Riding Safely: Some tips for cycling while social distancing

After a typically chilly Boston April, we’re finally moving into a gorgeous May. If you haven’t been riding through the colder months, it’s the perfect time to get your bike out of its winter home and back on the road.

Needless to say, keeping ourselves, our families, and our neighbors safe is top of mind for all of us right now. We’d like to provide a few pointers for those people still riding their bikes during this time of social distancing. Check out this article for more information.

  • Ride alone, or with members of your household. While cycling can be a great way to get exercise without coming into close contact with others, riding your bike is only as safe as you make it. Avoid riding with groups of people who do not live with you, and maintain a wide distance between yourself and other cyclists at stop lights or stop signs.
  • Where possible, use scarves, bandanas, or other face coverings. Coronavirus can be transmitted through droplets, and as many of us know, it’s all too easy to get a runny nose or a cough while you’re exercising! While masks should be prioritized for health care professionals and other essential workers in high-risk jobs, it’s still a good idea to use a handmade mask, scarf, Buff, or other fabric covering while you’re riding.
    • We hate to be graphic, but it bears specifying: don’t spit or shoot mucus from your nose while you’re riding anywhere near other people. The six-foot recommendation for social distancing only applies when you (and your bodily fluids) are staying put. Be courteous—and don’t be gross!
    • That said, if you’re far from others, it’s okay to bring your mask down if you need some extra air, like when you’re climbing a steep hill. While coronavirus can be transmitted outside, it’s safer for everyone outdoors than indoors. Don’t worry—germs don’t just hang in the air!
  • Bring hand sanitizer or wear gloves, and wash your hands as soon as you get off your bike. It’s hard to find hand sanitizer right now, but if you’ve got it, use it! If you can’t access any at the moment, wearing gloves and washing your hands are great ways to protect yourself and those around you. 

Ride more cautiously than usual. Now, more than ever, it’s crucial to avoid preventable injuries so that our healthcare system can be maximally focused on those sick with coronavirus or chronic conditions. If you break your arm because you’re riding recklessly, you’ll end up taking resources away from those who truly need them. Accidents happen, and you definitely shouldn’t feel guilty if something happens to you outside your control. But please take extra precautions while you’re riding in the next few weeks: avoid riding the wrong way up one-way streets, be particularly mindful of stop lights and stop signs, and resist the urge to pop a wheelie.

  • Because many riders haven’t been on their bikes in a few months, it’s a good time to take your bike to a shop for a check-up or tune-up. Bike shops are essential businesses in Boston, which means you can still get service! You can find a full list of open Massachusetts bike shops here, sorted by city. Ashmont Cycles is open in Dorchester!
  • Make sure to bring a spare inner tube and a hand pump when you go riding alone. Never fixed a flat before? Check out this video, and practice at home on a rainy day! (Don’t be intimidated by this guy’s fancy gear—it’s the same practice no matter what kind of bike you’ve got.)
Boston weather forecast, May 2-May 9, 2020

Don’t let this crazy beautiful week go to waste. Get out and ride!

Need some ideas for bike routes around Dorchester? We’ll have a post for you soon.