On 14 March 2020, with almost no notice, Spain imposed a nationwide lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak. All non-essential businesses were closed and a total ban on cycling outside was imposed. 2.5 weeks later, they’re still in lockdown.

Dave and Saskia run Bike Breaks Girona, based in the cycling mecca of Girona. Over the last eleven years their blood, sweat and tears has created the stunning, vibrant Bike Breaks Girona Cycle Centre in the heart of Girona’s old town. Over three floors their cycling hub offers anything a cyclist visiting Girona could ever want – but, on 14 March 2020, like everyone else in town, they had to close their doors.

We met Dave and Saskia when we hired bikes from them on our Girona trip, and have stayed in touch ever since. When we asked what life was like in Girona and whether they could share their experiences and tips for cyclists at the start of the lockdown journey, they were delighted to help.

We hope these tips help you survive lockdown with your sanity and cycling ambitions intact. Enjoy!

This article was created as a sponsored feature with Bike Breaks Girona in 2020. The article is no longer sponsored or maintained. However, we think this article may still contain useful information, which is why it remains on our site.

 

Letter from Bike Breaks Girona

Team Bike Breaks

#bikebreaksathome

Girona, Spain

27 March 2020

We are writing to you from Girona, where we have now been in lockdown for coming up to three weeks. We hope our experience of being cyclists living through total lockdown can help those of you who are less familiar with this weird “new normal” than we now are. We also hope to see you back in Girona just as soon as we’re all free to travel again!

 

Lockdown in Girona

The lockdown here in Girona happened very fast and with little notice. On Thursday 12 March, we ran our usual weekly shop ride with a big bunch of cyclists, but at the end of that day, the kids came out of school for the last time and the next day, schools closed.

On Saturday 14 March, we were forced to close down our shop, our offices, our entire business for the unforeseeable future. This is one of the hardest things we have ever had to do.

Man walking across empty square in GironaEmpty squares in Girona (credit: JoJo Harper)
Empty road in GironaGirona in lockdown (credit: JoJo Harper)

At the time it certainly did not feel as urgent as it really is and we thought we’d be able to get back into the shop to sort more things out or to collect things, but we weren’t and we didn’t, so here we are… at home… and our rollers (and everything else) remains in the shop…

On a personal level, it’s very hard – there’s a sense of losing control of our business because we can’t open the doors, and that’s felt very scary and difficult to deal with. We’ve kind of got used to it now, but there’s no denying the surreal sense of feeling completely adrift.

Not being able to ride outside is also an ongoing challenge, both physically and mentally.

 

Our tips for cyclists dealing with lockdown

As with everything in life, when you’re chucked a curve ball, then however hard it is, you find ways to cope.

Here are our tips for cyclists enduring lockdown. We hope they’re helpful!

 

1. Structure your day

Work out a rough shape for your days and do your best to stick to it each day. Talk it through with your partner and family to make sure everyone is on board.

Of everything, this is the most important tip we could give anyone.

Though unlimited Netflix and sofa time can sound very appealing, it is not very healthy. We caved to it for a short period and ended up with a bit of a lost feeling where we couldn’t remember what time or day it was! Not good.

One thing that has kept me (Saskia) and our daughter Holly going is the daily workout with Joe Wicks. It is a reason to get out of bed in the morning and really, kick starting our day with some sweaty exercise has made it a lot easier for us to give some more purpose to the rest of the day!

Tips for cyclists - find structure and do some exercise!Saskia and Holly mid Joe Wicks workout!
Saskia from Bike Breaks Girona working from home in lockdownDave and Saskia are finding not being able to access the Bike Breaks office systems particularly difficult 

2. Do something new

We’ve found trying to see the extra time at home as an opportunity to do something we wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to do.

For example, we now have time to tackle the huge pile of jobs around the home that we’ve been putting off for ages. Not sure if that’s good or bad?!

To start off with, I (Dave) found not riding really hard, but I’ve switched my focus to strength work. It’s always important to adapt a training phase to your circumstances and now I am able to weight train and build strength which I normally don’t have time to do. A silver lining!

There are so many people and companies offering online classes during the outbreak, that even if you don’t have an indoor set up and can’t ride outside, the opportunities are there to build your core and strength.

The real problem is making sure we don’t undo all the good exercise by eating for the rest of the day. Anyone else find that the pile of snacks always seems closer to hand than the fruit bowl?!

 

3. Give yourself space

We are a small family of three and though we love being together, being forced to be together 24/7 within the walls of our home can at times feel stressful.

We’d definitely suggest finding ways to make sure you can get your own space.

We are lucky enough to have a house with enough room for us to each physically have some space, as well as a terrace where we can be outside and breath in some fresh air. But even if you can’t be physically separate, friends of ours have found ways to give themselves mental space, for example my listening to music, podcasts or meditation exercises.

Family looking out of a window in Girona, Spain#bikebreaksathome
Bike Breaks family working on a puzzle during lockdown in GironaTime for all those things you didn’t have time for before!

 

4. Consider keeping a diary

We keep a daily diary where we keep track of the things we do, such as homework, exercise, people we see (outside the window or on video call), films we watch, books we read. We even record things like what we cleaned and what food we ate!

It might sound a bit odd, but we’ve found it a good way to feel we’re not losing the time and  make sure each day counts.

 

5. Keep connected

Bike Breaks is, and always has been, a link between the local community and the cycling  community. It’s helped us to keep those connections going at this time – it’s meant a lot to us to be able to help keep people informed about what is happening, and help with some logistical stuff as well.

For example we take in parcels for local cyclists that are away racing and things, and now the kind post office staff bring those parcels to our house instead! So we can remain a useful link to the cycling community even if the shop isn’t open.

In turn, we’ve been hugely touched by the way the cycling community in Girona has rallied around us to keep our Thursday Girona shop ride going.

Molly Supple, a pro triathlete who lives in Girona, got in touch and offered to set it up for us. Her words really touched us – on the meet up she wrote: “Like many of you, I got to know some of the roads around this area on the Bike Breaks Thursday shop ride. The ride has been going for a long while, rain or shine, and it always attracts an incredible and culturally diverse group of cyclists. During these crazy times, two things that people need are community and exercise, So, let’s keep the Bike Breaks Thursday shop ride tradition rolling every Thursday.”

The first Zwift shop ride was last Thursday 26 March and we had a wonderful group of people take part including quite the rosta of pros (the likes of Robert Gesink and George Bennett…). It was such a buzz! We’ve even been receiving fantastic messages, pictures and mentions from cyclists not on Zwift, that they were still doing their workouts at 10am on Thursday so they felt connected with us from their homes around the world.

If you’d like to join us, we’d love to see you there – the Thursday shop ride is open to everyone and there’s a no drop policy. Check it out on Zwift.

Collage of Bike Breaks Girona Cycle Centre Zwift ride, made by Oliver GrenaaScreenshot from a video made by Oliver Grenaa for Bike Breaks. You can find the video here.

6. Don’t spend all day scrolling

Technology has been amazing in helping us keep in touch with our family and friends – we can’t imagine what lockdown would be like without Zwift, and all the other amazing apps out there.

But, that said, we are all trying to limit our screentime. As everyone knows, you can lose far too many hours scrolling through screens you are not even interested in! We try to pick and choose carefully and only check social media a couple of times a day.

 

7. Plan the future

It’s easy to get caught up in a fuzz of anxiety for the future and get sucked into inertia while we wait to see what unfolds. We’re trying to be a bit more productive with our anxiety and use this time to ensure we, and our business, are on good form and ready to go for the rest of the year.

We’ve got plenty of exciting new riding in Girona up our sleeves for just as soon as people are ready to get back over and come and see us.

Feel free to spend your lockdown planning your next trip to see us 😉 !

 

Final thoughts

We hope our tips help all of you stuck in lockdown right now.

We’ve got everything crossed that we can re-open and start the re-build of our lovely little business very soon!

Take care, stay safe and #stayinside!

 

Dave and Saskia

Bike Breaks Girona Cycle Centre

Dave from Bike Breaks Girona reading with his daughterDaddy-daughter time
Models of Dave, Saskia and Holly from Bike Breaks GironaSaskia says “because we are in lockdown and so are our families, we have had sets of these made to send to each family member, so they feel we are with them”

 

A big thank you to Dave and Saskia from Bike Breaks Girona

We’ve found their insights on what lockdown has been like in Girona, and how we can all get through it, really helpful.

Wherever you are in the world, we hope you’re safe, well and in this difficult time can find ways to feel positive and look to the future.

If you’re thinking about planning a post Covid-19 cycling trip, take a look at our array of Girona guides and start getting excited – it’s such an amazing place to cycle!

If you want help with anything on the ground in Girona, Dave and Saskia would love to hear from you (and we’d love it if you let them know you read this article!). Get in touch with them at info@gironacyclecentre.com or check out their website: www.gironacyclecentre.com.

Read this post lockdown? Check out Dave’s tips for the things you have to do while on your Girona cycling holiday!

 

Dave and Saskia

Dave and Saskia run Pro Cycling Outlet, which grew out of Bike Breaks Girona. From their Girona base, they sell ex pro kit to clients all over the world.

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