When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.

These wonderful words, written 124 years ago by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, ring truer than ever during these troubled times. During the Covid-19 pandemic so many people have taken up cycling, that it is nigh impossible to buy a new bike. People out and about on bikes, and families with young children venturing out on to city and county roads, is a heart-warming sight for those of us who want to see everybody getting a chance to enjoy cycling, just as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did.

With the roads (until very recently) free of traffic, and with air pollution down, people have felt much safer getting on to bikes and going out on to the streets, welcoming the opportunity to get back to cycling or even starting to cycle. Cycling has proved a great way of getting outside, away from the confinement of home, and getting daily exercise. Lots of people have also taken up cycling as a way of avoiding public transport. We know this from the huge demand there has been for refurbished bike through the Bikes for Keyworkers scheme that Cyclox set up alongside Active Oxfordshire.

Could this be the start of a golden age for cycling as suggested by our Prime Minister? Yes, it could be, but only if investment is made in cycling infrastructure such as dedicated cycle lanes and safe crossings at junctions, which make people feel it is safe to cycle. Without public transport many people are understandably getting back into their cars. To help prevent this and to encourage more people to cycle, the Government has created an emergency active travel fund with the aim of reallocating road space to give space for cycling and walking. (At the time of writing we still wait to hear if Oxfordshire County Council has been successful in their bid for this funding.)

Cyclox is a cycling campaign group, set up in 2003 to advocate for better cycling facilities in and around Oxford. Over the years we have felt that our voice, representing people who cycle or who want to cycle, has not been heard. But we feel change is in the air. One of the very few silver linings of this otherwise devastating pandemic that has affected so many people’s lives and livelihoods, is the resurgence of interest in cycling. People join Cyclox to support our efforts get more people cycling more safely and more often, and our membership has been steadily increasing over these recent weeks. And just this week we welcomed and celebrated our 500th member. Do join us and help make our voice even louder, so that more people will enjoy the ‘spin down the road’ advocated by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.