Exercising and travelling

A guide on how to travel and stay active while social distancing

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Information correct as of 28 May 2020

Following the recent government announcements on easing the lockdown, everyone has been encouraged to consider cycling or walking as an alternative to public transport, with unlimited daily exercise is now permitted. View the latest guidance issued by government.

Cycling and walking have become increasingly popular while people have been at home for their one form of exercise a day. We are encouraging everyone to think about how this travel choice could be an alternative for their commute to work as well as continuing to use cycling or walking for short trips in the community.

This guidance has been put together to help you enjoy being physically active and travel outdoors responsibly and safely, minimising risk to your health and other members of the public.

Cycling & walking travel updates

  • Keep active. Cycling and walking should be your first choice for all short journeys if possible.  Could you cycle to work too?
  • Walk, cycle or drive if you can but you should be staying home as much as possible.
  • Taking up cycling and/or walking as a means to travel will help reduce the pressure on the public transport system and road network - so where you can, try cycling or walking
  • Do your part! While you're outdoors, make sure to stay alert and keep your distance along with taking the necessary hygiene measures. And don't forget to wash your hands as soon as you arrive home. Especially where you're using bikes (private, docked or dockless), wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or sanitise your hands before and after cycling
  • Consider making a list of items to take with you
  • Only use public transport if you have no other travel options. This keeps our services safe and available for those who need them most. Find the latest information and travel updates to help you plan ahead.
Social distancing and the future of cycling

Social distancing

  • It is important you continue to stay at least 2 metres (6 ft) apart from anyone outside of your household. For example, when approaching or passing other pedestrians or waiting at crossings and traffic lights
  • Remember that fresh air does not provide immunity from coronavirus and failing to adhere to this guidance may result in a fine, as well as causing greater spread of the virus to more households.

We understand some people have fears about safety on the road. We are working closely with local authorities to implement temporary or permanent measures that will create safe spaces for cyclists over the coming weeks.

Cycling routes

There are already cycle lanes along many key routes that can help with your journeys. The West Midlands has one of the most extensive canal networks which connects most of our towns and cities and is a great place to cycle.

To help you plan your ride, see our cycling maps in the region. You can use the highway network (including cycle tracks, cycle lanes and signposted cycle routes on quiet roads) or go off-road to explore miles of greenways, woodland tracks and canal towpaths.

Thinking of getting some fresh are with a stroll on the canal? Canal & River Trust's priority continues to be supporting the national effort to keep people safe and protect colleagues, partners, and everyone visiting, and living on or around, their canals and river routes.

Free services for key workers
  • #Cycles4KeyWorkersAre you a key worker? Our friends at Sustrans have pulled together some great offers from across the region for frontline staff. These include FREE bike hire, repairs and equipment
  • Big Bike Revival: Cycling UK are helping keep key workers pedalling – or getting them cycling if they don’t have access to a working bike. From bike safety checks and repairs to bike loans – this scheme will ensure that key workers can get to where they need to go on pedal.
Spread the cost of a new bike

If you are looking into purchasing a new bike, we encourage you to speak to your employer about the Department for Transport’s Cycle to Work scheme. The scheme enables employees to pay nothing up front and spread the cost of your new bike and/or kit in equal monthly instalments taken from your salary before tax and National Insurance contributions.

For employers: If your organisation is interested to find out more about the Cycle to Work scheme implementation guidance.

Bike maintenance and safety

Maintenance: If you are getting your bike out for the first time this year, it’s important to make sure it’s in good working order. Follow our step-by-step guide to make sure your bike is ready to ride before setting off.

Safety: Check our list of basic safety recommendations to make sure you are protected and seen when out on your ride. 

Family rides together

Teach the little ones how to ride

Every child should get a chance to learn how to ride a bike and there is no age restriction on when they should start pedalling.

HSBC UK have launched their Ready Set Ride programme, with FREE quick and easy games to help you teach your child how to pedal.

Find lots of useful information about:

  • bikes
  • understanding when your child is ready to ride
  • using household items to play the games in your own home.

Family bike rides are a great way to get some fresh air and exercise together. Find out more on British Cycling's HSBC UK Let’s Ride Local and see further ideas and inspiration on keeping your family motivated and safe whilst cycling in your local area.

Walking and running apps

There are lots of apps available to help you build up your walking and running.

Active 10: This Public Health England app is a free walking tracker. It shows how much brisk walking you're doing and how you can do more. 

Couch to 5k: This NHS app is an app for absolute beginner level runners. It gradually builds people up to running 5k in just 9 weeks.

Walking and running routes

The best route on foot is not always the same as you would take by bike or car.

Whether you're taking your dog for a walk or going to do essential shopping, there are several walking routes you can take to explore your local area.

Plan your own route using Walk It or Plotaroute

Why not try some pre-planned ones:

Challenge accepted!

Have you got what it takes? Here are some challenges you can take part in:

  • #RoamSweetHome step challenge: Feel the joy of walking from a hike up the stairs, a stroll in the garden, to a wander in your local area. Join in on this step count challenge and share how much you've done on social media
  • As part of Living Streets' National Walking Month, throughout May they are encouraging people to #Try20 – walk for 20 minutes a day as part of their daily exercise.

Whatever you wish to take part in, whether its a challenge, a personal goal, or your usual we would love to see your photos, experience or even a short video of you carrying out your daily exercise. Hop onto Twitter and start sharing using #WalkingFromHome.

Useful tips and links
  • Social distancing may require you to stop, slow down or dismount your bike in some instances, or stand to the side of a path to allow others to pass with enough space
  • Whilst out on your walk or run and someone is coming up from behind or in front of you, if there is not enough space, consider crossing the road to keep your distance
  • Keep your dog on a lead to maintain your distance from other walkers. Find further ways RSCPA recommends to protect your pets during this time
  • If you have a garden, why not make use of the space to cycle, walk or run whilst still getting some fresh air at home
  • Finding it difficult to stay active outdoors? See how you can stay active at home and join in on social media using #StayInWorkOut
  • If you have any further questions, Living Streets have pulled together a Q&A
Post-lockdown projects

RoSPA and See.Sense have come together to deliver Cycle Smart Brum - an innovative cycle project aimed at defining cycling hazards and recognising unreported accidents across Birmingham.

They are looking to gather 200 cyclists from across the city, to determine and identify where and how cycling incidents may happen before they occur. 

See how it works and how you can get involved now ready in time for post-lockdown!

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