This article was published on 16 March. For the most up to date news, please visit - Can I ride my bike outside?
As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread – now is not the time to stop pedalling and the perfect time to start if you've been curious.
Embrace active transport
The great thing about bike riding is that regardless of your age, fitness levels or ability, anyone can experience the joy of the ride – all you need is a bike, helmet, set of lights and you’re good to go.
As research suggests, regular exercise helps strengthen your immune system to fight off colds and flu so there’s no better time to start riding your bike. 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day is enough to trigger an immune response in your cells, strengthening your body's defences over time.
Get out on your bike, get your heartbeat going and breathe deeply: it clears your passages and lungs of bacteria, wards off chronic illness and boosts white blood cells.
Riding a bike to work also gets you out in the fresh air, helping you avoid overcrowded public transport, lowering your risk of coming in to contact with someone who may be unwell.
While we appreciate that for a lot of people public transport is an essential part of everyday life, we’re encouraging everyone who can, to get out on their bikes for short trips and reap the benefits.
As we live through these uncertain times, it’s normal to feel anxious. Riding a bike also has the added benefit of improving mental health and reducing stress. Multiple studies show that those who commute by bicycle are happier and less prone to depression than those who use any other form of transport.
I want to ride, but don't know where to start
Great - you've decided you want to ride to work, school or simply to get around. What now?
- Grab yourself a bike - Before you start rolling, you’ll need to give your bike a little TLC. Set it up to your size, pump up the tyres and ensure it’s in good working condition. Make sure you check the brakes too. You’ll also need lights, a bell and helmet. Here's a handy M check to start you off.
- Plan your route - Think about your level of comfort and confidence on the road versus the path or trails and find a route that suits you. It's worth reaching out to friends or colleagues who ride who can help offer advice.
- Enjoy the ride - Riding a bike is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Take the time to enjoy the journey and experience the sights, smells and sense of community that comes from being on a bike.
We all had to start riding somewhere. Here’s some extra tips and resources to help your get the most from your ride.
Stop the spread
There's lots that as individuals we can do to help reduce our risk of getting sick. To help prevent the spread of the virus, the advice from the government is clear - to practice good hygiene and social distancing. This includes:
- covering your coughs and sneezes with a flexed elbow or a tissue
- washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, including before and after eating and after going to the toilet, use alcohol-based hand sanitisers
- if you are sick, avoiding contact with others and staying more than 1.5 metres away from people
Put your health first
It almost goes without saying - put your health and safety first. If you’re feeling unwell, stay home, don't go on that group ride and get the rest you need. If your symptoms get worse, see a doctor. If you're struggling mentally, connect with friends and reach out for help.
What will happen over the next couple of weeks and months are uncertain, but it’s clear that there’s lots we can all do to help to reduce the societal and individual impact.
Let's make an effort to focus on the things we can control, rather than those we can’t and for us, that means getting out and enjoying the simple pleasures of riding a bike.
#PedallingPositivity - Share your positive bike stories
We want to spread positivity in a time when we all need it most.
We know that the bike riding community has plenty of amazing stories to share so we're calling out to all our members and friends - send us stories of your rides, tell us what you love about bike riding or share your best pieces of advice and we'll share them on our website and social media. Please keep your stories to no more than 1,000 words.