Coronavirus and cycling: What you need to know

Words by David Hicks

on 05/01/2021 16:52:00


Cycling is one of the most inspiring and accessible sports available, providing ultimate freedom and the ability to explore from your door. With lockdown returning in England for the foreseeable future, taking to a bike can help relieve stress, lift your mood, help you concentrate, and boost your fitness, as well as being fantastic for the environment.

With this in mind, we have put together an essential guide to answer your questions on what you can and can't do during lockdown, and to help with some guides and advice.

Our first priority is the health and safety of our customers, staff, friends and family. You can read about our full response to COVID-19 here.

Last updated: 05/01/2021

Can I keep riding my bike?

Guidance from 5th January 2021, from Public Health England and the UK government is to stay at home, although you can leave your home to exercise, and for essential travel. Cycling is thoroughly recommended as a great way to maintain your physical and mental wellbeing, and as a safe and environmentally friendly alternative to public transport or private cars when it comes to travel.

With COVID-19 cases on the rise, everyone is advised to follow the social distancing rules set out by the government to slow down the spread of coronavirus. That includes staying more than two metres from other people and making sure you wash your hands when you return home.

Restrictions do vary between the four nations of the UK, so please ensure you check the guidance that is most relevant to your area.

Where can I ride?

While you can still exercise outside, it is recommended that you stay local and make the most of any open space close to your home. So if you are planning to ride outside take the opportunity to explore your local routes.

Short trips to exercise somewhere else are currently allowed under the guidance, although longer drives are discouraged. Likewise, you should be taking extra care to reduce the risk of any unnecessary injury if you do ride outside and make every effort to stay as safe as you can.

You can, of course, exercise inside to keep your fitness levels up, made much easier with smart turbo trainers and platforms like Zwift. You can even switch your regular group ride into Zwift's virtual world - and you can even join #TeamRutland Ambassador Lee Hopkinson on regular Zwift social rides. Click here to find out more.

Can I cycle to work?

If you are unable to work from home and still need to travel to work, you can absolutely do it by bike. In fact, with reduced public transport and many keen to avoid the train or bus, cycling to work is a really good way of undertaking essential travel at the moment.

There's many reasons to leave the car behind for your commute, pandemic or not:

  • Lower CO2 emissions - cycling generates just 21g of carbon dioxide per kilometer whereas driving generates 271g per kilometer.
  • Reduce congestion - congestion might be less of an issue right now, but improvements in cycling could lead to 45% less car traffic and faster public transport once normality returns.
  • Shrink your carbon footprint - switching from driving to cycling would save half a tonne of CO2 per year on a typical four mile commute each way. This equates to around 6% of your personal carbon footprint.
  • Save money - compared with driving a car, commuting by electric bike could save you £1,500 a year. Plus you could save up to 42% on a bike and accessories through the cycle to work scheme.
  • Eco-friendly travel - an electric bike is six times more efficient than riding a train, with almost zero noise pollution.

In addition to riding to work, cycling is also considered a suitable form of transport for shopping for essential food or medicines.

If you do need to use your bike for essential travel our stores remain open to offer servicing, and to pick up any essentials you might need. If you don't currently own a bike you can also order through our website as usual and make use of cycle to work schemes or finance options - or if you just need some advice, our sales team are on hand via telephone, email or Live Chat to help. Contact us.

What are the health benefits of cycling?

If you're looking for the best use of your allotted outside exercise time, we can't recommend the bicycle enough. Whether you cycle already or are dragging an old bike out of the shed, riding a bike has numerous benefits for both your physical and mental wellbeing.

As with all forms of physical activity, cycling can contribute to healthier lives by helping to prevent a huge number of both severe and chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

As well as the physical health benefits, cycling is also fantastic for your mental health - taking a regular bike ride could reduce the risk for Alzheimer's disease by 29% and for cognitive decline by about 26%. It's also linked to 17% lower odds of developing depression. Lastly, regular exercise has been linked to improved concentration levels so if you're struggling to focus while working from home, a quick spin on your bike could be just the answer.

For information on the benefits of cycling, check out research from the European Cyclists' Federation.

Are bike shops open?

Under current government guidance, bike shops have been classed as an essential service to keep key workers and those undertaking essential travel on the move.

At Rutland Cycling, we will remain open across our store network, online, and telesales to assist our customers, while continuing to support our customers and colleagues with a comprehensive set of safeguarding guidelines.

  • Our stores and workshops will remain open during the Winter lockdown period, offering servicing and sales. Click here to find your nearest store.
  • Free Click & Collect is available for all orders placed online.
  • All online orders will be fulfilled and delivered as usual, including our Premium Delivery service.
  • Our Sales team is available to provide expert advice, 7 days a week, via telephone, email or Live Chat. Click here to get in touch.
  • Our returns period has been extended to 120 days.

Read more about our response to the current situation here.

What bike is best for me?

If you're looking for a new bike to get your daily dose of physical activity, there are numerous options to suit just about any kind of potential rider.

To guide you through we've picked out a few of the bikes that we think make a great starting point for your daily exercise without breaking the bank. If you need a bit more guidance, you can check out our 'What bike should I buy?' guide, or contact our expert team on 0330 555 0080 on via LiveChat on the website.

Aluminium road bikes

The look of a road bike, with their racy geometry and drop handlebars, will be familiar from the Tour de France - but you don't have to be a professional to ride one. A good quality aluminium road bike is ideal for exploring your local roads and, when advice allows it, covering longer distances right from your doorstep. Lightweight and fun to ride, road bikes are excellent for building your fitness.

Shop road bikes

Hybrid bikes

Hybrid bikes are the great unsung heroes of the bike world. Highly versatile, affordable and comfortable, hybrid bikes are suitable for a vast range of riding whether you are riding local tracks, commuting to work, or heading into town.

Shop hybrid bikes

Electric bikes

Electric bikes are truly changing the face of cycling, providing that extra assistance where you need it to ride further or take the pressure off on the hills. A hybrid electric bike takes all the benefits of a standard hybrid bike but gives you that little extra power when you need it to make cycling a breeze.

Shop electric bikes

Mountain bikes

While we wouldn't advise you to ride anything beyond your ability, an entry level hardtail mountain bike could be perfect for your daily exercise during the pandemic. If your local tracks or bridleways are a little rougher, then a mountain bike with its wider tyres and suspension could be the safest way to get around.

Shop hardtail mountain bikes

If you're unsure what sise bike you need you can take a look at our size guide, or contact our expert team.

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