It was the arrival of my new winter bibs (I was a bit too excited about this tbh!) that gave me the excuse I needed for a quick spin out on the bike (to test them out), my first under Lockdown 2.0 restrictions.
As I tried to keep my ride local as per the advice in this article in the Cyclist I passed some of the businesses us cyclists rely upon and wondered how they will cope under the current restrictions and will it be any different to Lockdown 1.0 (the original and still the most authentic of the Lockdowns)?
At a very hight level there are some notable difference (for now). Firstly, the roads are definitely busier so any hope that we might go back to almost zero traffic and near perfect cycling conditions has well and truly been dashed! In better news schools, nurseries and other childcare settings remain open.
For me this is the biggest single change (given I looked after my 3yo and 7yo for 6 months straight under LD1) and one that I hope remains as I feel this is essential for everyone’s mental health and not least as it gives me more time to get out on the bike!
The impact here at VitxCycle, means we certainly are having to adapt our marketing strategy for the next month (or so), away from speaking to people face to face and to more virtual/digital channels and getting things in place for a post winter/lockdown world. We’ve sponsored The Clubhouse Bash by ATR on ZWIFT and are also have virtual conversations with various cycle clubs about potential tie-ups to their winter training programmes and other club events in the spring.
Looking at retail shops that sell essential goods and services (including cycle shops) they remain open and supply chains should be more robust this time round, however the massive surge in bike sales (63% increase according to Forbes) during LD1 does mean all good bike shops are still light on stock. They will of course continue to provide a critical service to us cyclists, especially for those of us who don’t like to get our hands too dirty!
We are lucky to have a number of great friendly bike shops in the local area, run by people passionate and knowledgeable about cycling including two of our favourites, Giant Leamington and Mike Vaughan Cycles in Kenilworth. Of course people will increase their attention to internet shopping in times like this but the advice, experience and expertise that comes with a purchase from a proper cycle shop cannot be underestimated as they truly provide an excellent service to their customers and I for one am happy they are allowed to remain open. This is especially important for a friend of mine who needs to stock up on inner tubes following his 4 punctures (all in the sae wheel!) on last week’s ride out.
Unfortunately, the other cyclist institution, the cycle friendly café will be more impacted if they are not in a position to stay open on a take-away only basis. Speaking with Ben of the Lighthorne Pavilion Café (one my fav stop offs), they will unfortunately be closed during LD2 so no sausage batches for a while! But good news he will be taking this time to do some alterations, which include improving the outdoor covered seating area (making it even more cycle friendly, if that’s possible) and increasing the inside capacity too.
I’m already looking forward to an early December ride out with a well-timed cake and coffee stop in Lighthorne, in the meantime I will be looking to support other local stop-offs such as Gilkes’ in Kineton, who remain open for takeaways.
One of the reasons I set up VitxCycle came from my search into ways to help my body become stronger and healthier so that I could have a better recovery from training sessions. This included seeking advice from various parts of the medical world and that’s how I came to know Phil Stamper of phil stamper physiotherapy.
Great news that they are allowed to continue to see patients in person under LD2 restriction but interestingly (but not surprisingly) have has seen a shift in demand from their at home treatments, to their video call appointments which people are much more used to now following LD1. This is great news as physio’s can continue to work providing a much needed service and meaning his patients can still continue their treatment/recovery programmes.
It is clear to me that the new restrictions mean we need to live a little more locally again for a while and enjoy the roads with their reduced traffic. It also means supporting those local businesses which we cyclist may (from time to time) take for granted. So I for one will be looking to support the good guys who help keep my bike wheels turning, who keep my belly fuelled with coffee and cake and who keep me in the saddle pain free.
Stay safe during these time and happy (responsible) cycling.