Spring is here, but so is the coronavirus. What does all this mean for cycling? If what’s happening in New York City is any indication, it means that it’s time to start cycling.
The New York Times is reporting that in order to avoid exposure to the coronavirus on crowed buses and subway cars, New Yorkers are jumping on their bikes in record numbers. Use of New York’s bike share programs has increased by 67% in the first part of March. Bicycle crossings on a busy bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn has also gone up by 52%.
There are reports of a similar surge in cycling in Chicago, and apparently, there’s also a renewed interest in the use of bike-sharing in China.
When you stop to think about it, all this makes sense. Cycling is an excellent way of getting around without coming in close contact with other people. The same logic also applies to cycling as a purely recreational activity. Social distancing may result in people feeling cooped up in their homes, but cycling provides them with a great way to get outside for some healthy exercise.
It’s easy to pedal around by yourself in relative isolation. Even if you do like riding with a group of friends, it should be possible to do so while keeping a reasonable distance from one another. However, if things get really nasty with the virus, you may want to forgo the customary post-ride get together at a coffee shop or pub.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus is having a negative affect on some aspects of cycling. Competitive events that draw large crowds are being hit hard. Already, the Giro d’Italia (the second most popular bicycle race after the Tour de France) has been postponed due to the virus. If the situation in Europe drags on long enough, it’s easy to imagine that the same thing may also happen with the Tour de France itself.
Closer to home, it’s conceivable that the coronavirus could affect mass cycling events as the CN Cycle, scheduled for May 3rd, and the Rideau Lake Cycle Tour, which is suppose to take place on the weekend of June 13-14. Needless to say, it will depend on how the coronavirus spreads locally, and how long it remains a threat. In the meantime, the Rideau Ottawa-Gatineau Bicycle Show that was supposed to take place this weekend, and the Bike Minds event that was scheduled for April 18th, are now cancelled.
Despite the fact the coronavirus can play havoc with large events, cycling can be an ideal solution for individuals looking for an alternative mode of transportation or outdoor recreational activity that will not bring them in close contact with other people.
For more information, Bicycling Magazine has an article entitled:
“ How to Ride Safely Amid Coronavirus Concerns“,
and Cyclist Magazine in the UK has an article entitled:
“ Cycling and coronavirus self-isolation: GPs’ advice for cyclists during a pandemic”.