How to keep cycling during the Coronavirus crisis
With social distancing becoming the norm across the country, the likelihood of shelter-in-place requirements becoming more widespread, and self-isolation as a way to protect our families and communities, we’re asking what’s safe and best to do?
At least for now, our answer is to keep riding outside whenever it is safe to do so, and doesn’t conflict with the recommendations of your local health or other authorities. There’s hardly a better way to keep fit and lower your stress level than to ride a bike in the fresh spring air.
If you can ride outside – enjoy!
Bike share and commuter riding goes through the roof as commuters avoid subways
It was encouraging to see bike ridership double in many cities, as people avoided subways and car pools, taking to the bike lanes to keep a safe distance from others and avoid recirculated air. Many people dusted off long-neglected bikes, and bike-share racks were rapidly cleaned out. Perhaps they will rediscover the joy of cycling along with the benefits of bike commuting, and keep riding once the threats perceived in public transportation have subsided.
Cyclists facing fines in some regions
Much less encouraging, in some parts of the world cycling outdoors is no longer an option. In Spain for example, the situation has been evolving over the last week or so. At first, people were told they could bike to work or to go shopping, but could not ride for sport. In practice, some local police were far more strict, threatening fines for anyone riding a bike.
In France and Italy it’s still officially allowed to exercise outdoors alone, cycling included, though it may only be a matter of time before this changes.
It’s very hard to imagine a cycling nation like the Netherlands without bikes in the streets. For now, bike shops have essential business status, and are staying open while bars, cannabis cafés and sex shops are closed.
Here in the U.S. it’s even harder to picture restrictions on cycling like those in Spain. Even so, since California placed a shelter-in-place order on about 9 million people, and the same tactic to stem the tide of COVID-19 infections is being considered in other places, it now seems possible.
As in other sports, the Cycling season is on hold or canceled
The season opening French stage race, Paris-Nice, was wrapped up a day earlier than planned, and that may well mark the early end of the French professional racing calendar for 2020. In Italy, the Giro d’Italia was postponed until Fall, although no changes have been made to the Tour de France… for now.
One of the strong reasons accepted by the many professional cyclists who live and train in Spain is that any crash (an ever-present danger for those who ride at their limits so long and so often) would take medical attention and resources away from those battling for their lives with COVID-19 infection.
Since Italy and Spain were the earliest and worst affected countries in Europe, the restrictions have grown tighter as authorities try to slow transmission of the virus. Most people are now being told to stay at home except for pharmacy and emergency trips – cycling for any reason is not really an option any more.
Celebrate the freedom of cycling, even in a world of restrictions
As cyclists we know riding a bike is a healthy and energizing activity, a low-impact form of exercise that clears the mind and strengthens the body. Cyclists enjoy better health than many others, generally, and surely strong hearts and lungs can only be helpful in fending off the effects of the virus if we do contract it.
We don’t know what the weeks and months ahead hold for us, but as cyclists we do have a sport/hobby that unites us in healthful activity, mental refreshment, community and companionship. We’re here to help you on your journey, so please stay in touch, keep riding as much as possible, and encourage others to do the same.
Here’s to tailwinds to come.
Read our top tips for making a fun indoor cycling set up, and staying motivated to ride indoors during the Coronavirus pandemic.