A New Reality – Cycling amid a global pandemic

Happy New Year

I haven’t written much this year, as I have spent most of the year so far, both training for my first Adventure Bike Race (the Race around the Netherlands) and developing a motivation course for women like you and me.  There was simply no time to fit anything else in, not even blogging. I was a woman on a mission.  This was a brand new decade and I planned to make an impact

But everything’s changed now!

In just 3 weeks, the way the world works has changed beyond recognition.

To be fair, we missed the first signs in Wuhan in China at the end of December 2019. But by January the world was becoming aware of a new strain of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) virus that presented as pneumonia then death in older patients.

But the world was used to seeing this kind of virus coming out of places like China, and although the medical community was concerned, the rest of us assumed that it would be contained. The general perception was that since it wasn’t even as deadly as the flu, it wasn’t anything to worry about.  Then the province went into lockdown and we started to be interested. Chinese New Year was cancelled indefinitely.

The impact on the world outside of China was that it was an economic inconvenience.  Our goods were trapped inside the province and going nowhere.  The stock markets started taking a hit, but in our minds, it was still a Chinese problem…..until it wasn’t anymore!

The problem with this particular virus is that many people could have caught it and carried it symptom-free, spreading it everywhere they went.  For those that did develop symptoms, they would have caught it 5-14 days before they emerged, and been highly contagious during that time. The virus began to spread, beyond the Chinese border.


A Global Problem

So, it suddenly started to become everyone’s problem.  The Chinese love to travel. They are the ultimate in tourists, they go everywhere.  And as such a global manufacturing powerhouse, they receive business visitors from all over the world.  Spread was inevitable, as it soon became clear that it had not been contained.

But still, Europe largely had their heads in the sand and so eventually at the beginning of March it hit Europe in a huge way, with Northern Italy going into lockdown as the population started becoming sick and dying.

Now, 3 weeks later the whole of Europe, in fact, most of the world is either in full or partial lockdown.  At the moment it’s mostly the elderly that are severely affected, but none of us wants to prematurely lose our loved ones, and so we all have our part to play.

But this is a cycling blog, so get on with the cycling bit!!

Ok, ok, so why the CV-19 history lesson?

Well, this now affects every part of our lives.  Almost every sporting event or leisure adventure around the world has been cancelled or postponed to some future date, in most cases September and beyond.

I’m sure that as you started to see your events being cancelled, whether they were marathons, sportives or triathlons, you felt that same pang of disappointment that I felt when I realised that it was unlikely that I would be going to the Netherlands any time soon.

You will probably have been training all winter and been looking forward to the warmth of spring to really boost your Vitamin D and mood.  It’s inevitable that even for someone with the most positive of outlooks, you would have felt your motivation just drop away.

I know that I did.

In one of my last face to face sessions with my coach, I said as much and asked for suggestions of events that he knew of later in the year that I could maybe enter to keep me focussed.  We discussed a few suggestions, but a week ago I decided on a big solo challenge (Lands End to John O’Groats and back).  I figured that I could do it when both myself and the country was ready, no travel to foreign lands was required, and it would help keep me motivated to keep training even if we got locked down. Not that it was looking like we would be locked down even as recently as 10 days ago.

You see, I don’t like to see money and effort go to waste.  I’ve been training pretty intensively all through the winter, and I also spent a lot of money upgrading all my equipment (new bike in particular).  It was all starting to pay dividends in terms of my ability, even if my personal life had taken a beating.

It will certainly be weeks, if not months before I’ll be able to go off and ride 200-300km rides again, but I don’t want to lose that fitness. I’m sure there are many of you out there with a similar dilemma.  If we are effectively housebound, how do we keep our cycling fitness?

athlete bike black and white cycle

With that in mind, and with a lot more time on my hands, I’ve decided to increase the frequency of my blog.  Several times a week I will be sharing my thoughts, fitness hints and tips in a kind of CV-19 diary.

It would be great for you to join in the conversations, and let me know of any content that you would like me to share.  Some content will be serious & possibly health-related, but I’d like this ideally to remain both informative and light-hearted where possible.

Like most crisis’s we will get through this.  This is not the apocalypse, but it is a global reset. We will need to be adaptable & creative. It is not the end of cycling life as we know it, just a pause.

Until my next post, enjoy any fresh air that you can still get, keep well away from anyone outside, read books, plan future trips, talk to your families, and breathe.  This will be over before we know it.










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