Cycling in the time of Coronavirus

This article was published in 2020, in Magazine 147.

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The pandemic has changed our daily routines, our ways of working and our perspective on life. And cycling? It’s become more important than ever

Camcycle changes focus in response to pandemic

On 13 March we announced our immediate response to the coronavirus pandemic including the closure of the Camcycle office and working from home arrangements for our staff. Following a trustee meeting on 19 March and the UK lockdown on 23 March, we re-established our priorities, halting recruitment for a summer intern and putting physical events on hold. We shifted our focus to progress on activities including:

  • Continuing to develop our plan for the future and setting a new strategy for Camcycle so we can be even more effective with our campaigning.
  • Completing our cycling policies project (see below) to strengthen our campaigning with clearly-defined and well-researched policy positions.
  • Upgrading our website. Auditing and improving content, design and usability. Technical work on this is almost done, but we’d welcome any offers of help to review and rewrite material.
  • Upgrading and reorganising our behind-the-scenes IT systems which will help our staff be more productive.
  • Fundraising to support these projects and the implementation of our new strategy in 2021.
  • Documenting our processes to ensure we have good guidance when key support roles need to be handed over to new volunteers.

The overall goal was to invest in Camcycle’s capabilities so that in 2021 we could be more effective than ever and ready to lead the way to a post-pandemic way of life which includes healthy and sustainable transport like cycling. However, since April, much of this work has already started through our Spaces to Breathe campaign. This has now become the main focus of our time and resources.

30 key policy summaries for more, better and safer cycling

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We have made progress on our policy project in recent months and now have 30 key summaries up on our website, with the next step to develop the longerformat versions of each policy which our volunteer team is helping us research and compile.

Thanks to Sarah Hughes, Nigel Deakin, Ellie Gooch and trustees Robin Heydon and Martin-Lucas Smith for their work on the policies, in collaboration with our Communications Officer Anna Williams. More volunteers welcome – if you’d like to get involved in this work, join us on Cyclescape thread 5040.

Camcycle Events

Monthly meetings

Since April, we have been holding virtual meetings on the first Tuesday of the month, streaming live on Facebook at 7pm (viewable to all) with footage later uploaded to our website and YouTube channel. After the event, we meet socially on Jitsi Meet (see below).

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Weekly member socials

Each Thursday at 2pm, members are invited to gather online using a space on Jitsi Meet. These catch-ups have been important to helping us retain a sense of community in lockdown. All are welcome.

Other events

At time of writing, we are unsure when we will be able to gather in person again. We have halted planning for the Cambridge Festival of Cycling – if any events do go ahead, they will be much simpler than in previous years.

Coronavirus Advice

We’ve collated essential information about cycling and coronavirus on our website including links to the latest government advice and tips for those new to cycling, a list of bike shops currently open and ways you can volunteer during this period.

1,500 Members!

One goal for our 25th anniversary year was to reach 1,500 members and, at time of writing, we’ve just hit that target in time for our birthday. More next issue!