Trail Ramblings: You Can Ride, Just Not Near Anyone Else.

The safest place to ride these days is out of the city. If there are others around, have your mask on and keep a safe distance. That seems to be what the recommendations are for now. I’ve even seen cycling mask ads starting to pop up in my news feed. The current view is not just to act as if you’re trying not to get infected with the virus, but to act as if you have it and are trying not to infect those around you, as in the habit of the “courtesy mask” worn in Asia. I’ve included an article here on the matter, It states:
“But even if cyclists are trying to practice physical distancing and ride solo, we know that’s not always possible—especially on popular routes and trails. If you’re looking to wear a covering on your rides in an area where you may encounter others, wearing a Buff or other moisture-wicking face covering may help cut down on droplets being spread to others because of heavy breathing, coughing, and sneezing, said David Nieman, Dr.PH., health professor at Appalachian State University and director of the Human Performance Lab at the North Carolina Research Campus.”

I know it’s not recommended to wear N95s, leave them for medical professionals, but this is an old one I had from China. I really wore it for the poor AQI (air quality index) on Saturday. I wouldn’t otherwise have needed it out at Branched Oak Lake.

I know some have mentioned that they have difficulty breathing through masks and that they’re hot. I have better luck breathing deeply with a mask containing a valve, some of my winter masks have them. No matter what I’ve used, they do tend to be hot and fog my glasses. City trails are not places to be racing anyway, so I’d recommend keeping a mask on until out of the city, then keeping it on standby to pull on if anyone’s around. If trails are as busy as the Mopac in Walton was two weekends ago, you’ll have to find a less busy place to take it off. Why not try some of the lesser-ridden trails, like the Oak Creek Trail from Valparaiso to Brainard, or the Chief Standing Bear, from Beatrice to Kansas? Otherwise, we’re fortunate to be an island in a sea of gravel, if you like that sort of challenge. The two routes that were to be featured in the cancelled Legion Post 197 Gravel Mission race May 23 have been released, (thanks Schmitty!) so you can have some fun exploring wide open spaces on the gravel of Cass county without the worries of crowding.

Photo Courtesy

There has been a link to a Belgian-Dutch “study” circulating that was based on a computer simulation and can be misleading. The following is from “It’s super easy to get freaked out when you’re now learning that you need to stay upwards of 32 feet away from a runner and 65 feet away from a cyclist in front of you. In some areas, this is not even possible. But take a deep, socially-distanced breath. This paper is not a vetted study nor a study on disease transmission.” It goes on to say why the “white paper” the article was based on was later corrected and cycling was dropped from the report. This a reminder to not jump to conclusions about everything you read out there in social media land. Do maintain at least six feet. Also, I’d recommend touching “beg light” buttons with an elbow or something other than your fingers.