To some, riding #onlysolo is no different to their usual routine, but to many, it can be alien, daunting and just not quite as much fun without a group to chat to and eat cake with. We caught up with Ash to understand why it might not be so bad if you just give it a try!
As the weather and climate in Britain actually begin to turn for the better we’ve welcomed in mildly warmer temperatures and my knee warmers have finally made their first appearance of the year! Those clear blue skies mean we can now swap those clear lenses out for a bit of tint now that there are more daylight hours for us to get out and ride.
However, everything we know and love about Spring as a cyclist is unfortunately not as it should be. The global Coronavirus pandemic has gripped the world leaving few unaffected by its wave of disruption. Whilst we wish to be unselfish in these turbulent times, we, like the government recognise the importance of exercise to help us stay healthy, in mind, body and soul.
The government issued the nations ‘lockdown’ on the 24th March with the allowance and exception of one form of outdoor exercise. As a self-confessed exercise addict, I’m pretty sure I wasn’t alone in being sat on the edge of my sofa with the announcement of the lockdown. I like many others heaved a huge sigh of relief when my daily endorphin fix was allowed to continue. Much like a naughty child awaiting the loss of his Xbox…except I hadn’t done anything wrong!
So, we were told to use our daily token, be it, walking, running or cycling, and that this must be performed alone or with other members of the same household with no outside social interaction. No problem I thought, I can do that, and given I had literally just one week previous built up my brand-new Endurance SL frameset – my daily golden ticket was going to be cashed in on the bike whilst the weather was so perfect for it.
Now cycling on my own has never been a problem for me personally, I have always commuted to work solo, raced events, and performed the majority of my training solo. I’m pretty comfortable in my own thoughts at this point. But, I do love the social side of cycling very much and understand completely why some if not most prefer to only partake in group rides or in pairs. So, for those that are so inclined, I wanted to share my take on life #OnlySolo to hopefully bring a little more positivity to it.
One of the best reasons to ride alone is that it gives you time to think and work things out. Given the amount of stress and worry that has recently been laid upon us all during this current situation, we could all use a small portion of the day to exercise a bit of headspace and seek a little clarity. It is times like this that we are able to seek out the most rational, calm and creative thoughts whilst we stare up the road ahead. If a very favourable, quiet one at that.
Being the only engine, you are able to set out the ride you wish to do and how you wish to do it. Maybe you are already rather tired and just need to get out and turn the pedals for the sake of it, or, it may have been a particularly stressful and sedentary day and you may ride with a climb in mind to up the pace a little. No wheel and no direction to follow.
With the allowance of our one daily dose of outdoor exercise comes responsibility and the use of some good old-fashioned common sense. Rules in which to abide by, so to speak, and given the severity of our current situation, this was just and fair. As always this goes without saying, we should always consider our safety as cyclists. So, what considerations should we have?
The one benefit of a nationwide lockdown let’s face it, is the roads are desolate, with very few cars about even in the busiest areas. This does provide some comfort, but, you cannot be complacent, some drivers may see this as a time to lose focus or switch off, especially with so many mental distractions at present. So;
- Helmet, this goes without saying but for any new or born-again riders, get a lid on.
- Lights (yes even during the day) will always help drivers note your presence on the road, more than you will realise.
- Clothing, dress not just for the conditions/temperature but also to be seen, even a bright pair of socks can do the trick!
- Optics, a quality pair of specs will help keep the sun out your eyes and will also protect you from anything that could flick up off the road. You would be surprised how often this happens, and of course…… those pesky bugs!
- Phone, it’s not just for those photo opportunities on social (partly), but, also so you are able to contact someone should you have the need and likewise so you too are contactable.
Given that we want to avoid any unnecessary travel, we have to consider our route options. Yes, I say this because we ideally want to stay relatively local to home on these rides, especially under the current circumstances where we may encounter an issue whilst we are out, resulting in a call for help.
Now, this is all a lot to consider, but, to be completely honest, with the exception of remaining local, these are all pretty standard protocols and considerations we all should be making. Each and every time we clip in and head off on any ride regardless of what’s going on. So, my advice to anyone who is unsure or looking for advice on what to do with this offering would be to use this opportunity, but, don’t abuse it, or we will lose it. Which, let’s face it won’t do any of us any good. We are safe to ride outside and we are not at risk to either ourselves or anyone else if we just keep it #OnlySolo
Not sure if it’s safe to cycle amidst the Corona Virus pandemic? We take a look at the guidelines here
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