I don’t want to end up in a blurry photo on the town’s BookFace page, an example of how not to be in public, but I’m also not really willing to stay in my house 24/7 when there are good and safe ways to be outside and on a bike. Leaving aside the fact that I’m injured at the moment and can’t hold a pair of handlebars, it occurs to me that we need a new cycling social contract.
Forget what you knew, things like ‘don’t overlap wheels with the rider in front of you,’ ‘close the gaps,’ and ‘don’t hammer when you get on the front.’ There is no front anymore. There are no gaps, and there’s no rider in front of you. If you’re close enough to read that rule, then you need to back off. I’m not sure six feet is enough, either.
I have seen people out and about, in the neighborhoods and in the woods, wearing masks. I’m not talking about in stores or walking down main streets. I’m talking about people riding bikes on back roads or running in the woods. Is this the new normal? Are these the rules now?
I can’t actually imagine riding my bike with a mask on. My wife tells me that the internet says cyclists leave a contrail of biofilth (my word) up to 15ft long. Cycling past people is, apparently, the new fart-in-the-elevator. I’m that guy. I mean, theoretically.
I don’t want to believe our air is toxic, that clouds of virus are tumbling along on the wind, and I have a hard time believing asymptomatic people are spewing potentially lethal levels of infection, but I what I don’t want to believe is beside the point. I don’t know. What I think is we have to form that new social contract, a common agreement about how we’ll behave now, and maybe for the foreseeable
This week’s Group Ride asks, what are the new rules? Are all rides solo rides now? If you want to ride with a friend, how do you maintain spacing and how much? Do you ride with a mask on? Is it safer to ride in the woods or on the road, or is there no difference?