Friends, the novelty of our times is not lost on anyone who rides a bike. While many lives have already been affected, there is every indication that more will be touched in the weeks and months ahead. As cyclists, we know just how much health matters to the daily enjoyment of even the most simple things, and that includes pedaling a bike.
With race cancellations and postponement around the state, we’ve already seen the tangible effects of the pandemic. If that’s the extent our community is affected, we all need to count ourselves incredibly lucky. Race directors have dutifully followed the advice and guidance of experts, often before it was asked or expected of them. They’ve done so with the sort of positivity that you’d expect from a bike rider. That’s what we’re all about.
Additionally, trail associations across the state have been working closely with both public and private landowners to keep trail users safe. State land, which is managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, plays a big role in providing places not just to ride, but to hike, run, hunt, and explore. The DNR has followed the work of Michigan’s health experts to provide some useful information and to encourage everyone to stay safe.
Their recommendations include giving other trail users plenty of room and taking extra precautions to stay safe in the woods. As of last week, the DNR also updated its position that, instead of work crews of less than ten or limited to those living in the same household, no trail work should be taking place until further direction on April 30. If there are pressing issues or safety concerns on the trails, they’re asking that both trail users and trail associations contact them directly for those issues to be addressed.
Amenities like bathrooms and changing rooms at trailheads are also closed in an effort to reduce the number of touchpoints that could possibly spread infection. That hasn’t stopped many individuals and families out into the wild. With so many people choosing to use the trails, please make sure you’re following the same six-foot spacing while exercising that you would at the store or anywhere else.
As riders, we can also do our part. The League of Michigan Bicyclists and USA Cycling have strongly advocated that all rides should be solo. There are concerns that groups of riders are effective disease vectors, and right now, even the slightest of risks of spreading COVID-19 are simply not an option. If you do ride in the woods, make sure you go solo, and consider using livetracking features on Strava, Wahoo, or Garmin to keep loved ones informed of your location.
We can do a lot to help others by continuing to be active and healthy. Right now, we simply need to do those things responsibly. Ride solo, or only with those from your household. Refrain from trail work on state land until further notice. If your trail is on state land, carry over state recommendations, at least for now.
We’re going to get through this. And we’ll get through this together. Thank you for supporting the trails!
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