LOCKDOWN! …your guide to cycling through a pandemic…

Lockdown! …when pandemic strikes what does this mean for cyclists? During times of social distancing and even total isolation what can we do to keep cycling and keep our minds!!

Times are strange to say the least and for most of us normal life as we knew it seems now like a distant memory. Within in very short time we have all had to change the way we behave and carry out most routine day-to-day tasks and pursuits… not least cycling. Cycling and exercise can help maintain a sense of normality while supporting your physical and mental health. The message has been made clear to us and we all know the rules issued by our own respective governments. So the question is, how do we adapt to these times and keep ourselves motivated and healthy while keeping yourself and others safe. Below are a few ideas that might just help you through the oncoming weeks/months during global lockdown.

Get to know your bike… get cleaning…

So this is the perfect time to get in there and give your trusty steed that scrub down you’ve always promised to do. As well as bringing the shine back to your bike, this also is a great way to become more acquainted with the more technical parts of your bike, teaching yourself the names that will help keep you in the know when out on the next group ride… this is your moment! Before we go on to the cleaning, let’s start by picking up a few names of the bike. Assuming most of you know what a chain, a seat and pedal is, below is a picture of a bike with some of the slightly more technical names that may have gone over you in the past… test 9am tomorrow, happy learning…

anatomy guide of a bicycle

GREAT! Now you know your bike parts we can continue with the clean…

Useful Cleaning Items:

  • Bucket Soap detergent – You can find “bike soap” (or car soap), but good old washing up liquid will do.
  • 2x sponges – 1x clean & 1x dirty (for oily parts)
  • 2x rags – 1x clean (wiping off clean) & 1x dirty (for cleaning between cassette sprockets / removing excess lubricant from chain)
  • 3x Stiff-bristled brushes, 1x for coating bike with degreaser, 1x for getting into derailleur & chain rings (thin & narrow), 1x toothbrush for detail cleaning
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Degreaser (Muc Off)
  • Chain lubricant GT-85

NB. Avoid using packet cleaning wipes as these will coat surfaces with a residue (losing shine) and can cause problems on braking surfaces.

Preparation: Place chain on big chain ring. Put your bike onto work stand, if available (If not: when front wheel comes off, rest the bike on the fork blades & brakes, and lean it against a wall. This keeps it cleaner. Fill a bucket with soap & HOT water (hot gets rid of grease & oil better.) Put some degreaser into an open container, e.g., a half-water bottle (put into bike bottle holder)

Degrease: Brush degreaser “liberally” onto the chain. With flathead screwdriver, get gunk off jockey wheels; add more degreaser to jockey wheels & chain rings.

Clean Bike With Soap & Water: Using clean sponge: Starting from handlebars, go “backwards & downwards” (i.e. while degreaser is working on the drive train) Using dirty, then clean sponge: Drive train (adding degreaser if necessary). Using narrow brush: Mechs (front & back) & front chain rings Cassette: Brush on more degreaser. Slip edge of a rag between sprockets; wash down with (dirty) sponge. Be sure all degreaser is off — it will defeat any lubricant put on later! Remove front wheel, then rear wheel. Using clean sponge: clean hidden parts of fork & brake callipers. Tires: Outside to in. (NB: dirty side walls make a bike look very dirty.) Put wheels back on. Rinse off with clean water (hose down) and dry down with clean cloth.

Tune Up: Lubricate chain; wipe off excess with rag. Spray GT-85 onto derailleurs & brake calipers – AVOID spray onto other bike parts especially braking surfaces – use a cloth to cover over or newspaper. Check and clean brake pads. Check the tires for anything sharp wedged in the carcass; lever it out with flathead; glue big holes shut.

…take photo 👍

Watch a movie…

If/when you find a moment that you can hijack the tablet or TV [smart] there are some quite inspirational programs and mini-films on You Tube widely available and free to watch. Whatever your wheels, whether road or mtb, there is plenty of choice and many are very well produced with some very interesting content to help keep you motivated as well as seeing off a few more hours indoors. To get you started, highlight and right click the link below to the European Cycling Tours You Tube channel with some neat programs of Mark Beaumont ‘Cycling the Americas’ and his ‘Round The World Record Attempt’.

  • https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6Hl0bhZqVZ04EqDCk3yBQBezRoFGxeih

Indoor Training…

One option is to train indoors. How is this done? Well, what you have are several different options. Some we recommend are as follows:

1. Turbo Trainer, Rollers – The beauty of these devices are you can use your own bike! These are the most cost effective and easiest to use.

2. Zwift, Wahoo (aka smart trainers) – similar to a Turbo Trainer but the difference is the trainer is plugged in to your broadband and networked through the software/app subscribing you into virtual cycling events/activities. Very neat and great fun and the cost of the trainers are coming down – will soon likely to be the most common choice in most spare rooms and garages.

3. Peloton – Top end free standing trainer with an on board console subscribing you into live, on-demand ‘spinning class’ like activities around the clock.

With an internet connected television you can access a wide range of You Tube films and footage designed especially for indoor trainer use. Before you start your Turbo Trainer journey, highlight and right click the link below…

  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVbBtdw-_SCqGDs6-_awaDg

Ride outdoors – be mindful and respect the rules…

If you’re willing and able to cycle but don’t have access to an indoor trainer then here are some tips for riding outside as part of your daily exercise.

If you are okay to cycle (and not showing any signs of Coronavirus), choose quiet roads and trails away from crowded areas. Do your best to avoid peak times during the day so set that alarm early or choose the evening for your ride. Ride less often and at lower intensity but be extra careful to avoid an unnecessary accident to further burden the emergency services. Don’t over do it and push yourself hard (so no segment chasing!). Over exertion will task and weaken your immune system therefore leaving you more vulnerable to illness. Keep practising social distancing – for sure you will encounter other people – not just cyclists, so when you do, keep that 2m distance as best you can.

Hope this article helps see you through these uncertain times… please share (buttons at top) if you think this post might also be helpful to someone else you know.

Finally, listen to your body; if you have any Covid-19 symptoms do not ride! Follow government advice on self-isolation.

Stay safe and stay healthy…

The Team ECT 🚴‍♂️🚴‍♀️

author avatar
Jason Director
Unlocking adventure...

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