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Corona Virus Risk on Group Rides

Old 03-27-20, 09:40 PM
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GShaikun
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Corona Virus Risk on Group Rides

So if we have any one that can combine their knowledge of wind dynamics with dispersal of germs...Here near Buffalo NY, we lost our skiing so we are out riding. Trails and road. Today's road ride (sunny, 50 degrees, no wind, quite nice) got me wondering: Given the air speed on a road ride at say an average in the 15-20 mph range, where do most of the germs I breath out land - and therefore where is the safest place to be relative to other riders. Now the obvious 50 yards behind is likely to be very safe. But at times you will be closer. At 15-20mph am I actually safer riding alongside (but not too close) than behind them? Because the air will carry the germs behind the rider - NOT to the left and right? Which seems likely. And therefore is drafting definitely a really bad idea compared to pulling up alongside, since it might be putting one literally IN to the dispersal range of the germs of that rider? I have no wind tunnel, but can any Bernoulli experts shed some light?
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Old 03-27-20, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by GShaikun View Post
So if we have any one that can combine their knowledge of wind dynamics with dispersal of germs...Here near Buffalo NY, we lost our skiing so we are out riding. Trails and road. Today's road ride (sunny, 50 degrees, no wind, quite nice) got me wondering: Given the air speed on a road ride at say an average in the 15-20 mph range, where do most of the germs I breath out land - and therefore where is the safest place to be relative to other riders. Now the obvious 50 yards behind is likely to be very safe. But at times you will be closer. At 15-20mph am I actually safer riding alongside (but not too close) than behind them? Because the air will carry the germs behind the rider - NOT to the left and right? Which seems likely. And therefore is drafting definitely a really bad idea compared to pulling up alongside, since it might be putting one literally IN to the dispersal range of the germs of that rider? I have no wind tunnel, but can any Bernoulli experts shed some light?
Not going to take a stab at the Bernoulli effect, but riding side by side generally will involve a need to go single file periodically, so as a practical matter, this is really just an interesting theoretical question. Group riding is generally a bad idea right now.

For that matter, I don't think it's obvious that the exhaled germs will end up going directly behind the lead rider at all. Keep in mind that your nose is at the front of your head, and that air exhaled through your nose is primarily aimed downwards. The head and body of the lead rider therefore pass through the exhaled breath, and I have no idea whether any exhaled virus would be dispersed in the air or adhere to the lead rider. If it is remaining in the air, directly behind might actually be a safer position than slightly behind to the left or right of the other rider.

Short answer, don't group ride.
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Old 03-27-20, 11:04 PM
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yet another reason to ride solo.
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Old 03-27-20, 11:20 PM
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It is probably a great time to ride solo. At this point, we have to assume everyone might have an asymptomatic or early-stage SARS-CoV-2 infection, and can spread it. So if you are comfortable riding with infected people, then ride in a group. But the more people that won't isolate, the more this is going to spread.

I even get nervous about people passing me on solo rides, which happens a lot because I am slow.

Prior to this, it was not uncommon for me to detect a smell from the person passing me. (Some people just don't seem to do laundry, eat lots of garlic, etc.) If you can smell their body odor, you are in range to inhale their shedding virus particles.

If you are hopping into a car to drive to a ride, you are also potentially contributing to community spread. Unlike going to the grocery store, you don't have to do that.
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Old 03-28-20, 02:59 AM
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Here's a photo of me riding a safe distance with a group a few days ago.

From. I meant to say from. Like, 50 yards from, and headed the opposite direction.

Seriously, though, while I've ridden with these fellows before, it always pushes my limits. I'd be drooling, huffing and spitting snot this time of year with allergies being so bad. So any time I'm a phlegm machine I avoid group rides out of courtesy to other folks, regardless of pandemics. And with an auto immune disorder I can't afford to take chances. So I've been mostly riding solo for months anyway.

If even one person is blowing saliva and phlegm around in a group ride, pretty much everyone is in the path in a fairly tight group like this. Even the fellows trying to stay a couple of bike lengths back aren't really safe, not when they're averaging 18-20 mph. Droplets are still airborne in that short distance at that speed.

Right now I wouldn't even ride with a friend whom I knew to be healthy, because I have no idea what I've been exposed to. Last week I had a medical appointment, which involved six city buses to and from. That's a lot of high risk exposure. And while I wore a mask I could still be incubating, or just an asymptomatic carrier. Not worth endangering other folks.


Safe social distancing in ... oops, *from* ... group rides -- across 4 lanes of highway.

Last edited by canklecat; 03-28-20 at 05:21 PM. Reason: ficks tie-poh
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Old 03-28-20, 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by GShaikun View Post
So if we have any one that can combine their knowledge of wind dynamics with dispersal of germs...
If you're serious about taking this seriously, stop playing physics games and ride solo. Nobody knows enough about SARS-COV-2 at this point to give a rock-solid answer about where it's safe to be relative to others.
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Old 03-28-20, 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
If you're serious about taking this seriously, stop playing physics games and ride solo. Nobody knows enough about SARS COV-2at this point to give a rock-solid answer about where it's safe to be relative to others.
There has been testing as to the dispersal in air and the only way they they could make it travel more than 6' was with a special machine that aerosolizedit in a lab. According to them it is transmitted the same as any other corona or influenza type virus (I cannot find the link to the Canadian lab that did air dispersal testing) . This one is so bad because being new, no one has any immunity at all. In the 2009 outbreak H1N1 killed over 12,000 (CDC) in the USA and that is with it being in the population for some time, in 1918 H1N1 was responsible for 675.000 deaths in the USA (CDC). IMO we should be looking at why the measures some Asian countrys are FAR more successful at keeping the numbers down.
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Old 03-28-20, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
...IMO we should be looking at why the measures some Asian countrys are FAR more successful at keeping the numbers down.
According to interviews of several folks native to Japan and several other Asian nations, it's a difference in personal sense of duty to the community. And it's often enforced by authorities and peer pressure. That's one of the main reasons many people there wear surgical or similar masks.

In the US, people tend mostly to think of protecting themselves and their loved ones, rather than -- or at the expense of -- others in the community. That attitude carries over to our motor vehicles which are safer than ever... for drivers and occupants. Meanwhile the toll of deaths and injuries to pedestrians and cyclists keeps climbing in some states and regions. That selfishness is echoed in the highly polarized reactions by elected officials and constituents who take the bait and respond to divisive dog whistles more readily than experts in medicine and science.
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Old 03-28-20, 05:16 AM
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Good to see an original thread for a change.
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Old 03-28-20, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by GShaikun View Post
So if we have any one that can combine their knowledge of wind dynamics with dispersal of germs...Here near Buffalo NY, we lost our skiing so we are out riding. Trails and road. Today's road ride (sunny, 50 degrees, no wind, quite nice) got me wondering: Given the air speed on a road ride at say an average in the 15-20 mph range, where do most of the germs I breath out land - and therefore where is the safest place to be relative to other riders. Now the obvious 50 yards behind is likely to be very safe. But at times you will be closer. At 15-20mph am I actually safer riding alongside (but not too close) than behind them? Because the air will carry the germs behind the rider - NOT to the left and right? Which seems likely. And therefore is drafting definitely a really bad idea compared to pulling up alongside, since it might be putting one literally IN to the dispersal range of the germs of that rider? I have no wind tunnel, but can any Bernoulli experts shed some light?
Forget about trying to calculate wind dynamics and speed and how it effects germ dispersal...Just do yourself and everyone else a favour and ride solo, until this virus thing has been stabilized and brought under control.
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Old 03-28-20, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Forget about trying to calculate wind dynamics and speed and how it effects germ dispersal...Just do yourself and everyone else a favour and ride solo, until this virus thing has been stabilized and brought under control.
+1.
/thread
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Old 03-28-20, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by daviddavieboy View Post
There has been testing as to the dispersal in air and the only way they they could make it travel more than 6' was with a special machine that aerosolizedit in a lab. .
Ok, but I think the point is that the virus doesn't even have to travel 1 foot, if a following bike rider is moving into the same airpsace previouisly occupied by a breathing and infected other rider.
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Old 03-28-20, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
... Group riding is generally a bad idea right now.

Short answer, don't group ride.
^ this. /close thread
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Old 03-28-20, 07:56 AM
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This is a good topic to discuss endlessly because there is no hard data and lots of people who like to speculate. This is why the internet was invented.
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Old 03-28-20, 09:14 AM
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It's a good topic because six months from now, when we are asking why the US cases quickly surpassed those of a country with a population of 1.3 billion people, where the virus got started for a month or so before anyone even knew what to test for, we can come back and see how seriously people took the social distancing directives.
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Old 03-28-20, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
It's a good topic because six months from now, when we are asking why the US cases quickly surpassed those of a country with a population of 1.3 billion people, where the virus got started for a month or so before anyone even knew what to test for, we can come back and see how seriously people took the social distancing directives.
I will bet that there will be lots of post-mortems and plenty of blame to go around.

I'm not so sure there will be any hard data on airborne virus dispersal on bicycle group rides. I think that those with the expertise to study it are doing other more beneficial things.
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Old 03-28-20, 11:01 AM
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Given the uncertainty, wouldn't it be prudent to ride solo during a pandemic involving an airborne virus?
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Old 03-28-20, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Given the uncertainty, wouldn't it be prudent to ride solo during a pandemic involving an airborne virus?
Absolutely.
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Old 03-28-20, 12:18 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post

I even get nervous about people passing me on solo rides, which happens a lot because I am slow.
I've noticed people don't obey any form of social distancing when they overtake me at least. I find it really annoying. All it takes is them to have it and accidentally cough as they go past and then they've spread it. I like my personal space even at the best of times, but there really is no need to overtake at 3 inches distance and also because these people don't have any kind of bell or anything you only know they are overtaking when you either see them or hear their bike.

I saw a 3 person group ride today. I liked to think they were not a random set of people.
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Old 03-28-20, 12:28 PM
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IMO it’s best to just ride solo or just with members of your household for the time being.
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Old 03-28-20, 03:13 PM
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MEDICAL DISTANCING not Social

I won't state the obvious nor reiterate how or how not to ride, but in reference to the general public not taking this seriously enough, I believe we need to stop calling the required mode of behavior "social distancing". That phrase does not convey the seriousness of the situation. The only "social distancing" we truly need is from any misleading and/or false data. I highly recommend we convert to calling this "MEDICAL DISTANCING"; which unfortunately for those in households of 2 or more still requires (if properly adhered to) keeping "medically distanced" at all times except when absolutely necessary to breach the 6 foot threshold. Thus, whether the person to person interaction is "personal", "domestic", "professional", "recreational", and/or "social"; the reason for the recommended separation is medical in nature and should be taken seriously at all times. I work in a hospital; my work is directly concerned with infection control. What's upsetting to me is the nonadherence by medical staff when not needing to be working in close proximity to one another. I can't enter my work place without answering screening questions concerning where I've been and who I've been near. It doesn't bother me if it helps to reduce the spread, but we all must take this situation much more seriously to lessen the time period of these VOLUNTARY MINIMAL restrictions; it could be much worse!

Let's all be safer out there and try harder; myself included.

Last edited by HPL; 03-29-20 at 01:13 AM.
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Old 03-28-20, 03:27 PM
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Old 03-28-20, 03:28 PM
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If I were gong to ride in any sort of group I'd wear my NBC gas mask. You really can't be too safe when even the experts can't agree on exactly how dangerous this COVID-19 virus is.

Cheers
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Old 03-28-20, 03:56 PM
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LOVE this video. Thank you!
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Old 03-28-20, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by JayKay3000 View Post
I've noticed people don't obey any form of social distancing when they overtake me at least. I find it really annoying. All it takes is them to have it and accidentally cough as they go past and then they've spread it. I like my personal space even at the best of times, but there really is no need to overtake at 3 inches distance and also because these people don't have any kind of bell or anything you only know they are overtaking when you either see them or hear their bike.

I saw a 3 person group ride today. I liked to think they were not a random set of people.
Yeah, I'm giving folks a wide berth when passing. My warm-up and cool-down rides are through a nearby neighborhood with quiet streets, before and after the workout part of my rides. Lots of residents walking and jogging there, including entire families out for walks. Whenever possible I move to the opposite side of the street while passing.

On my usual rural route ride Friday I noticed a cyclist stopped ahead, seemingly stooped over. I slowed and watched as I approached to see if he was okay -- looked like he might be coughing or vomiting. I moved to the opposite lane, slowed to a walking pace and asked if he was okay. He smiled, said yes, he was fine, thumbs up. He was talking on his phone and trying to shield it from the wind so he could hear better.

And I'm skipping the MUP completely nowadays. Still the usual oblivious walkers and joggers meandering all over, never looking while blocking the path or moving unexpectedly. The paved parts of our MUP are mostly ordinary sidewalks, 4' wide. It's impossible to maintain any distance. There are wider and less used adjacent gravel paths but these still intersect with the sidewalk in many places. Better to avoid it, at least for cyclists. There are plenty of other places to ride.
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