When was the last time you were instructed to stay at home for weeks (probably months) on end and told to do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t involve leaving your house (other than to buy food, pick up medicines or get a bit of exercise)? Mmm… It’s a first for me.
Imagine you set off to cross a continent on your bicycle only for a global pandemic to stop you in your tracks. That’s what happened to Paul Gentle as he attempted to cycle from Tarifa in Spain to Nordkapp in Norway. The Cycling Europe Podcast spoke to Paul about his plans, his cycle through Spain and France and his race against the clock to get back home to the UK while it was still possible.
It seems likely is that in a few weeks time, we will be at the point on the curve where Spain and Italy now find themselves. Yesterday it was reported that in Italy “The latest crackdown effectively bans jogging and bicycle rides, the only types of outdoor exercise that were allowed.” Might it be a good idea to refrain from doing so here in the UK when we are at an earlier point on the curve? I think it might.
The Coronavirus outbreak has upturned many of our lives. I am now unemployed, for example, but in the context of a medical emergency, even that seems quite small beer. A couple of weeks ago, I posted a piece written by Paul Gentle about the first leg of his cycle from Tarifa in Spain to Nordkapp in Norway. Alas, that endeavour has also become a victim of the virus and now been cancelled. A few days ago Paul returned back to the UK from Nice in France. To his credit, however, Paul has written a second piece for CyclingEurope.org about the second part of his cycle through Spain.
We live in surreal times. The world is approaching a state of lockdown. The shops are emptying of toilet paper and hand sanitiser. The Italians are singing from their Juliet balconies. We are encouraged to ‘self-isolate’ at the drop of a, err… handkerchief. Work from home! Wash your hands! Sneeze into your elbow! This is far from normal.