For some of us, nothing could compare to the sheer joy of riding a bike. We’ve been doing it since we were kids on training wheels. But now, it’s integrated into our daily lives. We ride bikes when we run errands or go to work. It’s how we spend time with our peers who are fellow bike enthusiasts. And it’s our favorite way of exercising and staying fit.
But, like many of our favorite activities, COVID-19 found a way of ruining it for us. Because biking is such an energy-consuming activity, it causes people to breathe deeper and exhale more respiratory droplets. It makes it easier to spread the virus when we’re outside.
But we don’t really have to give up biking until the pandemic is over. No, we have to take extra measures, starting with understanding the risks.
COVID-19 Risks of Riding a Bike in Public
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated at the beginning of the pandemic many months ago that the coronavirus usually spreads through the inhalation of respiratory droplets from an infected individual. This is why biking is such a concerning health risk right now. It’s a physical activity, causing us to exhale stronger. We won’t be able to control the respiratory droplets that come out of our noses and mouths.
While these risks are fair, we mustn’t panic and stop biking altogether. In April, some Dutch researchers claimed that biking and other forms of exercising outside have higher risks than we thought. Thus, we have to reconsider our six-feet social distancing rule. They said that we have to remain 33 feet away from someone who’s biking leisurely. But if that someone is biking hard? Well, we have to stay a whopping 65 feet away from them.
Many other researchers have debunked this study. They explained that although we have to maintain some distance with other people while we’re biking, it doesn’t have to be 65 feet.
Practice Social Distancing
The CDC and other authorities on health safety have been emphasizing that for months that we always have to maintain at least six feet away from people that we don’t know for sure if they’re safe from the coronavirus.
This can be challenging when we’re biking, especially on a crowded street. Some of us might resort to just biking faster so that we don’t linger in the presence of people. But that would only lead to bike accidents. Besides, a street officer on duty might stop you because, using a speed radar gun, they found that you’re over the speed limit for bikes.
Wear Breathable Masks
The CDC shared some guidelines on how to ride your bike while remaining safe from the coronavirus. Wearing a mask is one of the things that you should do. This, of course, is hard when we’re biking leisurely. But it’s practically impossible when we’re biking vigorously and breathing heavily. The CDC elaborated on this specific guideline by stating that you can remove your mask while biking so long as you maintain social distancing.
But if it’s impossible to keep a good amount of distance between you and some people on the street, you can opt for face masks specifically made for athletes. Some masks have comfortable and flexible fabrics. They’re light, breathable, and ideal for bikers.
Never Touch Your Face
We all know this particular COVID-19 rule as well. When we’re in public and can’t keep track of the things we touch, we should never touch our eyes, nose, and mouth for fear of transferring respiratory droplets from our hands.
But this is hard when we’re biking because we can’t stop touching our faces when we’re sweating. So we have to be more vigilant with our face towels or handkerchiefs. And on that note, we also have to remember to sanitize our hands now and then. Even if this means stopping your ride for a bit. If you touch public surfaces such as cyclists’ call buttons before crossing the street, then it’s important to sanitize as soon as you can.
Like many outdoor activities, riding a bike can lead to COVID-19. But it doesn’t mean we have to give it up totally. We have to take a few extra measures so that we can ensure our safety. Besides, biking also leads to other benefits. It’s our way of getting some fresh air and sunlight. It’s our way of seeing some sights in the city. It helps clear our troubled minds and improves our mood.