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Exercising and travelling

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

Information correct as of 1 April 2021

As restrictions begin to ease and we have a roadmap out of lockdown, cycling and walking continues to be encouraged as a means of staying active.

If you are travelling for short trips in the community, to work, school, shops or fitness purposes, cycling and walking can help you on your way. You can now also enjoy bike rides with up to 6 people. 

We want you to enjoy being physically active and travelling outdoors responsibly and safely, whilst minimising the risk to your health and other members of the public. As the UK moves towards less restrictions, it is still important to keep yourself and others safe whilst travelling. Keeping active will not only benefit you physically, but will also help your mental health

Latest cycling & walking travel updates

  • Hands, face, space and fresh air! Keep active. Make cycling and walking your first choice for all short journeys to keep fit, keep air clean and prevent traffic congestion
  • Cycle, walk or drive if you can but stay local
  • Do your part to stay safe, stay apart. Whilst outdoors, stay alert and keep your distance. Remember to take the necessary hygiene measures. Don't forget to wash your hands as soon as you arrive home. Especially where 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
  • Cycling or walking will help reduce the pressure on the public transport system and road network
  • If you plan on using public transport, consider cycling or walking to the station for your onward journey. View the latest on public transport or search West Midlands Network on social media to stay updated. Please note: You must wear a face covering at stations, onboard and at interchanges. Download the NHS Covid-19 App to help track and trace any cases
Social distancing
  • Stay 2 metres+ 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 could cause a greater spread of the virus to more households
Cycling routes
  • Starley Network: 500 miles of connected cycle routes are being announced across the West Midlands. This includes existing routes, canal towpaths and new pop-up cycle lanes which will make it easier to get to where you need to go. 
  • Cycle lanes: There are many cycle lanes along key routes that can help with your journeys. The West Midlands has one of the most extensive canal networks, connecting majority of our towns and cities - our region is a great place to cycle
  • Cycling maps: To help you plan your ride, explore our cycling maps. 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 your local canal network
  • As part of our Active Travel Fund, there has been a number of pop-up cycle lanes set up in the West Midlands to help you cycle around the region more easily
  • Find a cycle route in your area
Free cycling services for key workers
  • #Cycles4KeyWorkers: Are 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
  • Employees: If you are looking to purchase 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
  • Employers: 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 plenty of apps available to help you build up your walking and running.

  • NEW Love Exploring: Enjoy a unique day out with the family with our new walking app. FREE to download, Love Exploring mixes learning with physical activity by providing a range of discovery games and guided tours as you explore a local Black Country park
  • 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 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

You can also try out some pre-planned ones:

  • Find a walking/running route in your local area
  • Canal network – many of canal towpaths have been recently upgraded and there are plenty to choose from to explore
Challenge accepted!

Have you got what it takes? Check out activities and 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.
  • Our partners at Living Streets have a free downloadable #WalkingFromHome activity booklet to keep the family entertained during lockdown. It includes many colourful and educational walking challenges!

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.

Future of cycling and walking

We understand many people have fears about safety on the road. We are here to help you cycle and walk easier and safer. We're working closely with local authorities to implement local changes that will create safe and easy spaces to cycle and walk.

Roll & Stroll

Roll & Stroll

There's never been a better time to cycle and walk than now. Discover projects put into place to help you cycle and walk easier, how to get started and keep going, plus much more.

Get your Roll & Stroll on

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