Riding in the time of Covid

Much has happened since my last post, where I was humming and hawing over whether to ride outside. I decided against it, but mainly for ‘social pressure’ reasons. I didn’t want to get honked at.

March 23 Update: Well now we have a much worsening medical crisis in Italy and while France appears to be doing better than our neighbor, there’s no guarantee this will not change (our other favorite riding country – Spain – is seeing a massive number in the increase of both infections and deaths, jumping far ahead of France in the process). We are already seeing hospitals in the northeast overwhelmed, with patients either being medivaced out or put in a newly-built army field hospital. We have 16,000 cases and nearly 700 deaths, which is only 12% of Italy, but we are also a week ‘behind’ them and numbers are growing exponentially.

I’m not always that fast on the uptake and I know some of you saw the signs in plenty of time and have been on the trainer all along. But I also know that many are still riding outside, even in small groups. I’m now of the opinion that this is socially irresponsible, but only because it appears that the best way to stem the tide of this awful virus is to stay inside. Period. If you could find a way to never leave home you would be safe. If you go outside and touch anything, anywhere, you are at risk. I think it’s serious enough now to think and act in this manner. The arguments in my last article now seem antiquated, but I know that many of you are thinking the same thing, e.g. it’s just a walk in the woods; there’s nobody on the roads around here anyway; I don’t come close to anyone on my bike.

It’s up to you, of course, especially if you are still allowed to ride outside (I think only France, Italy and Spain have effective ‘bans’). However, unless everything I read by people smarter than me is false, we are not helping humanity by possibly being exposed, or exposing others, to this thing. I hope that wherever you are, you are the exception to the rule (like Japan for the moment), but as testing ramps up in all our countries we are bound to see many, many more cases, lots with dire results as we now know. Covid-19 is definitely not ‘the flu’.

Oh, and if you want to do a ride that is now illegal (basically any ride of any length in France), don’t upload to Strava. The fuzz is watching!

2018-06-05 18.55.20

Open roads, see you later!



16 thoughts on “Riding in the time of Covid

  1. Hi Gerry, I’ve been biking alone around St. Remy this week…and it brings me such joy each day. They’ve tightened the restrictions but from what I can tell we’re still allowed to bike as long as we don’t go further than 2 km from home and have the form with us. Based on what you’ve written here, I may not ride any more for the time being. Thinking of you guys and sending love…

    • Julie, it’s a hard one for sure. Just stepping outside the building brightens up my day! I may be simply reading too much bad news at the moment, so take what I write with a grain of salt. That being said, you and I both live in France, so we both getting the same scary news 😉

      All the best over there. At least we live in the south, where it’s sunny. Imagine being cooped up in Lille! Bises.

  2. I have the same time-warp: last week seems months ago. In addition to what you said about staying inside to avoid contamination, what keeps getting underrepresented is adding other stresses to the health system by risking accidents and injuries. Who wants to go to the hospital right now? Who wants to go there with a broken wrist or a torn ligament? I believe the mindset has to change from “how can I maximize my outside activity and sort of stay within the rules” to “I’m staying home and how can I do the minimum necessary to stay sane/healthy”. From pushing the envelope to keeping the envelope nice and small, maybe.

    • Yeah, I didn’t even touch the ‘hospital’ issue. You’re right, of course. If you are in France at least, it’s your civic duty to stay inside.

      It’s interesting to see Strava and all my friends still riding outside in the UK, the US, Australia and Canada, with nearly ZERO activities among my French friends. We are ‘in it’ now and they are where we were a week ago, I guess. I hope it doesn’t follow the same pattern anywhere else, but there don’t seem to be many indicators that suggest it won’t.

      Once I finally go out and buy some beer, let’s do another apero!

  3. Hi Gerry, I did an easy indoor ride this am and did go out for a quick walk around the neighbourhood with my wife. The strategy was to choose streets with no one on them as much as possible. Wearing gloves. And washing hands once inside (many times actually). And still I wonder if I’m taking enough precautions. Canada has pulled out of the Olympics and I think that will be the first of many. It’s a bizarre and surreal situation.

    • We’re planning a walk later today, too, which I also feel is a little ‘irresponsible’. Important to balance this with ‘sanity’, though.

      I read about Canada this morning. John and I are thinking that this will lead to the TDF (and therefore Etape) deciding not to run. It’s the next logical step. It’s surreal, but starting to feeling normal…

  4. I am still riding outside but I am getting nervous about falling off. However one of my friends just fell over and injured herself while walking and I am just as likely to fall over at home if I get stiff from lack of exercise. I am cycling even slower than usual!

  5. Hey Gerry – Good article. Great decision. I can’t even imagine the embarrassment and shame I would feel if I injured myself while riding outside that resulted in me occupying a hospital bed that would otherwise be used for an unfortunate person that contracted CV-19. How irresponsible can one be. Just saying.

    If you want to ride, use your indoor trainer, if you don’t own one, order one online along with lots of old race videos, or whatever amps you up. This thing is going to be with us for months to come.

    Enjoy the Ride and stay safe.

    • Thanks, Rob (this is Rob, isn’t it?). You were the trailblazer on this one, but then again you really didn’t have the choice of riding outside 😉

      I have to thank you, too, for the trainer. That sucker is the difference between sanity and me wrecking the house with Shoko’s skipping rope.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s