Coronavirus: Advice for cycle touring and bikepacking
Exploring by cycle provided a solace for many during the coronavirus lockdown, but with tourism largely shut down longer and multi-day rides were off the cards. As restrictions gradually lift and the tourism sector reopens, though, many of us are longing to venture further afield again – but there are a few things to consider before you go.
Keep in mind that guidance can change quickly, so make sure to stay up to date with the relevant government regulations for the area you’re going to. You can also check our regularly updated coronavirus Q&A, and advice for socially distanced cycling and group riding.
Before the trip
A bit of extra planning is crucial here. Casually turning up at a campsite or small town hoping to find somewhere to stay is less likely, as many places have limited space and require you to book ahead.
Try to avoid popular tourist hotspots as they might be very busy, making it difficult to keep your distance and putting pressure on local communities.
If you want to visit any attractions along the way, check to make sure they are open and whether you need to book a time slot to visit.
Consider your transport options. The easiest way is to start your trip from home. If you need to use public transport, you’ll need to reserve a space for you and your bike in advance – and don’t forget face coverings on public transport are currently mandatory in all nations of the UK.
If you want to go abroad, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office still advises against all but essential travel, except to countries which are exempt. Bear in mind that this list of exempt countries can change at any time, which could require you to change your plans and/or quarantine for two weeks on your return.
If you’re travelling between different countries, you’ll also need to be aware of their own quarantine rules for the country you’re coming from.
You’ll need to add a few extra things to your packing list, such as hand sanitiser and face masks. It’s a good idea to take two reusable face coverings so you can wash them after use.
It’s also advisable to avoid sharing kit and tools between people from different households, so make sure you have everything you need to sort any problems.
If you or anyone in your household develop Covid-19 symptoms before you leave, you must cancel your trip and self-isolate at home.
During the trip
Follow guidance from the relevant government about how many people you can ride with – check our coronavirus Q&A if you’re not sure.
Slow down early and leave extra room when passing other users to ensure social distancing. Try to use less popular routes, and to avoid busy locations at peak times.
Ride within your ability and avoid taking unnecessary risks that may result in injury or require emergency services support, especially in remote locations.
Carry extra provisions with you so you are not caught out if a local café or shop is closed – but if they are open, give them your support!
Practise good hygiene precautions – catch coughs or sneezes in a tissue, clean your hands regularly, and wear a face covering in indoor spaces where necessary.
Pay attention to any signs with suggested alternative routes or temporary measures to aid social distancing.