible cycling at all times.
How do we follow safe practises when cycling?
When we go out for exercise, we should follow the same rules that we do when we go to the supermarket. Only cycle with members of your household and always maintain a safe distance (at least two metres) from other people. When it comes to cycling, this may mean stopping at the top of a narrow path or before a bridge, in order to let someone else pass through.
Try to ride in a single file so that you are not blocking the path for others. It is also worth bringing some tissues and sanitiser along with you. If you are unable to use a tissue whilst riding, then always remember to cough and sneeze into your elbow. You don’t have to wear masks but it may be something you choose to do to protect yourself and those around you. Brief your children on the road safety beforehand so that they understand what is required of them during your bike ride.
When am I allowed to cycle?
When deciding where to cycle, the easiest and most simple rule to follow is to keep it local. Though there isn't any clear distance on how far you can cycle, it is best to stay within your residential area. Road cycling is a good option as you are likely to encounter fewer pedestrians and cars. Of course, if you are cycling with children, you may not feel safe on the road. It is also acceptable to cycle along rivers and woodland areas where there is a clear path. Just be sure that you have enough space along the path to keep a safe distance. While bike-sharing facilities are still available in cities such as London, you should always sanitise the handlebars before and after use, avoiding them entirely where possible.
What areas should I avoid?
There have been a huge increase in the number of cyclists heading to public parks and gardens during the lockdown, which is leading to congestion and park closures. While there are no strict rules on where you can ride, many local areas have already started to close popular cycling spots.
All National parks are closed across the country along with many popular parks in the larger cities. Be sure to check with the local authorities before deciding where to cycle. In order to keep your family safe from the virus, it is best to avoid public parks altogether. Mountain biking and bike parks should also be avoided as this could put an unnecessary strain on emergency services if you were to have an accident. In general, be mindful of where you are cycling and always keep 2 metres away from others.