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

Group rides are permitted in parts of the UK, if run in accordance with the latest guidance. Photo: Wayne Fox
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Coronavirus: Advice and guidance for Cycling UK member and affiliate groups

Cycling UK is advising that group riding can continue if your area allows cycling activity to be undertaken with people from other households. This is constantly evolving, so please keep an eye on local and national news

*Updated on Thursday 22 October 2020 to reflect new regulations coming into force in Wales from 6.00pm on 23 October*

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.

Localised lock downs and restrictions

If your area is under a full local lockdown, we advise that all group activities cease until restrictions are lifted. However, a number of areas are currently experiencing additional restrictions in response to local outbreaks which you can view here.

Unless it specifically states otherwise on the website and/or your local relevant council website, Cycling UK is supporting local group rides to continue but you must still follow relevant rules on group size and social distancing.

Regarding the recent Covid alert levels within England please see the below infographic to help you decide whether you should undertake your cycling activity or not. 


There's still an exemption for organised sports and activities allowing activities involving more than six people. This involves individual sports bodies submitting an action plan for approval by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, with all recreational clubs relying upon that exemption being legally required to develop a written coronavirus plan and risk assessment prior to activity. Given the nature of the requirements on clubs and participants, and that any failure to comply by either is, from 14 September, a criminal offence rather than non-compliance with guidance as it was previously, Cycling UK can no longer advise groups that they can rely on the organised activity exemption. Accordingly, our advice in England is that group rides in England should be restricted to a maximum of six participants. However, multiple groups of six are permissible, as long as these groups do not come into contact with one another. Please get in contact if you require the sports exemption and we can review it on a case by case basis. 


There's an organised sport exemption from the new rules that restrict gatherings to a maximum of six people from no more than two households, plus any under-12s from either of those households. Organised groups can use the organised exercise exemption to ride in larger numbers – Cycling UK recommends no more than 15 – as long as they adhere to the protocols stipulated. Our return to activity guidance (Scotland) gives full details and the general comments are here. Any groups that do not want to adhere to the coronavirus protocols to gain an exemption need to follow the 'six from two households' guidance. Distancing is now required during rides and no activities are to cross health board boundaries.

Following the statement from the First Minister last week there have been some changes to guidance on group cycling:

The ‘sports exemption’ and associated group riding protocols (coronavirus co-ordinator) remain in areas that don’t have further restrictions – NHS Borders, NHS Dumfries and Galloway, NHS Fife, NHS Grampian, NHS Highland, NHS Tayside, NHS Orkney and NHS Shetland and NHS Eileanan Siar

The ‘sports exemption’ in the five health boards affected by increased restrictions have some new guidance in place to reduce the risks of transmission during group cycling activities . The following guidance applies to groups and individuals in NHS Ayrshire and Arran, NHS Forth Valley, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Lothian.

A full list of guidance can be found on the Scottish Cycling website but the key points are:

  • All group rides and activities must take place within one health board area
  • Individuals should not travel to take place in rides in other health board areas
  • Adult participants must remain 2m from others before, during and after the ride, under 17s do not need to distance during the ride
  • There must be no more than 9 participants in each ride


New stricter regulations come into effect in Wales at 6.00pm on Friday 23 October, expiring at midnight on 8 November. These replace local travel restrictions previously in force within Wales, which no longer apply.

You are still able to cycle purely for exercise, but only alone, with other members of your household, or where applicable with your carer. Children can also cycle for exercise with a parent they do not live with but have contact with.

Gathering outside is prohibited, so save for the people above who you are permitted to cycle with, you cannot meet up with others on or during a cycle ride.

Note also that it is an offence to cycle across the border into Wales for leisure or exercise while these stricter regulations are in place.

Northern Ireland

We're still recommending limiting groups to 15 participants within a group ride, as there have been no changes to the regulations or guidance in either nation affecting outdoor recreational activity. 

However, there are certain restrictions and guidance that must be undertaken for these groups to be allowed in each nation. You can see attached at the bottom of this article two newly drafted guidance sheets:

  • Cycling UK –  Return to activity plan (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)
  • Cycling UK –  Return to activity plan (Scotland)

Coronavirus and group cycling

Where group 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 take part in group cycling activity in accordance with their nations' guidance

On 1 June, the new guidance came into effect, making it clear that there is no limit on duration or frequency of exercise, or the distance you can travel to exercise in England.

As a result of this revised guidance, Cycling UK has taken the decision to allow group riding and activities, in accordance with government guidelines in their nations. 

To support the return to group cycling activities, we have created some informational posters, which are attached below:

  • Coronavirus guidance for returning to group activities
  • Coronavirus risk assessment checklist
  • Coronavirus guidance for Cycling UK volunteers, staff and participants


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