Cycling enthusiasts keep active during COVID-19 lockdown

TO help his community during the COVID-19 outbreak a technology expert has put his skills to good use to enable people to keep fit and active during the lockdown.

John Jones has developed an App which enables cyclists to keep on track with their training programmes while staying within government and public health regulations.

The Mapdec App allows cycle enthusiasts to stay in touch with their coaches and keep the wheels of their fitness programmes turning from home.

John, who lives in Kendal in Cumbria, is a software development manager for award- winning company Createc, which creates technologies to solve some of the world’s most challenging problems.

When the country went into lockdown John wanted to also put his skills to good use to help his local community.

Working at the weekend and evenings, John set about developing an App which would mean his local cycling coaching centre could continue to operate.

The Mapdec App allows coaches to set bespoke fitness and training programmes which cyclists can follow and interact with in a virtual environment.

John, a keen cyclist, said: “When the country went into lockdown I thought these fantastic cycling coaches we have in the local area, who do such an amazing job for so many people, are not going to be able to carry on doing their work as they can not just move their desk. “I thought that would be bad on so many levels. It’s their livelihoods at stake. And also while we are all dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak it’s so important for all of us to do what we can to stay healthy and keep fit and active.

“I wanted to come up with a solution which would mean the coaches would be able to carry on working and the cycling community would be able to stay together and have the inspiration and mentoring they need to keep active with their programmes.

“It’s really important for people’s motivation and physical and mental health and well- being to be able to carry on with their exercise routines during lockdown.

“And there’s a real community in cycling that I wanted to be able to keep together. We are social beings who like to interact with each other, and we also need that mental relief of being to be able to exercise. The App is a way of achieving that.

“The App helps people with their one permitted cycle a day. But there’s also lots of fitness exercises that people are able to do at home during lockdown. We wanted to make sure that was all easily available in the App as well.

“I wanted to make it really easy to use. It’s about agile coaching, getting the maximum value out from the minimum you put in,” said John who moved to Kendal in 2010 and joined Cockermouth-based Createc after working for law firm BLM in Manchester.

Like many of his colleagues at Createc, where several of the team members enjoy active lifestyles as runners, cyclists and swimmers, John has always been interested in health and fitness.

Canadian-born John, 38, swam for Ipswich when he was younger. He got into road cycling when he sold his motorbike when family came along. He and wife Naomi, a teacher at Heron Hill School in Kendal, have two children six-year-old Clara and two- year-old Hugh, who are also using Joe Wicks’ daily exercise sessions to keep active.

Paul Vousden, who runs Mapdec Cycle Works in Kendal, is full of praise for the way John has devoted so much of his spare time to help the business survive the lockdown - and keep the cycling community together in a virtual environment.

“John has been fantastic. He responded so quickly to the situation and used his skills and expertise to come up with a solution to keep the cycling community together,” said Paul. “It’s amazing what he has achieved in such a short time and the support he continues to give at all hours of the day to keep enhancing the App and help our coaches and cyclists.”

The App, which can be downloaded by cyclists anywhere, has three different groups for three different abilities - beginner, advanced, and youth group (aged 14-19), with missions and goals set in every section to help cyclists follow a training programme bespoke to them.

There are also a range of exercise routines to follow including squats, deadlifts, kettlebells, and yoga, all tailored to help build strength, mobility, fitness and endurance.

Cyclists are also able to interact with Mapdec’s ten dedicated, and vastly experienced, cycling coaches in secure areas within the App to help them maintain their training routines and be able to set new missions and goals.

Paul said: “We are indebted to John for giving up his time. We really appreciate the support which has played such a vital role in enabling us to stay operating during the lockdown.”

Mapdec Cycle Works, which uses data-driven bespoke training programmes for its 100 members and 350 users, is at the centre of the cycling community in South Lakes with strong links to Kendal Cycle Club which has in the region of 700 members.

The Mapdec App, which is free to download, is available to anyone anywhere in the world who is interested in cycling and staying fit and healthy.