Adam Walker at The Cycling Co.

Mountain Biking Safely During a Pandemic

Spring Is Here!

…oh, wait, what’s THIS?

Adam Walker -Riding safely during a pandemicAfter a long wet winter, it’s finally spring. The sun is out and the trails are mint. We all want to get out and shred like mad…

But, there’s this little thing…a microscopic thing. This coronavirus. The little thing that no one can see that has messed with the world beyond anything we have ever experienced.

The world has slowed down. Many of us are off work. We’ve got all this time to ride. For some, it’s the most free time they have ever had. So it’s tempting to call your crew and hit the trails. But it’s so important that you don’t!

While here on Vancouver Island, we have not seen the same tragic effects that Covid-19 is having elsewhere, it is imperative that we do not become complacent. We all need to ride alone or only with those we live with.

Sadly, over the past week, I have seen many disregard the instructions from the government, health agencies, our local trail organizations, and Cycling BC. I’ve been passed by groups on the trails and seen people gathering for group rides with those who are clearly not family or house mates.

Activities in contravention of BC provincial health authority orders are not covered under Cycling BC’s insurance. 

SOURCE: Cycling BC

Is Two Meters Really Enough?

Experts have recommended that we keep a 2-meter buffer between us and those around us. But what about when we are riding? On your bike, 2m is not enough. And here’s why…

Even if you are the recommended 2m apart, on a bike you are moving, and your “respiratory signature” follows you with a comet-like, cone shaped path, rather than the sphere-like shape when we are stationary or walking.

This comet-cone of snot, sweat, and frothy-mouthed respiratory spew is following you in your wake. And the faster you are moving, the farther this cloud of “you” hangs in the air behind you.

Now, unless you have been living under a rock, you know that it’s possible to be infected with Covid-19 and show no symptoms for up to 14 days. Do you really want to go riding with your buddies and share spew trails?

I didn’t think so.

Exercise for Mental Health

We also know that exercise is good for our mental health and for our immune system. Personally, I become an anxious headcase if I can’t get on my bike. But it might be best to take it relatively easy. If we head out on epic full day missions that can be very taxing on the body and actually SUPPRESSES immune function. Certainly, we can all agree that immune function is very important right now.

And then there’s the safety concerns…

Riding safely during a pandemicWho really ever wants to go to the hospital? How about right now?

We have heard that the hospitals, at least locally here in Victoria, are still relatively vacant, but that’s not an invitation to go full-send and risk an injury that will land you in the ER. Do you really want to be in a place where infection is a risk?

Ok, ok, I’ve heard the rebuttal that you might be more likely to slip in the shower than crash your bike. And there’s also the argument that riding slow is more dangerous than riding fast. (I’ve actually had my worst crashes from hitting something too slow). But I think the really important takeaway here is simply this:

Use your head.
Be smart.
Ride alone.
Keep the wheels close to the ground.
And finish your ride with something left in the tank.

So what should you do?

Get out and do some rides where you are simply riding for the pure enjoyment of being on your bicycle. If all you normally do is ride your mountain bike, go for a road ride. Hit up some gravel riding. If you normally smash endro laps, go for some xc. Even go for a hike. The change will benefit you in more ways than you might expect and you might even notice that you really enjoy other types of exercise and movement.

If we can all chill out a bit, keep our distance, and be responsible, this will likely pass. 

So when your buddy calls and asks you to head for a rip with a bunch of your endurbros, be responsible and just say no. Deal with the FOMO – You’ll live, I promise. There will be more rides. As long as we ALL just chill for now.

Let’s all get through this together, but apart from each other. #apartnotalone

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