Did you know – With the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the planet, New Yorkers are cycling more and more. The New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio asked people to work from home, avoid crowded places and subways, start walking or biking instead.
This may be great for India as well, given our dense population! Or should one just stay at home? Here’s advice from experts and Cyclop members.
1. Ride Solo in Isolated Places
Stick to “solo rides, isolated locations, and use proper precautions” says Nimit Makwana.
“Cycle as long as you don’t hang out at chai shops and the like before, during or after a ride.” says Rahul K Thomas.
“Ride solo, avoid restaurants and public places. Don’t touch anything and don’t allow anybody to touch your bike.” says Rakesh Agrawal.
Stay AFAP (As Far As Possible).
Top cyclist Bharat Pannu, preparing for RAAM 2020 is continuing with his training plan, although one is unsure if RAAM 2020 will be held as scheduled in June. “Riding outdoors on roads is itself a for of social distancing. Just be on your own.” says Pannu.
You can also cycle at 5am when the roads are isolated and get back home before any interaction is possible! Go home before the zombies come out (and that’s everyone else at the moment) like Will Smith’s character did in the movie “I am Legend.”
2. Ride, Don’t Touch
“No hugs, no handshakes, no water or snack sharing, no breaks for tea. Run or ride 1.5 metres apart.” says Anupam Gupta.
Bike sharing, spinning classes – Stop!
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta explained on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert that the Corona virus does not seem to aerosolise, or “suspend in the air” ready to infect a person who comes in that area 2 hours later. The virus is actually in respiratory droplets that are ejected when someone coughs or sneezes; the droplets hang in the air for some time and then settle on surfaces.
One must thus keep 3 to 6 feet away from others, and not touch public surfaces.
If you are thinking of taking any ride-share service like Uber, take your cycle instead, and avoid second-hand contact with all the passengers who sat before you. They may have wiped their noses, sneezed, anything in the car!
Once at your destination, wash your hands like a surgeon.
3. Ride Safe, Don’t End Up in the Hospital
Ride but “just try to avoid getting injured in a way that you would need medical treatment in hospitals. It will add pressure in this situation.” says Nilanjan Guhar Majumder.
Italy and Spain have even banned leisure cycling for this reason. Only rides for food or medical supplies are allowed. If caught riding cyclists can face a fine or 3000 euros, according to Cycling Today.
“Stay at home and put the bike aside… minimize the impact on the resources of medical services.” said Carlos Mascias, medical director of a private hospital in Madrid.
4. Disinfect Your Bike
“Spray your bike with a disinfectant before you enter your home given the wheels touch the road’s surface and people may spit on the roads.” says Deepander Sehjpal.
When you wash your hands, also remember to disinfect your bike’s handlebar.
5. Don’t Go Out, Ride at Home on a Trainer
The “safest would be to sit at home” says Devashish Bahl. “Ride on a trainer at home. Don’t be on the road.” says Deepender Sehjpal.
If you feel ok, it doesn’t mean you are not infected! Ramya Rajagopal urges all cyclists to exercise social distancing and break “the chain of infection”.
Anand Andy adds “One may unknowingly transport germs to places where we may have elders and children.” causing the pandemic to grow rapidly.
Prakash Poura claims that insisting on cycling at this time is “sheer arrogance … not taking into account other members of the society in this hour.”
“The government is trying to hard to contain the virus and asking people to stay home as much as possible. To cycle or not? I would think – No!” says Vamini Sethi, emphasising that this is not a time to think about one’s own rides but to make collective effort!
“Doctors and health officials advise staying indoors unless it is absolutely necessary, so unless you are a doodhwala, paavwala or cylinderwala avoid going out cycling.” concludes Rony Bill.
PM Modi addresses the nation urging the people of India to observe Janta curfew on March 22, 2020 (Sunday), between 7:00 am and 9:00 pm. Cyclop would advise cyclists to unite in the effort to “flatten the curve”.
Do not cycle between 7am and 9pm, on any day we’d say, not just Sunday. You can do your morning rides at 5am, 6am when you don’t meet a soul on the roads, and get back home, to wash your hands!
Share this article and help the cyclists of India stay safe and keep others safe. You can also join the discussion in the Cyclop Community. After all, online contact is the best contact right now!
This article expresses the thoughts of Cyclop members as per information they have about Coronavirus at this point in time, and not the views they may hold as the situation changes. Thanks to Leander Wheatley for the featured image.