After months of having to adjust to a new reality, virus transmission has significantly slowed down in many areas and restrictions are easing up. Nevertheless, public health officials are quick to remind us that we’re certainly not in the clear yet. If we want to avoid another large-scale lockdown, it is important to take a few precautions as we once again venture out into the world and start spending more time with family and friends.
Although it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind and dive back into all the social and group activities that have been so dearly missed, it is necessary to maintain a high awareness of the impact our actions will have both now and down the road. The good news though is that if you’re a cyclist – you’re already part of a globe-spanning, dynamic community that has risen to the occasion and found creative and thoughtful ways to stay connected even during a time of social distancing. Here are just a few suggestions of how you can stay involved even if your regular group rides and summer events have been put on hold for the time being.
Share your story
As remote work and stay-at-home orders have meant that many people have been spending more idle hours on their computers, there has also been a proliferation of inspiring stories popping up within the cycling community. We’ve shared a couple of them here but have also been delighted to enjoy all the uplifting and thought-provoking content appearing in online cycling groups. These stories provide an inside look at how people of all walks of life came to discover the sport we all love.
One nice thing about hearing from so many different voices is realizing that even seemingly mundane stories (getting a bike from a spouse for Christmas, dragging an old mountain bike out of the shed) can be really relatable and fun to read. Even if you’re not yet ready to share it with the larger community, chances are that taking some time to write down and reflect on your own cycling story will be a rewarding experience that will give you an even greater appreciation for your bike and the other people that ride one.
View this post on Instagram
Welcome to the fourth #Ride2Unite livestream with one of the most successful Australian pro peloton riders of today, Michael ‘Bling' Mathews, hosted by Eurosport presenter Laura Meseguer. They’ll discuss nicknames, family vs pro cycling balance, the green jersey and more.
Show off your local area
If storytelling feels a bit ambitious or isn’t really your thing, we’re willing to bet you’ve still got a few great photos you’ve taken while cycling in your local area. Now is a great time to join an online cycling group and to enjoy the support and virtual company of like-minded cyclists looking to share experiences and lift each other up. You can easily participate simply by sharing pictures and activities. It is a great opportunity to show off the areas you know for cycling and might provide insight for other cyclists nearby. Either way, it’s a fun and easy way to get a little feedback and perhaps motivation to venture a bit further on your next ride.
Take part in a virtual event
If it’s the thrill of competition that you’re missing more than anything, don’t let a summer of cancelled events get you down. There are all sorts of virtual events being organised to help fill the void and give competitive cyclists the rush of adrenaline they need. In addition to the standard offerings already available on platforms like Zwift and Rouvy, some smaller organisations are using these apps to offer virtual programming to encourage continued engagement and social interaction for local cyclists.
Although no one is going to argue with the fact that racing in your garage or living room is a lot different than being out on a spectator-lined road, it can still provide the opportunity to challenge yourself and take your indoor cycling experience to the next level. Or if you miss watching the pros for entertainment and inspiration, you’ll be glad to know that although spectators might not be able to attend some live events, races like the ŠKODA V-Women’s Tour are finding ways to let fans participate.
Look up local cycling initiatives
As we’ve been discussing, the pandemic has actually provided some major opportunities to advance cycling legislation and infrastructure. From building more bike paths to providing financial incentives for those who travel by two wheels, many towns and cities are coming to see the value of providing more extensive and safer cycling opportunities. Do some research to see if there are any initiatives in your area that you can get involved in and help promote. From signing a petition to writing to your local representative, there are plenty of ways that we can contribute to building a more cycling-friendly society going forward.
Set a positive example
Finally, if you’re going to cycle outdoors and especially if you’re going to ride with others, it is important to keep yourself informed. Pay close attention to what regulations are in place in your area and take the steps necessary to follow them. If you’re riding with friends from outside of your household, make sure you have a conversation prior to heading out about what your personal limits are and how you’re planning to navigate the social distancing requirements. Stay safe and be a good example by maintaining appropriate physical separation and respecting the rules and advisories in your area.