As we find our daily routines significantly disrupted during the coronavirus pandemic, here are a few resources to help you find ways to stay active and safe.
Safe Biking During the Pandemic
It is safe and encouraged to bike during the stay at home orders of this pandemic. Click on the
link for good advice on how to do it safely from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association
(WABA). https://waba.org/blog/2020/04/biking-during-covid- 19/ org=1836&lvl=100&ite=983&lea=16024&ctr=0&par=1&trk=
Staying Active While Staying Home
As so many of us find ourselves following stay at home direction and exercising physical separation, it can be difficult to stay active. Our normal patterns of work, school, play and socializing have all been disrupted and organizing our lives to fit into these new patterns presents challenges, but also opportunities. Here are some tips for staying active during these difficult times.
Being active does not mean running a marathon or biking 100 miles. 30-60 minutes ofactivities that raise your heart rate is very beneficial. Take a walk or leisurely bike ride. Work in your garden or around your yard. If picking up takeout food, walk or ride a bike vs driving.
Make physical activity part of your daily schedule. If your kids are doing distance learning, take a walk with them before “school” starts or when they are taking a break.While working from home, eat a quick lunch and then take a quick bike ride or run.Decide what you want to do and make it a part of your day.
Take advantage of online exercise services or apps. Many of these services areproviding free memberships right now. Consider doing these classes with friends. Thiscan provide a social outlet and also serve as motivation to get yourself going. motivating to open your tracking app and see how many times you were active in agiven week or month. You could also have a calendar where you track activity. It is notabout who does the most miles or fastest time but keeping yourself motivated to getout and move.
Use an app that tracks and keeps a record of your activity. It can be surprising and
Take advantage of unplanned opportunities to move. Go out and shoot baskets or play
catch with your kids. If you see a friend walking past your house, ask to join, at a safedistance on the walk. Exercise and socialization, things that we all need in this time.
On weekends, when you may have a little more time, work activity in into your plans.Walk or bike to pick up take-out food from a local restaurant, or to visit with friends, again keep a safe distance. Play a school yard game, like Four square, with your whole family. It may help to plan these activities, so that they actually happen.
Getting Back on a Bike
As social distancing and stay at home orders continue, getting outside for exercise is one thing
that is allowed, and is important for both our physical and mental well-being. Many people
have turned to biking as a way to get outside and moving during the pandemic and have found
their neighborhood streets are great places to ride. But, to people who haven’t been on a bike
in many years, the thought of doing this can be daunting. Here are some tips to help you get
If you have an old bike that has been collecting dust indoors or in a garage, you can probably
brush off the dust and get it rolling. Be sure to put air in the tires. Best to pump them up 30-60
minutes before you plan to ride to make sure there are no leaks. Also, make sure the brakes
are working and can stop you. An easy way to check this is to stand over the bike, squeeze the
brakes and then push the bike to see if the wheels roll. If the brakes hold the wheels, then you
should be good. If the brakes won’t hold the wheels or your tires won’t hold air, or if you want
a little more thorough check of your bike, take it to a local bike shop for a tune up. In most
locations bike shops have been designated essential businesses.
If you don’t have a bike and your community has a bike share system, find out how to pick up a
bike and give it a whirl. Some bike share systems have reduced their fees during the pandemic
to make their bikes more accessible. Just be conscious that most bikeshare systems have time
limits on how long the bikes can be used without extra fees, so be sure to read up on how the
system works on your community.
How to get started
If you haven’t ridden a bike in some time you may feel unstable when you take your first ride.
One way to overcome this is to lower the seat of the bike so that you can sit on the bike with
your feet flat on the ground. Then start pushing your bike using your feet. After you feel
comfortable with this, start to pick up your feet and coast as you gain your balance. Once you
are feeling comfortable, start pedaling. As you gain confidence start to raise the seat to a more
usual height. Be sure to do this in a flat area or even on an open field.
For your first few rides don’t overdo it. Try riding two or three times around you block the first
time out and build from there. As you gain confidence try going a little further from home.
Local, neighborhood streets are great places to ride, and these days have even less vehicular
traffic then usual. Many people with kids are thinking of riding again to join their kids on rides.
This is wonderful and fun, but if you haven’t ridden in a while, consider taking your first few
rides without your kids, so that you can get the feel of the bike again, without feeling self-
conscious in front of them.
Riding Beyond the Neighborhood
Once you are feeling confident, consider exploring beyond your neighborhood. Now can be a
good time to do this, because, as was mentioned before, there is generally less vehicular traffic
on roads. Your community may also have multi-use paths that can provide car free options for
cyclists. One important thing to remember is that when riding on the street, a bicycle is
considered a vehicle and the rider needs to follow the same rules as a motorist. Stay to the
right, obey all traffic signs and signals, and signal when you are planning to turn. When riding
on trails, stay to the right, except to pass, give an audible warning when passing other trail
users, and, during this time of the pandemic, maintain a six-foot distance from other trail users
as much as possible. While most communities have kept their trails open during the pandemic,
you should check with your local jurisdiction about the status of trail use and to see what social
distancing guidelines they have.
So, go ahead and give it a try. Whether you are wanting to go riding with your family or are just
looking for a new way to get active, think about how good you will feel after a couple of rides,
and the smile that will come to your face during these difficult times.