The document that followed Boris Johnson's speech is now online. With regards to exercise, the one important point that was omitted in Johnson's speech was that it is now acceptable to meet one other person outdoors from a different household, and use sports facilities such as tennis courts with that person; which means technically you can go on a bike ride with a friend, if you follow social distancing rules. As outlined in our article on how much distance you should leave to the cyclist in front during the pandemic, the distance of 2 metres gets longer when you consider speed and slipstreams on a bike; so really this still wouldn't be a responsible idea, although according to a reader who questioned his MP, that is the official line from the government.
— Ste Rumbelow (@Ste_Rumbelow) May 11, 2020
Click here for our latest cycling-specific Q+A on what (we believe) is now acceptable according to the new guidelines.
The campaign - supported by Chris Boardman and Victoria Pendleton - sees the retail giant offering to fix up neglected bikes hanging around in garages with a 32-point check to 'help people get set for the post lockdown commute':
“Most people won’t be going back to their workplaces for a few weeks so they could use this time to re-familiarise themselves with cycling", says CEO Graham Stapleton.
"Increasingly we are also seeing more members of the public turn to electric bikes to help them get to work and navigate longer journeys. We offer a wide range of electric bikes, which now facilitate journeys of up to 60 miles on one charge."
Chris Boardman commented: “Yet again bikes have proved to be a robust and reliable form of transport in a crisis. Using them to make short journeys to work and school will not only help us through this difficult time, they can be part of a better, sustainable future for us and our families. If we enable people to keep doing what they have discovered in the past few weeks to look after their mental and physical health, we will not only be helping our NHS through this crisis we will be protecting it long-term.”
The optimism is based on comments from the Prime Minister who talked of the potential for a "golden age of cycling", backed up by a £2 billion investment in active travel. Will it all materialise? Here's to hoping...
— Esther Gill (@Esther_Gill) May 11, 2020
The A270 Old Shoreham Road in Brighton has had 1.7 miles of cycle lane installed on either side, which The Argus claim is the first major dual carriageway to be repurposed with a cycle lane during the pandemic. Only one lane is now open to motor traffic on the section, with the council saying that temporary signs will line the road to ensure motorists are aware of the changes.
They continue: "The cycle lanes will break at junctions and bus stops to ensure traffic flow remains unhindered and should help to calm traffic and reduce vehicle speeds on the road, which we know has been an ongoing concern to local residents. There is already evidence in other parts of the country that speeding has become more of an issue since movement restrictions were first introduced."
My shop is closed because this very technique forced @nationaltrust to close the Box Hill Zig Zag. So it's not just annoying, it's crippling.
— Destination Bike (@DestinationBike) May 11, 2020
Over the bank holiday weekend, another image was doing the rounds in the tabloid press which appeared to show a huge group of cyclists in London gathered close together at a red light; however it's been claimed that once again, a photography technique was used to make them look closer together than they really are.
Destination Bike - situated on Box Hill - claims media coverage that accused cyclists of flouting rules on the Surrey climb were to blame for the shop having to close, presumably due to a lack of trade. When the road was closed to all traffic last month Surrey Police did claim that 'numerous' cyclists on Box Hill were caught flouting social distancing rules, but the majority were sticking to the government guidelines.
I wish the Government released the written guidance just after the PM's speech.
It could have avoided a morning of confusion.
It's due soon so let's see. Lots of questions to answer, especially on seeing loved ones.
I hope it sheds some light.
— Professor Karol Sikora (@ProfKarolSikora) May 11, 2020
Boris Johnson was accused by some of lacking clarity in last night's address, and hopefully some of that could get cleared up when the written guidance is published at some point today. It's unlikely anything knew will come to light regarding outdoor exercise - 'unlimited outdoor exercise' is one of the things that is pretty clear, fortunately.
Bearing in mind some members of the public appeared to interpret the lockdown rules incorrectly - with inflammatory signs and road graffiti spotted telling cyclists to 'go home' amongst other things - will you now feel more comfortable riding outside knowing that Boris Johnson clearly said unlimited exercise is now ok? Take part in our poll and let us know in the comments if your riding will change at all.
I’m surprised more rich and powerful people aren’t interested in cycling - from what I read on Twitter, it’s the perfect tax avoidance scheme
— Hannah 🚲 (rage ➡️ watts) (@theeyecollector) May 10, 2020
Basically cyclists don't any pay tax, so you might as well stop paying any to the council and amend your monthly wages... right?
This must be my “lucky” day!💩🍀😜😉🤣 pic.twitter.com/HRGDCrXwnx
— Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig (@CUttrupLudwig) May 9, 2020
In the form of a bird emptying its bowels on her expensive sunglasses. The Dane has made quite a name for herself for her hugely entertaining and excitable post-race interviews - she's still just 24 and is doing pretty good at the old cycling right now, but when she eventually retires, hopefully a career in the media awaits as the world deserves it.
But to emphasise the basic point
It was *never* unlawful for a person in England to go out for unlimited exercise in the first place, if that was your genuine purpose
And so this one announced relaxation is legally illusory - just a change in guidance really
— David Allen Green (@davidallengreen) May 10, 2020
As explained in our article last night and the tweet above from lawyer and policy expert David Allen Green... well, not a lot really. There was no cap on the 'daily exercise' that was already permitted in England, and if you had have gone out for two bike rides in a day and got 'caught' then it would have been down to the courts to decide if you had a 'reasonable excuse'; and exercise was considered a reasonable excuse in most circumstances.
The Prime Minister did say that from Wednesday, people will be allowed out to sit or sunbathe in parks, drive to take exercise or play sports with household members, which in theory could lead to increased footfall on cycle routes and more motor traffic on roads than there has been of late. In Wales the rules haven't changed, and their lockdown does enforce a 'once per day' exercise limit - that means cyclists who ride over the border could still be in breach of the rules. Scotland have stuck with the 'stay at home' message, but have removed their once-per-day exercise limit as of today.
49-year-old Joe Duckworth - an airport firefighter from Lancashire - completed perhaps the toughest lockdown challenge of the lot yesterday when he clocked his tenth and final Ironman in ten days, in support of NHS Charities Together.
Mr Duckworth swapped the usual 2.4 mile swim portion of the Ironman triathlon for one hour on a rowing machine - equivalent to how long the swim portion would take him in the real world - followed by a 112 mile static bike and 26.6 mile marathon, every day for 10 days. He logged into Zwift for each ride, with a growing number of followers virtually riding with him throughout the week.
According to his daughters speaking to the Chorley Guardian, Mr Duckworth is a regular long-distance triathlon competitor but spent most of 2019 out with a knee injury, using the indoor Deca challenge as his 'comeback' event.
The video above was one of the last on-bike videos posted on the 10 in 10 Deca Triathlon Facebook page before Duckworth went deep for days 9 and 10, clocking a 4hr 35min bike leg and 3hr 15min marathon on the final day.
Almost £13,000 has been raised at the time of writing - you can donate here.
It's not like you were going anywhere so there's no excuse, but just in case here are all our news stories from the weekend anyway...
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the road.cc live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.