Coronavirus: Advice and guidance for Cycling UK member and affiliate groups

Keep up-to-date with the latest guidance for riding during lockdown. Photo: Wayne Fox
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Coronavirus: Advice and guidance for Cycling UK member and affiliate groups

Cycling UK is working towards ensuring some form of riding can continue within some nations. This is constantly evolving, so please keep an eye on local and national news

*** This is a live document and was last updated Monday 22 February to clarify guidance on staying local in England.***

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. ***

Cycling UK’s advice below is aimed at member and affiliated groups. For advice on safe and responsible riding outside of organised groups see our coronavirus Q&A page.

National lockdowns

We have revised our current guidance within England and Scotland, which has resulted in putting a hold on all group riding throughout the entirety of the UK. Therefore, we shall not be supporting member or affiliated group activity or riding until further notice. However, all hope is not lost as we are still supporting non-group cycling - please see our informal and solo riding advice and guidance page Coronavirus Q&A: cycling guidance | Cycling UK.

We shall be reviewing this guidance regularly, however it is likely there will be a national lockdown until February 2021. 

Update: exercise and 'staying local'

Cycling UK has received enquiries from members, groups and the general public seeking clarification about the current government Covid-19 guidance on travel and exercise, particularly in England and in relation to the meaning of ‘local area’.

The regulations in England state that people must stay at home and only leave for permitted reasons, which include exercise. However, exercise must only be done either alone, with members of your household, or with one person from outside your household, while observing social distancing. Breach of those regulations is a criminal offence.

In addition to the regulations, which set out the legal restrictions and requirements, there is separate government guidance, which indicates that exercise should also be limited to once per day, and that you should stay within your local area. The guidance is advisory in nature, not a legal requirement, although Cycling UK would urge everyone to carefully consider the guidance and act responsibly in their decisions around outdoor exercise, bearing in mind need to reduce the spread of infection while maintaining physical health and wellbeing.

There is no definition of ‘local area’ within either the regulations or the guidance. The guidance advises people to avoid travelling outside of their village, town or the part of a city where they live. It also states that they can travel a short distance within their local area in order to exercise, though, again, the distance is not defined.

Cycling UK, along with British Cycling and British Triathlon, recently wrote to the Department for Digital. Culture, Media and Sport to ask for clarification on what constitutes local exercise. The minister for sport, Nigel Huddleston, has now responded:

"As you are aware, the government’s current guidance regarding outdoor exercise states that people are allowed to leave their home to exercise outdoors, and should remain as local as possible.

As you state, people’s circumstances are different and so this guidance relies on people to use their common sense to determine what is and is not a reasonable distance for their outdoor exercise.

As we navigate these necessary new restrictions, we remain clear on just how important exercise is to people's health and wellbeing, whilst staying safe at home."

While the minister's response stopped short of defining what constitutes "local", we are pleased to see official recognition of the fact that people's individual circumstances vary and that common sense needs to be applied. What is appropriate in one area may not be appropriate in another. The intention behind both the regulations and the guidance is to limit contact between people and reduce the spread of infection, and these must be balanced with the well established physical and mental benefits of exercising outdoors.

Cycling UK therefore encourages people to continue to cycle for exercise during the current lockdown, but to do so in a manner which minimises risk. In the absence of specific regulation on how far they can travel, cyclists should use their common sense: for example, avoiding crowded or narrow routes where social distancing is difficult to maintain, but also bearing in mind that you may put others at risk if you suffer an injury or mechanical problem far from home and require rescue. To minimise unnecessary travel, start and end your rides at home if this is practical; however, common sense may dictate that travelling a short distance to a more suitable location is reasonable.

Coronavirus and group cycling

Where riding is allowed, cyclists should still observe good hygiene, and Cycling UK advises leaving plenty of space when passing others, and to avoid pulling in rapidly after overtaking another cyclist, causing them to end up in your slipstream.

Cycling UK's advice remains that it is advisable for people to cycle for their health, fitness and well-being. 

The guidance for avoiding contamination remains unchanged, keeping at least two metres away from anyone else where possible, regularly washing your hands and catching coughs and sneezes in tissues and disposing of them appropriately as soon as possible. For further advice, please refer to the NHS website. 

We will continue to evaluate the latest advice from government and update our guidance accordingly. As the threat level reduces, our guidance is likely to be along these lines but this will depend on factors such as local levels of infection, national guidance and so on.

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.  

Advice for Cycling UK groups and volunteers 

Following renewed advice from the government, Cycling UK is advising cyclists that they can't take part in group cycling or activity in accordance with their nations' guidance

On Monday 4 January 2021, the new guidance came into effect, making it clear that there is no opportunity for group activity within England and Scotland. Alongside group riding being discontinued in Wales and Northern Ireland in 2020, this means the whole of the UK is not now participating in group cycling activity. 

As a result of this revised guidance, Cycling UK has taken the decision to not allow group riding and activities, in accordance with government guidelines in their nations. 

Volunteering - if your volunteering role is solo and you can undertake it within a Covid safe environment, then please continue to do so. You can leave your home to provide voluntary and/or charitable services. 


Note that in light of the latest government advice on coronavirus, and guidance on social distancing designed to reduce the risk of spreading infection, group cover provided under the organiser’s liability insurance could potentially be invalid if a club or affiliated group decides to go against the advice issued by Cycling UK and arranges large-scale events and/or large group rides that exceed the numbers permitted under each nation's guidance.

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 remains our number one priority. 

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

Avoiding contamination

Guidance for avoiding contamination remains the same: 

  • Catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue and disposing of them appropriately as soon as possible
  • Washing hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds (or using alcohol-based hand sanitiser if you're unable to wash your hands with soap and water) 
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are unwell. 

You can find more information about social distancing on the government’s website


Following recent guidance released from the government, ​we ask that all of our volunteers and members stay at home if you have the below symptoms and do not attend Cycling UK activities which may still be happening despite the above stated advice. 

For your information, you are advised to self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of travel history or contact with confirmed cases, if you have any of these symptoms: 

  • a new continuous cough 
  • high temperature (of 37.8 degrees Celsius or higher)
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

Do not go to a surgery, pharmacy or hospital. 

You do not need to contact 111 to tell them you're staying at home. 

Fourteen-day isolation is required if you:

  • live in a household with anyone that has symptoms
  • have been contacted by the NHS because you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, or
  • have travelled from outside the UK and Ireland, unless from an exempt country. Note that Northern IrelandScotland, England and Wales have separate lists of exempt countries. 

Read the recommended government stay at home advice and NHS coronavirus advice.  

Further updates 

We’ll continue to monitor the situation carefully and will update groups and areas via the website and Velocheer, our volunteer newsletter. If any further action is needed, such as the cancellation of rides and events, we will contact groups and event organisers directly.  

If you have any questions please see our coronavirus FAQs page, or contact the Group Engagement Officer on 01483 238338 or via

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Cycling UK continues to support the UK to cycle
This remains true during this difficult period with the ongoing threat of coronavirus Covid-19