by Russ Lowthian, HaveFunBiking.com
As spring weather brings warmer temps and 30-Days of Biking, beginning April 1st social distancing is the new norm. People are asking is it safe to go for a bicycle ride, walk or commute by bike to work during the coronavirus pandemic?
The answer is yes, it’s safe if you follow the recommended guidelines. Now with gyms, health clubs and schools closed and local health officials recommending the practice of social distancing to meet those guidelines. Cycling is a healthy means of staying active and is still advised. There is no reason to stop if you feel well, just use some precautions. So take a break from the uncertainty of the news. Get out there and learn some new social-distancing habits using the helpful tips below and have some fun staying healthy.
Social distancing benefits
In my research, at this time social distancing is one of the key recommendations by many medical organizations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, that may change, as there is still a huge amount unknown about the COVID-19 virus. So stay tuned for up-to-date news, recommendations, and mandates. Currently, by incorporating social distancing into your walking or cycling activities you can burns calories, gets your heart pumping, while working your legs and abs. It can also lift your mood, reduce stress while putting a smile on your face and improve your general health and wellbeing.
It’s critical to be physically active to ward off this virus
Most health agencies stress, being inactive is a serious threat to our collective health. According to some recent research, I found staying physically active can reduce the risk of heart and circulatory disease by as much as 35% and the risk of early death by as much as 30%. So it’s critical to be physically active, possibly in new ways with this threatening virus. If you are not in quarantine or at high risk, please consider incorporating the following suggestions into your social distancing activities to stay healthy.
Helpful social distancing tips to make your outdoor activities safer
Along with the general safety tips for riding a bicycle and other social distancing activities. Here are some helpful suggestions to incorporate into your solo active outdoor routine to stay healthy through the COVID-19 health crises.
- First, and foremost, if you are sick, STAY HOME. Even if you are only experiencing a cold or flu-like symptom – coughing, sneezing, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat – stay home and call your doctor. If after 24-48 hours you are not feeling any better, seek medical care immediately.
- Plan your ride and avoid traveling through crowded places or on busy cycling lanes. Remember keeping a distance between you and others is critical.
- Make sure your bicycle is in good mechanical order. You don’t want a breakdown and have others get to close, helping you out. If in doubt, have your favorite bike shop check out your bicycle and make sure your tires are in good shape.
- When approaching a slow cyclist or someone ahead of you walking, verbally let them know you are passing on the left and allow extra-space, at least three feet or more as you pass by them.
- Bring hand sanitizer or wipes along to clean your hands or fingers if wearing cycling gloves. After touching the button at a signal light crossing; a public bike rack; or any other surfaces that may have been touched by others sanitize your hands. If there are no sanitizer products on the shelf at the stores you frequent make your own. *Make a handy pocket-size sanitizer pouch by using a heavy zip-lock bag. Place some cocktail size napkins or paper towel inside the bag and pour rubbing alcohol over the paper sheets until moist, then seal and they are ready to use.
- Wipe off your water bottle before using it. If you hang your bottle(s) out in the open, on the frame of the bike, cover the cap with a piece of plastic held with a rubber-band, or use a sanitary wipe and clean the cap and nipple surface before taking a sip.
- When arriving at work or returning home, wipe down your bike and then wash your hands. The same goes for your cycling gloves, clean them.
Plus, limit the number of people in your group
- If you feel safer riding with others, limit the number of riders in your group to 10 or less – the fewer the better. For added bike safety, along with the social distance recommendation, stay three bike lengths, or 15 to 20-feet apart while riding.
Other activities without a crowd to enjoy
If you live in a congested area where it is hard to avoid crowds while biking, consider these social distance activities to healthy.
Social Distancing Is a Must
If you live in a crowded area or a community with confirmed coronavirus cases, social distancing is very important. This means limiting your interactions with other people as much as possible. It is especially important to keep this in mind when it comes to older people, as they are most at risk of developing life-threatening symptoms.
If you have to meet someone, try to maintain a distance of at least 6 ft and avoid any direct contact — no handshakes, hugs, or kisses.
If you have coronavirus symptoms or you believe you might have been infected, stay in complete isolation for at least 14 days and make sure to wear a mask if you’re interacting with other people
Remember to take care of yourself, during this time of change. It is important to remain calm and respect those around you.