The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is having a massive impact across the globe. Unfortunately the mountain biking world isn’t immune, and the usual therapy for life’s worries – to just go and ride your bike – isn’t an option right now. On top of strict guidelines to limit the spread of infection, nearly all major sporting events for the next few months have been cancelled and there’s a huge amount of uncertainty in the air for bike industry folks and regular riders alike. This is the situation as it stands right now…
What’s the current government guidance regarding COVID-19 and cycling?
Under the partial-lockdown announced by Boris Johnson on Monday 23 March, UK residents are only allowed to do one form of exercise a day outside of the home, either solo or with members of their household. They should not travel to do this, and should stay more than 2m (6ft 6in) away from others. If they exhibit any flu-like symptoms – such as a dry cough and high temperature – they should self-isolate at home to avoid others.
This means cycling is still allowed. However, the emergency services are urging people not to take any risks, because the NHS is already overstretched. For this reason, we’d advise sticking to roads and fireroads. Stay safe everyone! It seems likely that at some point the UK will follow the lead of its European neighbours and impose even tighter restrictions, such as an outright ban on cycling (as in Spain) or a requirement to carry paperwork and limit your movements to within a mile or so of your home (already the case in France).
While it may be frustrating to leave your bike in the shed or limit yourself to gentle pootles, it’s the perfect time to do all those maintenance jobs you’ve been putting off for ages, set up your own ‘bike cave’ or even do some garden trackstand and flatland practice.
Cycling is still permitted, but take it easy, sticking to roads and fireroads, and don’t be tempted into getting rad! Photo: Russell Burton
Which riding spots have closed due to COVID-19?
Most UK bike parks and trail centres have now closed, along with many forest car parks and all cafes, plus all mountain bike trails that come under the remit of Natural Resources Wales.
What impact is COVID-19 having on racing and events?
The following MBUK favourites and new events have been postponed or cancelled, along with many others:
- Ard Dales Enduro – postponed until 2021
- Bespoked handmade bike show – rescheduled for 16-18 October
- British National Enduro Series Round One – rescheduled for 15-16 August
- Crankworx Innsbruck – rescheduled for 30 September-4 October
- Farellones Enduro World Series (EWS) – rescheduled for 14-15 November
- Fort William World Cup – cancelled
- London E-Bike Festival – postponed (new dates TBC)
- Losinj World Cup – cancelled
- Lousa World Cup – postponed (new dates TBC)
- Manizales EWS – rescheduled for 6-7 November
- Maribor World Cup – postponed (new dates TBC)
- Montagnes Du Caroux EWS – rescheduled for 3-4 October
- Nove Mesto World Cup – postponed (new dates TBC)
- Olympic Games – postponed until 2021
- TweedLove – rescheduled for 25-27 September
We’re gutted that the Fort Bill World Cup – one of our favourite events of the year – has been cancelled. Photo: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool
What effect is COVID-19 having on the bike industry?
Currently, bike shops are allowed to stay open, because they provide an essential service to commuters. However, custom is likely to dwindle because of the restrictions on non-essential travel, so many may close.
Some bike brands based in the UK, northern Italy and other areas of Europe already hard-hit by coronavirus have had to halt final assembly and distribution, product launches have been delayed and there’s likely to be longer-term disruption to R&D and supply chains. But with MTB manufacturing concentrated in Taiwan, which hasn’t been badly hit so far, availability of new bikes and kit may not be too badly affected. We’ll have more on the pandemic’s impact on the bike industry in an upcoming issue of the mag.
For some brands it’s business as usual, but others have been badly affected. Photo: Steve Behr
How is the situation affecting MBUK?
We know how keen you’ll be to get your usual fix of mountain biking action over the next few weeks, especially if you can’t get out to ride, so it’s business as usual here at MBUK – or as close as it can be, in the circumstances. Luckily we’ve got loads of great content already in progress, and we’re working closely with suppliers to make sure that everything continues as usual. Now all working from home, we’ve just sent our May issue (381) to press.
We’re asking subscribers to check that we’ve got the correct email address for them, just in case of disruption. Don’t worry – if we’re unable to deliver your magazine to you, we’ll extend your subscription free of charge, so you won’t lose out. Also, we’ll send you a complimentary digital edition. Full details here.
If you normally buy the mag in the shops, don’t fear – we’ve got a great subscription offer for you with a welcome gift; you can download our digital edition from the Apple App Store or Google Play; or you can sign up for home delivery.
That’s right, for the next three months we’ll deliver your copy of MBUK direct to your door, saving you over 15 per cent on the usual shop price and with no delivery charge.* This offer is risk-free and doesn’t require starting a Direct Debit. It simply requires a one-off payment, and if you decide that you want to cancel before the third issue, we’ll refund you for any remaining magazines.** It’s a simple, no-strings way to make sure you get your copy if you’re unable to get to the shops. Just order at www.buysubscriptions.com/MBSPRING3 or call our hotline on 03330 162152†, quoting code SPR3MPG/Mountain Biking UK magazine.
Terms and conditions: *Offer ends 30 May 2020 and is open to UK delivery addresses only. Overseas rates are available. **You may cancel at any time and receive a full refund on any outstanding issues. †UK calls will cost the same as other standard fixed-line numbers (starting 01 or 02) and are included as part of any inclusive or free minutes allowances (if offered by your phone tariff). Outside of free call packages, calls from mobile phones will cost between 3p and 55p per minute. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm, and Saturday, 9am to 1pm.
Right, that’s the hard sell over! All that remains to say is that we hope you, your family and friends stay safe at this difficult time, and we look forward to seeing you out on the trails again soon.