British Cycling has this week laid out plans for the safe return of grassroots cycling in the UK as lockdown restrictions ease.

The national federation has set out ‘The Way Forward’ – a framework detailing when all levels of cycling activity can resume, from club rides to elite racing.

Merseyside club cyclists can expect to return to group rides as early as March 29, the date when BC-affiliated club rides will be allowed to resume. Initially these groups will be limited to 15 cyclists, with this cap in place until May.

Liverpool South RC is a local club that was formed in May last year as a result of the pandemic.

They started running both group and ‘buddy’ rides to offer an outlet to the stresses of lockdown life and have a particular focus on encouraging novice cyclists and those returning to the sport.

Club Secretary Rob Reed told Merseysportlive how they are looking forward to the easing of restrictions.

“As a club we look forward to the release from lockdown. It’s been difficult as some of our riders haven’t been out in a group before so we have had to look into the lockdown restrictions and plan accordingly to people’s ability.”

“We personally will do smaller groups [than the permitted 15] and slowly increase the group size as people become more comfortable with the larger group size.”

The recent lockdown restrictions have been particularly tough for those just getting into the sport and building their confidence: “As the lockdown got stricter some club members went into their shell.”

“We will have some riders reluctant to participate in group rides until the jab process is complete.” Reed added, but noted that they have ‘buddy’ rides in place for those less comfortable with a large group.

Return to competition

Lockdown has seen competitive cycling in the UK almost entirely wiped out for the last year. Currently, all events until June are cancelled.

Under the proposed easing of restrictions, certain local competitions and sportives can return from the end of March. Pilots for national events in road racing and mountain biking will begin in April.

If all goes to plan, all activity will be allowed to resume from June 21 in line with the government’s roadmap.

Merseyside’s national events – the Eddie Soens Memorial Trophy and the Clayton Spring Classic – are unfortunately among the cancelled events, but racing could return to the north west in June with the Lancaster GP.

The full proposed guidelines can be seen here.

Featured image by paisleyorguk is licensed under CC BY 2.0.