Cycling in a Pandemic and a May Update

It’s been 8 weeks since I started working from my home and while I don’t mind it, I’m finding that the isolation is affecting me more than I expected. The state of the world, with Covid, an unsettled economy and incapable politicians swarming the headlines plus the continued need for social distancing, it’s a lot to take in

Response to this global pandemic has introduced us to new terminology, like “social distancing” and “self isolation”.  Most people I know are working from home where possible, and we are the lucky ones.  Others have lost their jobs.  My family and extended family are all isolating in their own homes.  Professional sports have been suspended, and public gatherings are forbidden, including concerts, shows.  

There’s been some discussion on whether or not cyclists should riding outside during this quarantine.  On the one hand, an injury during a bike ride that results in a hospital visit would put a strain on the health care system.   On the other hand, those of us who are avid cyclists need to cycle for the mental and physical health benefits.  Some people I know have been restricting their cycling to indoor cycling.  I decided that I would continue to ride outside, since working from home was keeping me home-bound too much.  It doesn’t make sense to me to stay home and avoid outdoor cycling. If we avoid activities with any risk of a hospital visit, we’d have to avoid walking out in public, driving (anywhere) and using sharp knives in the kitchen.  Driving an automobile is the most dangerous activity we do. (see here).  

At first, in March, I kept my rides to about 30 km (solo, of course), but gradually through April and into May, I started increasing my distance.  These solo rides have been meditative for me.  I have found such pleasure in these solo rides.  I can ride hard when I feel like.  I can stop to take photos. And I can cruise along at my own (slow) pace when I feel like it.  

My 2020 heatmap so far (as of this, the first week of May) looks like this:

Most of these rides were alone..  I was on a couple of group rides prior to this lockdown, but since mid-March, I’ve been riding alone.  My rides have been on paved and/or gravel roads.  During the pandemic, traffic has been much lighter, which is nice.  

Some of my cycling has been in the city.  Last year, (2019), I blogged about the Bike Lane Pilot in the City of Waterloo.  As discussed at the time, the City has installed several types of bike lanes around the University of Waterloo and Laurier.  These days, the bike lanes have been through their first winter, and I can report that the worst design option involves the painted buffer and bollards (On Columbia Street West, between UW and King Street.  Many of the bollards are bent, and some have even been removed (hopefully to be replaced?).  The other options (bollards with physical barriers) have fared much better.  Clearly, the physical barrier provides more protection, as drivers can see that their car might be damaged if they hit the barrier.  The bollards simply bend when they’re hit.  

Are you riding during the pandemic?  Indoors? Outdoors?  If you are, I hope you’re riding alone! 


3 thoughts on “Cycling in a Pandemic and a May Update

  1. I do not ride alone but I live with my riding partner.
    I saw a lot of groups out Sunday whom I’m pretty sure do not live in the same house, sadly.


    1. Steve – Good summary of the last many weeks, I have been working at home, very isolated days, I find I really need to get outside whether cycling or hiking. I am lucky I have my riding partner, Louise, but I am missing our group rides, Strava followings help but not quite the same. Stay well, Doug


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