Outdoor enthusiasts must be vigilant about maintaining an appropriate distance from others. Runners and cyclists who usually travel in packs must adjust. Here is how cyclists maintain social distance.
Abide by CDC Recommendations and Check for Local Trail Closures
Many stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders make exceptions for outdoor exercise as long as participants observe appropriate social distancing. Before heading out, cyclists should check with local and state authorities about local social distancing rules, park and preserve closures, and modified trail rules. Even if parks are open, their welcome centers and bathrooms probably are not.
Riding in packs on the road is obviously out of the question. Now is the time for solo rides. Mountain bikers have additional challenges to stay far enough away from one another. Slowing down and giving riders ahead plenty of notice of approach is the new normal.
Choosing a Road Less Travelled
For many bike lovers, cycling is a very social activity. Riding in a pack with a club is a favorite routine. Mountain bikers love to head out with friends and replay the trail’s challenges at the end of each ride. It’s difficult to give up that social connection, but it’s necessary during the coronavirus crisis. With so many people cooped up at home, a sunny day brings crowds out looking for some fresh air and exercise. Cyclists should choose the least-crowded routes, maintain at least six feet of distance between riders, and be mindful of wind conditions that could cause coughs and sneezes to travel farther than usual. If the parking lot at the trailhead is congested, find another place to ride.
Take It Easy
Now is not the time to push limits and risk injury. Emergency departments don’t have time for scrapes and bruises and may not have personnel immediately available to attend to broken bones. Hospitals have no beds to spare. Novice mountain bikers should be particularly vigilant about keeping to beginner trails within their ability level. New riders should use social distancing time to research what type of bike to buy for when the curve has flattened and the rate of new COVID-19 cases has declined to manageable levels.
The purpose of getting out for a ride is to get in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise and then go home. While moderate exercise can boost the immune system, extreme workouts deplete vital stores of energy.
Maintain Vigilance About Hygiene
Cyclists must follow recommendations about hand washing, not touching faces, and sanitizing surfaces. It’s a good idea to bring some hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes along for the ride. When taking breaks, cyclists should avoid park benches, railings, picnic tables, and other such surfaces in public areas.
Once back at home, the bike itself needs a wipe-down. Wash hands and sanitize frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs and light switches. Change and launder clothes worn outside as soon as possible.
Cyclists and mountain bikers are naturally attentive to safety. Now, safety for cyclists includes learning how cyclists maintain social distance.