Solo Cycling for the Socially Distant

By Marta.

Getting a little stir-crazy indoors? Same here! If you really need to spend a bit of time outside for your daily dose of activity, why not a cycle ride? Check that your bike is working smoothly before you set off. Pack your backpack with an extra layer, a waterproof, a basic toolkit, your water bottle and a snack. You’re almost ready; we’ve just got a couple more suggestions for how to keep yourself and others safe.

Plan your journey with the following in mind:

  1. Know your limits! Don’t attempt too much (especially if you’re newer to cycling) and maybe take it a little slower and enjoy the sights; it’s for exercise, not for injury!
  2. Will your route take you through compact urban areas? Wider country roads are ideal; there are fewer cars out and about at the moment, and you’re less likely to encounter a rogue walker out there. Plan ahead to get that balance right.
My latest ride took me along a disused public byway- there are many forgotten gems to explore!
Image: Marta Miracle
  1. If you need to stop for a break, can you do this in an isolated place? If you do plan to take a break for your sandwich/snack pick a spot where people can easily avoid you if necessary. Once more, being out in the surrounding countryside tends to accommodate this better.
  1. Are you using cycle routes that are shared with pedestrians? Avoid narrow paths in order to limit contact as much as possible. If it is safe for you to be on the road opt for that, rather than crowding paths shared by walkers.
  1. Should you carry any extra gear? Remember, you’re on your own. 
    • Firstly you’re on a solo mission- this means you need to be self sufficient. Bring along a puncture repair kit, a multitool, and a pump in case you get a flat. It’s often easier and quicker to take a spare inner tube too and change the tyre rather than fixing a puncture at the roadside – take the old one home and fix it when you get back. 
    • You need to keep yourself safe as you’re usually your only back up. Wear a helmet and bring along a basic first aid kit in case of bumps and bruises.
    • Bring along a set of lights. You never know if your journey might go longer than planned. Wearing a reflective garment can also help drivers spot you on darker country roads.
    • Wearing gloves to cycle is necessary in these colder months, and a more comfortable option much of the year.
It can all snugly fit into a gear pocket!
Image: Angus Whitby
  1. What’s your plan B? If your planned route is looking pretty busy, have several other options to switch to; there’s nothing wrong with saving a popular route for another day. Maintaining your 2m social distance and staying safe is key!

Stay safe and happy cycling!

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