The Potential Future of Socially-Distant Cycling

27/05/2020

The Potential Future of Socially-Distant Cycling

As the world continues to adapt to and recover from COVID-19, there are countless discussions happening all over the world as to exactly how we as an international community can make the necessary changes to help keep us safe in a post-coronavirus time.

At Freewheel Holidays we’re interested to know how cycling, cycling holidays and the cycling community as a whole will be affected by any changes that may be put in place. They could have a drastic impact on our cycling routines, good and bad.

With this in mind (and let us emphasise that this is complete speculation at this point) here are just a few ways continued social distancing rules may begin to affect the cycling world.

We’re already pretty socially distant… right?

Let’s start off with a positive; As cyclists, we’re already pretty socially distant as it is. Cycling is one of the few sports that does not require direct contact between two people or more, putting us in a pretty good position when it comes to any new social distancing rules coming into place in the upcoming months and years.

In fact, for safety reasons in general, it’s probably a safe bet to keep a considerable distance between yourself and anybody else who happens to be behind two wheels in the same vicinity as you. Get too close and you may end up taking each other out. And not in a good way!

Having said that, there are those people who enjoy cycling in groups and people in said groups who enjoy staying close to those who are cycling with them, which is totally understandable as cycling is one of the most social-friendly sports and activities there is. But, if needs be, it’s highly unlikely the sociability aspect of cycling will suffer if we’re encouraged to keep out bikes 2 metres (or similar) apart.

Now, speaking of cycling groups…

Cycling in Groups

Group cycling is so much better than cycling alone. Well, that’s the opinion of a lot of cyclists anyway! Which is why it’s understandable that a lot of us might be worried about any future laws or rules regarding remaining socially distant while cycling.

As we’ve discussed, it is possible to still cycle in groups and stay a good distance apart while still being able to communicate and enjoy the ride collectively. But where the possibilities get fuzzy are if the number of cyclists involved becomes the issue, rather than the distance between them.

Will we be limited to groups of a specific size? And if so, how will this be enforced? Hopefully it won’t be the case, but if you’ve been a member of a very large cycling clan for a very long time, you may need to prepare for, or at the very least consider, the idea that you’ll be broken up into much smaller cycling units.

Cycle Lane Markings

Much like road markings you’ll find on some motorways, one method that’s being discussed for cyclists to remain socially-distant is the use of marking in cycle lanes, or roads and routes that are very popular with cyclists.

While it might sound like a bit of a pain, these markings may actually help decrease the number of cycling accidents that occur due to collisions; If you can clearly see where your front wheel is meant to be in relation to the rider in front of you, the chance of you coming into contact with them is greatly reduced.

Whether or not we will see this happen remains to be seen, but if it does we can only assume we will see the exact same thing on a lot of public walkways and busy locations too.

Cycling Events & Races

Ok, this is where things start to get tricky…

Even if you’ve never participated in a cycling race or event of any kind before, we’ve all seen the pictures: Endless rows of cyclists all huddled together at the starting line, rearing to head out on the open track and get the leg-up on the competition. If we had to start observing socially-distant cycling at events like these, how on Earth would we avoid these kinds of situations?

Plus, the action is that frantic in a race that there’s often very little space between the riders and each rider is doing his or her best to not only get ahead of the pack but to do it safely and without crashing. When there’s this many people involved in a race on such tight roads and track as we’re used to seeing, keeping a reasonable distance would be virtually impossible.

And, if it were possible, it would come with a whole host of difficulties allowing cyclists to ride to the best of their ability and ride fairly.

Time will tell, but hopefully, these kinds of issues won’t see the light of day in competition.

Cycling Holidays in Europe

Now this is the stuff we’re really into!

If there are to be new standards put in place when it comes to maintaining social distancing while cycling, immediately our thoughts head to the impact these will have on cycling holidays.

The issue is not whether or not you’ll be able to maintain social distancing in a group while cycling - we’ve already discussed that and it is possible - the issue is whether the rules and regulations will be the same from country to country.

If there are one set of rules in the UK, will these be reflected in France? Germany? Spain? Portugal? Austria? Anywhere? Or will these countries and more adopt their own social distancing rules for cyclists based on their own numbers - popularity of cycling, cyclists per square Km etc.

Right now there is so much uncertainty in the world (and with good reason) it doesn’t make much sense trying to nail down a solid answer on all of the above; All we can do is speculate what the result may be when (and if) new rules come into play, and how we can respond to ensure we uphold a positive cycling experience at home, with a friend, with family, in training or abroad.

To keep up to date with all the latest Cycling Holiday developments, keep your eyes glued to @FreewheelHols and we’ll be sure to keep you updated about our own incredible selection of European cycling holidays.