As we start to immerse ourselves into ‘the new normal’, it’s reassuring to know that we are finally beginning to see a tiny glimmer of a bike light at the end of the tunnel. It feels like it’s been a long old journey – and one that is still far from over – but with restrictions starting to become more relaxed in certain areas, we can now look ahead to the coming months and find new ways to work and go about our everyday lives.
Our friendly team of volunteers on the Committee have continued to discuss matters behind the scenes, and held their most recent virtual online gathering last Monday night. It was great to see so many faces on screen again, and despite not being able to do a huge amount where Club activities are concerned, it was a productive meeting of minds nonetheless.
The programme of Club events remains suspended. As things are slowly starting to move forward, and with ever-changing guidelines from the Government being announced, British Cycling have updated their message with regards to sanctioned activities and events, and cycling in general. Please take a moment to familiarise yourself with this latest advice.
What are the changes from June 1st?
In England, from June 1st, the number of people from outside your household with whom you can meet to exercise outdoors has been increased. Groups of up to six people from different households are now permitted to exercise together, however they must still follow social distancing guidelines and keep at least two metres apart from those outside their household.
Current measures in England also state that:
- If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home.
- You may exercise outdoors as many times each day as you wish.
- You can sit and rest outside before, during and after your ride.
- You may drive to outdoor publicly accessible open spaces irrespective of distance.
- In line with UK Government guidance, those aged over 70 should continue to take care to minimise contact with others outside their household.
While the Government guidance now permits groups of up to six to ride together, British Cycling believes that the need to maintain a two-metre distance while riding as a group of six may present practical difficulties and potential risks. For this reason, we would strongly encourage riders to continue to cycle in smaller groups at present, and only ride in a group of six if they are absolutely sure that it is safe to do so (for example, in a park).
We would also like to reiterate to cyclists, the need to be mindful of keeping a two-metre distance when overtaking other cyclists and from pedestrians who may be walking on pavements at the side of the road.
When cycling in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, you should follow the guidance and regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration. You can find the most up-to-date guidance for riding in Scotland here and in Wales here.
If the Government allows groups of six to ride together, does that means the suspension on club and group rides remains in place?
Yes. On Wednesday 27th May we announced that all formalised group and club activity (including club runs, HSBC UK Breeze rides and similar) would be suspended until Saturday 4 July, and this suspension remains in place.
As detailed in our earlier statement, we will review this on a fortnightly basis, considering guidance from across the relevant devolved administrations, and giving two weeks’ notice of any changes. We are now working on new guidance for clubs and Ride Leaders on how they can safely lead group rides while maintaining social distancing, and will share this at the earliest possible opportunity.
As a British Cycling member, what does this mean for my third-party liability insurance?
British Cycling’s third-party liability insurance and legal support and advice member benefits remain in place for all Commute, Ride, Race Silver and Race Gold members.
Those riding in groups which comply with Government guidelines (see above) will be covered. At this time British Cycling strongly encourages riders to only cycle in smaller groups at present, and should only ride in a group of six if they are absolutely sure it is safe to do so.
Please note that insurance cover provided to members and clubs will be invalid if they are wilfully contravening Government advice – i.e. riding in large groups of more than six – or participating in activities which are currently suspended.
For more on this report click here.
Like so many of you, we have been making the most of the glorious sunshine (where has that gone?) and freedom to cycle far and wide without feeling the strict ‘once a day/keep it local’ limitations that were in place not so long back.
Here’s a little update from Rich Buckley on what he, and several other Club members have been getting up to…
Over the past few weeks, a number of our members have solo ridden the lovely 150k Audax route. For many of us, the 150k marks the start of summer with shorts worn more often than not. This May was no exception and we were blessed with balmy hot weather for most of the month. Whilst the usual café stops were not open in Bibury, a couple of sandwiches in the back pocket and two full water bottles and the ride was manageable.
The route is amazing with close to 100 miles and only a few being on main roads. We still curse Eric for the combination of hills from Woodmancote through Rendcomb. Once that is done, the ride is relatively even. Another year, another 150k.
We also wanted to mention that during our meeting we discussed opening up the Club’s route archives, allowing them to be more accessible to everyone. This is being worked on as we speak, with https://www.chippenhamwheelers.org/club-activities/club-route-library/ being a very early first pass. We see this eventually becoming a page per route with information on café stops, etc.
During lockdown, our Club Coaches have been keeping busy hosting various virtual activities, which have proven to be extremely popular. Martin has sent us the latest on how our younger members have been progressing…
Coaching and development for young club riders has continued thanks to the use of YouTube, WhatsApp, Zoom, email and Zwift. These have proven to be great tools which will be a really useful addition to traditional coaching well beyond lockdown. Indeed, with the future of gym based group exercise classes unclear, Zoom may provide an alternative to the winter club Spin classes – we’ll see, good to have a backup plan!
Over the last few weeks younger riders have been focussing on slow speed riding skills, turbo sessions and some basic strength and conditioning. We have also done a quiz to draw out coaching points and to highlight topics for additional research, such as fuelling for rides and how to keep your bike running smoothly and fast. All that said, there is a real hunger to get back to some face to face sessions, hopefully at Castle Combe sometime soon.
On the topic of riding skills, how confident are you with yours? Many weeks without (proper) racing, riding solo and maybe at a slower pace has the potential to reduce your reaction time, spatial awareness, hazard perception and general bike handling. Why not do some brushing up with some skills on your driveway?
Good for short halts at junctions to save unclipping and slowing (frustrating) riders behind you:
A bit of fun – no bottle chucking please!
Paul Winchcombe gives us an update…
So after the season came to an abrupt halt back in March and the club season never started – great news – Time Trials are back! CTT (the national governing body for Time Trials) have issued guidance on the restarting of Time Trials for Club events and open events. There are a lot of changes and much of the personal interaction which is such a thing that makes time trials so special will be missing.
The announcement, which shows there is still a dependency on government guidance, is at https://www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk/articles/view/559. Full guidance will be put on the Club website and all those who intend to participate in Time Trials must read them in full, including the COVID-19 Risk Assessment.
It is now time to see if those hours spent racing on Zwift or racking up lonely miles in the lanes of Wiltshire have paid off. The first Club evening Time Trial will be a Jack Nunn on the 8 July. It should be on UC861 as normal but some one did whisper “roadworks”, so things are going back to normal. Points to note there will be no “pusher off”, and if you haven’t ridden your time trial bike on the road for a while it is recommended you take it for a test ride, amazingly it will handle differently to your static turbo trainer.
Our thanks to Sue Andrews for agreeing to time keep.
Our next meeting is due to be held on 6th July, if you’d like to add something to the Agenda email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have a cycling-based story you would like to share with members email email@example.com
And that’s your news for June. Whatever and wherever you ride, ride safe and remember to follow social distancing guidelines.