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Riding in a Pandemic

Old 03-12-20, 07:37 AM
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livedarklions
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Riding in a Pandemic

Obviously, riding a bike is not an activity that, by itself, will increase your exposure to the coronavirus or make it more likely to give it to someone else, but we ride in the context of a society that is undergoing day-to-day measures to try to mitigate the spread of the virus, not non-stop on a closed track (well, most of us anyway).

I think it will be interesting to have a thread where people talk about how the pandemic and the responses to it are affecting their riding. This is a bicycling forum, and the things we are all experts on is how we ride our bikes, where we go and what we do. This is a fluid situation with more closings, etc., being announced daily, so I'd like to know how that's affecting people's routines, what they're doing to cope, and things they've tried that may or may not have worked out well.

Here's what I think will not be interesting--a bunch of people posting "just ride", discussions about how widespread you think the virus will go (the real experts don't know at this point, our opinions aren't worth anything), essays about the comparative death rates from various sources, and endless posts about why people shouldn't hoard toilet paper. You get no points for stating the bloody obvious or claiming you know what's really happening better than the experts.

At this point, I don't know what changes I'll need to make, but a comparatively trivial one comes to mind--I'm just starting to ride again after a winter off in the gym. Last year, I was in the habit during the longer days of the year to ride 150 miles or so in a day, taking a long meal break in the middle at a restaurant. I suspect this year it will be hit or miss whether such places will be open, and I'm not sure I'm going to want to eat out even if they are. Obviously, that means I'll likely have to carry the food, but it also might mean I'm not riding the same distances because I really like that long break out of the elements.

I realize that isn't a very interesting example, but I'd like to know how people who ride differently than I do are dealing with this, and maybe if there are people who do ride like I do, see if they have ideas I can "steal".

I'm pretty sure none of us in the US have ever dealt with a situation precisely like this, and this definitely is not the same society as it was in 1918.

Debates about whether this pandemic is real or media hysteria belong in P&R, not here. Thanks.
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Old 03-12-20, 07:42 AM
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It's not going to affect my riding much. Tonight I'm going on a group ride. As long as I'm not kissing all the other cyclists I think I'll be fine.
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Old 03-12-20, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
It's not going to affect my riding much. Tonight I'm going on a group ride. As long as I'm not kissing all the other cyclists I think I'll be fine.

I suspect, though, that as this develops, people are going to be surprised by changes they didn't anticipate. I don't group ride, but I'll bet the socializing before and after a ride may get affected. Also, I'm beginning to see recommendations of "social distancing" of at least 6 feet, I don't know how seriously people are going to take that.

I think it will be interesting to see if you've noticed any changes in the next two weeks. Public health officials seem to be anticipating that the excrement will hit the air mover during that period.
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Old 03-12-20, 07:57 AM
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No one want to come within 6' of me anyway.

Seriously though...I was going to jump start my bike-train-bike commute to my NJ office today until I got home last night and realized that I had left my key carabiner with my bike lock key on it at my city office. (Fortunately, I have a lock box on my railing for the cart sitter and for my own stupidity.) I was really curious to see if the train would be less crowded. Hope I get to do the commute on Tuesday.

I don't plan on changing my riding habits unless things take a dramatic turn. But I am getting more curious about the fate of my planned tour our west in June.
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Old 03-12-20, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
No one want to come within 6' of me anyway.

Seriously though...I was going to jump start my bike-train-bike commute to my NJ office today until I got home last night and realized that I had left my key carabiner with my bike lock key on it at my city office. (Fortunately, I have a lock box on my railing for the cart sitter and for my own stupidity.) I was really curious to see if the train would be less crowded. Hope I get to do the commute on Tuesday.

I don't plan on changing my riding habits unless things take a dramatic turn. But I am getting more curious about the fate of my planned tour our west in June.

I'm seeing this thread as something of a blog for people to report what's happening as it develops. I'll be interested to see if commuting starts being different, and keep us posted on the trip plans.
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Old 03-12-20, 08:04 AM
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In DC people who can are switching from Metro to riding a bicycle, e-bike, or scooter. This morning there are ten dockless e-bikes or scooters outside my building instead of the usual two and that change happened overnight, the bike racks aren't full yet. I'll be interested if there is a mass switch from public transit if cities like NY begin to repurpose a car lane on bridges to ease pedestrian/bicycle congestion at those choke points.
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Old 03-12-20, 08:07 AM
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I would be more concerned going to a public gym and working out on shared surfaces and enclosed areas rather than being on a bike alone away from others. Most of my riding is solo and I am self-supported with no reason to stop at a store or water fountain. If anything, cycling bolsters my immune system and I would be foolish to give that up.
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Old 03-12-20, 08:08 AM
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I live in a rural area and can ride as long and as far as I like without coming into contact with others. However, my wife and I like to ride MUPs occasionally because they usually involve stopping at a coffee shop or local eatery. We may not ride those trails until more is known about how the virus is affecting our area.

I'm not sure about what lies ahead but after President Trump's speech last night, I get the feeling that Government officials know more than what they are telling us. Of course, that can be said about any issue facing us today. Things can change rapidly in the next couple of weeks but for now I'll continue the common sense practices that most people follow during a normal flu season.
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Old 03-12-20, 08:09 AM
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currently no changes in my location. no closings as of yet
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Old 03-12-20, 08:40 AM
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I haven't been out on my bike that much over the past 2 weeks but I'm sure hoping some of the rush-hour traffic that I usually ride in has decrease a bit. I'm really looking forward to my next ride. I never really stop anywhere for coffee or a sugar boost, so I guess my only contact would be with myself.
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Old 03-12-20, 08:45 AM
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little to no effect and talking about it even creating more hype and hysteria over this isn't helping IMO. I am not saying this isn't a deadly virus or that this will not have larger implications like a global recession which could effect cafes, bike shops, and bike manufactures BUT as per just going out and riding it's probably safer than commuting on mass transit or being in a closed room with a bunch of other people since when you are on a bike most people will be outdoors in the open air and will essentially be socially distancing themselves from others. As long as your not swapping bottles or bodily fluids when biking you should be 100% fine. As per not have a restaurant or cafe open that might be a hassle but I would just bring extra food and water on your trip but even in counties that have been hardest hit by the virus grocery stores or what we call in the US (more so in NY) bodegas that have snacks and drinks are still open.


Also people concerned about group rides I still would be pessimistic you would have someone with the virus since my wife who is an RN has told me the biggest indicator of possible FLU is a fever/temp. There is like a 98% chance if you don't have a fever that you don't have the flu, and just because you have the FLU does NOT mean you have the Corona Virus. Also some of the symptoms of the virus is increased mucus production thus trouble breathing where people have described the feeling like drowning. I highly doubt ANYONE with Corona let alone the common cold would be on a group ride...

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Old 03-12-20, 08:46 AM
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I'm less the 2 weeks out from Cervical fusion surgery, so it's not changing my riding plans for the next month or so. Started on trainer and Rouvy yesterday. Surgeon said outside riding in one month. So we will see what transpires after the month is over. Probably will be worse, from what I gather. My closest neighbor is about a mile away here in Rural central USA, so I am isolated. Cycling is the least of my concerns honestly.
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Old 03-12-20, 09:01 AM
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I ride solo at least 95% of the time. At this point, it has not changed how, where, or when I ride. Also, I live in a summer resort area and we do not have the huge influx of people yet, though there are many more visitors on weekends. The one thing that would definitely have a big effective, I drive a school bus, if schools close down over concerns for the virus, I would have a lot more free time. I am sure business and property owners already have concerns about the effect of the virus on the upcoming season. I am in the mid-Atlantic and we get hundreds of thousands of visitors from many major cities, and tens of thousands from other countries.

This area has numerous big bicycling events in the spring. They attract thousands of cyclists and families from many different areas. I have not seen any numbers, but I believe that pre-registration is down for these events. None have been canceled yet, at least not that I am aware of. I am going to get on some web sites to investigate this and will report back on what I find.
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Old 03-12-20, 09:18 AM
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Darklions, you will have to cease the habit of spitting while riding.
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Old 03-12-20, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
...I think it will be interesting to have a thread where people talk about how the pandemic and the responses to it are affecting their riding...
Not one iota. I still wave...
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Old 03-12-20, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
Not one iota. I still wave...
I'm trying to stop waving
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Old 03-12-20, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
and keep us posted on the trip plans.
Will do. One key to the plan is what flying will be like in 3 months. Delta sent me an email telling me it is taking steps to for thoroughly clean their planes and airports. The email also mentions flexible waivers. I think they are playing it by ear right now when it comes to that.

Assuming I can make it to my destination, the key issue will be the availability of services. The pan is to stay in a mix of private, U.S. Forest Service, municipal and state park campgrounds. Three hotel nights are also planned, including one at the end of the trip. Will some/all of those accommodations be closed?

The other interesting issue is the possible social climate. I will most likely be recognized as someone from out of state. Will I be unwelcomed, especially if Montana has few cases compared to the rest of the country? I am a member of a large touring group on Facebook. Members tour all over the world. There have been reports of people touring in View Nam, which has relatively few cases, being refused service in restaurants and markets and even yelled at out of fear of foreigners spreading the virus.

I am not worrying about any of this. Just keeping it in mind. My more immediate concern is local facilities remaining available so I can take some long weekend trips for training. My first planned one is Holy Thursday through Easter. It hinges on two state park campgrounds, a ferry and two train routes being still available.
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Old 03-12-20, 09:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
I'm trying to stop waving
I prefer a head nod or a wriggling of the fingers. You cannot be too careful.
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Old 03-12-20, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
I prefer a head nod or a wriggling of the fingers. You cannot be too careful.
not trying to not get infected by not waving (lots of nots)

but where does it end? wave at every car?
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Old 03-12-20, 09:50 AM
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I don't belong to a club and ride alone, so it really won't impact me that way. Certainly washing my hands better than formerly after getting back from the store buying my bars and so forth, but other than that, it's just social distancing here.
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Old 03-12-20, 10:02 AM
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Good point, above, about gyms. If I used spin class as part of my off-season training (I don't), then I would find something else to do to keep cycling fitness. I have plenty of cold weather gear, so for me riding outside when it's cold is not a problem, and this winter has been unusually mild in the NYC/suburbs area anyway.

I think the only way the pandemic has affected my riding is that I'm even more conscious about checking behind me before doing snot rockets than I was before. I haven't been on a group ride in ages, so I don't have to think about how riding in close quarters with others would affect my risk of getting infected.
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Old 03-12-20, 10:20 AM
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Further it is another flu virus that always seems to come out of china, and mainly affect old people with other health problems. For the young and healthy, it is just another flu they have to endure.

As far as changing riding habits it depends on how you ride. If you are a lone cyclist out in the sunshine and fresh air, your chance of catching this flu is probably almost nil. OTOH some of us may have to change where and who we rid with. Being in the snow belt I have been going to the gym and riding the bent exercise bike since I am a bent rider. I will probably now just wait for warm days to ride outside. Group riders might be well advised to maybe start just doing lone rides for a while until this flu dies off with the warm weather as usual.

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Old 03-12-20, 10:27 AM
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I ride solo and my rides all start and end in my own driveway so absolutely nothing will change for me.
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Old 03-12-20, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
It's not going to affect my riding much. Tonight I'm going on a group ride. As long as I'm not kissing all the other cyclists I think I'll be fine.
Wait are you saying there are cycling clubs/groups who kiss each other on the ride! Depending on the members that could increase what I'm willing to pay for my annual membership

In all seriousness this is a serious situation not to panic but not to be taken lightly either. It would not affect my decision to ride with a group whatsoever.
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Old 03-12-20, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
You just couldn't honor the OP's request, could you, sparky?
Apparently, the MSM called out the National Guard in New Rochelle.

And to add to his credibility, he asserts this is a flu virus.
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