How to Ride Safely Amid Coronavirus Concerns
This is a rapidly developing situation. For the most up-to-date information, check resources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) regularly. This story will be updated as new information becomes available.
While the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, causing bike races—and many other large events—to be postponed and canceled, you might be wondering what you should do for your own personal health and how this could affect your training.
We tapped David Nieman, Dr.PH., health professor at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus, Brian Labus, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and Matt Ferrari Ph.D., associate professor of biology in the Eberly College of Science, and a researcher with the Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, at Penn State to help answer cyclists’ most frequently asked questions.
Is it safe to ride outside?
Yes—as long as you’re alone. When people congregate together and someone sneezes or coughs, droplets get onto objects that people touch, and then people touch their face, Nieman explains. The best plan for riding right now is to go out and ride solo and enjoy the outdoors, in noncrowded areas. And, try timing your rides for when you know your route will be less crowded.
Additionally, people might be afraid to ride outside in the colder weather for fear of illness, but that’s not true; there is no data that you will get sick from really any respiratory pathogen when riding in cold weather, Nieman says.
Getting in 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to brisk activity can help your immune system keep viruses at bay. Be sure you know what’s going on in your area and if there are any restrictions or mandatory self-quarantines. And, if you’re sick or at-risk of spreading the virus, you shouldn’t go out.
During a quarantine, Nieman suggests doing some exercise, while staying quarantined wherever you are to keep healthy—doing bodyweight exercises or riding on your living room trainer are great ways to do this. Unless you’re sick.
“If you do have flu or coronavirus, or have a fever, sick people think wrongly they can ‘exercise the virus out of the system’ or ‘sweat it out,’ that’s a myth. It’s actually the opposite,” Neiman says.