MAAP Ride Stage 6 Willunga en-route in Adelaide 2020
The spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19 has been escalating on a daily basis. The general consensus is that 'social distancing' and good hand hygiene is the best way to combat the spread.
Each day more and more cities are going into lockdown with bans on cycling at varying levels. With many cycling events suspended, such as the Giro d'italia, which was recently postponed by its governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). https://www.uci.org/inside-uci/press-releases/the-uci-takes-strong-measures-faced-with-the-development-of-the-coronavirus
San Francisco - Stay at home
The City of San Francisco is very clear on how they are protecting their community and to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus which is expected to become worse in the coming days and weeks. These measures include:
- Vulnerable populations must stay home. Everyone else is required to stay home except to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job
- It is okay to go outside for walks and bike rides if you are not in a group and keep your distance from others
- Stay at least 6 feet apart when leaving your home for essential activities
Washington Post Coronavirus simulations
Spread of coronavirus, no action taken
Spread of coronavirus, 3/4 of the population is social distancing
The Washington Post has a great article including the above simulations from Harry Stevens: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator
British Cycling - all recreational rides suspended
All of British Cycling's recreational rides (bunch rides) have been suspended. They include programmes such as the HSBC UK Breeze, HSBC UK Guided Rides, HSBC UK Ride Social and Let’s Ride Pop-ups.
Bunches - the slip stream effect
North Road Ride - Melbourne circa 2017
There are many varying outdoor group density numbers but at a very basic level, there may be times when riding in a bunch exposes you to biological material being discharged either consciously or unconsciously.
Sometimes coughing or sneezing into your elbow may not be practical (ie when turning, cornering or riding along uneven surfaces) during short bursts of intensity where aerosols/particles may be expelled from your mouth, the clearing of your nose using the proverbial bushman's handkerchief or clearing your throat. Biological material may enter the slipstream of the rider directly behind you and unwittingly expose that rider to possible pathogens.
Again, riding with your regular bunch doesn't remove the possibility of exposure.
Social distancing - Be conservative
Two riders in Alphington - quiet backstreets - Saturday 21st March 2020
The general consensus is to distance yourself and to be conservative which in the cycling context means removing yourself from situations where you may be within 1.5 meters of another rider, ie not riding with your regular bunch.
Practically, this can be challenging in most cities where you may find yourself riding less than 1.5m/6ft along side or directly behind your riding buddy.
Similarly, the movements of air and turbulence may still expose your fellow cyclist riding shoulder to shoulder with you to aerosols whether you are moving or stationary so again riding solo is the best way to remove any risks.
Solo riding & fresh air is the safest option
Anna Spanner riding up Mount Pleasant & kangeroos (on the horizon) - Saturday 21st March 2020
By social distancing from your regular bunch/group ride the exposure to these risk elements is immediately removed and more importantly reduces the spread of the virus.
Dallas riding up bedisdes the Pony Club in Banyule - Saturday 21st March 2020
Things to consider when riding solo
Remember at these times it's important to maintain your immune system by not exerting yourself excessively for long periods and minimising the intensity/training load, ie when you get back your muscles are not sore and you don't need to snooze on the couch.
Check your tools & spares
When riding in a bunch, chances are someone in the group will have a spare tube, or chain tool but when you are on your own remember the basics:
- Spare tubes
- Glueless patches, ie Park Tools - small & compact
- Co2 cannisters or better still an old fashioned pump
- Multitool - they are quite small with the basic allen keys
- Phone - fully charged & ID, ie your wallet
Let someone know what time they should expect to be back.
With most hospitals at their maximum capacity, it's important to limit any additional casualties to their emergency departments.
It's important during these times to keep active as it helps to improve both your physical and mental health. Ride your local loops and use this time to explore your neighbourhood. Just remember to follow the Coranvirus/COVID-19 guidelines if you have symptoms or have returned from overseas.
You can also purchase a stationary trainer that connects to your bike – see the options under virtual bunch riding.
Virtual bunch riding
There are many great virtual platforms that stage regular bunch rides, however you will need a compatible trainer with Bluetooth/Ant+ connectivity and may require a subscription to a virtual platform, these include:
https://zwift.com - virtual riding software only
https://thesufferfest.com - virtual riding software only
https://www.trainerroad.com - training focused software
https://wahoofitness.com - trainers only
https://www.saris.com/catalog/trainers?utm_source=BrandButton&utm_medium=LandingPage&utm_campaign=Trainers - trainers only
https://tacx.com - trainers & software
https://www.bkool.com - trainers & software
https://www.elite-it.com trainers & software
Humans are social beings and it's equally important for your mental health to keep engaged with your local community, whether it's family, friends or your buddies in your local riding group.
While organised person to person contact may not be taking place, remember there are good old fashion ways to stay in touch, pick up the phone, send an sms, email or use your preferred social media platform, Zoom & Gotomeeting (video conferencing), Google Hangouts or Facetime/Skype to check in with others.
If you're out riding and see another rider, give them a wave or like they do in country Australia, slightly raise your index and adjoining fingers.
Catching up on the bike tasks & declutter
Many unloved tubes awaiting patching
Those home chores
I'm sure many of us have a pile of tubes patiently waiting to be repaired or a stash of used bike parts that are too good to throw out but no longer compatible with our group sets or components. It's a good opportunity to donate these parts to bicycle recycles and declutter the stockpile.
Netflix & Streaming providers - Some great cycling movies and docos
Icarus - 2017, The Program (Lance Armstrong) - 2015, Pantini, the accidental death of a cyclist - 2015, Pedal the World - 2015, Chasing Legends - 2010, The Road to Roubaix & The Flying Scotsman - 2006, & Rising from Ashes 2002, A Sunday in Hell - 1976 and the quintisential BMX Bandits with our own Nicole Kidman - 1983.
Just like the recent fire crisis - there will be regrowth
Bruthen in East Gippsland - regrowth after the fires in early March 2020
Bairnsdale local group at Clifton Creek early March 2020
Further information on Cornavirus
Works health Organisation - WHO