UPDATED ADVICE ON MOUNTAIN BIKING DURING PHASE 3 OF SCOTLAND’S ROUTE MAP THROUGH AND OUT OF THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC (10/07/20)
We would like to thank the mountain bike community for continuing to follow guidance through each stage of this crisis. By doing so you are supporting the Scottish Government and protecting the wider public throughout these unprecedented times.
This updated guidance has been prepared through consultation with Scottish Cycling, sportscotland, Glenmore Lodge, other outdoor sports governing bodies, Scottish Mountain Rescue, Forestry and Land Scotland and the Scottish Government to help you understand what the changes within Phase 3 means for our sport.
Please remember that these guidelines are drawn up to protect us all. Covid-19 has not gone away and remains a significant health care threat to the public.
Key considerations in Phase 3 – from 10th July
Plan ahead: While travel for recreation and exercise remains unrestricted, we are urging riders to plan rides/trips carefully. Check our MTB Trail Centre Page to see if your chosen destination is open. Please also be mindful as we move out of lockdown, there may be areas of localised outbreak of COVID-19. (Such as the outbreak in Dumfries and Galloway 02/07/20). This may mean localised travel restrictions in and/or out of a certain area. Please check in advance.
Be prepared: Trail centres, car parks, toilets and other facilities will all be doing what they can to welcome us back safely, but may not yet be quite ready – do your research online in advance. Ensure you have enough equipment for your ride including extra clothing, food and water in case of emergencies and a delayed rescue. Face coverings are now mandatory in all shops – please factor this into your preparation.
Return to trail riding: Trail skills may be a little rusty, allow yourself time to get them back. With a long period off the trails, don’t be surprised if the flow doesn’t instantly return. Maybe this is the time to top up skills, regain confidence, by booking some coaching with one of our superb coaching providers across the country. Many are now back in operation, with new COVID-19 guidance – check them out here.
Be nice: we are all sharing busy local outdoor spaces. Saying hello, giving way, smiling and a friendly wave – can brighten up everyone’s day. Do the Ride Thing and follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code at all times.
Advice for Phase 3:
- Think about your chosen destination – Are the trails open? Check our MTB Trail Centre page - up to date information regarding purpose built MTB facilities across Scotland to help you make the best choice for your ride or trip.
- Overnight stays - short breaks can take place in fully self contained accommodation across Scotland – this includes motor homes and campervans, but only those that satisfy this definition at this stage. A self-contained campervan or motor home is a vehicle that can function without outside resources. Certified motorhomes include a toilet and water container that holds greywater (from the sink and shower) and septic waste. This means you do not require toilet facilities when you park up overnight somewhere - See www.campa.org.uk for some helpful advice.
- Overnight stays from 15th July – all holiday accommodation can reopen. From this date as campsites can now open toilet and shower blocks – camper vans and other motor homes that do not have on board water and toilet facilities can now be used for trip.
- Wild camping /bike packing - permitted from the 15th July (Further guidance/advice will be developed and will be shared as soon as possible)
- Indoors/Overnights with Friends – a household can meet up to 2 other households at a time – up to 8 people in total. This includes overnight stays.
- Parking – please park with consideration for others and avoid blocking roads, driveways and access for other vehicles. If your chosen destination’s parking facility is overcrowded, please have plan B option.
- Group rides – You are now able to meet with up to 15 people from 4 other households outside, with physical distancing. Please consider only meeting with friends from your local area to minimise the risk of spreading the virus across different communities.
- Organised group rides - For information on organised group activity for both children, young people and adults including mountain bike club activity, leaders, guides, coaches and instructor – please see our colleagues in Scottish Cycling’s guidance.
- Maintain physical distancing of 2m with anyone that is not part of your household.
- Personal hygiene - Be committed to hand hygiene and be cautious of touching surfaces eg gates, stiles. Hand sanitiser should be at least 60% alcohol based and detergent wipes are appropriate for the surface they are being used on.
- Avoid sharing food, drink, mobiles or equipment with other people.
- Cleaning of equipment, hand and respiratory hygiene are core measures to be implemented and provision should be made for these. Cleaning products should conform to EN14476 standard or any detergent is followed by chlorine releasing agent. Detailed guidance and advice is available at www.hps.scot.nhs.uk/web-resources-container/covid-19-guidance-for-non-healthcare-settings/
- Have a Plan B - Prepare to be flexible and have alternative ride locations in mind if your chosen destination is busy or crowded – car parks in popular locations may be busy, or even closed.
- Toilets, shops and cafes may still be closed, so don’t rely on them – take everything you need with you. Handy website to know ‘where to go…’ www.lockdownloo.com
- Bike hire may now be available – check in advance and book online.
- Litter - Take a bag to put your litter in and take it home – there is no excuse.
- Equipment – Take enough food and drink for your ride and remember if you were to have an accident it may take longer for help to reach you – put an extra layer in your pack.
- First Aid & PPE - Take your own first aid kit and include a COVID kit with sanitiser/soap, gloves, mask/ face covering.
- Return to trail riding: Your trail skills may be a bit rusty - allow yourself time to build back to whatever level you were riding at. After such a long period off the trails the last thing we all want is an ‘incident’ that would mean further time off the bike. Initially ride trails that you know well and have ridden for some time at a level within your experience and competence, and that of anyone else you are with.
- Avoid longer and more remote rides – we would still advise that you do this, especially in the early stages of this Phase. The entire population of Scotland is going back to the hills, and all outdoor user groups need to be mindful of the associated risks of larger numbers flocking to remote areas.
- Emergency services including mountain rescue assistance are still under pressure and adjusting to new covid-19 protocols – everything takes longer - should you need assistance be prepared to wait for rescue.
- Local Communities – Continue to be considerate. Local, especially rural, communities may be wary of large numbers of visitors and the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
- Face coverings – From 10th July it is mandatory to wear a face covering in all forms of public transport, shops and all other places where physical distancing is difficult.
- Smile & Wave – It is still a concerning and challenging time – please continue to be friendly, smile, wave and say hello and thanks when passing. At this time – more than ever it is important that we look out for each other.
- Respect staff - Many staff are returning to work and may be wary about the risk of infection. Please treat everyone with respect and follow all reasonable directions.
Scottish Government are easing their shielding advice throughout July, as long as infection rates in Scotland continue to fall, and have set out a separate Route Map of the changes they expect to make. If you are shielding then you should receive a letter in the coming days with your Route Map.
Who Shouldn’t Ride
Do not leave your home to undertake exercise or physical activity if Scottish Government advice means you should stay at home because you or someone you live with has or has had symptoms of COVID-19.
People who are symptomatic should self-isolate for 7 days and household members for 14 days as per info on NHS guidance. No one who is self-isolating should go mountain biking. Information on Scottish Governments approach to managing covid-19 is available at www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/