In these fast-changing weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, guidelines change by the minute. So before you set out awheel, make sure your jurisdiction has OK’d cycling (at the time of this writing, most U.S. readers appear good to go, but those in Italy and Spain need to wait a while longer). And focus on the “bike” part of bike travel — this is the time to stay close to home.
As for touring, now is not the time to hop on a plane and make your cross-country dreams come true. No one wants to risk spreading the coronavirus, and small communities have limited supplies and medical resources. If you can keep close to home and stay completely self-sufficient (avoiding convenience store resupplies and community facility usage), calibrate your cycling to maximize safety and minimize impact. Keep in mind that in our current reality, a little spring cleaning and trip planning can be a good stand-in for striking out on the road.
For some guidance on safe everyday riding, we reached out to Bruce Bernard, an Adventure Cycling Life Member and retired Chief Medical Officer in the Health Hazard Evaluation and Technical Assistance Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
I met Bruce a few years ago on an Adventure Cycling tour when he was freshly returned from West Africa where he’d been heavily involved with the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak. We were all fascinated … and we all took a half-step backward (Bruce quickly educated us about how such a step was not required) as we listened to his first-hand account of a global crisis.
This is not medical advice, just some tips for keeping your wheels turning during this unsettled time. And remember, crashing is always bad, but it’s never been more important to take care and ride safe and smart as medical services are already strained.