Cycling UK updates advice after PM’s address to nation, Bike shops to remain open; Update from Richmond Park; British Cycling extend events suspension until 30 June; Backyard CX; Fred Whitton + Transcon cancelled; + more on the live blog

Jack Sexty is in charge of your live blog to start the week, with Simon MacMichael adding some titbits later this evening
23 March 2020, 21:58
23 March 2020, 21:58
Cycling UK responds to Prime Minister's address to nation

Cycling UK has again updated its advice to cyclists following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's address to the nation this evening in which people were told they must stay at home, with a handful of exceptions - one of those being that one form of exercise is permitted a day, with the examples given being walking, running or cycling, so long as it is undertaken alone or with members of your household.

The charity's advice includes that "Under no circumstance should you cycle or take part in any cycling activity in groups" [our emphasis].

Here is the full statement:

Following the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s address to the nation announcing strict new curbs on life in the UK, Cycling UK has updated its advice on cycling.

Although people are now being told to stay at home during the pandemic, one form of exercise is allowed a day.

This means it remains advisable for people to cycle for their health, fitness and well-being, but in line with our previous guidance, you should only do this alone or with members of your household unless any of them have reason to self-isolate.

Under no circumstance should you cycle or take part in any cycling activity in groups.

This is critical to stop the coronavirus disease spreading between households.

We are also advising that anyone who needs to travel to work if it’s absolutely necessary should consider cycling to avoid using public transport, where possible.

Cycling should also be considered as the best means of transport when essential shopping for food for medicines

The guidance for avoiding contamination remains unchanged, keeping at least two metres away from anyone else, regularly washing your hands and catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and throwing them away immediately. See further advice on the NHS website.

We will continue to evaluate the latest advice from Government and update our guidance accordingly.

23 March 2020, 20:17
Cycling UK urges government to keep bike shops open (update - they will be allowed to do so)

Update at 2250: Bike shops are EXCLUDED from the list of retailers that have to close following Prime Minister Boris Johnson's address to the nation tonight.

Here's our original blog entry from earlier.

 Cycling UK has urged the government to keep bike shops open during the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to address the nation in the next few minutes, and there is every prospect that new restrictions will be placed both on people's movements and the kind of businesses that are able to stay open.

In the United States, New York City yesterday backtracked on a decision to classify bike shops and mechanics as non-essential businesses. Other cities such as San Francisco had already said they should remain open.

This afternoon, Duncan Dollimore, head of campaigns at Cycling UK, urged the government to consider the vital role bike shops play in transport provision, particularly during the current crisis.

He said: “Cycling UK fully appreciates the urgent public health crisis presented by coronavirus, that this is a fast moving situation, and that the UK Government are having to make difficult decisions at pace about whether businesses, facilities and public places can remain open and if so subject to what conditions.

“Presumably, some businesses and facilities will remain open however, as nurses, care home workers and essential workers will still have to travel to and from work. The rest of us will occasionally still need to collect food and medicines either for ourselves or for others who are unable to do so.

“Cycling those essential journeys rather than jumping on a bus or crowded tube allows people to comply with the social distancing guidance, but still complete those critical journeys. Bicycle shops play a key role in enabling people to do this, so Cycling UK would urge the Government to bear in mind the benefits of allowing bike shops to remain open when considering which business have to close and which can remain open.”


23 March 2020, 16:55
An update from Richmond Park

After reports of cyclists not heeding warnings to steer clear of riding in groups and refusing to ride responsibly, today our news editor Simon MacMichael headed out for some fresh air to see if the message had got through today. He told (well me Jack) this: 

"There are lots of cyclists around but all being sensible, no-one's drafting, almost all are riding on their own bar a few couples. 

"I've been here long enough to have seen everyone do a full lap, no one's taking the p*ss, the message seems to have got through."

Keep it up Londoners. 

23 March 2020, 16:00
British Cycling extend suspension of all events until 30th June

British Cycling have now extended the suspension of all events they sanction from 30th April to 30th June. Here's the statement in full:

"Given the ongoing uncertainty around the Coronavirus/COVID19 outbreak, and the developing Government advice and guidance, British Cycling has taken the decision to extend its current suspension on sanctioned cycling activities to 30 June.

With all Government guidance pointing towards a period during which the nation is being urged to come together to fight the spread of the virus, and the unprecedented burden currently on our emergency and public services, we felt that this is the most responsible – and only – course of action we could take at this moment.

We are acutely aware of the impact that this situation has had on individuals, communities and businesses within cycling and beyond. We’d like to take this opportunity to reinforce that, while we share in the disappointment of those affected by this extended suspension, we will do absolutely everything within our power to ensure that cycling can return with strength and as soon as possible.

This suspension period will include the dates originally set for several traditional milestones of the competitive cycling calendar. As with the vast majority of sports – while our primary focus will always be health and wellbeing – we will be exploring all options regarding the fulfilment of the racing calendar once sporting events can recommence.

Our recommendation to our clubs remains that no organised activity (including rides, training, coaching, events) should take place during this period, in line with government advice on social gatherings and non-essential travel.

However, riding a bike is a great way to aid your physical and mental health, provided that guidance on social distancing is followed. British Cycling would urge all cyclists to only ride on routes you know well, that are close to home and that are well within your ability level - this is a time for calm recreation, not for challenging yourself.

Now, more than ever, we must ride our bikes responsibly - that means only going out on our own, or with people we live with, and keeping two metres apart from anyone we meet, stopping and waiting for people to pass when necessary. We're doing this to protect ourselves and others, and to make it safe for everyone to ride.

If the cycling community continues to behave responsibly then we all hope to keep the roads and trails open for use, so that we can all manage our health during the coming weeks and months."

23 March 2020, 17:43
Fixing your pal's bike, pandemic style

In line with current advice, this handover involves staying roughly two metres apart, latex gloves and cleaning the bike with anti-viral solution. We never thought we'd be making a video demonstrating how to pass someone a bike, but these are crazy times. 

23 March 2020, 17:30
Birmingham velodrome proposal didn't have "enough case for investment", finds British Cycling report

British Cycling's “Cycling Facility Assessment” report has deemed that construction of a velodrome in the city wouldn't be 'high priority' with existing velodromes in Manchester, Derby and Newport generally accessible within a 90 minute drive time of the Birmingham catchment area.  

A petition backed by Brian Cookson was launched for a Birmingham velodrome last year; but British Cycling said that clubs not specifically focussed on track cycling “did not have as strong a view" that it would be neccessary and investment was better spent developing existing cycling facilities, reports Inside the Games.


23 March 2020, 14:54
Fred Whitton and Transcontinental Race amongst latest 2020 events to be cancelled

Lost Dot, the organisers of the Transcontinental Race, have announced that "with a heavy heart" they are postponing until 2021. A statement says: "Unlike any global health crisis in our lifetime the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is causing fear, confusion and suffering, affecting everyone from all walks of life, across borders, it is affecting the global economy and our everyday lives in a way we’ve not experienced for decades. 

"Sporting events of all kinds are making the difficult decision to postpone and at Lost Dot we accept this cause of action is necessary for Transcontinental Race and Trans Pyrenees Race 2020."

Meanwhile, the organisers of the Fred Whitton Challenge have announced that they've also cancelled for 2020: "We did consider moving the event to a later date, but this proved difficult with the venue, daylight hours and volunteer staff. The last thing we would want to happen is to rearrange the date, allow you all to reschedule you plans and accommodation and then have to cancel again due to further disruption."

23 March 2020, 14:46
Better out than in?

Did you stay inside at the weekend, or head out? (on your own or with someone in your household of course)... take part in our poll!

23 March 2020, 12:38
"Just look after each other": Bradley Wiggins helps the homeless in time of need

Wiggins posted a story on his Instagram page at the weekend asking for kindness and to help those in need during difficult times, saying: “It’s crazy times, if you do one thing, do something kind,” Wiggins said. “I’ve just dropped off some soup and an Easter egg to someone who’s homeless but this isn’t about an Instagram post and wanting a bloody medal for it; it’s just about looking after each other in the world we live. It's such a materialistic world at the minute. Just look after each other, stay safe.”

23 March 2020, 12:26
Orbea launches indoor sports initiative

The Spanish bike brand Orbea have launched a campaign to promote sports activities at home with the Orbea 500 Challenge, settng us the goal of riding 500km on the home traners over the coming weeks. 

"The goal of #Orbea500Challenge is to protect everyone’s health by doing sport at home, also making the quarantine period more enjoyable", say Orbea.

"The challenge consists in biking 500 km on the home trainer over the next weeks, but it is also open to people outside its usual customer range. Anyone can participate by practicing any other sport for 500 minutes, including stretching, yoga, functional training exercises, etc."

Read more about the even and initiative here

23 March 2020, 11:39
British Cycling join 34 other recreational activity organisations to back government advice on exercising outside

The Outdoor Industries Association has pulled together the biggest recreational organisations to call for the public to exercise responsibly outside - that means following social distancing guidelines and staying local. Here's the full statement:

"In this time of national crisis, when almost all forms of indoor entertainment and social gatherings are severely restricted, a balance can be struck. As the Prime Minister outlined, we must preserve the health of the vulnerable and restrict the spread of COVID-19, while doing all that we can to maintain the mental, social and physical health of the nation. We endorse this approach and encourage the public to strictly follow social distancing guidance while exercising outside, close to home.

 "A nation in lockdown could lead to enhanced anxiety, depression, social unrest, mental and physical ill health, and social poverty. In contrast, carefully managed local exercise, inside or outside, will provide welcome active release for individuals and families feeling trapped. Getting into the outdoors sensibly very close to our own homes now, will make it easier for all of us to sustain other official guidelines and preserve the health of the vulnerable in the longer term.

 "Fully respecting the need for the ill and vulnerable to remain self-isolated, for those healthy individuals and families with no symptoms, getting active outside remains one of the very few tools left to fight the social impact of this disease.

 "We 35 national outdoor organisations advocate the following:

- Enjoy active outdoor recreation in your local area, while practicing good social distancing at all times
- Do not travel to popular tourist areas and reduce the risk of groups gathering in one place
- Stay close to home - consider low risk, familiar activities in local areas, such as a local walk or run.
- Avoid public transport and social gatherings - keep active by travelling on foot or bike
- Outdoor play and learning opportunities that reflect government guidelines are available to children, including those of key workers attending school.

 "To the extent areas of the outdoors remain open, if you can get outside close to home while taking sensible precautions, then please do so. Now, possibly more than ever, staying active is vital to everyone's physical and mental wellbeing."​

23 March 2020, 11:18
Banned Zwift champ Cameron Jeffers now entertaining himself with banned Chinese bike engine

Now really isn't the best time to be unable to compete on Zwift... and after the British Cycling eRacing national champion Jeffers was fined, banned and stripped of his title last October for using a virtual bike he'd not 'earned' in the game, it appears he's now getting his kicks blowing up dodgy Chinese bike motors.  

"Such a beautiful simple bike, turned into an AliExpress go kart", reads one of the comments... 

23 March 2020, 10:30
Cycling UK updates advice

As mentioned in our guide to riding responsibly through the pandemic, Cycling UK have now updated their advice to suggest cyclists should not ride in groups at all – defining 'group' as more than one cyclist. Based on current scientific knowledge of how the virus spreads the only exception it suggests is if you are riding with a member of your own household - family or a house/flatmate. backs that advice. 

23 March 2020, 09:28
"Please, don’t ruin this for the rest of us": Groupama-FDJ Continental rider Jake Stewart urges cyclists to stop riding in groups

The 20-year-old showed wisdom beyond his years in urging the remaining few who were still meeting up in large groups at the weekend to stop before cycling outside is banned outright like in Spain and France: 

"COVID-19 really is showing everything wrong with our society. If you’re still training in groups, stop being so selfish. Stop giving the motorists another reason to dislike us. Stop giving the government a reason to stop us. Please, don’t ruin this for the rest of us."

Succinct and straight to the point. Here's how you do a group ride right now... 

23 March 2020, 09:13
How to cycle responsibly in a time of pandemic: all your comments and reactions

We've had floods of comments from you regarding Editor Tony's guide to riding during the pandemic over the weekend, and hope you're all heeding the advice of experts and steering well clear of riding in groups. Some are more positive than others, with some of you noting that there were still some cyclists out ignoring the advice, while also dismaying at large groups of people visiting national parks at the weekends. 

Keep airing your views and keep the conversation going, and if you know of people who aren't being responsible... call them out. We'll reiterate the closing paragraph from Tony's feature again: 

"Failing to ride in a socially responsible way will have devastating consequences for communities, individuals, and the health service. It will also mean the end of cycling outdoors for everyone for quite some time. That in turn will see bike shops and all those that depend on them going the way of pubs, clubs and restaurants." 

23 March 2020, 09:09
Solo riding, Rubik's Cubes and pancakes: Thomas de Gendt's routine in lockdown

Lotto Soudal have launched a video series showing what their riders are getting up to during their time in lockdown, with episode two featuring the charismatic Belgian. De Gendt's day starts with a ride, before giving it a good clean and having some recovery food. Then it's time to chill with a Rubik's Cube and shooting some pool, before trying to chase his little'un round the garden for some light bonus training... 

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 in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing the 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. 

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