I thought we might delve into some ethical philosophy this week. It’s perhaps a bit controversial, so I apologise if anyone is offended, but I tend to believe we should face difficult issues with intelligent open-mindedness rather than hide from them. The 21st Century is throwing us so many complex moral and ethical issues and few are more complex than those raised by Covid and how we deal with it.
You may have come across the concept of the ‘trolley problem’. This examines the ethical dilemmas where you are faced with a situation where you are not personally in danger, but have to make important decisions. Imagine you are on a bridge over a railway line and you spot 4 people tied to the tracks. Then, you notice a runaway carriage rolling down the tracks towards them. You quickly search around for something to throw down in front of the carriage to block its path to save the 4 people. The only ‘object’ you can find in the time is a very big man.
The dilemma is, do you throw the big man off the bridge in front of the carriage, almost certainly killing him, but potentially saving the 4 tied up? Apparently, most people can’t bring themselves to sacrifice one person, even if it means saving 4. Would you?
So, let’s make that harder still. You can’t see the 4 people, but someone else shouts up that there is one person, but that there could be many more tied up and in mortal danger. Now what do you do?
This is the type of (highly unlikely) scenario that ethicists use to determine how risk is managed. Lockdown is a good example of where on the one hand, we have people ill and dying from a horrible virus and on the other, a growing toll directly and indirectly from the effects of the measures taken to combat the virus, principally lockdown.
Substitute the 1-4 people tied to the tracks with those who will die from Covid, exchange the person who shouts up that the number of people on the track is not known but could be very high, with the scientists charged with forecasting the effects of Covid on the population. Finally, replace the big man for those at risk from the effects of lockdowns – missed cancer diagnoses, delayed operations etc.
There are people out there trying to balance the very human costs of making decisions not dissimilar to the scenario above. I sincerely hope they are blessed with a higher level of wisdom than I have and am glad it’s not me having to make those calls.
Is this relevant to us? I think it is. On the one hand, we can do our bit by not being tied to the train tracks in the first place, but we also need to make sure we look after ourselves and our pals to mitigate the effects of lockdown.
Responsible Club Activities
I am convinced that one of the most positive things we can do is to double down on the things we can now that are beneficial to us. For many of us, that means getting on a bike. The reason I threw out a load of activities for us to get involved in last week is that I felt that the valuable role played by our bike club through this period had been sliding. Partly, of course, because of some pretty hideous weather – but also because we’ve got out of the habit of mixing and riding together.
What I hadn’t considered, was that there may well be financial reasons why some of the activities listed would be out of range for some. This is easily fixed. The club has plenty of money in reserve and if we can’t help our members in times like this, then when can we?
Yoga at Dragonfly
Katie has organised 2 sessions with Dragonfly each week: Monday morning 7:30-8:30am Wednesday evening 6:30-7:30pm The club is happy to fully fund this. It’s a bit complicated because of the booking system with Dragonfly, but if you have not joined this for financial reasons, just speak to Katie. See her Facebook post for full details.
Turbobeat with Elite
We will be running 6 completely FREE sessions with Elite, paid for by the club. Every Monday at 6:15pm for 6 weeks. These sessions are both sociable and hard work. You don’t have to be some sort of power-monster to attend – you work at your level based on % of max. heart rate. There is some set-up involved here. Paul will help you through the process and we have some spare turbo trainers and heart rate monitors we can lend. Please register on RiderHQ to attend these sessions and Paul Mill will be in contact to make sure you’re ready. Find out more about Turbobeat on Elite’s website. (Don’t book through this or you’ll be charged!)
This got off to a great start last week, with a team of Penge’s finest duking it out with some lesser clubs. Follow Stephen’s Facebook posts to keep this going.
Rachel set up a very successful Friday evening meet-up on Zwift and this will continue as a regular session at 6:30pm on Fridays. Check out Rachel’s Facebook post to jump on this one.
Trainer Road meet-ups
David McTeague will be running a Group Workout at 8:30am on Sunday. This will be a 90 minute session with plenty of rest and chat and some hard work too. There is room for 11 people at a time and we can set up additional sessions if required. Either reply to this email and I’ll connect you or look out for Davey’s post on Facebook. You’ll need a code to enter. If you don’t have a Trainer Road subscription shout. I have 3 free trial passes and am sure others have some too. Don’t let this be a barrier!
Coffee at Rule #19
I have put £100 ‘behind the bar’ for members to enjoy a free coffee when returning from a ride. It will be there from first thing this Saturday until it runs out.
It feels like we are getting closer to the time when we can ride together fully, but let’s not let too much hope in just yet. In a Palace match, we’d be into the second half with a slender lead. Still too early to plan for victory. Focus on the week ahead and let’s make the most of these opportunities.
Have a great weekend.
James Hanscomb, Chair of Penge Cycle Club.