Coronavirus and cycling: your FAQs answered by our experts

There are still some restrictions in place in parts of the country, so follow local advice to stay safe Photo by Peter Cornish

Coronavirus and cycling: your FAQs answered by our experts

How does the coronavirus outbreak affect cycling, and how can you minimise the risk to yourself and others?

*** This document was last updated Monday 9 August. Note that as the situation is constantly changing, some answers may not reflect the most current advice. However, the information will be updated as soon as possible. See our guide to the very latest restrictions and advice covering cycling in all four nations of the UK.***

Our experts

Cycling UK has consulted experts such as Public Health England (PHE); Cycling UK’s policy director, Roger Geffen; head of campaigns, Duncan Dollimore; and Cycle magazine’s medical expert and practising GP, Dr Kate Hattersley, of South Devon Cycling UK group and Tom Page, Cycling UK groups officer. Some FAQs have also been answered by the Volunteering Team at Cycling UK. 

Here are their answers to some commonly asked questions about cycling during the coronavirus outbreak.


Do I need to have had a coronavirus vaccine or have taken a test before I take part in a cycling activity as a participant or volunteer? 

No. It’s not a legal requirement to have had a coronavirus vaccine or take a test in order to participate in sport and physical activity. However, in some instances your sport provider in England may ask you to use the NHS COVID Pass as a certification tool. An example may be at events where the government will work with organisations that operate large, crowded settings where people are likely to be in close proximity to others outside their household to encourage the use of the NHS COVID Pass.  


Even though the guidance might allow for group rides, is it sensible to do so?

Cycling UK's coronavirus guidance outlines what the regulations permit, but riders and clubs should make their own assessment of whether they should undertake a group ride, and if so, when, where and how.

Infection rates may vary regionally and some groups will have different demographics and members with different risk factors.

It is therefore important for people to exercise their own judgement and common sense if they are undertaking group rides, having regard to their own safety, other road users, and current infection risk. Clinically extremely vulnerable people should be particularly careful to follow NHS advice. 

Note that our normal advice is to limit group rides to no more than 15 people, even when coronavirus regulations technically allow for more than this.


I’m a cyclist who is currently unwell with a new continuous cough or fever. Is it safe for me to continue cycling?

No. Do not go out, as you may present a risk to others. Strenuous exercise is unwise while you are unwell. Consult the NHS 111 website for advice on self-management of your illness, but expect to be confined at home if you test positive. Others in your household may also need to self-isolate. 


I have been in physical contact / close proximity recently with friends or relatives with symptoms who are self-isolating, but I don't live in the same household as them. Is it safe for me to continue cycling?

NHS advice is that you do not need to self-isolate in this case; however, if you're told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace in England, Test and Protect in Scotland or Test Trace Protect in Wales and Northern Ireland or the NHS coronavirus app, it is a legal requirement to do so for 10 full days. This means you should not leave your home for any reason, including exercise.


I'm in self-isolation because I have returned from a high-risk country, but I'm showing no symptoms. Is it OK to go for a bike ride by myself?

No. If you travel to the UK from a country that is not on the travel corridor list, you must self-isolate for 10 full days beginning on the first day after you left that country. For more information see the government advice page.


I am the Covid officer for a local cycling club. One of the leaders from Sunday's ride has tested positive. Should we contact all participants or just let the NHS app do its job?  

Following a positive test result, the individual should be contacted by NHS Test and Trace in England, Test and Protect in Scotland or Test Trace Protect in Wales and Northern Ireland, who will ask them for details regarding who they’ve had close contact with in the 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms.

The Test and Trace official will then use this information to contact any individuals deemed at risk of infection and who need to self-isolate. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to get ahead of the situation and inform everyone who rode with the individual that someone on the ride has subsequently tested positive for coronavirus. 

It’s also worth prompting these people to take a test and they can then use this information to decide whether or not they should self-isolate. You should not name the individual in question who tested positive: keep things anonymous for reasons of data protection. 

If contacted by the NHS or ‘pinged’ by the app, participants are of course required to self-isolate, otherwise this can be left to the individual judgement of those who took part on the ride. 


Can I ride across the border to other nations in the UK? 

While there are currently no restrictions on travel into or out of England, Scotland or Wales from these home nations, there are particular travel requirements around travelling into and out of Northern Ireland if you plan on staying overnight. You should also check the local restrictions, if any, of the area you are travelling into.  

    Further queries

    Please contact the Volunteering Team or Cycling UK's groups engagement officer on 01483 238338.

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