“Coffee stops have become picnic stops instead. I bring a thermos with hot tea in my handlebar bag… We sit a little further apart as we drink our tea.”
— Jan Heine, Rene Herse Cycles
There’s a surreal silver lining to the virus crisis sweeping our country right now: In a world where many things are now forbidden, cycling is not only still possible, it’s endorsed by public health authorities for its immune-boosting and mental health benefits.
Yesterday I snuck out to one of my go-to north Portland destinations: Smith & Bybee Lakes. As I shared back in 2011, by linking up several different paths you can get out there on a mostly carfree route once you get out of the neighborhoods.
If you’re still able to get out there and ride, please arm yourself with knowledge about the coronavirus and how to stay safe while riding. Many local ride organizers have cancelled even small group rides. Going solo or with just one other person you know seems to be the chosen alternative.
As Bicycle Quarterly publisher Jan Heine wrote recently, we must adjust to new realities. “Coffee stops have become picnic stops instead,” he wrote on his blog, “I bring a thermos with hot tea in my handlebar bag… We sit a little further apart as we drink our tea.”
Another thing to keep in mind is you should take it easy out there. As reader Chris shared yesterday, this isn’t a good time to take risks. “I was initially excited about the arrival of mountain biking season, as I was thinking of it as one of the more pandemic-resistant activities due to distance from others,” he shared. “But then I considered the prospect of breaking my wrist or collarbone in a fall, and then having to go to the ICU to occupy medical resources that will be needed to manage covid, while also exposing myself to the virus.”
Still need guidance or a nudge? Check out what local bike club and apparel company Roule is doing.
When they launched in 2018, Roule made weekly group rides a cornerstone of their business. With those suspended for the time being, they’ve launched the Roule Together Challenge, “A network of routes that you can ride solo that link together to different small businesses like coffee shops, delis, scoop shops, etc. – places with perishable items that cyclists can easily roll through and spend a few dollars at.”
Roule has listed nine great local routes you can try, and they also encourage you to add to the community vibe by tagging friends and businesses while you’re out on the road. (Make sure to check ahead to see if the business along your route is still open.)
This is a very hard time for all of us. I hope riding your bike can make it a bit better. Here’s that Bicycling Magazine article again about coronavirus riding 101 in case you missed it.
And if BikePortland can do anything to help, please let me know. Stay tuned for a post I’m working on with status updates from many local bike shops.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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