Jim Broughton cycling uphill during lockdown

A Smug Cyclist in Lockdown

Being an avid cyclist during this lockdown period has made me extremely grateful that this sport is both my primary form of exercise and (anything but secret) passion.

The obvious benefits of being able to escape the house once a day for a bike ride is that you can travel much greater distances than a jogger doing laps around a park, or going for a brisk walk through your neighbourhood. Once the working day is finished, and with the evenings growing longer, it’s possible to extend a ride into the leafy countryside of Kent or Surrey from my home in South London and still be back in time for a cool beer and some well deserved grub. Let alone the 2-3 hours of steady exercise, the escapism itself is worth it for the headspace after being cooped up in a bedroom-cum-office all day.

If deadlines are tight and I have to work later, I can opt for a shorter more efficient session in the hills of Crystal Palace and West Norwood. Alternatively I can ride through a deserted Zone 1 to do some speedy laps of Regents Park’s Outer Circle, however this makes it harder to keep two metres away from other cyclists and joggers. Even though these are much shorter sessions than a full-blown countryside loop, I can be out on the bike for 1-2 hours which really helps to break the daily monotony.

As opposed to jogging, cycling doesn’t have as many problems with the social distancing rules when out by yourself. Whereas parks are now more than ever packed with joggers with pavements not wide enough for just one walker, cycling is naturally distanced from pedestrians and even has stickers placed at busy traffic lights to measure the two metres needed. One thing I’m especially looking forward to is testing out the new pop-up cycling lanes around Central London. Not only will it shield existing cyclists from the inherent dangers of cycling in a congested city, but also hopefully encourage more people to commute and exercise in this way reducing the strain on public transport and poor air quality from motor vehicles.

If none of this piques your interest, then simply weaving down a completely abandoned Oxford Street and pretending you’re in a very low budget Zombie movie just might.