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Don't mess it up! As warm weekend looms, cyclists reminded to ride responsibly

Arguably there's never been a better time to be a (solo) cyclist but after two weeks of lockdown, Cycling UK says sunny weather may prove too tempting for some riders...

With a warm weekend looming, cyclists in the UK are again being reminded to be responsible with their riding in the coming days to avoid a ban being implemented similar to those in force in a number of countries on the continent.

Ahead of last weekend, both Cycling UK and British Cycling urged people not to repeat the behaviour exhibited by a minority of riders the previous weekend when some ignored government advice and continued to ride in groups as well as congregating for a mid-ride coffee stop – with the latter’s CEO, Julie Harrington, even publishing an open letter last Friday evening warning that cycling could be banned altogether.

> Warning that cycling could be banned if people don’t ride responsibly

As it turned out, there was no repeat of that behaviour last weekend, and by and large it seems that people have been following instructions not to go out other than for essential reasons – one being to undertake exercise, including cycling, but only alone or with household members – responsibly.

But the forecast good weather following a second week of staying at home in line with instructions not to go out other than for essential reasons – one being to undertake exercise, including cycling, but only alone or with household members – may lead some result in some people letting their guard down, warns Cycling UK.

Cycling dos and don'ts - cycling responsibly in a time of pandemic

> Daily exercise rules: current cycling dos and don'ts

“With good weather expected for the weekend many of us will be tempted to go for a long ride to escape from the tedium of lock down and remote working,” the charity’s head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore told us.

“But whilst getting out for fresh air and exercise is really important for both physical health and wellbeing reasons, and recommended by Governments across the UK, it’s crucial that people pay attention to the guidance on social distancing and leaving our homes,” he said.

One problem with the government guidelines is that the absence of limits on time or distance spent exercising leaves them open to individual interpretation, but Cycling UK is urging people to show restraint and not overdo things.

“Daily exercise is one of the ‘reasonable excuses’ in the regulations for leaving home, and whilst it’s true that there are currently no legal restrictions which limit the time you spend on your ride or dictate that you must start and finish from your front door, it’s obvious that the intention was to enable people to maintain a reasonable level of outdoor exercise during lock down,” Dollimore explained.

“That’s why Cycling UK’s advice is, wherever possible, to seek out quiet and uncrowded places to cycle close to your home, preferably places you can cycle to from your own doorstep, and to go out for long enough to keep yourself in good shape physically and emotionally, but avoid doing more than this.”

He added: “Restrictions on movement, and consequently on cycling, are greater in some other countries. We should all think about getting out for a ride this weekend, but If we want to avoid similar restrictions and get back to normal as soon as possible we should also make sure that the nature and length of that ride is reasonable in all the circumstances. If you think this weekend’s a time for extreme downhill riding, you really need to have a word with yourself.”

> How much distance should you leave to the cyclist ahead in a time of pandemic?

You can find Cycling UK's Q&A on cycling during the current restrictions here, while BritishCycling's advice can be found here.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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