Riding During The Coronavirus

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Should you ride? Should you wear a mask? Should you ride with friends? These are just a couple of the questions you’re probably asking yourself right now.

In November of 2018, we were having horrible fires in California after years of drought and to ride my bicycle I had to order and wear N95 masks. I bought a box of 20 and barely used them because the air quality improved pretty quick in my area. That’s me above riding at that time.

It was horrible to wear a mask while riding. As you can probably imagine under that mask my face was sweaty, it fogged my sunglasses, and my nose was running. I was still glad to have them at that time and now I’m glad to have the remainder since the virus showed up and you can’t find masks.

The coronavirus is making history there’s no denying it and it’s here to stay. For how long we can’t say. It’s scary and there’s a lot of fake news swirling around amongst the real news that can make your head spin. Then there’s the fact that we are sheltering in place, not allowed to see other people, and homebound while our whole lives are changing. It can drive you crazy.

I’ve been bike riding the whole time and since I’ve been riding there have been many changes. The Bay Trail where I ride went from the regulars to crowds of newcomers and their kids. These people could care less about the rules set in place for sharing the Bay Trail. It was frustrating, to say the least until the authorities stepped in. Thank heavens they did it was getting crazy and people were not distancing.

The park’s parking lots were closed, groups were limited to 10 people or less, walkways were blocked, parks were closed, and more. The Bay Trail is a very large trail that goes around the entire San Francisco Bay so there’s really no way to close it but it did limit people’s access to it somewhat.

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My friend Anoush (77) and I rode last Wednesday before most of the parking lots were shut down but we had a nice ride. We keep our distance from each other and other people and don’t hug after a ride like we used to.

Should I ride?

I think I read that if you exercise outside that you should distance yourself from others and keep within 5 miles of your home. If you ride with a large group that’s a no-no but riding with a friend or 2 should be fine as long as you’re careful and know who you’re riding with. So there’s nothing wrong with taking a ride during this time.

Keeping up with your exercise program (cycling) is extra important because it helps the boredom and keeps you healthy. Constant sitting all day is as bad as smoking cigarettes! Exercise also helps you sleep better at night. Maintain your health by daily exercise, eating right, and getting enough sleep.

If you don’t ride, you should think about starting. With gyms and other workout venues being closed I think we’re lucky to have something we can do at this time! Running is good but if you want low impact biking is your answer. It gives you a strong core and strengthens your legs. It promotes balance and agility. I’m 65 and bike with people in their 80’s so anyone can do it. It’s aerobic and fun.

There are a few things to think about while riding now.

  • Don’t ride behind joggers, runners or walkers for very long.
  • Keep your distance (6 ft.) from everyone unless passing.
  • When passing keep the widest berth you can.
  • Pass as quickly as you can and don’t get distracted or chat.
  • If you see someone coughing, spitting, or blowing their nose in the air avoid them at all costs.
  • If someone gets too close or is doing something you don’t like wait or take another route past them.
  • Because traffic is sparse now the street (bike lanes) are often a good bet.
  • If riding with a friend don’t share water or sit close together on breaks.
  • When pressing buttons for street crossings use the same knuckle on either hand so you don’t touch your face.
  • There are no places to stop and sit for coffee.
  • Bathrooms are now closed so make sure you go before you bike!
  • Carry hand sanitizer with you on your bike and use it during or after you get home.

Should you wear a mask?

This is the million-dollar question. I don’t wear a mask while biking but I do when I go anywhere else. Because we are alone most of the time on our bikes in the fresh air there’s nothing to worry about. It’s those times that we encounter people on the trail and have to pass that’s important. Like I said earlier masks are not comfortable but if it makes you feel better then wear one. If you don’t have one a bandana or scarf, any type of coverage is good. The virus can live in the air for a short amount of time so the choice is yours. I feel if I’m careful I can avoid catching it.

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Peter (59) is another friend I ride with during this virus. We also keep our distance. Peter wears a bandana over his mouth but only because he has allergies.

Riding during this time is awesome to me because I still have some freedom left. When I ride it makes me feel so good it’s hard to explain. Afterward, I feel great because I burned calories, got my ya-ya’s out, maybe saw a friend, and enjoyed the beautiful trails in the springtime. I love biking and always look forward to my rides. I can only hope they don’t crack down on getting fresh air or I’m toast.

I haven’t had the flu in a couple of years nor a cold. I’m a senior (65) and only take meds for my thyroid and have no heart problems. I’m in great health and all due to living a healthy lifestyle. I have written much about how to live a healthy lifestyle on this blog so please take the time to learn. If this isn’t the time to start I don’t know when is.

Take the time to ride while we are on lockdown. Don’t be afraid to ride with a friend you can trust not to be sick. Stay in good health. People who are healthy are more likely to stay that way and don’t get sick as much. This is a fact look it up yourself. This is a historical time of many firsts for our world and we need something to help us get by. Trust in cycling and keep the faith.

Don’t get sick. Follow the rules. Stay healthy. Stay safe. Big virtual hug!

I changed the name of this blog to Let’s Ride. I hope you’ll keep stopping by to enjoy learning about biking and health.

Springtime-Time For Love

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springtime
the love of my life-
a bicycle

© Rebecca Sanchez 2020

Photo from 2/17/2020 taken by my roommate, James Graham. It was a warm day with fog and sun which was unusual and so much fun to ride in while it lasted.

As you know I’m a dedicated cyclist and ride on the Bay Trail near San Mateo, CA. February 20th was my Biking Anniversary! Four years of riding my hybrid 20-30 miles every other day year-round. I do it for the health benefits and child-like enjoyment I experience every time I get on my bicycle.

I’m a self-made Bicycle Ambassador for the Bay Trail, many people know me on sight, and I write about my escapades here. This is a haiku I wrote for a group I belong to on Facebook because I like to write poetry and flash fiction too. Visit more of my work on Capricious Poet.

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Spring is almost here! Are you seeing any signs?

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All the signs say thumbs up for a summer of great riding!

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James and I have been together for over 20 years (longer than a lot of marriages these days) through some hard times. We met in 1999 and used to be a couple but in 2001 went through a horrible break-up. Because of the cost of living in CA, we stayed living together. I helped him through some tough times and when my turn came he was there for me. People thought he was a roommate with benefits but that was never the case. As time passed instead of resentment we became deep, loyal friends. We both had no kids and terrible family backgrounds and it was wonderful to have someone who knew what that was like. Recently we realized our friendship had grown into a loving relationship that meant something special. Marriage means nothing to us because happiness is the most important thing. What a wonderful way to fall in love taking our sweet time and riding into the sunset on our bicycles. People have told us we look like a happy couple in our photos and now we are.

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James from our ride last weekend. There was a neat fog although the sun was fully out. Later on, it did burn off but it was fun while it lasted.

Enough of this! Time to get back to bicycles and health! Prime riding season is going to be starting soon for all of us on this half of the planet. Kudos to those who rode through the winter in the snow and ice you are made of stronger stuff than many of us. I saw your posts on Fitbit, Facebook, and MeWe in my bike community Let’s Ride. If you’re ever on MeWe come join us! You can find us in Let’s Ride, HERE.

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Zoom, zoom!!

Anything you’d like to see me write about? There will be some up and coming posts about great places to ride in the Bay Area, bicycle tips, healthy hacks, and photographs.

A bicycle ride around the world begins with a single pedal stroke.”

2020-Another Year To Ride

There’s so much to look forward to in the new year! While many people are thinking of resolutions they usually break within the first few months I’m thinking about continuing what’s worked for me almost 4 years now. After putting the hustle and bustle of the holidays behind me it’s time to get back to riding.

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Whether you ride year-round or in the spring when the snow melts one thing you should do each year is to make sure your bicycle is in tip-top shape to ride. Parts can shake loose and bikes should be inspected and readjusted yearly especially if you ride daily. Yearly bike maintenance is imperative for safe riding.

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Yesterday I had a sobering reality while doing my visual check before a ride. I checked the front and back wheel levers for my quick release and everything looked good. I usually make sure they’re flipped down tight but I don’t physically manipulate them unless they look like they moved.

Right before we took off I noticed while jerking my handlebars (by accident) that something sounded loose. I first thought it was my cell phone holder on my handlebars because I was having trouble tightening it down. It wasn’t.

I shook it again and thought I saw my front tire move. No way! I picked up my front end and spun the tire, it was moving fine. Then I pushed the wheel sideways and noticed it was moving back and forth a tiny bit. OMG!

Although everything looked good I knew something was wrong. I tried the wheel release and it was very loose. I had a vision of happily riding along watching my front wheel come off and crashing violently. It was my worst nightmare!

I released the wheel fully, tightened the release screw, and put the wheel back on. I made sure the wheel was solid and the release screw was as tight as I could work it. I also checked the rear release which was good. I had saved myself from a world of hurt and a terrible accident.

This is one reason I’m against quick-release wheels! Yes, it’s nice to get the wheel off easily for many reasons but if they aren’t tight your wheel can come off. Some bikes have a guard in place so if it accidentally opens your wheel is held on but it’s no guarantee.

I don’t wish to scare you but I rode with a friend some months ago who thought he was having a front brake problem until he discovered the wheel release had come open. He rode like that for miles and was extremely lucky his wheel didn’t come off. People don’t usually have that kind of dumb luck.

Now, most new bikes come with quick-release wheels (front and back) so it’s very important to do a visual hands-on check of your bicycle every time you take a ride. Safety first!

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What To Check Before A Ride

Take the time to look at your bike before a ride. You will want to put your hands on it.

  • Check tire pressure and add air if needed. The correct pressure will be on your tires.
  • Check the frame for any damage or rust and cables for any bends, or frayed edges.
  • Try your brake handles and make sure your breaks are engaging. The brake pads or discs shouldn’t be worn.
  • Make sure your tires have good tread on them with no aging rubber or cracks in the sidewalls.
  • Manually check your front and back wheel release levers making sure they are tight and flipped shut.
  • Check the condition of your chain. Chains need to be kept clean and lubricated.
  • Keep your (rear wheel) gears clear and clean of debris.
  • Is your seat the correct height? Your leg on the lowest pedal should be fully extended with a slight bend in your knee.
  • Handlebars should be straight and tight.
  • Secure any gear properly and keep away from your spokes.
  • If wearing pants use clips or straps to keep them tight at the ankles and away from your spokes.

If you find something you can’t fix do a search for a good bike shop in your area. They will be glad to answer any questions you might have. They can tell you how much air should be in your tires (if you can’t find it) and can do yearly maintenance on your bicycle if you can’t do it yourself. A good bike shop is the best tool you can have.

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Yearly Bike Maintanence Musts

  • Inspect and adjust your derailer.
  • Inspect and adjust your brakes and brake system.
  • Inspect and adjust your chain and drive system.
  • Clean and lubricate your chain and drive system.
  • Clean and inspect your frame for wear and rust.
  • Inspect and tighten screws and parts on your frame.
  • Check tires for loose or bent spokes, worn bearings, etc.
  • Inspect tire rubber for wear.
  • Inspect all cables, cable housings, and connections.
  • Inspect handlebars, hand grips or handlebar tape, mounted brake handles, and shift levers.
  • Inspect fender clearance and hardware.

If you take your bike into a shop they will do all of this for you including cleaning your bike. Ask your shop for a list of what they charge for maintenance, cleaning, and services.

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I’m excited to have my 4 year riding anniversary coming up on Feb. 20th! Although I’ve had a bicycle my whole life I’ve only spent the last 4 years being serious about it. I started riding 20-30 miles every other day for my health and sanity. I was 60 pounds overweight and depressed on meds in very bad health after having the worst 4 years of my life. Bike riding is now a healthy habit that has kept my weight off and helped me to get over my sleeping problems. That’s what made me do this site I wanted to spread the word about how healthy bike riding is for people of all ages. (Read my full story HERE.)

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Whether you believe in resolutions or not I hope this is the year you decide to get healthy and stay that way. I’d like to encourage you to consider riding a bicycle if you don’t already. It’s low-impact, gives you a strong core, a healthy heart, promotes good sleep, improves your balance and is so much fun! It makes me feel like a kid again.

On Bike With Bekkie, I have many articles that talk about the benefits of riding a bicycle and getting healthy.  How important it is to eat right. What happens when you ride a bicycle and more. I have lovely photographs I’ve taken while riding the Bay Trail. Having trouble sleeping? I got you!

The Bay Trail is a mostly paved trail that runs around the San Francisco Bay with a view of the city, the SFO airport, and many other gorgeous landmarks. The beauty of this area can’t be beaten with its marshes, man-made waterways, and the creatures that live here. Click HERE to see the map.

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I wish you good health and happiness in 2020!