Cycling During COVID-19: How To Ride Safely
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the world, it has also caused the cycling world to make changes to their daily lives. Not only has the pandemic led to canceled bike races across the country, but it has also led many riders to ask what cycling during coronavirus looks like.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the basics about COVID-19 to give you a better understanding of the virus so that you can take the necessary safety measures to cycleduring this time safely.
Let’s start off by talking about the basics of the coronavirus.
COVID-19 is a new strain of the coronavirus for which there is no known treatment or vaccine at the moment. While it’s very likely that some of us may have experienced some kind of coronavirus at some point in our lives, recent public health studies suggest that this strain is more contagious than previous ones.
Like most viruses, COVID is spread through droplet transmission and generally presents itself as the common cold with minor respiratory ailments. However, complications may arise in varying severity; in some cases, even leading to death.
You can also contract the virus by touching an object or surface that where droplets from a cough or sneeze has landed. Once the droplets have contaminated your hands, you may inadvertently touch your nose or mouth, introducing the virus into your respiratory system.
Recent studies suggest that the virus itself may be able to survive for as long as three days on plastic, metal, or glass surfaces.
PRECAUTIONARY SAFETY MEASURES TO TAKE DURING THE PANDEMIC
There are a few simple steps that everyone can take to make sure they will not get the virus, or spread it. While this list is not complete with everything to help fight back against the spread of the coronavirus, it is a valuable starting point.
As many of you have heard,social distancing is a great way to prevent further transmission of the coronavirus. This means not gathering in large groups, and always observing a distance of six feet between you and the person next to you.
Additionally, as a rule of thumb, unless you know where your companions have been and who they have been in contact over with the past 14 days, it is in the interest of your health to not risk visiting with other people at the moment. Even one gathering can mean the difference between breaking the chain of transmission.
WEAR A MASK
Droplet transmission means that an infected person can expel the virus through coughing, sneezing, or talking. If you happen to be in close proximity to them (that is, within approximately six feet), there is a chance you might inhale the virus and introduce it into your own body.
If you have to be around others in public for any reason, best practice suggests wearing a mask to protect yourself and others. Face coverings of any kind can reduce droplet transmission when we talk, cough, or sneeze.
WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY
Washing your hands thoroughly with warm soapy water after touching frequently-used items is another excellent way to prevent transmission. Time your hand washing routine so you spend at least 20 seconds covering the entire surface area of your hands with soap before rinsing.
Rubbing with hand sanitizer also works, but does not eliminate the virus as efficiently as washing with soap and water.
ADDITIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES
- Do not touch your face.
- Practice good hand hygiene at all times.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, your shoulder, or elbow.
- If possible, work from home to prevent unnecessary interaction with other people.
- Keep away from being around many people as much as possible.
- Stay home if you feel you are sick or beginning to feel sick.
- Avoid unnecessary travel.
- Get at least 8 to 9 hours of sleep.
- Take your vitamins.
- Protect your immune system.
- Exercise and eat healthy.
HOW TO SAFELY RIDE YOUR BIKE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
So, what does all of the above have to do with riding a bike?
Cycling is a great way to remain healthy, both physically and emotionally, while also living in a socially-distanced environment. But how can you ensure your safety, as well as the safety of others while you are cycing?
Well, the good news is that cycling not only carries minimal risk of transmission of COVID-19, it’s also extremely unlikely to contract COVID-19 while cycling, especially while riding on your own. However, just to be safe, let’s take a look at a few recommendations for the next time you feel like going for a ride.
First and foremost, if you think you have been exposed, self-quarantine. As unfortunate as this will sound, this is of utmost importance.
Unless you get tested, you cannot be certain that you are not carrying the virus, even if you are not exhibiting symptoms. Stay home to avoid the risk of infecting others. Restrictions include not riding outdoors until you have been self-quarantined for at least 14 days.
If you plan on cycling with a group of others, keep a minimum of six feet of space when riding with the group. Furthermore, it’s recommended not to ride with people who reside outside of your household or if you have not discussed how each one of you has been quarantining.
Additionally, when you find yourself need to pass someone on the road or on the bike lanes, try to give as wide a berth as possible to make sure both parties are adhering to social distancing best practices.
SHOULD YOU WEAR A MASK WHEN RIDING?
CDC guidelines have recently been updated to urge people to wear fabric face coverings in any public setting where social distancing measures cannot strictly be ensured (i.e., grocery stores, bike shops). So, what does this mean for athletes and people who exercise outdoors?
Read more: eBike Laws and How They Impact Riders
Well, it is not a situation to take lightly. While you may not need to wear a mask while you are cycling by yourself, you should bring one along in the event of an emergency or if you need to stop at a store to grab a drink. Face coverings do two great things:
- They prevent spread from the ill and protect against inhalation in healthy individuals.
- They are highly effective when used correctly.
The objective of the mask is not only to protect yourself from the virus, but also to protect others from it, as well. The asymptomatic spread of the virus remains a critical concern, which means someone might have the ability to spread the virus to other people without knowing they even contracted it.
You can never be sure if the person next to you is infected, or if you yourself are. Wearing a mask by default could greatly help in decreasing the transmission of this highly contagious virus.
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