“You need a mask.” – early March 2020
“Masks are for medical professionals only.” – a few days later in March, 2020
“You don’t need a mask.” – two weeks later, later March 2020
“The CDC recommends that every person in the US wears a covering when out in public.” – early April 2020
NO WONDER we are so confused about that to do and how to respond to this pandemic. By the way, this is a world-wideCRISIS and needs to be treated as such)
“Covid-19 is not airborne.”
“Corona virus is airborne.”
“NO GROUP RIDES with more than 10 people.”
“Small group rides are safe.”
My head is spinning. How is yours?
Three weeks ago I didn’t know what to think. Perhaps you didn’t either. Maybe you are still in the mode of figuring it out for yourself. What is the safest way to ride for you and your friends?
Flashback: Six Gap 2010
While I was such a newbie and had never ridden in the mountains – and frankly was quite scared to bits about it – some of my newfound cycling vets attended a Six Gap weekend where it rained – terribly. Being that the course is in the countryside where chicken farms abound, I recall hearing later that quite a few cyclists came down with salmonella days after the ride. It was explained that the heavy rainfall took sediments from the higher grounded hen-houses along the path of least resistance: across the road where hundreds (if not more) rode. Salmonella bacteria (from chicken droppings) was now cascading down the road, thrown back up by black rubber tires and being flung on to and caught by water bottle caps. When riders took a sip, they had no idea what they were ingesting.
Back to the Present
Just a few weeks ago, there was much discussion on whether or not Covid-19 is airborne. It has now been proven to be so. Coughs, spits, sneezes, snot rockets (often necessary on rides, I get it) and even simply exhaling are methods of transport for this sickening virus. Any air that comes from our lungs can be inhaled by our friends, loved ones and even others that we really don’t care about. And these droplets and aerosols land on our bottle caps and other places. This is serious. Factor in that about half of the people who have it are asymptomatic makes this virus an even greater threat to the health of everyone around us. So – what rides are safe?
Something to consider: Since this virus is airborne, and you drink from your water bottles dozens of times during your ride, is it really even safe to ride outside? The virus can life in an aerosol form for hours at a time. Think about that as you zoom through neighborhoods and other public places. It’s a long-shot, but what if the FedEx guy in front of you has the virus (asymptomatic) and he transmits it to you, unwittingly, as it lands on your bottle cap, or you ride unknowingly though his invisible cloud or aerosol particles?
Do you disinfect your bike when you get home after a ride? What is living on your handlebars, your head unit, your water bottles? The helmet you just took off…. just some things to consider.
- Indoor training is the absolute safest. If you don’t have a smart trainer, you will get extra points in the ‘mental toughness’ department.
- Indoors with Zwift, Rouvy, Trainer Road, etc. can help you stay on pace with your cycling / fitness goals
- Meet Ups are a great way to stay connect with friends (I host one every Thursday night at 7pm EDT, if you’d care to join, simply email me and I’ll add you.)
All in all… this is a crisis like most of us have not experienced before. I had a week-old baby with the father deployed when the Gulf War broke out.. that’s about my experience for world crises. But this one has my attention. And I hope it has yours. We must work together to stop the spread or we will see Covid-19 2.0 and beyond.
Ride smart. Ride safe. We’ll get through this WHEN we work as one, for the greater good!