Scottish Cycling (SC), through its department Developing Mountain Biking is Scotland (DMBinS), have worked with the Scottish Government to clarify and update the guidance on participation in mountain biking during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The guidance makes it clear that mountain biking is permitted as part of a daily exercise routine during this time but that any activity should be undertaken in line with latest Scottish Government public health advice.
Both SC and DMBinS are fully supportive of the current approach, which recognises the positive effect that all forms of cycling, including mountain biking, can have in terms of positive physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The updated guidance has been issued following the announcement from the Scottish Government that you can exercise in the outdoors more than once a day and also a letter exchange prompted by the statements on Friday 10th April from Jason Leitch, National Clinical Director of Scotland.
All mountain bikers should follow these four key points:
• Only ride from your home – it is not essential travel to go mountain biking or cycling and you may face enquiries from the police if you are stopped enroute or returning from a ride. All Forestry and Land Scotland car parks and trails, including the 7stanes sites, remain closed.
• Do not go far – whilst you can go exercise for longer, we recommend riding close to where you live and not into remote areas – think more smaller loops rather than one longer remote ride.
• Ride well within your limits – only ride on trails that are that you are very confident you will be able to ride safely and within your competency. It is highly unlikely that mountain rescue are back to full operations – consider the fact that a full rescue may not be possible and may take longer to get to you.
• Only cycle with members of your own household - keep a safe distance when passing other cyclists or pedestrians.
Head of DMBinS, Graeme McLean, said: “We are very supportive of the Scottish Governments efforts to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible during this difficult time. We also know that cycling, including mountain biking, has a positive effect in terms of both physical and mental health.
We know there are parts of mountain biking which are risky, and were the focus of Professor Leitch’s comments, and we are all keen to stress that we do not want to encourage anybody, including cyclists, to undertake activity where they may get into difficulty and require assistance from the emergency services, including mountain rescue.
We are living in unprecedented and challenging times and it is clearly vital that everyone maintains strict social distancing measures and public health guidelines to ensure we minimise the spread of the Coronavirus.
We thank all cyclists, mountain bikers and riders for strictly adhering to this advice.”
SC and DMBinS will continue to work with the Scottish Government, sportscotland and other partners to develop clear guidance for outdoor sports enthusiasts in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.