- Posted by Anil Mohan
The lockdown strictness are being released now and the cyclists have already started riding. Riding during this corona pandemic is not the same as it was earlier, we have to develop and follow new self rules to be riding safe with coronavirus around. We are here with few tips that might be helpful for you to ride safe during this global pandemic.
Personally I am not going out for rides and will avoid the same for a couple of months for the safety of my family and neighbourhood. However, I have been using my bike for essential commuting and suggest all the readers to be at home and move out on your bikes only for essential and very important commuting to the nearby market. However, I have been observing that round the world many cyclists have started their daily rides. If you are moving out on your bike following tips would be helpful for you.
Avoid riding out
It is preferable to be at home and be safe. You may ride inside your home if you have space for moving your bike around or you can use bike trainers. Ride in your garden, lawn, verandah, if you have one. You can even ride on the terrace if and only if the terrace is safe and fully covered from all sides. Some cyclists also tried upside down cycling during the complete lockdown, so you can try that too. You can also practice bicycle balancing. Learn to service your bike.
Riding in groups is always good and fun but during these days when the corona pandemic is spreading all over, it is wise to ride solo. Riding solo will help you in maintaining physical distance and be protected during this pandemic. However, make sure not to go to lonely places and forests alone. It is advisable to ride to your known trails when riding solo, as you may get lost in new trails. If you come across any fellow cyclist or anyone known wave him/her from a distance of around 2-3 meters and carry on with your ride. Avoid riding with a group. Or if it is an unavoidable, ride in a group of at most 2 riders that too with proper physical distancing.
Early morning riding is very good especially during summers. Early riding has alltime benefits of getting pure air, low traffic, no noise and good environment. Cycling in the morning when there is no or minimum traffic on the road has added benefits to be safe from covid. As only few people would be out on roads so again it will help you in maintaining physical distance and be safe from covid. When I say early means during the time limit permissible by local authorities. Please note don’t go out before the timing window your local administration allows. So, ride early while following the government guidelines.
Avoid crowded areas
Crowded areas were never on a good list of cyclists. They break your pace and sometimes you have to crawl through these places. Now during these times crowded places are a big NO NO to anyone, these areas are difficult to maintain physical distances, pedestrians and cyclists may get close to people while passing them. More people means more chances to get infection through physical touch or via droplets in air. So, it's better, healthier and wiser to choose another route.
Don't go too far
Don’t go too far, in case if you got some issue like flat tire or some mechanical failure with your bike you might be in trouble if you are too far. Getting transport and help won’t be that easy these days as it was earlier in normal days. Considering this it’s better to ride in nearby areas.
Wear helmet and gloves
Always wear a good quality helmet whenever you take your bike out. The helmet will save your head in case of a fall. Along with a helmet, I would recommend wearing full gloves that cover your fingers, wearing gloves have their safety and riding benefits along with these gloves will help you to get away from directly touching anything.
During these days you can’t go out without a mask, so always wear a mask whenever you are going out with or without your bike out.
However, it is important to always wear the mask to keep yourself safe from corona virus infection, but you need to remove it sometimes when your body needs more oxygen than normal, remove it when you are riding up hills or doing training or work out, or when your breathing is not normal. So, it is advisable to wear a mask and to ride at your normal pace in areas where people are around.
Things to carry
You should carry these things with you, as the aim is not to stop anywhere and do not drink, eat or touch anything that doesn’t belong to you. Carry whatever you feels you would need during the ride, few important things are
Your eatables during ride, avoid eating outside in open these days but you may need sometimes
Proper amount of water, may be some extra
Puncture kit and air pump
Don’t stop anywhere on route
These days you should not stop anywhere or talk to anyone on route. No need to stop for a tea or at your favourite snacks point. Stopping and talking to someone is again a big NO these days. If it's important to talk, follow government guidelines, you should be wearing a mask, maintain a physical distance of 1-2 meter or more. Talk to the point and carry on.
Share live location with someone
It is advisable to share your live location with someone in the family, friend or cycling community so that you can easily be located and reached in case of any emergency. Or at least inform someone about your route whenever you are out for a ride, it is a good practice in normal days too.
Sanitize your bike
Always sanitize your bike with a good sanitizer after every ride doesn’t matter whether it was a short or long. Make a rule that every time you move your bike out, you will sanitize it. While sanitizing take special care of the parts that you directly touch like the handlebar, handle grip, gear shifters, brake, pedals, bell, seatpost, water bottle and bottle stand, any other attached device and tool. Even sanitizing the frame is important. Also sanitize the bike before using it when you park it somewhere.
Clean your bike
It is a good habit to keep your bike clean and shining. Do clean your bike after every ride, especially during this corona crisis. Remove the mud and dust with a cloth or you may wash the bike, washing won’t always be possible but cleaning and sanitising it is very important during this time. You don’t know it might be carrying a virus on the tyre or on the body, so better to clean, satisize and be safe.
Take a bath
Taking a bath after a ride is always refreshing, it will remove all the sweat, dirt and fatigue. Along with this it will wash out any virus if it accidentally got on. Don't forget to wash your cycling clothes and sanitize your helmet.
Follow government and local authorities guidelines
Above all the points we discussed above follow government and local authorities guidelines. Go out if it is important, go out if authority allows you to go, do not cross the time limits, maintain physical distance, avoid gathering, keep sanitising and washing your hands, wear a mask, carry ID with you, install ArogyaSetu app on your phone or any other government and local authorities guidelines.
I hope these tips will be helpful to you. Wish you good health.
Happy Cycling !!
Be Safe !!
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Photo Credit: Tarun Randhawa, Dehradun