Life Without A Ride Program
I asked my friends in the club how they were dealing with the coronavirus, and what they are doing with themselves now that all the club's rides have been cancelled. We all have our ways of coping with this crisis and I thought members would appreciate the strategies of others in the club, and also draw some comfort that they are not alone in the crisis. In fact one surprise I had in the responses was the number who thanked me for simply asking how they were doing during the virus crises. CRW is a bike club, but for many of us who have been here a while it is also a family of sorts. There are those we ride with and more importantly those whom we call friends. So cancelled rides are more significant and impact our social lives as well. This may sound trite, but we are in this together.
It should come as no surprise that members were most interested in what they might do for their health and fitness when group riding is constrained. The activity of choice was solo riding. Some used this period as an opportunity to explore roads they would normally not ride, and to get to know their neighborhood better. One writer lived in the same town for over two decades but felt a new awareness by biking rather than driving through. Another used the Ride With GPS Club Account to find routes in his town. The notion of “social distance” was highly valued as there was awareness of spreading infection, and being a responsible member of the community. The best plan for riding right now is to go out and ride solo and enjoy the outdoors, in non-crowded areas. Rudge Mckenney took photo of a closed playgroud while riding solo.
Linda Nelson found the perfect riding partner, but said that she and Barry are in a special class, “we are a group of two and married, so we can ride without social distancing because whatever one catches, we know the other will ultimately acquire.“ Photo by Barry Nelson, taken on Legacy Trail, in Sarasota,FL.
The solo riders had to make accommodations from their normal routine. Food stops and rest rooms were closed. Since you’re riding alone, you need to be more self-sufficient especially if you have a flat. There was less traffic and many reported enjoying carless riding empty roads, but more walkers on bike trails. Also many took time to stop and enjoy nature and even take a photo. All in all, there was less distance on rides due to the lack of facilities. While we embrace group riding, an advantage of riding solo is that you can stop whenever you wish and perhaps take a picture. Barbara Martin stopped to take a picture of the Boston Skyline from Blue Hills. Click Here for larger image.
My son Alex lives in the Washington DC area and has been taking leisurely rides in and around national monuments/parks. He stopped to capture the cherry blossoms in full bloom.Click Here for larger image
Riding of course isn’t the only exercise option. As one member said “A walk, hike or ride either solo, or perhaps with a small group, is exercise, relieves stress and gets you out of the house. I did a 2 hour walk in the woods yesterday and then did yard work. Made me feel so much better.” There was also yoga practiced imaginatively with a friend via video conferencing.
For some the closing of the ride program was an opportunity to do other stuff: to complete long delayed repairs, get more involved in a hobby, or work in the garden. Another used the time to house train a new puppy. And technology helped with “lots of phone and video dates for coffee, cocktails, and general group visits.” One friend is with the times, “I will meet folks by Zoom.” And let’s not forget the cooks. There are the pros who have expanded their recipes, and the novices who cook rather than starve. One friend reported “I have been cooking new foods - ethnic or baking, just all sorts of interesting things to satisfy taste buds to help avoid snacking and because I have the time.”
Indoor biking exercises got mixed reports. It doesn’t work for some who ”need the outdoors and natural light.” For others however, the stationary bike was a natural alternative and they were delighted to have one available. Special mention goes to bikes which are connected over the Web and allow you to ride with others.
We shouldn't forget that for many the crises has impacted their work and created hardships. As one member put it: "I have actually stopped working because I no longer felt safe at work. It was a tough decision."
We note that everyone missed the club rides and hoped they would soon be restored. In the interim, try to get out cycling but only solo or if you practice social distancing.
The following CRW members helped with this article: Amy Wilson, Barbara Martin, Barry Nelson, Bob Wolf, Butch Pemstein, Fred Newton, Harriet Fell, Harry Manasewich, Helen Greitzer, Joseph Repole, Larry Finison, Linda Nelson, Mary Kernan, Merle Adelman, Mike Hanauer, Nina Siegel, Patria Vandermark, Rudge McKenney, Sandi Hartwell, and Susan Sabin.