Row over Sheffield cyclists riding to the Peak District and Hope Valley amid lockdown

Hope Valley residents have complained that members of Sheffield’s oldest cycling club have been riding into the Peak District over Easter amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 8:54 am

Iain Greenhalgh, from Bradwell, posted on the Bradwell Derbyshire Community Forum:

“I'd just like to shame members of Sharrow Cycling Club for finding themselves too important to stay at home, and instead, choosing to ride out through Bradwell and the Hope Valley.”

Iain said he club responded to him with a statement, which has been shared on the forum, prompting a row.

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The statement said: “No areas of the Peak District included, are off limits’ during lock down. We cancelled all group rides as soon as the government introduced the current regulations.

“The majority of members were riding solo since before that announcement. Everyone is permitted one form of exercise a day, and unsurprisingly the majority of members choose to cycle. Many live within 20 minutes of the Hope Valley and can therefore comfortably complete a ‘local’ route within an hour from home.

“There are no stipulations as to the duration of exercise. No areas, Peak District included, are off limits to people able to easily access them by riding a relatively short and reasonable distance from home.

“We’d expect our members to properly exercise social distancing when coming into contact with the public, and to avoid stopping or using shops. As far as we are aware, all of our members are ensuring that is the case.”

It refuted the suggestion that Sharrow CC members were out on group rides over the weekend, adding: “That is not the case and unhelpful considering “current circumstances and widespread, generally unwarranted, anti-cyclist sentiment that pervades many areas of South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and beyond, before the regulations.”

Mr Greenhalgh, said: “You will appreciate that the very presence of Sheffield cyclists in the Hope Valley poses a threat to residents in the event of any road traffic accident, to the emergency services who would be called to attend.”

“The British Cycling Advice says ‘please only ride on routes you know well, close to home.’ A 12 mile ride out to the villages of the Hope Valley does not follow the spirit of this advice! Other clubs have also been spotted out.

Colin Allen posted: “A very poor response from Sharrow CC. Their normal rides are up to 60 miles at a speed below 15 miles an hour. I am sure that a four hour ride round the Peak District is not in the spirit of restrictions. A bike is a form of transport and should be viewed as a non-essential journey.

Roger Cotes said: “Rules need to be applied in a sensible way - isolated cycling is low risk - especially relative to exercise in a crowded area, if you don’t visit shops unnecessarily. It may not have been officially organised, but there were certainly sightings of a group of riders wearing Sharrow tops.

“There may well be anti-cyclist sentiment pervading areas of South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and beyond, but it isn't unwarranted and Sharrow CC’s response isn't helping improve it.”

Sharrow Cycling Club have been contacted for comment.