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Coronavirus Q&A: How To Cycle Safely Right Now

Jeff Balton

Cycling indoors during coronavirusThe circumstances surrounding the coronavirus outbreak are rapidly developing, leaving most people confused and with a lot of unanswered questions.

To stay up-to-date with the latest information regarding the coronavirus pandemic, make sure to check official and reputable resources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To stay informed about the numbers of cases spreading around the world, check Worldometers.


 

Governments are changing rules and regulations by the day, and epidemiologists and medical experts are sharing new information and issuing new recommendations on a regular basis.

Because we believe the most important thing right now is to stay informed, we’ve decided to answer the most common questions you have been asking us since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are interested in learning more about how to stay safe when cycling these days, we recommend sparing a few minutes to read the rest of the article below.

 

1. Can I Still Ride My Bike Outside?

Yes, you can still ride your bike outside, unless instructed differently by your government and local officials. Riding a bike outside generally carries little risk to get infected by coronavirus if you stay away from other people.

Many medical experts and studies show that cycling is a great way to strengthen the immune system, so moderate rides are a good idea.

Moreover, studies show that Vitamin D can prevent respiratory tract infections, which we can get by spending some time outside in the sun every day.

COVID-19 disease spreads from person to person via droplets produced when coughing and sneezing. As long as you stay at least 6 ft. away from other people, you should be safe from infection.

To conclude, you may ride outside if conditions in your area allow you to continue practicing social distancing. Otherwise, consider some alternatives such as riding on trainers and rollers.

 

2. Is It Safe to Go on Group Rides?

Cycling group rides

Going on group rides and participating in cycling events is not recommended and should be avoided at all costs during the coronavirus pandemic.

For that reason, even the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) has decided to take strong measures and suspend all official races and cycling events until the current situation stabilizes.

We understand that for most people riding in groups is a lot more fun than riding alone. However, if you decide to go on a bike ride these days, make sure to go alone and avoid taking any risks.

If you still want to ride with your best friends, you can do it at home, in a virtual setting by using Zwift and other similar training apps.

 

3. What Precautions Should I Take When Using Shared Bikes?

Shared bikes are extremely practical, but they are also a potential source of coronavirus infection. If the person riding before you had Covid-19 and they sneezed or coughed on the handlebar, you risk getting infected as well.

To minimize that risk, make sure to wipe the handlebar and other parts of the bike that you will be touching with antibacterial wipes (containing alcohol!) or a disinfectant. That way, you should be completely safe.

To further protect yourself, avoid touching your face (mouth, nose, and eyes) while riding and wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds once you reach your destination.

 

4. Can I Go on High-Intensity Rides Right Now?

High-intensity rides are not advisable at the moment. Even though the conditions for breaking personal records seem perfect — low traffic and few other riders — there are several good reasons not to do it.

First of all, certain studies show that physical exhaustion, including high-intensity bike rides, weaken your immune system for a while after the activity. Therefore, if you want to keep your immune system in prime condition, you should exercise moderately just to stay fit and healthy.

Secondly, going as hard as you can down a hill or around a bend increases your risk of a serious crash. Apart from risking serious injury, there are a few other reasons why you don’t want that scenario happening to you right now.

If you end up in a hospital, you’ll be using valuable resources necessary for treating COVID-19 patients. Going to a hospital also increases your chances of getting infected by the coronavirus, so the risk is just not worth it.

 

5. Is It Allowed to Ride Outside During a Shelter-in-Place Order?

The answer to this question depends on your local government and the regulations that are currently in place.

For example, on March 19, residents of California were ordered to shelter in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means practicing social distancing and leaving your home only for essential needs.

However, Californians are still allowed to go outside and engage in solo outdoor activity, such as walking, jogging, cycling, and so on, which is considered essential. As long as you don’t go on group rides, you will not be breaking any laws.

To be 100% certain what you can and can’t do, make sure to check your local regulations before making any decisions.

 

6. Can Coronavirus Be Spread Through Sweat?

No, coronavirus cannot be spread through sweat. According to WHO, the only known way of spreading the virus is via respiratory droplets produced when coughing and sneezing.

Coronavirus spreads from person to person, in close proximity, at distances lower than 6 ft. It can also live on surfaces and enter the body when touching the face with dirty hands, which is why it is important to keep your hands clean and not touch your face.

Related: How Are Bike Shops Doing Amid Coronavirus?

7. What Do I Need to Do After I Return Home from a Ride?

Wash Your hands after cycling

After returning home from a ride, there are a few things you should do to minimize the risk of getting infected by coronavirus. No matter if you went on a solo or a group ride (which is not recommended), don’t forget to do the following:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Remove your clothes and shoes. Throw your clothes in the laundry, and wipe your shoes with an alcohol-based disinfectant.
  • Wipe your bicycle with a disinfectant — handlebar, saddle, and top tube.
  • Clean the doorknob and any other objects you might have touched with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly once again.

 

To some, this procedure might seem like overkill. However, the idea is to eliminate even the slightest risk of bringing coronavirus into your home. This virus can live on surfaces for 2-3 days or more, which is why it is important to wipe all of the surfaces that might contain it.

 

8. Is Spitting Dangerous During Coronavirus Outbreak?

Yes, spitting is dangerous during the coronavirus outbreak!

As we’ve explained above, COVID-19 spreads via respiratory droplets expelled from the lungs by coughing or sneezing.

Naturally, these droplets end up mixed with your saliva, so if you are infected, you might spread the virus to other people by spitting.

Even without coronavirus around, spitting on group rides is just not good etiquette. Avoid doing it whenever possible, as nobody is a fan of riding through a cloud of someone else’s saliva. It’s nasty.

 

9. If I Have no Symptoms, I Can’t Spread the Virus, Right?

Wrong! People can spread coronavirus even without showing any symptoms of the disease.

The average incubation period of this virus is around 5 days, but the first symptoms can occur even as long as 14 days after the initial infection.

Therefore, if you have reasons to think that you were in close proximity to an infected person, you must self-isolate and notify the authorities.

During this time, you can be spreading the disease to other people while feeling completely healthy. Some people might never even develop any symptoms and still infect others around them.

 

10. Is It Safe to Go on Long Rides at the Moment?

Stay SafeGoing on long rides far away from your home is not advisable at the moment. The reason is that you do not know what you might encounter. You might end up in a traffic jam or in a crowd and be in close proximity to other people.

It’s best to stick to known trails and routes close to your home. We can postpone explorations and adventures for some better times.

If you still want to ride for a few hours, you can come up with a circular route near your home. Do a loop several times until you hit your goals and you’re happy with your workout.

Read Also: Cycling During Coronavirus – Habits Cyclists Should Avoid Now!

What do you think about cycling during the coronavirus outbreak? What do you do to stay healthy and protect yourself? Do you have any other questions you’d like us to answer? Let us know in the comments below! 

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