And here we are then. All paddling the same canoe. But of course all in different canoes, separated by walls or at least 10 foot of airspace.
In the UK, like much of the world, life has been turned upside-down and inside out both socially and economically. Things won’t be normal for a significant period of time and when they are it’s difficult to judge what normal will be.
Many of us are now forced to work from home and into a world of isolation, or at the very least social distancing. It’s bigger than this little business and it’s bigger than cycling but both of these thing are still important.
I was out yesterday on what may prove to be my last group for a while and the matter of when we will all race again pales into insignificance when set against the global context of a pandemic. But of course it is important. It’s important because actually it’s all these little things that people live for, base their life around, dedicate hours to or just look forward to doing at the weekend that are suffering and collectively, whether its shopping at the weekend, seeing friends, racing bikes or hugging your parents; this will take a toll on all of us. It’s how we reappear that will define us and how we treat each other and ourselves in-between times that will really show us who we are.
What can we do to help ourselves and each other through this period? A period that may come to define not only a country or a generation but, without being overly dramatic, a civilisation.
Talk to each other. By whatever means. Technology makes this easy Facetime is a beautiful thing. We are all doing (or not doing) the same thing. Interact on social media. Ask questions and offer help. In a strange way I’ve spoken to more people on the phone in the last few days than I would normally and it’s going to stay that way.
Look after one another. Your family, your neighbours. Talk to one another in the street, when you’re walking the dog. Putting the bins out. Say hi and smile. It goes a long way to reassuring a stranger that not everyone is a crazed lunatic going round ASDA in a face mask and goggles.
Exercise your mind. Share music, share opinions but don’t be toxic and be sensitive. Learn something new. A language, even if it’s bits of one. A musical instrument. Teach your children something. Introduce your partner to something you love. But don’t start too deep. My wife will never really appreciate Amyl And The Sniffers in the way I do. Accept that some things you can’t change. Cook proper food. Support business. We all need it. Big and small. We, of course, are no exception,
And finally of course exercise the body. It’s important but you don’t necessarily have to go out on the bike for hours on end. Just getting out the house will do. Go for a walk. Do your bit for the country by staying away from others as much as you can. Ride your bike but think about the size of the groups for now. It’s tricky but it needs to become a new normal. There’s no racing for the foreseeable future so there really is no point getting into peak form for events that no longer exist. Remember why you loved it in the first place. Get out, alone, and ride for the pleasure of riding your bike. Get into the woods. Turn off your Garmin. It seems that we in the UK will be set for a period of ‘lockdown’ and that will bring challenges of its own. No doubt the Zwift savvy among us will end up on that and here in The Duckhouse we will doubtless be getting the rollers out and trying not to put any extra strain on the emergency services.
Always remember it could be worse. We’re not having to report to Captain Mainwaring just yet. Until lockdown comes if you can get out, do get out. Keep active. It’s good for you and probably good for those you are sharing a space with.
Stay healthy and look after each other. Be more kind and when we do come out of this we must ask questions. Questions of ourselves and questions of our governments.