Surge in residents using Healthy Bicester’s blue lines for exercise during lockdown

Hundreds of residents have been lacing up their trainers and heading to Healthy Bicester’s blue line health routes for their one dose of daily exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published: Tuesday, 12th May 2020

And with restrictions on exercise scheduled to ease on Wednesday (13 May), allowing people to go out more than once whilst continuing to stick to social distancing regulations, the use of the 5k trails is expected to further increase.

Maintained by Cherwell District Council, the three routes painted onto pavements in Langford, Bicester West and North East Bicester, have seen a surge in use since the start of lockdown. In Langford, pedestrian counters indicate that almost 500 people walked the line each day over the Easter period, up 104 per cent on the previous year.

Meanwhile, the data collected from Bure Park, part of the Bicester West route, showed almost 900 daily users over Easter, up from around 670 people during the same holiday period in 2019.

Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing said: “Being active has never been more important and Healthy Bicester’s blue line health routes offer residents a free solution to fitness during lockdown.”

“With gyms and leisure centres looking to remain closed for the next few weeks, the 5k circuits are a hugely valuable asset to the people of Bicester. Walking even a portion of a route each day will build up physical fitness and play a part in improving mental wellbeing after living in self-isolation for so long.”

For residents wanting to keep track of their daily exercise on the blue lines, the TGO Activate app is available to download, logging time and distance covered as well as converting the data into calories burnt. The app can be downloaded ahead of time or by scanning a QR code found on signs located close to the kilometre marker points on the routes.

Work has recently been completed to spruce up the 5k health routes, ready for even more residents to use them over the coming months.