Save the World, Ride a Bike! (COVID-19 Edition)

Bicycles are a solution for the world’s COVID-19 woes.

For the suburban and rural, it’s exercise without going to a gym. For the urban, it’s exercise without the gym AND transportation at the same time.

The former seem to not be showing up at suburban and rural bike shops. Though some owners are working on that.   Bicycle Retailer has a story on a Mississippi shop owner running billboards promoting cycling. James Moore of Moore’s Bike Shop is promoting cycling for everyone’s benefit. He’s even hoping some people go visit his competitors.

BRAIN has this quote from him: “Basically, get your bike wherever you can get your bike,” Moore said. “Get the best you can get. If you have some bikes and need them fixed, come see myself or my competitors. I don’t want this to look like I’m trying to draw a lot of attention to ring up my cash register.”

Urban areas, places where commutes are short, public transportation is otherwise popular, and bikes are a relatively easy transit alternative, are seeing some movement. The website 6sqft reported that Citibike saw a 70% increase in use compared to same first third of March last year. Bicycle Retailer reports local mini-chain Bicycle Habitat has seen a 100% and 75% uptick in bike sales in two locations. And owner Charlie McCorkell says much of the action is in kids bikes. He reports to BRAIN “We’re selling a lot of kids bikes. I think parents are trying to give kids a good experience as opposed to everything sucks out there,”

I think parents are seeing it as a practical purchase. For one thing, it’s something to do on what are likely to be long days spent mostly indoors. They also want to be mobile, cars are a pain for short trips, and bikes are faster and easier than walking. I hope they can get their kids onboard with riding before school returns April 20th or whenever after so that bike commuting to school becomes a thing again.

Over in the United Kingdom, 32 researchers, professors, and doctors have penned an open letter to government entitled “Researchers call on government to enable safe walking and cycling during the COVID-19 pandemic”

The heart of the letter is this:

“In a rapidly escalating situation policy could be adopted that largely confines the general asymptomatic population to their homes, potentially for some time. Confinement, sometimes in overcrowded accommodation with little or no private green space, and particularly during times of anxiety has health risks.

“Physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, several cancers, dementia, and diabetes. These conditions affect millions of people; and some increase the risk of a serious outcome if one contracts Covid-19. Walking and cycling, particularly in greenspace, is good for mental as well as physical health. People should be encouraged to exercise at home, but for most of us it is unlikely that this will replace the walking and cycling we do outdoors.”

Obvious to cyclists. But probably needs to be said to those who live the life of the car. Gives an urge to take all my neighbors bikes and get them into road ready condition.  If you feel the same urge, here are some tips for avoiding contact with COVID-19 from Happy Freedman.

Bikes made sense before. They make more sense now. Society will change; it’s not wrong hoping this is part of the change.



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