Is the UK experiencing an increase in cycling during lockdown?

Is the UK experiencing a cycling ‘boom’ unlike any we’ve seen?

During what are extraordinary times, it may have come as a surprise to some that one of the most in-demand and practical pieces of equipment out there is none other than the humble bicycle.

Of course, those of us who are – or were – in the saddle every week will be the first to extol the virtues of a lung-bursting climb or even a gentle ride around the countryside. But lately, there seems to a surge in the number of people who are opting to cycle for the first time in a long while.

In March, as the UK government stepped up its measures to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, bike shops were listed as an ‘essential service’ and granted permission to stay open during the nationwide lockdown. Many of these bike shops are reporting an increase in sales of used bikes, as well as more and more people bringing in their bikes for repairs.

Why are more people cycling now?

In short, while much of the country is being encouraged to work from home and avoid any unnecessary travel, key workers across the nation still need to be able to get to work. Commuting by bike has therefore given people a way of getting to where they need to be with minimal contact with other people, on roads that are much quieter than before.

NHS workers across London are being offered free bike rental from some of the capital’s rental services, with e-bike retailers even offering their services to doctors and nurses.

Not all of these bikes are borrowed, however. Many people are fetching their bikes out of the shed for the first time in years, or even buying used bikes from local bike shops.

Can you ride your bike in lockdown?

The government encourages people to exercise, and mentions cycling specifically. 

What is cycling insurance?

If you’re a born-again biker or even a committed cyclist, you might want to consider getting specialist cycle insurance for you and your bike.

Bike insurance from cycleGuard can cover you for accidental damage, in-vehicle theft away from home and even the cost of hire for a replacement bike if you’ve had to make a claim.

It’s not just for new bikes either. Our cover includes new for old on bike of all ages, so you can add that bike that’s been living in your shed to your policy today!

What are the benefits to cycling at the moment?

Compared to being on a crowded train or bus, cycling offers a way of transport that is both healthy and stays in-line with social distancing restrictions. If you’re on your way to work, delivering supplies to friends and family or even just getting your daily exercise, there are a number of ways that cycling can benefit you:

Cycling benefits your physical health

One of the key benefits of cycling is of course the improvement it can have on your fitness levels. Choosing a journey by bike rather than the bus or a car can provide you with numerous health benefits. Any form of exercise is better than none at all but cycling specifically is great for your cardiovascular health as well as weight-loss. 

A Danish study from 2016 found that regular cycling is an important factor in maintaining good physical health, with the risk of heart disease being up to 18% lower in cyclists compared to those who never use a bike.

Cycling can improve your mental health

Hopping into the saddle for your daily exercise can also really help your mental wellbeing. It can be hard for some of us stuck indoors, day after day. So sometimes a good session on an indoor trainer or a short circuit around your neighbourhood is needed to help the day go by.

Research conducted by the University of East Anglia (UEA) discovered that those who travelled to work by bike regularly were put under less strain and could concentrate better than those who take the car. Regular physical activity is even recommended by the NHS as a way to combat stress, which is important to consider in these unprecedented times.

Cycling helps with social distancing regulations

Safe cycling can also help keep you on the right side of the current social distancing regulations. The government have said that when you do leave the house, you must stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from others. It’s difficult to enforce social distancing rules on tubes, buses and other forms of public transport that are still operating but is achievable by bike.

Your local cycle club or any group rides may be out of the question, but providing you keep a safe distance from other riders and members of the public, you should be able to enjoy a bike ride as part of your vital daily exercise.