Thinking of riding during COVID-19? Read this first.
UPDATED March 23rd 8:45pm
Boris Johnson has announced new sweeping restrictions on the public that include only leaving the house for very limited purposes like vital shopping or once daily exercise.
The limit on exercise does include cycling but with very tight restrictions.
- You can ride only once per day
- You must ride alone or only with someone you live with
- Infringements will be prosecuted by the police with fines
- You MUST maintain social distancing of at least 2m AT ALL TIMES
For the time being, we’re OK to get out and ride our bikes in the UK. That could change, and you should always follow the latest government guidance wherever you are. In fact, we’d encourage you to go a step further than the government guidance – if the rules say stay 6ft apart, why not make it more? There’s no penalty to caution.
Here’s our guide to being the most responsible mountain biker you can be while riding during the coronavirus outbreak.
1 – Ride alone and local
Keep riding, while you can, but do it on your own, or in a pair at a distance from one another, and only if you can ride from your door. Stay local. See the update March 23rd: Exercise outdoors (includes cycling) limited to once per day – Either alone or with fellow household members only.
2 – Keep your distance
Keep your distance on the trails. If you see you are catching up another rider or worse, a group, then hold back. Put the brakes on and wait until they are far away. You can get all social again when the virus has gone. Riding during COVID-19 means this is your time to be alone. Remember to stay well clear of other trail users like walkers too – and dogs.
3 – No sharing
Don’t share – Keep your kit to yourself and don’t lend it out. Don’t car share on the way to the trails – if you need to get in a car, that’s unnecessary travel, which is out.
4 – Don’t go big
Do hone your skills, but don’t go crazy. Now is the time to learn the perfect wheelie or to true your own wheels. Now is NOT the time to risk a trip to A&E so keep away from the big jumps and drops.
5 – Keep sniffles inside
If you have the sniffles, even if you are convinced it’s just a cold, don’t go out. And definitely no snot rockets – that stuff will travel for miles in the wind.
6 – Tell someone
Tell someone where you are going and stick to the plan. No detours. This is not a time for resources to be spent on a search and rescue.
7 – Ride inside too
There’s no shame in dusting off that turbo and giving it a spin in front of the TV while streaming old films like Roam. But only for the lock down. Once we get the all clear you owe it to yourself to pack it away and never talk of it again.
8 – Behave yourself
Challenge poor behaviour. The better ‘behaved’ we seem to be, the less chance there is we’ll be made to stop riding.
MTB Riding During COVID-19 Q&A
For the time being, we’re OK to get out and ride our bikes in the UK, providing it doesn’t involve unnecessary travel (don’t drive anywhere) and ONLY once per day and ride alone. That could change, and you should always follow the latest government guidance wherever you are. In fact, we’d encourage you to go a step further than the government guidance – if the rules say stay 6ft apart, why not make it more? There’s no penalty to caution.
No – for now keep it solo and minimise any chances of spreading the virus – even if you and your mates feel perfectly well you could still be a carrier.
The countryside is not (yet) closed and it’s very big, which means you can keep your distance from others easily – but remember people still touch things like gates in the country. Bike parks are busy places so better to stay away. And only ride anywhere you can get to from your door, don’t travel to the countryside, stay local.
This article was edited to make clearer the need to avoid unnecessary travel.