Because this corona pandemic has left us all reeling, let’s look at ways we can carry on with our cycling during a pandemic. All these extra worries about staying healthy and the declining economy can get quite overwhelming, and I am sure you, like myself, could use a nice stress-free bike ride about now.
Here are a few changes most of us will have to make to our usual routines when cycling during a pandemic.
Cycling During A Pandemic
Take Everything You Need
One benefit that we had when we went on group rides is that there was always extra food or tools in case something was left behind.
Unfortunately, that support will no longer exist if you are cycling on your own, so make sure that you have everything you need with you. This includes food, water, a fully charged phone, a tool kit in case of a puncture and anything else you can think of that might come in handy.
Your tool kit should consist of the following:
- At least one spare tube (make sure this hasn’t perished)
- A glueless patch kit
- A mini-tool with fittings for the most crucial bolts on your bike (most common are 2mm to 6mm hex keys, T25 Torx head, Phillips-head screwdriver)
- Spare chain link or connector pin
- Two tyre levers
- A pump and/or CO2 inflator (with two cartridges)
- Bonus: zip-ties and a short section of duct tape, wrapped around one tire lever
- Chain Tool
Although this may seem like a lot, it is better to be over-prepared rather than underprepared.
Because Corona loves the company, it is best to cycle alone at present. Personally I think it is quite difficult to maintain the distance of at least a meter when cycling at a speed, so it’s best to rather be safe than sorry here.
Consider Shorter Routes
Even though you might have the extra time right now for a two-hour expedition, it’s wisest to try and stay closer to home and I am sure you will find many interesting routes around your neighborhood.
Even as little as ten minutes outside can have an improvement in physiological stress markers like lower heart rate, blood pressure, and cortisol. So even shorter rides will benefit you.
You can still get a great workout by doing a 60 to 90-minute loop. Remember that high training loads in terms of intensity and duration can suppress the immune system, which you don’t want at times like these.
Luckily building to peak fitness isn’t a goal for most of us right now, so stick to moderate workouts to maintain your base and keep your legs strong. After a 15-minute warmup, try one of these suggestions from the Bicycle magazine:
- Tempo Time
- Increase your effort to a hard but sustainable level—heart rate Zone 4 (75 to 85 percent max heart rate) or 7 to 8 on the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. Hold that pace for 10 to 20 minutes. Recover for half the interval time. Repeat 1 to 2 more times.
- Increase your effort to Zone 4 (75 to 85 percent max heart rate)/RPE 8 and hold for 5 minutes, then lift your effort just a few BPM (low Zone 5/RPE 9) for 1 to 2 minutes. Drop back down to Zone 4/RPE 8 for 5 minutes. Recover at an easy pace for 10 minutes, then repeat 1 to 2 times.
- Gears for Hills
- On a moderate climb, alternate climbing in a big gear at a lower cadence (below 70 rpm) for 1 to 2 minutes, then spin an easy gear (above 90 rpm) for 1 to 2 minutes.
Communicate Your Whereabouts
Tell someone where you are going and be specific about the roads and trails you will be riding. Also let your loved ones know how long you will be so that if you aren’t back at a certain time, you will have someone searching for you.
You can also opt to share your location with the use of apps like Strava or Garmin or by simply using Google Maps.
So, you need to be smart when cycling during a pandemic. Keep your wits about you, as many people are suffering from corona brain fog at the moment, so you can count on distracted drivers on the road.
Also, parks and trails might be more crowded than usual as many families venture out to take a break in the fresh air, so slow down and take care of yourself and those around you.