Cycling as the Ultimate Social Distancing Activity


It is the time of corona virus and we are all experiencing life in an entirely new way. Many of our life structures have collapsed, like job, income, school, (in-person) community, and much more. Time no longer has the same weight. Hours seemingly go by while weeks still seem to pass like an eternity. How are we all staying sane?

Thankfully, there is an overdose of self-care tips right now. Embrace the uncertainty. Talk about the uncertainty. Mediate. Attend virtual dance parties. Exercise at home. Watch TV together. Zoom chat, zoom chat, and zoom chat some more. Constantly look at your phone. Put down your phone to look at your computer screen. Shut your computer to watch TV. Take in the never-ending content available to you. Forget. Forget what is going on.

Don’t forget that it is spring. The ground is warming, showers are coming in, trees and flowers are budding, and animals are coming out of their hiding places. Let’s go outside, but like, six feet away from other people. Walk, hike, run, cross-fit, boot-camp, paddle, picnic, and bask in the sun. Smile.

Or, try riding a bike!

Cycling is one of my favorite activities. You can go really fast. You see more scenery than you would on foot. You can transport yourself further distances. You can replace your car. There is a breeze. You can exercise. You can feel like part of a community.

Initially, I thought to myself that cycling is the ultimate social distancing activity. You can be outside. You can enjoy the weather and you don’t have to necessarily touch anyone. But with more and more people out of jobs, school, and capitalism, the parks and paths are overcrowding. Some municipalities have even had to shut down parks and recreational areas due to overcrowding. To prevent more COVID-19 outbreaks.

So, cyclists, well everyone: you know what isn’t closed? The streets. The sidewalks. Yes, maybe they are urban areas. Yes, maybe they are concrete jungles. But are they safer than a crowded park trail? YES. Will riding on a street next to a car be less exposure than riding on a crowded bicycle path? YES.

My new advice is to stick to the streets, especially for cyclists. Let others enjoy the walking paths. The streets are practically empty anyway. There is a larger network of city streets to ride, much larger than a network of paved bike trails. City streets are our paved bike trails. Reduce your exposure to COVID-19. Reduce others’ exposure to COVID-19. Ride the empty streets.

The empty streets are, for once, more available to us than ever.

Let’s take back the streets.

About Katlyn

Bike commuter, environmental scientist, community advocate, feminist, foodie and traveler I love cycling and commuting.
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