Only weeks in, Coronavirus has already had more of an impact on global cycling than any event since World War II. With a large number of early season major races already cancelled, all WorldTour racing has been suspended until at least early April and most likely longer. The first Grand Tour of the year, the Giro d’Italia, has been postponed and the #1 one-day classic, Paris-Roubaix looks next to be called off.
At this stage the Tour de France is going ahead but these are very uncertain times. If it is postponed a creative and very entertaining alternative has been suggested – a full replay of the 2011 event, broadcast on SBS from 7:30pm on each night of (what would’ve been) The Tour. Who wouldn’t want to relive Cadel Evans’ big win? … We vote for that!
In other news from Europe – recreational cycling has been effectively banned in some parts. Spaniards have been ordered to stay indoors for 14 days and risk fines of up to 3000 euros for being outdoors ‘unnecessarily’.
It’s similar in Italy with non-essential outdoor activities being strongly discouraged and socially unacceptable.
Australian Events Cancelled & Postponed
On the local front cycling events across Australia look set to be delayed and postponed following the government edict to restrict gatherings involving 500 or more participants. Of note – in the US overnight President Trump recommended that mass gathering number be set at just 10 people.
Bicycling Australia’s popular Clare Classic, which was scheduled for April 4 & 5, has sadly been cancelled. Our next event, the Mudgee Classic, has been postponed until June 2021. Other events including the Noosa & Bowral Classics are scheduled to go ahead, both including a full 100% COVID-19 refund policy.
The Oceania Cycling Confederation has reported the 2020 Oceania Road Championships, scheduled for Brisbane, 5-6 April will be postponed.
Some Good News
The impact of COVID-19 on the Aussie cycling scene is not all bad news. There have been reports of more people out riding and some bike shops seeing an uptake in business as people look to an alternative to public transport.
Cycling, it seems, could be a perfect panacea during this global pandemic. This list of needs and their simple solutions shows just some of the ways a bike can beat Coronavirus.
Social distancing – ride your bike.
Source of sunshine -ride your bike.
Stay 1.5m from others – ride your bike.
Fresh air & less isolation – ride your bike.
Alternative to public transport – ride your bike.
Can’t go to the gym or spin class – ride your bike.
Mental health in these troubling times -ride your bike.
Working from home & need a brain boost -ride your bike.
Maintain & strengthen your immune system – ride your bike.
Coronavirus Precautions & Cycling
While cycling is clearly a wonderful way to beat of the Coronavirus blues, there are a number of common sense precautions riders should take. These include –
- Feeling even marginally unwell? Don’t ride with others. We all have a responsibility to reduce the spread of this illness and all precautions must be taken. Sometimes getting out for a ride can be a great way to clear the system but our advice is to go alone and not put others at risk.
- Groups. Our advice would be to stick with smaller groups and / or ride solo. Remember people can have the virus and not show symptoms. Discuss your concerns when planning a ride and be aware of each other recent travel history, hygiene habits and general awareness of COVID-19.
- Hygiene. Pack antibacterial hand cleaner with you on each and every ride. Clean your hands before, during and after the ride – and definitely as you stop at the coffee shop or meet up with others.
- Touch. Studies have shown humans touch their faces some 3,000 to 5,000 times per day! Astonishing figures … great to keep in mind as a reminder to limit hand and finger contact with your eyes, nose, ears and mouth.
- Space. ‘Social Distancing’ seems the latest buzzword but it is a very important aspect to keeping the spread of disease and illness at bay. Maintain a safe distance from other riders when on the bike and at the cafe afterwards.
- Helmets & Gloves. Stopping for that mid or post-ride coffee? Remove your helmet and gloves and leave them with your bike. Your mates don’t want sweat-soaked equipment on the table.
- Share Bikes? With more people cycling – a recent study in New York finding an uptake in commuter biking by 55% this month alone! – sanitising a share bike before use is highly recommended. Use spray or hand sanitiser to clean the hand grips and saddle, then again clean your hands.