Social distancing for bike riders, anti-bike sabotage on San Gabriel River Trail, and tell the state bike shops are essential

Just how far is safe on a bike?

I got that very interesting question from reader Maruta Taube yesterday, who was wondering how to maintain social distancing from another bike rider.

As she points out, the usual advice to maintain six feet of separation between yourself and others doesn’t work on a bike.

Assuming the experts are correct that Covid-19 droplets linger in the air up for to three seconds, you’d ride right through their viral-loaded expectorations if the rider in front of you sneezes or coughs.

Unfortunately, though, algebra and I took an instant dislike to one another back in the day. And haven’t made up since.

So I put the question to the Twitterverse last night, and it didn’t take long for people much smarter than me on the subject to come back with the answers.

Since relative distance is tricky to work out when you’re stationary, let alone moving, my take would be to follow three seconds behind another rider, which is easy to gauge by counting the seconds between when you each pass a stationary point.

Then give the other person as much space as possible when passing.

Just like you wish SUV drivers would give you.

As someone else pointed out, however, some reports indicate that the virus can linger in the air for hours, rather than mere seconds.

That refers to aerosolized particles, which occur under relatively rare circumstances in public spaces, as opposed to the heavier droplets expelled when someone coughs or sneezes.

The LA Times offers a great explanation in their story on how you can catch coronavirus.

Photo by Burst from Pexels. You can easily judge the usual six-foot social distancing space by the length of a standard bicycle.

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Evidently, the fishing line strung across a Seal Beach bike path we mentioned yesterday is nothing new.

Richard Rosenthal writes to say another rider was attacked on the San Gabriel River Trail in a similar fashion last month, and forwards this comment from Nextdoor.

Again, this kind of sabotage is not just a harmless prank, but a violent assault intend to harm innocent victims, in an apparent attempt to frighten people off the path.

Like several other comments I received, Rosenthal points the finger at a nearby homeless camp.

Let’s just hope the police take this seriously.

And catch the people responsible — and hold them accountable — whoever it turns out to be.

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Calbike wants your help to tell the state that bike shops and bike repair are essential services.

We salute those essential workers who have to travel — health care workers, delivery staff, maintenance people, and everyone else who is keeping society going — and we want them to be able to bicycle for their essential trips.

Biking at a safe distance from others is also one of the outdoor activities allowed while we try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Now more than ever, a bicycle ride is important for our physical and mental health.

If biking is essential, bike shops are, too. 

That’s why we are sending a letter to the California State Public Health Officer, Dr. Sonia Angell, asking her to affirm that bike repair shops are essential services.

We need your support to deliver a strong message to Sacramento that bikes are vital in this time of social distancing. Please add your name to the letter to show your support.

………

Al Williams forwarded news that iconic parts maker Campagnolo was forced to shut down by the Italian government until at least April 6th as part of the country’s coronavirus clampdown.

So any orders received before that date won’t be processed until after they reopen.

………

Beach parking falls like dominos as people up and down the SoCal coast continue to ignore calls for social distancing.

Following the lead of Los Angeles and Santa Monica, parking lots have shut down in Long Beach and Manhattan Beach, as well as all California state parks.

Meanwhile, Orange County has closed all county parks and trails, along with parking lots for all county beaches; some OC cities are following suit.

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After many false alarms this week, KNBC-4 reports the popular Runyon Canyon hiking trail will close before the weekend due to overcrowding.

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Not only is Stephen Colbert one of us, he can change his own bike tube, too.

Cycling Tips mostly approves, sort of.

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Nothing like a little urban riding through the, um, streets of Ensenada.

Unless maybe you’d prefer ripping through a British Columbia bike park.

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Local

Reese Witherspoon’s young son is now one of us, too.

 

State

A man and woman were both critically injured in a collision while they were crossing the street in Santa Ana Monday night. One of them was either riding or walking a bike; both deserved better.

In a truly bizarre crash, a Modesto man was killed when he tried to step between the dual trailers of a moving big rig that was blocking the crosswalk, apparently intending to step over the hitch between the trailers; that corner is the site of frequent bike and pedestrian collisions.

 

National

Ebike prices continue to drop, despite the ongoing tariff war; one new ped-assist bike checks in at just $1,499.

An Ohio family took a break from home schooling for a cold weather bike ride.

Nice move. After a Syracuse NY bikeshare pulled its bikes from the streets in response to New York state’s lockdown, they handed them over to local restaurants for their delivery workers to use.

Long Island communities now have a new excuse to crack down on groups of bike riding teenagers, saying they’re putting themselves at risk of contracting coronavirus. Which may be true, but follows months of heavy-handed attempts to make the bike-riding kids go away. Even if the kids do act like jerks way too often. 

New York’s 40,000 bicycle delivery riders are heroes in the battle against Covid-19, as the risk they take allows countless others to stay safely at home.

North Carolina bicycle component maker Industry Nine says they want to make ventilator parts to confront the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, but haven’t been able to cut through the red tape. They’re not the only bicycle company rising to the challenge in the world’s time of need, though. Or trying to, anyway.

DC’s mayor shuts the city down to halt the spread of coronavirus, but makes no bones about bike shops providing an essential service.

A Georgia bike advocate contemplates the role of bicycling in our brave, new coronavirus world. Seriously, this is not the future I ordered.

A 71-year old Florida woman was killed when she was left-crossed by the driver of a landscaping tractor after allegedly running a stop sign on her bike. As always, the question is whether there were any independent witnesses who saw her blow the stop — and whether the driver actually stopped, either.

 

International

There’s a special place in hell for whoever stole a London doctor’s bicycle while she’s working up to 13 hour days treating coronavirus patients.

No surprise on either count, as 80% of people in a British town say they’d ride their bikes if there were more separated cycle tracks, while two-thirds say bicycling is currently the least safe way of traveling around the city.

UK bike shops are seeing a surge in business as people buy new bikes or fix old ones as an alternative to taking public transit, though not everyone agrees they provide an essential service. Michigan bike shops are seeing a jump in sales, too.

VeloNews looks inside a new art exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of Italy’s legendary Columbus steel tubing company — which is good since it’s on lockdown with the rest of the country. Probably a good thing, too, because I’m not sure I could resist the temptation to walk off with that Mario Schifano painting if no one was looking.

A Sydney, Australia bookshop turns to bikes to serve their customers after they were forced to close.

The Korea Times looks back at Seoul’s bike-riding Wind Eaters of a hundred years ago.

 

Competitive Cycling

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will now be held on some undisclosed date in 2021, putting preparations for athletes in limbo.

 

Finally…

Clean and lube your chain with one hand. Whacking someone with a bike seat is not an approved usage for it.

And there’s more than one way to maintain social distancing.

One comment

  1. Ralph Durham says:

    I learned how to change a tire with screw drivers. From my father Who learned that some years before that.

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