These are truly strange times to be alive -- each day seems to bring tighter restrictions and more challenges in regards to the Coronavirus pandemic. Some countries have all-inclusive stay-at-home orders, while others have finally begun to relax their shelter-in-place laws.
For those living in America, we suggest visiting the CDC site for all you need to know about being safe (and keeping others safe!) during these trying times. The most important thing -- more than anything on our list -- is to keep a keen understanding of your local laws and restrictions. The Coronavirus situation is ever-changing, so it’s important to keep yourself informed and updated.
For those readers in a ‘lockdown’ situation, you should not leave the home. Certainly not for mountain biking! You may not even be legally allowed to do so -- many countries require permission slips for even the most essential tasks like grocery shopping.
However, most of our readers are probably experiencing a less restrictive ‘shelter-in-place’ situation. It’s very important to understand your own local laws and restrictions before going outside, but many governments around the world are including recreation and outdoor fitness activities (jogging, biking, etc) as permissible reasons to leave the house.
For many of our readers, that may mean mountain biking is still on the menu. But -- some precautions definitely need to be made in order to create a safe mountain biking environment. Today, we’re bringing you a list of 10 tips for social distancing while mountain biking.
Follow the Law
During a time where our leisure activities are limited, it’s critical to take care of one’s mental health. Mountain biking can be a great way to do that. But, if your area gets to the point where no outdoor activity is allowed, follow those regulations.
Sorry, team activities are currently canceled. While riding with 1-2 other people may seem fine, you could end up in a situation where you are forced to come to the aid of your friend. In that situation, your social distancing 6-foot rule is sure to be broken. So it may sound harsh, but it’s best to avoid riding with friends for now. And this leads well into our next point...
Don’t Push It
The healthcare system is currently overwhelmed. The last thing our doctors or nurses need is a mountain-biker with a broken arm taking up space in the ER. For that reason, take it easy. Don’t try to beat personal bests. Don’t do any crazy jumps. Coast. Enjoy the scenery, and get some fresh air. Ride at 50-60% of your ability.
Wear a Helmet
Again -- be safe. Safety is the #1 concern if you go for a ride during these times. You need to protect yourself against injury at all costs. Taking a hospital bed away from a COVID-19 patient is going to be a big problem.
Do Not Share
Don’t borrow gear. Don’t trade food. Sharing is usually caring, yes, but for now...that’s on hold.
Bring All the Water You Need
Many mountain biking trails have water spigots that riders can refill from. Do not use these. They could be infected, and using a water spigot is virtually the same as sharing a stranger’s water bottle for now.
Wash Everything Immediately
As soon as you get home, everything goes in the laundry. No exceptions. Take a shower and wash your clothes well before changing back into your daily wear.
Whatever germs you may have, it’s important to keep them local. Avoid traveling for any reason -- mountain biking included. If there isn’t a trail in your immediate area, mountain biking may have to wait a while.
No Events or Races
It’s unlikely that this is even an option for many readers, but if you have the chance… do not go to any mountain biking events. It’s solo practice runs for now. And speaking of...
Ride in Less Crowded Areas
Try to find the less popular and less crowded trails available to you. The fewer people that you can see, the better.
This Too Shall PassAnd finally, remember: this isn’t permanent. Any mountain biking plans or ideas you have aren’t canceled indefinitely -- they’re postponed. That big Moab trip you had planned for Spring? Don’t try to make up for it by socializing on the trail or organizing a race. Things will get back to normal eventually. Remember that, and don’t make any rash decisions on the basis of stir-craziness. Don’t do anything unsafe. Mountain biking can wait if it needs to.