Coronavirus: guidance for individual cyclists and cycling groups

Coronavirus rules are being relaxed throughout the UK but we still advise caution. Photo: Peter Cornish

Coronavirus: guidance for individual cyclists and cycling groups

Coronavirus rules and restrictions vary across the UK and are changing all the time. Here is the latest guidance for individual cyclists and cycling groups

***This is a live document and was last updated Monday 26 July to take into account the changes in Northern Ireland. Note that it is not possible to cover every local variation across the UK here, and you should always follow local restrictions where these are imposed.***

Please also see Coronavirus and cycling: your FAQs answered by our experts for further advice.

Statement from Cycling UK

As the national cycling charity, our aim is to support the UK’s population to cycle. This remains true during this period of coronavirus affecting the UK. Above all, the safety and welfare of Cycling UK’s staff, volunteers, participants at our rides and events, beneficiaries of our cycling programmes and the general public is always our main priority. We are closely monitoring the situation and taking advice from the government, the NHS and partners.

While restrictions are easing across the UK, the virus is still very much in circulation so Cycling UK encourages people to cycle but to do so in a manner which minimises risk to themselves and others from it. Cyclists should use their common sense: for example, by keeping an eye on Cycling UK and government guidance for their nation around participating in and organising cycling activities and events and by maintaining good hygiene practices and not cycling with others if feeling unwell or told to self-isolate.


From Monday 19 July, there are no longer any restrictions or set numbers of people who may gather indoors or outside. However, Cycling UK advises that limiting group rides to a maximum of 15 is sensible and generally considered best practice anyway. 

Certain other recommendations will also still apply as the rate of infections in the UK continues to rise. For example, face coverings should still be worn in crowded settings, though not while exercising, and participants, volunteers, spectators and others are strongly advised to carry out a self-assessment of symptoms before attending a ride or event and should definitely not attend if unwell or contacted by NHS Test and Trace and told to self-isolate.

There are also special considerations event organisers should take into account in line with government advice for England - see Events section below - and also Sport England's FAQs for more information.


From Monday 19 July, the whole of the country has moved to coronavirus protection Level 0. However, some restrictions will remain in place as set out below in accordance with guidance issued by Scottish Cycling:

Informal cycling activity: group rides of up to 15 people from any number of households can take place without the need to allocate a coronavirus co-ordinator (or Covid officer) or maintain social distancing. However, groups of 15 should maintain a distance of 1m from all other individuals or other groups in outside settings, unless members of the same household.

Numbers gathering indoors, for example at a pub, café or restaurant, are limited to up to ten people from four households but people should stay at least 1m from members of other households indoors.

Formal cycling activity: group rides and events for between 16 to 500 people from unlimited households must involve a coronavirus co-ordinator (or Covid officer), who will undertake online training and carry out a risk assessment and put mitigations in place to ensure the safety of participants.


From Saturday 17 July, the nation moved to Alert Level 1.

Legal restrictions now allow any number of people to meet outdoors. However, Cycling UK normally advises that group rides should be limited to no more than 15 people, in line with current best practice, and people are still warned to avoid large gatherings where possible.

If indoors, for example at a cafe, pub or village hall, there is no requirement for members of a permitted group of up to six people to socially distance from each other. However, all reasonable measures to maintain 2m social distancing between each individual permitted group of up to six must still be taken.

You must also wear a face covering (if you are able to) in all indoor public places and not meet with more than five other people in indoor regulated settings, such as cafes, restaurants and pubs (unless you are meeting with only people you live with).

You should also observe social distancing with people you do not live with, or who are not in your exclusive extended household, and minimise travel to areas of high prevalence.

Organised outdoor activities have been prioritised in Wales, as long as run by a recognised charity, club or governing body and so on. These are now known as regulated events. The event organiser has a legal duty to undertake a coronavirus specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus.

We strongly advise therefore that all groups wishing to organise regulated events in Wales allocate a Covid officer, who should undertake online training to ensure the activity is safe and mitigate any hazards.

It is no longer necessary for event organisers to ensure there is a 2 metres gap between others where the event is being held outdoors, unless your risk assessment identifies the need to do so.

Northern Ireland

From Monday 26 July, the latest guidance allows groups of up to 30 people to meet outdoors without the need for risk assessments. However, Cycling UK's advice is that group rides should be limited to no more than 15 people, in line with current best practice.

Organised sports events are allowed but a risk assessment is needed for groups of more than 30 people. We strongly advise therefore that all groups in Northern Ireland wishing to put on an organised event allocate a Covid officer, who will undertake online coronavirus training to ensure the activity is safe and mitigate any hazards.

A person responsible for organising a gathering must, if requested to do so by a relevant person, provide:

  • a copy of the risk assessment


  • an account of the reasonable measures taken

You should maintain social distancing, as well as good hand and respiratory hygiene practices. Social distancing is advised for all outdoor events and Covid-19 testing should be considered in advance of large events.

When travelling to large events, you should walk, cycle or use private transport, shared only with members of your household where possible.

Indoors, a maximum of six people can be seated together in hospitality venues such as a cafe or restaurant. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total. More than six will be permitted if they all belong to a single household, as long as it is not more than 10. Children aged 12 and under are not counted in the total. 

Venues will also be required to collect customer details to help with the Test, Trace, Protect contact tracing programme.

Customer details will include the:

  • name and telephone number of each visitor over the age of 16
  • date and time of arrival

Face coverings must be worn if you leave your table (to pay/ to access toilet facilities), unless exempt.

To determine the maximum number of people permitted to attend an indoor gathering, in a non-domestic setting, the organiser or operator must carry out a risk assessment.

Indoor gatherings of 15 people or fewer do not need a risk assessment but the organiser must also take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus. A person responsible for organising a gathering must, if requested to do so by a relevant person, provide:

  • a copy of the risk assessment


  • an account of the reasonable measures taken

It is important that indoor spaces are well ventilated at all times, by leaving doors and windows open. Frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, should be cleaned regularly.

Good hand hygiene should be encouraged and social distancing between households maintained.


In addition to the above, we recommend event organisers follow these guidelines also:

  • clearly communicate ahead of the event that participants and spectators should not attend if they, or anyone they live with, have been asked to self-isolate, or are required to self-isolate after travel, or because they are displaying any coronavirus symptoms, and should follow the guidance on testing and self-isolation
  • pre-event briefings should take place virtually where possible and should take into account the needs of those who have hearing or visual impairments or who do not have English as their first language
  • consider allocating a Covid officer to carry out a coronavirus risk assessment prior to the event and mitigate any hazards (note this is a requirement in some nations)
  • consider putting in place crowd management measures if the event involves large numbers of attendees
  • consider displaying a QR code to assist with NHS tracking and tracing
  • continue to limit the amount that equipment that is shared
  • provide hygiene measures in the form of hand sanitisers, wipes etc to ensure any shared equipment is thoroughly cleaned
  • reinforce messaging around hygiene and social distancing by displaying clear signage, such as the 'Staying safe' poster in the event organiser's and Covid officer's toolkits.


Cover provided by Cycling UK under the organiser’s liability insurance could potentially be invalid if a member or affiliated group decides to go against the advice issued by Cycling UK or their national government and arranges group rides and events that exceed the numbers permitted or do not have in place mitigations against the transmission of coronavirus where required.

For individual cyclists, the third-party liability insurance included within membership will protect a member of the public against the risk of a cycling-related incident involving an insured member. 

The safety and wellbeing of Cycling UK’s staff, volunteers, riders, beneficiaries of our cycling programmes and the general public remain our number one priority. 

Cycling UK will continue to monitor the situation and will be taking advice from the government, the health sector and our partners. 

Avoiding contamination

NHS guidance for avoiding transmitting or catching coronavirus is to:

  • get vaccinated – everyone aged 18 or over can book coronavirus vaccination appointments now
  • meet people outside if possible
  • open doors and windows to let in fresh air if meeting people inside
  • limit the number of people you meet and avoid crowded places
  • wear a face covering when it's hard to stay away from other people – particularly indoors or in crowded places
  • wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitiser regularly throughout the day

Remember also to capture coughs and sneezes in a tissue and dispose of it hygienically. 

    Further Queries

    Please see Coronavirus and cycling: your FAQs answered by our experts or contact the Volunteering Team or Cycling UK's Groups Engagement Officer on 01483 238338.

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