LIKE all other sports clubs during this pandemic, 1st Chard Wheelers shut down its activities in an effort to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

All of the cycling club’s group rides ceased in March; the Seaton Cycle Fest and all of its youth and TT events were postponed until later in the year or until 2021.

In the meantime, club members have been using this time to get out on their own and cycle.

We are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of Britain, and quieter roads mean that it’s the perfect time to jump on a bike and watch the world go by.

More and more people are now using cycling as a means of exercise and transport, and so 1st Chard Wheelers are hoping for a surge in interest once lockdown measures can be eased further.

On their own the club’s members have been doing long 200km rides and trailing Castle Neroche forest by mountain bike, tackling tough climbs like Hare Lane near Horton and the classic Ham Hill.

And they’ve been reminiscing old times by cycling popular routes like Beer and Seaton.

Many members who are forced to isolate at home have also taken to virtual platforms such as Zwift to ride and race with people from all over the world.

The club’s press secretary Mark Hughes said: “None of us know when life will return to normal, or what that normal will look like.

“These are sad and lonely times that we are living through, and cycling gives you that escape that the spirit needs.”

Fellow club member Scott Davies said: “Cycling has been invaluable to me during these extraordinary times.

“While I have benefited physically from riding on road bikes, gravel bikes and mountain bikes, the main benefits have been to my mental health.

“Cycling provides me with space, escapism, enjoyment and utter beauty during this incredible weather.”

Going into summer and beyond, 1st Chard Wheelers hope to salvage what they can of 2020.

If you want to enquire further about riding with the club, you can check out its website or search for ‘Chard Wheelers’ on Facebook.