Chairman’s Newsletter – May 2020

Posted on May 31st, 2020

Hello everyone

To state the obvious, we live in unprecedented times. Hopefully this will only be a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience for us all. I appreciate that the lockdown has affected people in many different ways, and I hope that you are all well and able to cope with the restrictions. One of the things that we discussed at a recent committee meeting (on Zoom) was how much our club rides provide a social opportunity for many of you to meet friends and make new friends and we are particularly sad that this is so restricted at the moment.

We had a serious discussion about the club season and sadly concluded that we can’t see any likely way that we will be able to do any group rides for the foreseeable future and have to assume at this point that the rides programme is over through to the end of the club year in September at least. Advice from government and from Cycling UK nationally is clear that cycling is to be encouraged, but limited to individuals and household groups plus the possibility to ride with one other person, at 2m distance. To be honest we’re not totally sure if even that last part really works, given the difficulty of maintaining such a gap and the likely air flow of breath particles when we are exercising hard. We will review the situation in line with Cycling UK’s advice if and when these restrictions are eased. However, any decision on the resumption of group rides will have to be made in consultation with our ride leaders (who are, after all, volunteers).

This is all terribly sad, but we’re well aware that people have more important things to worry about. We are fortunate as a club not to have any significant overheads or expenses and so we will simply sit this out and come back strongly when we are able to. We propose to delete the rides on the website from the point of lockdown in March through to the end of the season. We do intend to try out a few social events via Zoom video, including “virtual pub night” so watch out for invitations to these events coming your way soon, and we will add these to the website schedule. It’s been great to regularly see club members out on rides around the area, and also brilliant to see some good exchanges on the club Facebook page. The recent ‘spot the church’ series has been a highlight! If you are on Facebook, I really recommend that you join this group as it is a very effective way to be a bit more interactive. Please do keep on posting your ride photos.

It has been interesting and encouraging to see considerable numbers of people out on bikes during the lockdown period, many in family groups. We are really keen to help out and give advice where we can and so we are involved in a number of local initiatives along these lines, in conjunction with other like minded groups such as HarBUG and Sustainable Wantage. Again, look out on Facebook for updates and details. As a club, we are getting a steady stream of enquiries about cycling routes in the area and Steve Swanton has inspired us to start producing a series of one page route sheets of classic club 1* rides. Look out for more on this in coming weeks. We are also in the process of setting up a club page on RideWithGPS to enable us to share and recommend routes to more experienced cyclists in the area.

Other than all that, I think all we can do for now is keep cycling, support each other and the local community and keep in touch as much as possible. Please let me know if there is anything the club can do to help out or if you hear of anything locally that might benefit from our assistance.

For your information, the general advice from Cycling UK (updated regularly) is found here.

Best regards
John

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