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Bike rides now

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 Mikek 11 Jan 2021

So what are folks doing for bike rides now we are supposed to "stay local"? Has anyone been approached by police when road cycling and especially if clearly away from home? My riding is mainly back roads, 20+ mile circuits up to 10 miles from my village in North Yorks and don't want any hassle from police.

Obviously I get the reasons to keep safe etc but confused! Seems no legal requirement not to go on my bike for exercise but guidance is that cycling OK but keep local. Also, searching on web hasn't provided any clarity here. Can't see how my bike ride would result in picking up covid but would make me happy! Thanks.

 jayme 11 Jan 2021
 Mikek 11 Jan 2021
In reply to jayme:

Thanks jayme. I think I came across this earlier but I really can't see the government providing any clarification here...

 Hutson 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

I'm in outer London where the hospitals are overwhelmed.

I've been tempted this weekend, having been on the bike all summer/autumn it has kept me sane in the absence of being able to climb, but am now reluctantly staying off my bike, not because I think cycling will spread or give me covid, but because the standard of driving round here is extremely poor. I'm a careful and competent cyclist but I thought the risk of ending up in hospital, however small, bothered me too much given the state they're in. I also need to go at least 7/8 miles on busy urban roads before I reach roads worth cycling.

Actually given the standard of driving round here I'd think twice before getting in the car, too, if I had one. (If anyone thinks I am over-egging it, I film all my rides and based on my reports the Met have sent notices of intended prosecution to around 15 drivers this year based on very frightening near misses - the driving does have to be quite bad before they think it's worth pursuing). 

If there was ice that would also be a consideration (covid or not) but doesn't seem to be much ice round here at present at least.

Fortunately this time round I've got a turbo and Zwift; it's not the same but vastly better than nothing.

 Richard Horn 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

I went for a solo 35 mile / 3 hour MTB yesterday maxing out at ~12 miles from home. I did not road bike as it was below zero and I really do not want to end up in hospital right now with a broken bone. 

I read the "stay local" as meaning being able to get home unassisted if a mechanical, but most importantly not needing to stop anywhere, so for me its 60 miles or so total keeping <10 miles distance - thats what I did in the March/April lockdown last year. Beyond that I do not see a covid-risk differentiator between riding 5 miles or 75 miles.

 Hooo 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

I've not been out on my bike apart from trips to local food shops. I've been very tempted, but resisted so far. It's not the infection risk, which should be minimal, it's the accident risk that's stopping me. There's still a lot of traffic around and the possibility of ice. I really don't want to end up in A&E, even for something minor.

Prior to this lockdown I was driving to an area where I could ride easy bridleways at night. This was great, low risk of accidents and no one about. But clearly not allowed at the moment. 

 robhorton 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

I'm sticking to Zwift for the time being. I don't tend to ride the ride bike a huge amount at this time of year anyway - normally I'd be out on the mountain bike but it's been so wet it's not particularly pleasant - but it also seems like a good idea to minimise the risk of needing to go to hospital for any reason right now. Hopefully in a few weeks both the weather and covid situation will be looking a bit brighter.

 wilkesley 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

I live out in the countryside. My nearest supermarket is about 5 miles away. I can do rides of 20-30 miles on quiet country lanes without going on a main road. I always combine my cycling with a visit to a shop or supermarket in one of the local small towns. Pre the latest lockdown I would do longer rides of around 40 miles and stop at a local cafe. If it was summer I would buy a sandwich from the shop and stop for lunch somewhere with a decent view. However, now it's cold and wet I don't really fancy sitting outside to eat! If there were any police locally I wouldn't want to be fined for having a picnic on my own in the middle of nowhere.

Edit to make all distances miles instead of mixing miles and km.

Post edited at 12:20
 nniff 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

Out into the countryside for me, on my own - I set a 12 mile radius from home and stick within that, which I consider to be a 'reasonable distance' from home on a bicycle, or about 45 minutes to get back home from any point if need be.   That may not be the same interpretation as others'.  If I were challenged, it would present an excuse to duck out of the hills that constitute the bulk of the effort.

 webbo 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

I did just over a 100K yesterday without going more than about 8 miles from home. I had originally planned to ride out for 50K and then turn round. However due to icy back roads I stuck to the main gritted roads, thinking it’s Sunday and there is the thing about essential journeys so it will be quiet. But it wasn’t there were groups of motorcyclists, conveys of young guys in suped up Corsa’s and so on. Last time I did circuits during the week not going too far from home and went further out on a weekend when I could get a rescue from the missus if need be.

In reply to Mikek:

Well, too cold at the moment so running instead, but in last lockdown I probably went up to 12 miles from home at a max distance. Living and cycling n London for over 20 years I guess I have got used to the traffic and driving standards so I don't notice it any worse than usual. But in the first lockdown the speed of traffic went way up around us.

 hang_about 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

I'm getting out quite a lot on the bike as my only form of exercise. I cycle in the Peak District and avoid busy roads. With the recent ice, I've stayed low (or turned around) as risking an accident would be irresponsible. If I needed help, I'd call the missus who would (I hope!) come and get me in the car. I have zero contact with others whilst out. I find being in town riskier on the bike - more cars and more distracted drivers - so I don't think the extra distance is an issue.

We come into closer contact with people when walking in the local park. 

I appreciate it would be safer not to go - not from a Covid perspective, but from an accident perspective, but I'm much healthier and fitter since doing a lot of cycling (dropped two stone since Aug). I've not climbed since March. My daughter-in-law just broke her wrist slipping on ice on the way to the shops, so it's all a matter of balancing risks. 

In reply to Mikek:

Until yesterday, the last time I went out for a ride on my gravel bike, which tends to get used as my winter road/commuter bike, was the 30th, but found already icy bits on the steep downhill lanes, so bailed onto the muddy bridleways as a safer bet to get home. Since then I've ridden my mountain bike mainly off road because its mainly been on wonderful hardpacked snow up on the high moors above Sheffield, and the roads have been icy. That's my daily exercise and I'm back to following the #nocarnognarnotfar mantra like I did in the spring. Yesterday was warmer, well - not frosty anyway, so I did a 30 km on the gravel bike circumnavigating my home town mostly on very quiet lanes. I'm a teacher, and normally commute by bike 3 times a week doing about 100 kms - I did that up to Christmas. I'm now working from home so have started "virtual commuting" - trying to get a ride in some days after I've finished live teaching on the computer all day. I'm happy commuting in the dark but I must say it feels odd going out for a ride for exercise from home in the dark - I'm sure the virtual commute will be a bit easier as the days lengthen.

Back in late March I was so anguished over whether I should go out riding or not, I actually wrote about it and sent it in to PM on Radio 4 for their "Covid Chronicles" feature - I got to read my piece out on air, and then they subsequently selected mine for inclusion in a book that was published back in December compiling their favourite of the Covid Chronicles. The audio pieces were all sent from the BBC to the British Museum as well for archiving in their spoken history collection - which is weird but nice. So try and turn you anguish into some form of expression, and you never know something a little "artistic" might come from it!

More seriously I was thinking about it the other day, it does show how my attitudes have changed over the 11 months - because it really was a sense of anguish back then knowing if it was the right thing to do or not. I totally understand the guy in London above saying that knowing what the hospitals in his area are like now, plus the driving standards!, he won't risk it. I hope the minimal risks from me cycling (I know my brakes work well, I'm not trying beat my Strava segment PBs, on my mountain bike I'm not trying to jump off stuff etc.) are outweighed by keeping me reasonably fit and therefore as a middle aged bloke - less likely to put serious stress on the NHS if/when I do get Covid. 

 nufkin 11 Jan 2021
In reply to TobyA:

>  I actually wrote about it and sent it in to PM on Radio 4 for their "Covid Chronicles" feature

I remember hearing that and being quite excited by the prospect of it being the same Toby Archer off the UKC. Probably puts you well up there in the rankings of famous inhabitants of this parish 

 philipivan 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

In normal times I'm able to ride out to the peak from the Nottingham area but in lockdown one on my normal evening loop I ended up with a puncture that was difficult to fix due to a shredded tire and found I'd left my tyre levers with my other kit at home. I was about 8 miles from home and started walking, it was nearly dark. A guy passing dropped some levers and his number and I returned them the next day which was very kind of him. 

At the moment I'm being very careful with distance and not been out at all in the ice. Taking extra tools, food, cash and lights as well. Hopefully in a couple of months I can venture further afield and the weather will be better!

 Hutson 11 Jan 2021
In reply to TobyA:

I am a woman

I think the fact that I've now got a turbo to keep my legs spinning and my heart and lungs fit makes it harder for me to justify going out. I'm such a cautious outdoor cyclist that the turbo is undoubtedly higher intensity exercise than cycling in a city (though I can't spend hours at a time on it). Only had it a couple of months. Totally appreciate that not everyone has this and I am also lucky that my husband has not objected to me plonking a bike in the corner of the living room. I go for walks to get my 'outdoors' fix even though it's rather restricted to parks at the moment and definitely not as good as proper countryside.

When my mum used to beg me not to cycle (which she has done ever since I started cycling to work years ago, particularly after high profile deaths) I do point out that it is more likely to add years onto my life than take them away. I'm sure the reason they've not banned exercise is because having good cardiovascular health can only be helpful if you do get covid.

In reply to Hutson:

> I'm sure the reason they've not banned exercise is because having good cardiovascular health can only be helpful if you do get covid.

It's been stated all along that outdoor exercise is close to zero risk and that they don't want to store up a public health issue for the future.  Almost everyone can go for a walk, not everyone is going to do 500 press-ups at home (or whatever).

Post edited at 17:03
 Uluru 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

I went out yesterday (I'm in Wales) on my road bike. I waited until 10am to reduce the risk of ice and stayed on main roads. In the Wye Valley a police car passed me 4 times, but I wasn't stopped or questioned.  But the police did stop at the 'unofficial' car park below Wyndcliff, where a lane is shut off for road works and when I was waiting for the lights to change they were speaking to a guy who had walked to his car with a rucksac. The rules in Wales are of course different and state that exercise should start and finish from home.

Welsh Cycling hasn't, as of 20th December said anything about staying close to home. My ride yesterday was a 100km/62 mile loop. At the furthest point I was 30km so about 18 miles from home. I brought food and tools with me.

In reply to Hutson:

> I am a woman

My apologies! I could try and argue that I use "guys" as a non-gender specific term when talking to the kids I teach (I do), but really it was just a lazy assumption based on heteronormative, patriarchal norms we live under (I teach sociology ) and that I still see more men cycling than women, both commuting, 'hobby' road biking, and mountain biking. Having said that one of the nicest things to see over the last year here where I am on the edge of the Peak, is lots more cyclist who aren't white blokes (like me) out enjoying their rides. 

Sorry again. 

In reply to Hutson:

Could just be perception but finding the same; it felt less dangerous when there was more, slower moving traffic around. Now the folks who are out seem to be more aggressive.

 Philip 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

Did a short one to test new bike with family yesterday. Stayed our side of the border after the stories of the overly zealous Derbyshire constabulary.

 Hutson 11 Jan 2021
In reply to TobyA:

No worries at all I'm ever so jealous of you living near the Peak.

 Ian_Cognito 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

I've done bugger all bike riding for the last 8 months, apart from using the pub bike for local errands.

Mainly, that's due to lack of time (other more important things to deal with), but I've been avoiding the local trail centre partly due to the number of people there, but also due to the risk of accident and ending up in A&E. I will get back on the road bike, as I'm starting to get a bit more time at the weekends, but now I've also cleared the garage a bit, I might get the turbo set up in there, but it'll be boring as heck!

 im off 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

I'm still doing 4h rides into the yorkshire Dale's....dont stop....no contact with anyone...self sufficient. I've seen the odd police car out near burnsal. I dont think they're interested in cyclists. I suspect they're out checking for people driving out and parking in popular beauty spots. I'd keep doing it but be sensible.

🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️

 hang_about 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

Well it's all been cleared up.........

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-55620138

Personally I've no problem if he cycled there - but if he drove it's no different from the 2 lasses drinking coffee in the park

 Mikek 11 Jan 2021
In reply to hang_about:

Thanks! Yes, I've just seen that! But still not quite nailed it and scope for another U turn! All I want to do is go for a ride around the back lanes once all the ice has gone and the sun comes out, without being stung for £200.

 elsewhere 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

On news today - an A&E where most of the patients are Covid positive. You really don't want to be in A&E or need an ambulance at the moment.

 Le Sapeur 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Hutson:

> I film all my rides and based on my reports the Met have sent notices of intended prosecution to around 15 drivers this year based on very frightening near misses 

This is an amazingly high amount. Is it all about the other drivers? I only ask because I lived in Finchley for 5 years and commuted 4 or 5 times a week, 9 miles each way, and had maybe 2 or 3 close calls a year in that time. Some were my fault. So 2500 commutes and fewer near misses than your year. I'm assuming by 'this year' you don't actually mean this year.

In reply to Mikek:

Not getting out much on the bike in the last week. Snow, ice wind and rain putting me off. I'm going gash. Will be out tomorrow with a pal from my cycling group. Will probably manage 35miles on the edge of the of Peak. Up hill and down dale round here.🚴

 petemeads 11 Jan 2021
In reply to Mikek:

No outdoor biking for the last couple of months- can't afford to fall off on damp/muddy/icy roads with two replacement hips. I do have a Wattbike but not doing much on that either - 20k before tea tonight at a very gentle 140 Watts - preferring to run or walk/jog at the moment. Managed a half marathon last week, first time in 5 years, and recovered remarkably well so biking is on the back burner till the sun comes out again...

 Hutson 12 Jan 2021
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Yes, I do mean this year. Bear in mind I come into contact with a *lot* of drivers. I live in Croydon and mainly cycle round there/Bromley which are very car-dominated environments, built for the predicted post-war car boom. Drivers are not as used to cyclists as they are in inner London and are often outraged that you are on 'their' roads at all. Cycling has been my only form of transport since March because I will not get on public transport if I can help it. So yep, I encounter a lot of drivers.

One pulled out on a mini RAB causing me to emergency brake and topple off, one overtook on a blind bend on a country lane almost crashing into an emergency vehicle coming the other way (I tried to warn him as I could see the blue lights over the hedge but he ignored me then tried to occupy the space I was in when he realised his mistake), lots of dangerous overtakes - often large vehicles - so close that if I'd hit a pothole/moved to avoid one I'd have been under their wheels. If the Met think you are at fault they won't act - you must submit footage 2mins before and 2mins after to prove you weren't riding like an idiot or provoking stuff or they won't consider the case. I only started recording my journeys in the hope that, having had to face a consequence (a fine/course/points) drivers might treat the next person on a bike they encounter more safely. I'm always pleased if I get a ride where I don't have anything to report because frankly it is half an hour of my life I won't get back.

For what's it's worth, before I started cycle commuting some 15 years ago I had cycle training (all London boroughs give this for free or heavily subsidised.) A few weeks ago I had 'advanced' cycle training (I volunteered to be a 'cycle buddy' for the London Cycling Campaign and they offered it free). The instructor said I was very competent and was already doing everything he would have taught me (he watched me deal with certain situations such as busy roads and junctions etc and then critiqued me). I used to drive so can see things from both sides. There is just a very high percentage of terrible drivers round here who don't think I should be on the road/don't know how to deal with a bike. 

Post edited at 11:07
 Hooo 12 Jan 2021
In reply to Hutson:

I can believe this. The ropier parts of London are plagued with the most appalling drivers, it's mayhem in some places. I genuinely suspect a large number of them don't have insurance, or even a licence. 

 Le Sapeur 12 Jan 2021
In reply to Hutson:

Based on that ratio you will have around 540 frightening near misses this year. I seriously do hope that they are all misses. Can you weave around back roads, quiet streets, cycle tracks? 

 Hutson 13 Jan 2021
In reply to Le Sapeur:

Yep, sounds about right. Rachel Aldred did some research on near misses a few years back which I contributed to (it was a survey) and they are sadly very common and have quite a bad impact on people. There's a reason there's not many cyclists round here.

Back roads/quieter streets are heavily parked both sides which means that they are fine until a driver comes along in either direction and then they become a battle of wills. If there is a decent space I will generally move over to let them by, but sometimes they expect you to press yourself up against parked cars to facilitate them getting past, and I won't do that for risk of being doored.

We didn't have any segregated cycle tracks until covid and now we have one temporary one near me plus some low-traffic neighbourhoods (residential streets that are filtered so that cars cannot use them as rat runs) which have helped (you can't make a decent ride out of them but I incorporate them as much as I can). Local cycling and walking groups are fighting to keep them because the people that liked using them as rat runs are screaming blue murder about them.

What doesn't help is that people who previously relied on public transport round here (which is excellent when you're not worried about catching covid) have switched to cars.


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