With the lockdown in Wales gradually easing I thought I would share my thoughts on how cycling has helped me cope with lockdown.
Before lockdown I worked in an office each day and had a very definite divided between work and home, so much so that work papers have been known to stay in the briefcase from Friday evening until returning to work on Monday morning. Initially working from home was a shock to the system. I set up my laptop and monitor screen on the breakfast table which was in full view of the kitchen and sitting room (with TV etc). I struggled with the work stuff always being in view.
Going off on a cycle ride over lunchtime helped me clear my head. The good weather we had in the UK at the end of March certainly helped. What helped each more was moving the work kit into the front room which enabled me to close the door at the end of the working day – “out of sight, out of mind”. I was also put on reduced hours at work so managed to get two clear days in the week to get out on the bike during the day.
The only problem was that Welsh Government allowed us out for one type of exercise a day and it had to be “local”. Whatever “local” meant was never defined by Welsh Government, instead it was suggested it should be how far it would be reasonable to walk or run – not much help for cyclists. A journalist suggested a 10 mile radius of home which resulted in lots of laps of local lanes. I also had the advantage of a turbo trainer. At least I was better off compared to cyclists in France and Spain who couldn’t even leave their home.
In May the cycling lockdown was relaxed to cycling no more than was reasonable when taking account of your ability – not much help for a lawyer who likes clear instructions and rules! We could only drive “locally” which was defined as up to 5 miles for non-essential travel i.e. not for work, shopping or health reasons. This 5 mile limit still exists in Wales at the time of writing except an extension for compassionate grounds. There is no travel limit in England. It all means that I have been able to cycle further in May than I can drive! I cycle with tubeless tyres, plus I carry spare inner tubes, patches, chain link and a spare hanger so am reasonably self sufficient on the bike.
During the 14 weeks of lockdown I have got fitter through cycling on at least four days a week. I covered over 600 km and over 7,500 m of climbing in June, something I haven’t done since the Deloitte Ride Across Britain. My aim of doing yoga daily and a HIIT session when I have not been cycling have fallen by the wayside, although I have managed to restart the Water Rower sessions.
Cycling has kept me sane. I have missed the interaction with colleagues at work – daily Microsoft Teams sessions is not the same as real life conversations. I live on my own and at one point until very recently I’d had less than 10 face to face conversations including the checkout ladies at Tescos during lockdown! I am looking forward to more relaxation of the travel rules in Wales. I’m now used to working from home but do miss the office. Given the choice, I think I’ll opt for a mixture of home and office based work. One thing is certain, I’m going to carry on cycling!