By Logan Quirk
The novel coronavirus strain, which has been formally named as COVID-19, has had an outsize impact on the entire world. Life as we know it has been altered significantly by the coronavirus, and it has also forced us to make big changes to our daily routine such as increasing our bike riding regimen.
Considering how difficult and downright terrifying the current situation is, more than a few folks are understandably hesitant to do anything outdoors, and that does include biking.
So, is it safe to take your bike outside amid this pandemic?
That is only one of the many questions we’ll address throughout this article. Please read on to learn more about bicycling in the age of the coronavirus and how you should approach it.
Why Should I Consider Bike Riding at This Point in Time?
Before we get to other matters such as proper precautions and bike safety, let’s first discuss why you should consider riding your bike during this pandemic.
For many people, they honestly don’t have much of a choice to make. Depending on where you live, you may find that public transportation has become harder to access.
Even if different modes of public transportation are still running in your area, you are taking a risk if you decide to hitch a ride. With many people gathered into an enclosed spot, an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus can quickly spread the disease unknowingly.
Walking is certainly an option for those who need to get around, but for those who live a good distance away from supermarkets and pharmacies, the trek may prove exhausting. Compared to walking, bike riding can at least cut down on the amount of time you spend traveling. These days, spending less time outdoors is better for you.
The fact that you’re exercising while traveling more efficiently is a nice bonus that comes from riding a bike.
Bike riding is not the perfect way to get around at this current point in time, but it will suffice for many folks out there.
Should Everyone Take Up Bike Riding during this Era of the Pandemic?
While cycling stands out as a good option for personal travel at the moment, it’s important to note that not everyone should be taking part in this activity. Quite frankly, some people should not be going out at all while the coronavirus is still spreading throughout different states and communities.
If you are sixty-five or older, staying at home is a must at this time. Currently, available data on this disease have shown that senior citizens are more vulnerable, and they are more likely to suffer from a severe illness stemming from an infection.
Doctors recommend exercise for senior citizens, but for now, that activity is best at home.
People with Underlying Medical Conditions
Going out either by bike riding or any other means is also not recommended to those who have underlying medical conditions. Folks who have asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, kidney disease, liver disease, or are immunocompromised in some way are advised to stay indoors. The same goes for people who are dealing with severe obesity.
People Who Are Experiencing Symptoms Linked to COVID-19
One of the most challenging aspects of dealing with the coronavirus strain is that it’s not easy to tell if you have it or not. The only way to be certain that you are either positive or negative is to take the test.
Some symptoms may clue you in on your condition, however.
Some of the more common symptoms of a COVID-19 infection include having a fever, dry cough, as well as experiencing a general sense of fatigue. Additional symptoms stemming from an infection include diarrhea, loss of smell and taste, muscle aches, nausea, and sore throat.
If you are experiencing these symptoms above, it’s best to exercise caution. Get tested as soon as you can and avoid bike riding or any outdoor activity in the meantime. You could infect more people by going outside, and you should avoid it as much as possible.
How Often Should I Ride My Bike Outside?
Going outside has long been a big part of human life. As kids, playing outside and hanging out with friends are valuable experiences.
For many people, heading out is also a must because of their jobs or hobbies.
A big part of the reason this pandemic has been so challenging that it’s robbed us of something fundamental to the human experience. It’s tough to live with the fact that staying outside is not a good idea right now.
Regardless of whether you are using a bike to travel while outside, you should still limit your trips.
If your aim is to exercise, using equipment you have indoors is the wiser move. The bike is best limited to travel use for now.
Speaking of traveling, the only trips you should be making at the moment are for purchasing essentials such as food and medicine or perhaps going to the bank. You can take leisurely trips to the park or trails in the woods later in the future.
You should consider bike rides during the age of the coronavirus a necessity and not a luxury. Ride your bike only when you must make an essential trip. Otherwise, stay home and stay safe.
What Precautions Should I Take before Riding My Bicycle?
Safety should always be your primary concern if you are going out with your bike. There is no way to guarantee that you won’t be involved in an accident if you take a ride on your bike. Without adhering to the proper precautions, you could wind up injured while you’re outside.
As you would have done prior to the spread of the novel coronavirus, you need to wear appropriate safety gear before you go bike riding.
Basic Bike Riding Safety Gear
The helmet is the first piece of safety equipment you need to secure if you intend to take your bike outside. A helmet can reduce the chances of you sustaining a head injury by almost 50 percent. It’s not an exaggeration to say that bike helmets have saved lives before.
Bike helmets can last for up to five years, but you may want to purchase a new one if the item you’re currently using is already showing visible damage.
Gloves and eyewear may not have been regarded as truly essential pieces of cycling equipment before, but they are more beneficial now. Apart from protecting your hands and eyes in the event of a potential accident, gloves and eyewear can also save you from a potential infection.
Be sure to clean and disinfect your pair of gloves thoroughly after your trip.
Meanwhile, your protective eyewear can keep debris out, thus preventing you from touching your eyes needlessly.
It’s also a good idea to wear bright clothing while riding your bike. Wearing brightly colored clothing will improve your visibility, and reduce the chances of being involved in an accident with a car or any other type of vehicle.
Additional Bike Riding Safety Gear
A sturdy helmet, gloves, eyewear, and proper clothing will certainly help you stay safe while riding your bike, but they may not be enough at the moment. In addition to potential accidents, you also need to protect yourself against the coronavirus whenever you go on a trip with your bicycle.
What that means is that you will need to bring additional items.
Take some disinfectant wipes with you and use them to clean your bike after grocery shopping. You cannot be sure that no one else touched your bike while you were inside, so cleaning it before riding again is a wise move.
Bringing some hand sanitizer is also advisable. Use that to clean and disinfect your hands often.
Ideally, you can use a spare pair of gloves while grocery shopping. Take off your riding gloves and store them in a clean space and put on your extra pair before heading into the store. Swap gloves again before heading home to prevent contamination.
Lastly, you should wear a cloth face mask or covering while outside. A cloth face mask can prevent the spread of the virus. It becomes extremely helpful if you are an asymptomatic carrier.
If you are having a hard time finding a face mask to purchase, you can create one using some rubber bands and old clothes.
Should I Change My Bike Riding Habits at This Time?
As soon as you get outside, you will quickly notice how wide open the roads are. You will likely be tempted to go flying down the road on your bike. Even at this time, though, riding that way can be dangerous.
Continue to follow safe bike riding practices even if you don’t see any other vehicles around.
Always keep your eyes on the road while cycling and avoid swerving in and out of lanes. Pay attention to the traffic lights and continue looking both ways before crossing the streets.
If you feel more freedom on the road, chances are others are experiencing the same thing. Riding irresponsibly now could lead to an accident, and the last thing you want is to go to the emergency room at a time when COVID-19 patients are overloading the hospitals.
What Should I Do After Finishing My Bike Ride?
After finishing your run to the supermarket, pharmacy, or the bank, you may want to hold off on relaxing for a little bit. That’s because you still have some other things to take care of.
Going in for a shower following your trip outside is important. This allows you to quickly disinfect your body and further lower the chances of you contracting the virus. Take the extra time to carefully wash your hair, hands, and other parts of your body that were exposed while you were outside.
Once you’re done cleaning your body, you need to disinfect your gear as well. Thoroughly clean everything and use bleach if a piece of equipment can handle it.
Can I Continue to Rent Bikes?
This pandemic has caught a lot of people off guard, and so you might not have thought to buy a bike beforehand. The good news is that there are still businesses out there renting bicycles. Bike-sharing also stays an option at this time.
However, if you are going to rent a bike or use it from a bike-share service, you must be extra cautious. Make sure you thoroughly clean the bike before you hop on. Take the extra time to deep clean the parts you’ll be often touching such as the handlebars and the seat.
What if My Bike Needs Repairs?
Given how much your bike usage has increased over the last few weeks, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the two-wheeler suffer from some mechanical issues. Thankfully, some bike shops remain open, and you can probably get the parts or assistance you need from them.
It’s still smart to err on the side of caution, though. Prior to making the trip to your local bike shop, call ahead and ask if they have the part you need. Doing that will ensure that your trip outside will not be for naught.
Contact a Lawyer Immediately if You’re Involved in an Accident
These are strange times we are living in, but the rule of law stays in place. If you get into an accident while you’re out riding your bike, do not hesitate to take legal action.
Contact the Quirk Law Group as soon as possible and let them take over your case so that you end up with the compensation you are entitled to.