Is it OK for me to wild camp right now?
Being locked up indoors, gazing at my screen for hours on end while working to help ensure Cycling UK members and the wider public have the right cycling advice at this difficult time, to be frank is doing my head in.
To be clear it’s not the work - I’m proud to be part of an organisation that is doing its utmost for so many at this time.
Being locked up indoors, gazing at my screen for hours on end while working...is doing my head in.
Sam Jones, Cycling UK Communications Manager
Everyone at Cycling UK is still working flat out to make sure the cycling community is supported and that the Government is aware of the benefits more people cycling can have at this time, such as freeing up public transport for our key workers.
While this definitely isn’t as important work as that of our frontline workers in the NHS, as a charity we can find the clarity in the advice being given and help spread best practice among the cycling community.
This messaging is clearly needed as we receive hundreds of queries every day via our various channels – all of which we’re trying to answer via our online and constantly updated Q&A article with clear definitive answers.
But back to my original point, it’s being locked away, not being able to get out and spend time in the outdoors which, like many, I’m struggling with. Being outside, riding my bike and camping out are all ways I use to cope with the world we live in, and in many ways I need that more than ever right now.
Fortunately, at time of writing, public health officials and the Prime Minister are still encouraging us to get out and exercise – and thanks to the work of Cycling UK, British Cycling and Sustrans cycling is one of their recommended activities.
Each evening, I head out with my partner for about an hour’s ride along increasingly quieter country lanes. We follow the government’s advice to the letter, maintain social distancing with others and spend the minimal time outside possible.
My short-term pleasure isn’t a reason to flout public health advice that will only work if we all follow it.
It’s a shame when the weather has been so good not to stay outdoors and ride for longer, but my short-term pleasure isn’t a reason to flout public health advice that will only work if we all follow it. That means no ifs, no buts and no exceptions.
Following this rationale, has brought a dramatic change to Cycling UK’s bikepacking and wild camping challenge #12nightsoutin1year. Through this competition Cycling UK has been encouraging everyone to head out on their bike and spend a night beneath the stars.
Given the advice to minimise your time out in public spaces, Cycling UK is asking everyone keen to take part in this challenge and bivy or camp out this month and for the forthcoming weeks not to.
Cycling UK is asking everyone keen to take part in this challenge and bivy or camp out this month and for the forthcoming weeks not to.
The sooner we all pull together and start following the government’s advice, the sooner we can get out and enjoy ourselves once more. And if that isn’t enough to convince you of the necessity, then think of our heroes battling to save lives in our hospitals and ask yourself is a night out really worth it when you could be adding to the burden on our NHS?
The answer is a clear “No.”
However does this mean the challenge is “on hold” for the foreseeable future?
The answer again is a defiant “No!”
Instead we’re asking everyone who wants to take part in the competition to be more creative in how they take part.
Whether setting up a “wild camp” in your garden or your living room share your pics with us on Instagram or Twitter using #12nightsoutin1year and you’ll still be in with a chance to win some great prizes from Restrap and other companies supporting the challenge.
And on that note, I’m off to set up camp tonight in my garden in time to hunka down and watch Pannier’s bikepacking film “Rainspotting” at 1930 once I’m back from my ride.
Happy – safe and responsible – camping everyone!