Today we met some friends for an overdue catch-up bike ride in Kirkley, just north of Ponteland in Newcastle upon Tyne. With lockdown measures closing back in again we travelled with a measure of unease about bringing something back to our quiet little corner of Scotland from an emerging ‘hotspot’. However we couldn’t have picked a rendezvous more amenable to keeping one’s germs to oneself. Here’s why meeting up for a pedal is close to coronaproof.
The best bike rides are on quiet roads in rural areas, i.e. there’s less folk around. It’s easy to spread out in plein air and group cycling lends itself well to smaller groups i.e. it’s an enjoyable thing to do no matter how tight the rules get.
It’s advisable to empty your bladder at home before you leave BUT if nature calls during your ride, you can perch the bike on a gate/tree/lamp post, run off into a bush or hide behind a low wall and embrace the wild wee. This can be a little tricky if you’ve lady parts and you’re wearing a full bib suit, so plan your outfit accordingly. It’s a touch-free technique with no need for the sharing of door handles, toilet seats or flushes. In high winds remember to think about which way the wind is blowing as you let it flow…
If you stuff a load of your own snacks in your jersey pockets for the trip then you don’t have to touch food that’s not yours. Bike apparel is made for carrying an excess of scran. (We frequently carry our Jetboil for al fresco coffee on our lockdown rides).
You can fit a bike ride in around your unique lockdown schedule, from a quick spin round the block in between videoconference meetings to an epic day-long tour to fill an otherwise endless expanse of furlough boredom.
We spent a wholesome four hours wheeling through Northumberland countryside sharing reviews of books read in lockdown and enjoying the early autumn warmth. The headlines might make the immediate future seem bleak but as the sun streaked through boughs of trees of browning leaves our horizons felt bright and endless.
12 September, 2020