Coronavirus: guidance for Cycling UK groups

Keep up-to-date with the latest guidance for riding during lockdown. Photo: Joolze Dymond

Coronavirus: guidance for Cycling UK groups

Cycling UK is working towards ensuring there is a smooth return to group riding. This is constantly evolving, so please keep an eye on local and national news

*** This is a live document and was last updated Friday 4 June to reflect changes in Scotland and Wales.

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. ***

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.  

Cycling UK encourages people to continue to cycle for exercise during the coronavirus pandemic, 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 where such guidance is in place, 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.

Cycling as an organised group

Cycling UK’s advice on the restrictions in each nation below is aimed at our member and affiliated groups. For advice on safe and responsible riding outside of organised groups, please see Coronavirus: guidance for cyclists

For further advice on group cycling, please see Coronavirus: how to organise a safe group ride and/or see our Covid Guidance for Groups webinar recording from Wednesday 31 March, which is available to Cycling UK volunteers by logging in to Assemble and going to the Time with Tom news article.

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.

Current restrictions on group rides


From Monday 17 May, groups of up to 30 people from any number of households are permitted to meet outdoors, which effectively removes any limits on group riding up to this number. However, Cycling UK still advises that limiting group rides to a maximum of 15 is sensible and that people should exercise some discretion and common sense depending on where they are riding. 


From Monday 17 May, organised sporting activity is permitted but numbers of participants allowed depends on the Covid-19 protection level you are in. However, Cycling UK still advises that limiting group rides to a maximum of 15 people is sensible. Events that constitute organised sporting activity are permitted up to There should an emphasis on organising events with as few participants as possible 23rd April 2021 Return to Index in attendance at any one time, and adapting event formats in line with current Protection Level restrictions

Groups must also allocate a Covid officer (also known as a Covid-19 co-ordinator), who will undertake online coronavirus training: for more detailed information see Scottish Cycling's coronavirus guidance and also learn how Elgin CCC returned to group cycling safely

From Saturday 5 June, the Covid protection levels changed, with island areas previously in Level 1 moving to Level 0 and most of the mainland moving to Level 1; however, some areas remain at Level 2. Use the postcode checker tool to find your current level.


From Monday 7 June, restrictions allow up to 30 people to meet outdoors. However, Cycling UK advises that group rides should be limited to no more than 15 people.

The 'stay local' message has been dropped, so there will be no restrictions on where you can ride or for how long. You are also now allowed to cross the border into England during a ride, but beware of any local restrictions in place in any areas you travel into. 

There are more substantial relaxations allowing the resumption of organised activities and sports for children under 18, which would potentially allow larger group rides for children, but currently that exemption only applies to those under 18. 

We strongly advise that all groups allocate a Covid officer who should undertake online coronavirus training to ensure the return to group cycling activity is safe.

Northern Ireland

From Monday 24 May, the restrictions in place in Northern Ireland were relaxed, permitting up to 30 people to meet outdoors without the need for a risk assessment however Cycling UK advises that group rides should be limited to no more than 15 people. Organised sports are allowed but a risk assessment is needed for groups of more than 30 people.

We strongly advise that all groups allocate a Covid officer, who will undertake online coronavirus training to ensure the return to group cycling activity is safe.


As outdoors permitted group sizes are increasing, groups may want to start planning events that fall outside their regular group riding. Some organised events such as sportives and challenge rides are permitted under certain conditions - the numbers involved vary according to which nation and Covid-19 tier or level you are in; they are regularly updated so please check the relevant guidance:

To help your planning, we have updated the event organiser's toolkit to include coronavirus guidance and resources. The volunteer toolkits are available either by logging in to the Cycling UK website and going to the Groups page or on the Document Hub of our volunteer platform Assemble.

Please contact us for more information if you are thinking of organising an event open to the public this year. 

Covid officer

Cycling UK strongly advises that all groups in England, Wales and Northern Ireland allocate a Covid officer, who will undertake online coronavirus training and a carry out a risk assessment to ensure the group's return to cycling activity is safe. Note that this is a requirement for groups in Scotland, prior to their return to organised group cycling activity.

Useful documents

Please find below all relevant documents to help with the return to group cycling activity:

  • Coronavirus: a checklist for returning to group activity – an aide-memoire of the key actions to take
  • Coronavirus: a checklist for Cycling UK staff, volunteers and participants – the key points to remember
  • Coronavirus: a risk assessment checklist for groups – how to assess relative risk of any activity and modify accordingly
  • Coronavirus: a return to activity overview – all our essential information in one handy document
  • Event organisers' checklist – aimed at organisers of small, non-competitive one-day cycling events

Advice for Cycling UK volunteers 

If you can undertake your role within a Covid safe environment, then please continue to do so. You can leave your home to provide voluntary and/or charitable services but please consult the document below called Coronavirus: a checklist for Cycling UK staff, volunteers and participants first. 

Following guidance released from the government, ​we ask that all of our volunteers and members stay at home if you have any coronavirus symptoms and do not attend any Cycling UK activities and read the recommended advice for your nation on self-isolation. 


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 member 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

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.

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. 

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
  • Wear a mask where required

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

Further queries 

If you have any further questions, please see our Coronavirus: guidance for cyclists, or Coronavirus and cycling: your FAQs answered by our experts 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