In the Sherlock Holmes short story The Adventure of The Solitary Cyclist the protagonist, Miss Violet Smith, finds herself riding her bike every Saturday morning to the railway station, from her mysterious new employment, for a weekend visit to her mother. There is a long and lonely section of road and the young woman is alarmed to see an unknown figure following her by bike, maintaining a constant distance. Rather than being a threat, however, it transpires that this individual is riding at a distance for Miss Smith’s protection.
This brings us to mind, of course, with our current Coronavirus lockdown, where we must, for all our protection, ride at a safe distance from one another, and certainly not in groups.
We have, therefore, suspended for the time being our spring and summer social rides, which we had planned right across the country, which were designed to see all points of the compass, gently build stamina, and, of course, to create new friendships whilst travelling by bike and by train. Hopefully these will be able to resume again soon, but maybe the ultimate goal of working up to a 100km ride will need to be moved over to the 2021 programme.
Individual, solitary, rides are continuing, however, both for transport and fitness; the all important ‘fresh air’ we need when cooped up in this enforced, but necessary, confinement. There are problems, however, with this. Workplaces closed, the sun newly shining as Spring has sprung, and the foot and cycle paths are full of people, families enjoying this time together. It can be very hard to maintain the recommended minimum of two metres distance. This is especially true of the city where, we believe, roads should be closed to motor traffic temporarily, to allow pedestrians (and those on two wheels) to ensure this essential gap is maintained.
Along with Luxembourgize, we also believe that a debate needs to be held very soon, regarding mobility, clean air and a City where people come before cars. Coming out of lockdown, whenever that might be, gives us a unique opportunity to reposition the Human at the centre of our Capital, as we believe it should be.