Tag Archive for social distancing

Bike riders come out in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica closes down, and bicycle deliveries in the age of Covid-19

One quick note.

With April 1st just two days away, I want to stress that this site will not observe April Fools Day. 

With everything that’s going on in the world right now, you need to be able to trust what you read. Especially here.

Credit David Drexler with the photo of an eerily empty 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica. 

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You can hear the results of my interview with Take Two’s Leo Duran archived on the KPCC website, as we discuss social distancing on a bike and riding bike paths that were shut down within hours of our conversation.

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It was rewarding to see dozens of people riding bikes in the former Biking Black Hole of Beverly Hills as I passed through with my wife over the weekend, ranging from spandexed roadies to families with small kids.

More evidence that people will return to the streets if they feel safe, and bring their kids with them.

Notably, there were no large groups of riders; the largest non-family group I saw was just three people riding together, and staying widely spaced from others on the street.

Which is exactly what we need to do for the foreseeable future.

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David Drexler reports that the beachfront Marvin Braude bike path through Santa Monica was shut down over the weekend, as announced, after people ignored social distancing requirements to pack it the previous weekend.

He also says the newly widened bike path was open north of the pier, though very few people were taking advantage of it.

And with the other closures in place, the primary route people were taking to get down to the beach appeared to be the steep California Incline, below.

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This is what an everyday hero looks in the age of Covid-19.

The LA Times talks with bike messenger Justin Zemlyansky about delivering food — despite being at higher risk of serious complications due to diabetes and a compromised immune system.

Speaking of everyday heroes, I’m told the owner of DTLA restaurant Redbird is one of us, as he teams with LA Family Housing to provide 1,300 boxed meals every day to feed the homeless during the coronavirus crisis.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the last link.

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The worldwide rash of bike theft news goes on.

Last week, we mentioned the British doctor whose bike was stolen while he was tending to coronavirus patients. Even though the bikemaker replaced it for him, the outpouring of support from kindhearted strangers was so great, he’ll be donating several additional bikes he was given to his colleagues at the National Health Service. Police arrested two men in the theft.

A nurse in the UK felt like she’d been targeted after someone broke into her car and stole her bicycle, uniform and other items, then used a stolen key fob to break into her partner’s home. But the joke may be on the thief because the dirty uniform could be infected with Covid-19.

Another English nurse had to walk home after a thief stole her bike while she was working a 12-hour shift.

A bold thief snatched a bike belong to a British midwife literally behind the back of her husband as she was shopping in a market.

A Victoria, British Columbia bike shop replaced a healthcare worker’s bicycle after it was stolen.

Answering the eternal question of what kind of person would steal a bike, an Ottawa bike theft suspect repeatedly spat on police officers as they took him into custody, claiming he had Covid-19.

Then there’s this one, from our own back yard.

Thanks to Lynn Ingram for the Velo Pasadena link.

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Learn about rebalancing the streets for people this Thursday.

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Before we move on, maybe you could use a soothing bike-related interlude. Lord knows I could.

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Local

The latest word is Los Angeles County is closed until further notice. Long Beach followed suite by closing all bike and pedestrian paths — and dumping mulch into skate parks — while Pasadena has closed the popular Rose Bowl Loop after complaints that people weren’t practicing social distancing

The LACBC offers tips on how to ride safely in the age of Covid-19, while the California Mountain Biking Coalition offers their own guidelines for riding safely during the coronavirus crisis.

LA-based Wheels is responding to the coronavirus by introducing self-sanitizing handlebar grips.

Santa Monica-based Bird laid-off 30% of its employees on Friday; workers complained that they were let go without notice when they connected to a Zoom conference.

Shia LaBeouf is one of us, as he goes for a ride through Pasadena with his apparently no-longer-estranged wife.

Robin Wright went for a bike ride in Brentwood with her husband and dog, wearing matching black outfits. And yes, that includes the dog.

Adam Sandler went out on his Pedego ebike for a spin around the ‘Bu.

And Ben Affleck’s eight-year old son is one of us, too.

 

State

Caltrans commits to incorporating Complete Streets practices in its highway maintenance projects, but only where feasible; Streetsblog says it’s difficult to tell just what they mean by that, however. Bearing in mind that what’s feasible is too often in the eye of the windshield-biased beholder.

A man riding a bike was critically injured in a Victorville collision Friday night.

A San Francisco advocate reflects on the weird calm of the city’s virtually carfree streets.

 

National

Bike Snob’s Eben Weiss doesn’t mince words in declaring that bike shops are essential businesses, and more important than ever during the coronavirus crisis. However, not everyone agrees.

Evidently Weiss has been busy, as he also writes to recommend the joy of riding alone in trying times. Which has helped keep me sane for the better part of four decades.

Pez Cycling News looks at the movie that inspired me to start riding and develop a huge crush on Robyn Douglass.

Bike Mag talks with bike shops around the country to see how they’re handling the coronavirus crisis.

I want to be like him when I grow up. An 80-year old Portland man continues to ride a bike, 15 years after he rode every street in the city — then set out to ride every street in the suburbs, too.

An Idaho bike shop owner says more people are turning to mountain bikes because they don’t feel safe on the roads.

I want to be like him when I grow up, too. A Minnesota man credits riding a bike every other day and seldom smoking with helping him get to be 90 years old.

Bike riding in Minnesota is up 20% since the governor declared a state of emergency.

An arrest was finally made in the hit-and-run death of an Arkansas bike rider, who was killed just 58 days after he got married.

Sad news from Massachusetts, where a man has died after he, his wife and son were critically injured in a collision while riding their bikes; still no charges against the driver.

A New York op-ed says the mayor’s social distancing plan gets it all wrong, and that the city should either open up more street space for bike riders and pedestrians, or lock everyone up at home.

Seventy-five-year old Rod Stewart is one of us, taking a spin around his Miami block on his mountain bike.

 

International

Cycling Weekly tells the story of a man who’s struggling to get back on his bike after losing the use his limbs, literally overnight, due to a rare medical condition.

Road.cc has a list of 36 books they say every bike rider should own. Of which I have exactly two.

The Verge says it’s a great time to buy an ebike as a way to practice social distancing over long distances.

London’s Mirror lists the year’s best foldies, starting at the equivalent of a surprisingly affordable $167.

The wife of a 40-year old British man is telling the world to take Covid-19 seriously, as the “young, fit” British bike rider recovers following a terrifying seven-day struggle for his life.

A Brit triathlete flaunted the country’s coronavirus lockdown by taking a nine hour, 200 mile ride he termed the Tour of Norfolk, saying if it’s okay to go out for a one-hour ride, it’s okay to go out for five or six. Even though he exceeded that by 50%.

No irony here. A UK motorists’ group calls on people to to leave their bicycles at home so they don’t fall off and overwhelm the country’s health service during the pandemic. Because we all know no one ever gets hurt riding in a car.

Bike Radar examines Scottish former hour record holder Graeme Obree’s new “weird and wonderful” homemade bike.

Dutch ebike riders will be allowed to use the country’s bike paths because red lights don’t recognize their lightweight ped-assist bikes on the streets, but they’ll be limited to 18 mph.

An Indian man carried his wife on his bicycle over seven miles to a hospital after she was injured at the factory where she works; he couldn’t afford the nearly $270 cost for an ambulance.

Evidently, they’re serious down there. A Johannesburg, South Africa bike rider became the first person arrested for violating the country’s 21-day coronavirus lockdown.

A Kiwi website uses Strava data to show bicyclists and runners are flaunting New Zealand’s coronavirus lockdown.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Tour de France could be held without spectators this year, if it’s held at all. Although it would be virtually impossible to clear spectators from the 100+ mile stage routes, and would do nothing to prevent transmission of Covid-19 between the cyclists and crews; the best hope is that the virus simply recedes by then and allows the race to go on.

The mountain bike world championships scheduled for Germany this June has fallen to Covid-19, just like every other bike race so far.

Even though there’s no bike racing right now, you can always live in the past.

The Dirty Kanza gravel race will be holding a virtual training camp for would be competitors.

In a case of good news/bad news, or maybe vice versa, Canadian pro Mike Woods has plenty of time to recover from the broken leg he suffered in the final stage of Paris-Nice, thanks to the pro cycling coronavirus shutdown.

One the other hand, South African cyclist Nic Dlamini finally got the all clear from his doctors after national park rangers broke his arm last year while trying to seize his bike for the crime of not paying the entrance fee on a training ride. But now there are no races to ride, and the entire country is under a total lockdown.

The action continues in yesterday’s stage 7 of the Tour de Quarantine.

 

Finally…

At last, a vegan ped-assist bike, just like virtually every other bicycle. And this might just be the screaming, bike-riding comedian we need right now.

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Be safe, and stay healthy.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

Why we can’t have nice things — Ballona Creek, other LA area trails close because Angelenos won’t practice social distancing

Angelenos couldn’t manage to keep away from each other over the weekend.

Let alone stay home.

So now we have a lot fewer places to do it.

The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority has closed all the parks and trails under their authority, including the popular Ballona Creek bike path, and at least some portions of the LA River bike path.

Which exactly the wrong move when bicycling is one of the safest forms of transportation for avoiding exposure to the Covid-19 coronavirus.

And it severely limits safe options for bike riders used to using the creekside trail to bypass busy and dangerous Westside streets.

Think of it as akin to closing the nearby 10 Freeway, which would be unthinkable for most Angelenos. But is, apparently, all too easily done when it involves people on bicycles.

This comes after numerous reports of people crowding the beachside bike path in Santa Monica, which has also been shut down as of Sunday afternoon. As well as images from Runyon Canyon, which drew condemnation from across the US over the weekend.

Along with other sites in the LA area, and up and down the state.

Not to mention several sightings of spandexed idiots riding closely in pacelines, as if they and everyone they know or encounter were somehow immune to the disease.

Malibu’s Solstice Canyon is also closing effective today, after the CDC concluded that the necessary distancing couldn’t be achieved.

So let’s make it as clear as we possibly can.

Stay the fuck home.

Go out for necessities and essential services only. Which doesn’t mean shopping at Target, Costco or anywhere else because you’re bored.

Get what you need and go home. Because every stop you make, and every moment you spend out, increases the risk that you could catch Covid-19 or spread it to those you love.

Or to total strangers, some of whom may not survive it.

As a diabetic, my risk of death from coronavirus is much higher than most. And my wife, who suffers from a number of medical issues, is almost guaranteed to suffer serious complications if she is exposed.

And we’ll both lose our medical insurance at the end of next month if she can’t get back to work by then.

Our lives, and those of countless others, are literally in your hands.

So wash them, already.

Yes, you can go out to exercise and get some air. Walking and bicycling are highly recommended.

But when you do, practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from anyone you don’t live with.

If not for us, then because they’ll take that away too if you don’t.

Just ask the people of Italy and Spain.

And now, France, where jogging more than one mile from your home is prohibited, and bicycling banned entirely.

There are very few people alive today who have ever seen a pandemic like this.

And unless they’ve already caught it, no one alive has immunity to it.

No even you.

Thanks to Michael Taggart for the heads-up.

Photo of non-social distancing on the Santa Monica bike path by David Drexler.

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Bike riders are turning out to be heroes in our nation’s hour of need.

Bike Portland says bike delivery pros are proving their value — and their mettle — in the age of coronavirus.

I want to be like him when I grow up. A 94-year old rides his bike 45 miles a day delivering food for Meals on Wheels, even during the Covid-19 outbreak.

A biking Brooklyn bartender is riding door-to-door to deliver mixed spirits to lift his customers’ spirits.

New York bicyclists are volunteering to buy groceries for older people who can’t get out on their own.

Bike riders in Tampa FL are pitching in to deliver food for local restaurants after they were shut down except for takeout and delivery.

And speaking of bicycle heroes, Italian bikewear company Santini has put padded shorts on hold while they devote their efforts to making as many as 10,000 medical masks a day.

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The mayor of Watsonville discusses a recent police crackdown as part of the city’s Vision Zero effort.

But let’s be clear.

Bike helmets aren’t Vision Zero. Bike lights aren’t Vision Zero. And neither are traffic tickets.

Yes, they all may help. But Vision Zero is recognizing that people will always make mistakes, and redesigning streets so those mistakes don’t become fatal.

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If you have a few extra bucks lying around, you can’t ask for a better cause.

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If you’re bored at home — and who isn’t? — get the crayons or markers out and do a little coloring.

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That feeling when a 10-year old can ride rings around you. Or over you.

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Most people would just settle for a helmet cam.

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No argument here. Although this was probably someone’s not-too-distant relative.

Thanks to Ted Faber for the link.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes keeps going on.

As British track cyclist Lauren Bate would undoubtedly agree.

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Local

Bike Talk talks LA bike politics this week.

Colin Hanks is one of us, taking his daughter for an ebike ride through the streets of LA.

Dennis Quaid is one of us, too, as he goes for a ride through Pacific Palisades with his fiancé.

And while we’re at it, we can’t forget Adam Sandler, who took a spin through the ‘Bu on his Pedego ebike.

 

State

Sad news from Santa Maria, where a 48-year old man was killed in a hit-and-run while riding his bike; he was found off the side of the road next to his mangled bicycle.

A woman takes a ride through San Francisco with her 15-year old son after the lockdown, and finds a city neither recognizes.

San Francisco rejected calls to close RFK Drive in Golden Gate Park to provide safe walking and biking space.

Sad news from Modesto, where a man died as a result of an apparent medical event while riding his bike; first responders found him down on the ground, still straddling his bike.

 

National

A writer for Outside sets his course in life with a BMX faceplant in the driveway when he was seven years old.

A Missoula, Montana newspaper talks with locals who refurbish and ride vintage steel road bikes.

Yet another example of keeping a dangerous driver on the road until it’s too late. A Minnesota man faces charges for allegedly being under the influence when he struck and killed a 16-year old boy; he has two previous DUIs, as well as at least six convictions for driving without a valid license, and a handful of criminal convictions.

An idea who’s time has come amid the coronavirus crisis, as New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for closing some streets to cars to make more room for pedestrians for social distancing, and to declare bike shops essential businesses during the virus closures. Unfortunately, New York’s governor disagreed, ruling bicycle repair was non-essential, despite the city’s recent surge in ridership, before eventually changing his mind.

Meanwhile, New York’s mayor responded with temporary protected bike lanes on two major corridors.

New York isn’t the only city seeing a bike boom. Ridership in Philadelphia has more than doubled since the first of the month, compared to the same time last week; one corridor saw a 471% increase. Then again, it’s boom times for bikes that don’t move, too; scooters, not so much.

 

International

Experts are calling for countries to generously fund bikeways in response to a worldwide jump in bike use due to Covid-19.

Mexico City’s mayor shut down the city’s popular ciclovía on Sunday to avoid spreading coronavirus.

Good question. A Canadian paper wants to know why things aren’t getting better after so many cities have embraced Vision Zero.

The Guardian’s Peter Walker says the UK should encourage bicycling during the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

Bike Radar tries to answer all your burning coronavirus bicycling questions.

Pretty much the definition of tragic irony, as a London bike rider was critically injured in a collision with an ambulance driver.

A British father is still on the road after quitting his job on a whim to ride 28,000 miles around the world for the last two years.

India’s biggest bikemaker has shut down to protect its workers from Covid-19.

Think you know how to harden up? Try riding a paracycle 250 miles across Kenya while steering with your chin the entire way.

 

Competitive Cycling

USA Cycling has pulled the plug on American bike racing through May 3rd. But don’t be surprised if we’ve seen the last bike race for quite awhile.

Yes, the pros are on lockdown, too.

American cyclist Lawson Craddock is in self-quarantine in his Texas home after returning from the abbreviated Paris-Nice stage race, to prevent inadvertently spreading the virus to his family.

When there’s no bike racing, there’s nothing to talk about except recent cycling kerfuffles.

 

Finally…

Just want we need — a Mercedes pickup made just for bicyclists. Who says there’s no bike racing now?

And maybe there’s a reason why downhillers don’t use roadies.

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