What, me worry?

Hunkered down in the garage while the coronavirus spreads. The PVC tubing keeps me upright.

As we shelter in place here in Santa Clara County, it’s time to reflect. Things could be worse.

I won’t dwell on the worse. My question is this: Should I go for bike rides? I’m a senior citizen, so I’m most at risk.

I’m not riding outdoors today because the weather sucks. I can ride the trainer in the garage.

I spent eight weeks staying off my bike, except for the trainer, to help rehabilitate my sore neck. Now my neck is much better.

I had just started riding normally when the coronavirus hit. Government officials tell us to stay home. I could ride around town and I’d probably be fine, but does it send the wrong message? Cyclists are under close scrutiny at all times, being out on the road.

I’ve seen some people walking in my neighborhood, but not many. I haven’t seen any cyclists.

According to the San Francisco shelter in place edict, you aren’t supposed to ride, but then it references another section where it says you can ride, walk, etc., for health reasons and essential transportation.

Meanwhile, there’s something much worse than riding a bike — going to buy groceries. Stores are packed from panic buying, but some of the increase in business is because people are staying at home with their children. It’s only natural we’ll see more people shopping.

My advice is to stay away from the big-box stores. They’re a zoo. Instead, support your neighborhood stores. They’re out there. You just have to look.

I’ve had good results going to a small produce market. They’re not as crowded.

While I worry about catching the virus, I’ve had something similar before — the swine flu N1H1 in 2010. I didn’t realize it at the time. I just thought of it as the flu, but I’m sure it was N1H1. For the first time in memory, I had lung problems. Fortunately I didn’t have pneumonia, but I needed antibiotics.

I’ve had bronchitis one other time, in 1995. I had to cut short my Sierra ride, but still managed to ride over Monitor Pass and back again over two days. Antibiotics finally cured me.

If you’re young and healthy, you have nothing to worry about from the coronavirus. Just stay away from elderly relatives until this blows over. That’s why Italy is so hard hit.

One final note. Please don’t drive into the Santa Cruz Mountains to go for a mountain bike ride or to hike, once the weather improves. The roads can’t handle an increase in car traffic. It’s already bad now. It takes only a modest increase in traffic to create traffic jams.

Go for a walk in your neighborhood and avoid the crowds.

What are your thoughts on the coronavirus and bike rides?

UPDATE: I rode on Thursday morning and enjoyed nice weather, clear air. There’s still traffic, light to moderate, and the big trucks are still headed to Permanente. I saw a fair number of cyclists, but lots of people walking in their neighborhood. A big plus is the reduction in NO2 pollution.

3 Responses to “What, me worry?”

  1. Cathy Switzer Says:

    Santa Clara County considers getting outside essential to the community well-being. I agree, so I was out both yesterday and today. Roads are quiet, Los Gatos Creek Trail was “busy” yesterday, mostly families enjoying the sunny-but-chilly afternoon.

    Rides with 3 or fewer peeps only, and ensuring the 6’ rule. This is Day 2 of 21, I’m hoping this new normal goes well.

    • jamesRides Says:

      The “walkers” on Los Gatos Trail seem to be more and more oblivious to bikes over the last year or so. More and more people engaged with their phones and wearing ear buds, walking in large groups covering the whole trail, or walking dogs with leashes spanning the trail. I’m ringing the bell more and more often and some people can’t even hear it! Unfortunately the trail is the only way to get to Old Santa Cruz Highway so I’ll have to put up with it and just ride it slow and easy – with lots of bell ringing.

  2. jamesRides Says:

    This is really a good time to ride. The traffic is minimal, the air is superior, and there is no one out. I would only advise to be extra cautious. That is: slow down and enjoy the ride, especially if in the hills (where else would anyone ride?) Also, you don’t want to catch a cold so bring some extra layers.

    I rode redwood gulch today. Overcast and sprinkly in the canyon, but definite rain climbing through the gulch and back down 9. I packed rain jacket, helmet cover and rain gloves and the extra gear made what became a cold, wet ride a very cool experience, much better than staying in doors.

    Also: thanks to Cupertino Bike shop for answering their door and selling me an inner tube!

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