Going solo: Cycling NSW strongly recommends against group rides during COVID-19 pandemic

Going solo: Cycling NSW strongly recommends against group rides during COVID-19 pandemic

24Mar2020

Due to the continually escalating COVID-19 crisis, Cycling NSW now strongly recommends the cessation of group bicycle rides for the time being.

Over the past week, Cycling NSW has endeavoured to respond proactively to the pandemic. For example, we closed Dunc Gray Velodrome six days before government restrictions formally required us to do so. To “flatten the curve” of strain on the healthcare system, we suspended racing and recreational events and moved our staff into work-from-home arrangements despite not having been specifically ordered to do so.

However, in this rapidly changing situation, Cycling NSW considers that its previous advice on group riding is no longer applicable.

On 17 March, we strongly encouraged members to reconsider their need to run group rides and suggested that any group rides be limited to 10 or fewer riders.

Since then, the government has escalated its response to the pandemic by shutting down non-essential activities and businesses. New South Wales now has over 800 recorded cases of COVID-19, a number that increases day by day.

Countries such as Italy, Spain and France have banned all non-essential travel and activities. Earlier today, the United Kingdom announced lockdown measures where cycling will only be permitted if done individually or with members of one’s household.

In this environment, we can no longer recommend group riding as a safe and responsible activity. Cycling NSW advises all bicycle riders in New South Wales to switch exclusively to solo riding.

We strongly recommend that all bicycle riders in NSW cease in-person group rides immediately, other than with members of their household.

Group riding, even in small bunches with riders endeavouring to maintain 1.5 metres’ distance from each other, presents a risk of rider-to-rider transmission that Cycling NSW cannot condone at this extraordinary time.

Under normal circumstances, group bicycle riding is one of the healthiest and most enjoyable activities in the world. However, at this time Cycling NSW considers it imperative that bicycle riders do their utmost in protecting community health. We believe this advice accords with community expectations and principles of civic responsibility.

We trust that most clubs and members will agree with our advice; indeed, we note that many clubs have already cancelled their group activities. We thank those clubs and members for their vigilance and responsibility.

Cycling NSW will continue working to prepare for the recommencement of racing and group riding. We are also developing virtual cycling options and other activities that will enhance the member experience at a state-wide level.

To maintain the social aspect of group riding, riders may wish to consider using online virtual cycling platforms such as FulGaz and RGT Cycling.

In the meantime, we thank our clubs and members for their understanding and co-operation. We look forward to riding with you again soon.