Road Cycling

Coronavirus: Triathlete defends 200-mile lockdown ride – BBC News

Joe Skipper Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Joe Skipper holds the British record for long-distance triathlon

A professional triathlete has defended his decision to use his daily exercise allowance to complete a nine-hour bike ride.

Joe Skipper rode 201 miles (325km) around Norfolk, saying if he could only go out once he “better make it count”.

He faced a backlash online, with people accusing him of undermining the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

Skipper pointed out he did not break the rules, had consulted a doctor and took food and drink with him.

Under government guidelines in force since 23 March, people are allowed to leave their homes for exercise once a day. Though no maximum duration is specified, the guidance says people should be “minimising time spent outside”.

Image copyright Strava/
Image caption Joe Skipper posted his 200-mile (325km) ride on activity-tracking app Strava

Skipper, 32, posted on activity-tracking app Strava on Thursday under the title: “Only go out once a day! Right, better make it count then.”

Screenshots of his ride began to be shared online, with some users questioning whether such a long ride put him at greater risk of an accident, reported cycling news website

Norwich-based Skipper addressed the complaints on his Twitter account, telling one critic a ride of two hours was “no different than five or six”.

He added: “If they put a ban on exercise I’ll adhere to that but currently it is ok to ride your bike.”

He told another: “I took precautions and [took] advice off medical professionals that have said it’s fine to do what I’ve been doing. As long as it’s within government guidelines which it was.”

Skipper is the British record-holder for long-distance triathlon, which comprises a 2.4-mile (3.9km) swim, a 112-mile (180km) bike ride and a marathon (26.2 miles, 42km). He has twice finished in the top 10 at the Ironman World Championships at Kona, Hawaii.

Government guidelines state that people should only leave home for essential shopping, medical needs, exercise or work travel.

But they add that “even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home”.

Find BBC News: East of England on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have a story suggestion email