Words and photos by ambassador Graham Beaumont.

I have been mulling over how it would be possible to contribute in these strange times, while the world is on hold it seems difficult to focus on anything other than that.

So, who am I to judge my neighbour?

I guess, in some people’s eyes it has become a faux pas to ride your bike at all here in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the government still suggests it’s ok to do 1 form of exercise a day.

Everyone has their own interpretation of the guidelines which is where I think people are becoming unstuck, I believe us to be incredibly fortunate to still have that freedom and I feel equally as fortunate to have some trails almost on my doorstep.

The local farmers are questioning people riding in the valleys and telling them to go home for fear of the virus spreading, and social media has become a lions den of hungry predators waiting for your next post.

Witnessing cracks form throughout society during this has been difficult, but on that same note it has been absolutely magic to see others bring positivity in to these strange times.

With all that said It has made me conscious of what I may or may not post on social media.

After all, there are people out there who live in cities that don’t have the opportunity to ride in the hills and maybe I ‘should’ be aware of their situation as they may not have the outdoor space we have access to.

Maybe I ‘should’ also be mindful of people in the countries that are completely locked down, they are being handed fines if caught riding their bikes or in some cases being anywhere over 1km from their house will result in a hefty fine.

I have always aimed to be proactive and positive towards cycling and generally being outside, I have loved seeing everyone in my home town pull their bikes out of the shed and dust them off or even take an afternoon stroll, whereas they may not have had the time to do so before. The best part about our freedom being restricted is that it has pulled even the most unlikely cyclists/jogger/walkers onto the streets for their 1 a day form of exercise. People are more cheery than usual generally, although there is an underlying fear from everyone of ‘when will this blow over’ which I’m sure everyone is wondering.

Praise to those who are still pedaling, running, and being active (like myself). Many tend to be doing it in secret so they aren’t shamed online. I also hope those who are restricted have an alternative or have found solace in the situation somehow.

But please people be kind. Always.

Worries of finances and surviving on the breadline have been getting to me in these recent years, and those fears have become very real during the last month. I know I’m not alone.

There is currently no work for me at all which is pretty scary, but it has given me a new understanding of where you can save your pennies by simplifying your surroundings. Lockdown has actually turned out to be a much-needed reset for me physically and mentally and in some ways an opportunity to reflect on the past years and the strains of real life.

I am enjoying the little things in life and living happily on a much more simple pathway, rising and falling with the sun, taking time over breakfast and enjoying it outside.

Remove someone’s freedom to roam and they will simply adapt. I have been active in a much simpler manner. Riding from home removes so much preparation and feels a bit more rewarding somehow.

I have rediscovered long lost trails from years ago and even found new exciting stuff all less than a stone’s throw from my home!  The weekly shop has gone from being a chore to the highlight of the week!

Our Cars are covered in dust and we are all saving a fortune on fuel.  Our home has never been so tidy and organised, and I can almost see the end of the never-ending jobs list. We have ample time to spend doing the things we love, we are eating well, not wasting any food, camping in the garden and enjoying each others company (mostly)!

There are birds in the trees and animals are roaming in to the towns as the streets are quiet.

It’s OK to drink a beer at 3 pm on a Tuesday afternoon, I think…

I dearly miss my friends and family, it’s uncertain when we will see each other again but I cannot wait for that moment! Equally, I cannot wait to high five my best buddies at the top of a mountain again soon.

See you on the other side.