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Cycling During COVID

July 27, 2020

As the ongoing COVID pandemic squelches outdoor festivals and recreation options this summer and possibly beyond, more people are taking advantage of extra idle time to get outdoors for exercise and fresh air. People for Bikes, a national bike-advocacy group, recently reported that many local bike shops are seeing a surge in sales, particularly for children’s bikes and bikes less than $600. In addition, sales of indoor trainers, accessories and requests for bike repairs have increased in recent months.

Whether you cycle as a commuter, for racing or for leisure and recreation, Happy Freedman, a bike fitting specialist at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), the oldest orthopedic hospital in the United States, has some tips for staying safe while cycling during COVID.

Sanitize your equipment:  Bicycle tires kick up debris, you are advised to wipe down all high-contact surfaces of the bike with a disinfectant before and after your ride. Be sure to wipe down the handlebars, specifically the handgrips, the gear shift and the bell or horn. The seat and seat stem should also be wiped down, as well as valves and tires if you have to pump them or change a flat. It’s also a good idea to disinfect your helmet, especially if you set it down on a possible contaminated surface at your destination.

Bike sharing programs such as Milwaukee’s own Bublr Bikes advise users not to use a shared bike of you are sick; use a shared bike for trips such as going to work for essential businesses, grocery shopping, getting medical supplies, or outdoor recreation that complies with physical distancing requirements; use and app to avoid touching any more surfaces than necessary; avoid touching your face while riding; and wash your hands as soon as you arrive at your destination. Bublr staff are still engaged in additional cleaning procedures of the touch points on the bikes and kiosks.

Ride solo: While bike riding clubs and group excursions are fun, the general consensus from experts right now is to ride solo—enjoy the fresh air and avoid overpopulated bike paths. Plan your ride during off-peak hours when trails are less crowded, and keep your distance from other riders. Avoid racking your bike in contact with other bikes.

Practice proper hygiene: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after you ride. If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.

For additional information about bike-friendly businesses, bike shops, Wisconsin routes and more, visit

Sheila Julson is a freelance writer and contributor to Natural Awakenings magazine.

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