France has been in coronavirus lockdown since Mar. 17, as authorities banned recreational cycling and other non-essential activities in an attempt to control the pandemic. Today the country began the process of “deconfinement” and cyclists around the country rejoiced. As of May 11 cyclists in France are once again allowed to ride outside, although there are a few caveats. Riders must respect the rules of social distancing, ride with no more than 10 people and stay within 100 km of their homes.
Now that the lockdown has been lifted, the French €20 million bike subsidy will also come into effect. The fund was created to encourage cycling as a safe means of transit. All French cyclists will be covered for bike repairs of up to €50 at registered mechanics and funding will also help pay for temporary bike parking and cycle training.
The French Sports Ministry has given professional cyclists permission to resume high-intensity as of May 11, but they must exclusively exercise on their own and respect distancing. Many, such as Romain Bardet, have been counting down the days until they’re allowed back on the road. The new father, who’s son was born just over two months ago, posted a photo of his bike on his Instagram story with the caption “wild again”.
It was a drizzly over cast day in most of France, but that didn’t stop riders from getting out. Deceuninck–Quick-Step’s Rémi Cavagna warned riders to stay safe on the wet road in an Instagram post.
He also posted a very similar photo to Bardet while on his ride.
Maëlle Grossetête of Groupama–FDJ posted a story of herself getting ready for her first ride back on the road.
Finally, not wanting to miss out on the post-lockdown riding, Geraint Thomas flew to Monaco from Wales to begin training for the season. With the lockdown in France lifted, he’ll be able to ride in the neighbouring country as well.