Social distancing: get out and ride!

Right now the autumn weather and some recent rain has made a lot of trails really, really good. And for a lot of us, it's an excellent time to go out and ride - as long as we have no symptoms. So what should you consider seeing there is a global pandemic right now?

Keep your kit clean

This should be obvious, but any kit you put on needs to be clean. And nothing should be re-used, like your gloves. They don't stay with your helmet for next time, they go in the wash! The virus can stay alive on surfaces for between 3-40 hours, so you still need to avoid touching anything when going to the trails. Gates, benches, tables, public toilets - leave them be.

Take everything you need to eat and drink

Still on hygiene, do you really want to fill a bottle or slurop out of a bubbler at a trail head right now? I didn't think so. Take the amount of food and water you will need, and a little more.

And don't touch your face!

load it up!

Riding solo is best

No word of a lie, it's not as fun. But people can have the virus before showing symptoms (which is why anyone who might have come in contact with the virus has to self-isolate for 14 days). This keeps you out of sneeze clouds, snot rockets, and away from an impromtu fist bump or trail hug.

Don't flog yourself

If you live to race, there's not much going on in the world at the moment. So you can skip those really intense sessions. High intensity training gets the job done for fitness but it can also increase the inflammatory response. In fact any training load (ie a greater load than what you can do easily) will put your body in stress. That's what makes you stronger as you recover. But right now - that also represents reduced immune respobse. Keep it chill.

How riding impacts your immune system.

Dial it down a notch

One of the reasons to practice social distancing is to reduce the impact on the health system, as if there are mass infections, our health system can't cope. Now imagine a global pandemic (shouldn't be too hard, switch the news on) and then add a mountain biker walking into the emergency room with a broken collarbone or worse. Guess who looks like a bit of an idiot? Just keep it mellow, pump flow trails, and enjoy being in the outdoors. Cycling outside is currently banned in a few countries.

Get your skills on

Bearing in mind the above point, what skills can you work on at the moment? A simple trackstand is not mastered by all, and even in the smallest backyard or courtyard you should be able to work on improving this. Keen to step it up? Maybe visit the local pumptrack.