Group rides should be allowed during lockdown along with kids and disability coaching, says British Cycling
The national governing body says riding will be essential for mental health
Group rides should be allowed to continue under lockdown while kids and disability coaching should also go ahead, British Cycling has said.
England will be put into a nationwide coronavirus lockdown on Thursday (November 5), with restrictions likely to impact cyclists.
National governing body expects that the new rules mean you will only be allowed to ride with one person from outside your household, but the organisation has concerns the restrictions may stop some people cycling altogether.
A joint letter, signed by the chief executive of British Cycling Julia Harrington, as well as the heads of British Triathlon and England Athletics, has been sent to the government calling for select cycling activities to be exempt from the lockdown.
The letter says: “While riding and running alone, with members of their household or with one other friend will suit many people, we know that so many others – those who rely on the support and encouragement of a friendly group, or may lack the confidence to go out alone – will simply stop altogether.
“Figures from Active Lives showed that during the lockdown levels of reported happiness fell and anxiety rose sharply, impacting women, the elderly and people with disabilities most. Given the darker days and more inclement weather we should expect this month, we fear that these trends could be felt even more starkly during this new period of restrictions, and prohibiting small group activities will deny millions of people the right to be active at a time when they need it most.”
The organisations agree that they must play their part in controlling the spread of coronavirus, but that health and active living are also very important during a time of stress.
According to Sport England, the number of people cycling rose from 6.1million to 7.2m during the first lockdown.
British Cycling said it was able to reintroduce small group rides of up to six people in June, with coaching session of 30 also taking place after the first lockdown.
The governing body said these activities post a low risk of transmission as they take place outdoors with social distancing in place.
>>> British rider breaks three hour barrier for 100-mile solo ride
British Cycling said it will make an announcement on its sanctioned cycling activities on Wednesday, ahead of the lockdown the following day.
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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