Biking is a great source of fun, exercise, and community, and we need everyone’s help to keep bike fun safe for all. While the COVID-19 pandemic has receded from its peak and governments are continuing to ease or drop safety guidelines, the pandemic isn’t really “over.” Certainly, it’s not over for people with disabilities, who are immunocompromised, caring for elders, and many others. To help make biking safer for everyone, there are ways for all of us to chip in. Ride leaders are especially encouraged to consider what they can do to host events where everyone feels comfortable participating.
Some ways to improve safety when riding include:
- Staying home when sick: Don’t go to events if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or feel sick.
- Making space: Give yourself and others plenty of space out on the roads and at events.
- Wearing a mask: Wear a mask when close to other people, particularly at larger gatherings. This is especially important at ride stops, such as when gathering at a starting location or a mid-ride stop. We support everyone who opts to wear a mask, regardless of the reason.
- Avoiding indoor stops: Stay outdoors where there is more airflow and space for people to spread out. If a ride would normally make indoor stops (at at store, bar, or elsewhere), consider adjusting to avoid having a crowd gather indoors. For example, you might encourage people to buy supplies ahead of time in lieu of a supply stop, or have a meeting spot outside at a park instead of in a business.
- Managing ride size: Keeping the group size small makes it easier to maintain distance and limit your exposure to others. This is important both while riding and during any stops. Events might ask for RSVPs or advance registration to cap the group size.
- Sanitizing frequently: Sanitize your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face. Wash with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer.
- Sharing carefully: If sharing food or drinks, don’t share the same utensils or dishes, or drink directly from the same container.
- Providing more info up front: Ride leaders, consider adding more details to your calendar listings. Information about planned activities, locations, group size, and expected norms will help others decide if an event is a good fit for them. Provide at least one method of contact info so potential riders can reach out if they have questions.
Be mindful that other people may have different risk factors and preferences than you and need to approach situations differently. Respect accommodations and requests that others have — bike fun is for everyone!
Our community has continually adapted to find ways to keep bike fun safe for all during this pandemic. For a time, all rides were cancelled and the calendar was closed as lockdowns kept most of us at home. Slowly, the calendar reopened with new guidelines as we found new ways to come together while staying safe. Alternatives to the typical group ride format also emerged that didn’t involve gathering in a group, such as:
- Distributed events: Rides that happen at a specific time, but everyone participates from their own, separate location. The May 2020 Midnight Mystery Ride is a great example!
- Ride anytime routes: A specific route that people can ride at any time they’d like. Check out the special Pedalpalooza 2020 calendar for lots of great examples.
- Online events: Bike-y online events like meetings, socials, livestreams, and more. The Shift list is also always open for bikey discussion. Stay in touch with your fellow bike funnists and keep the conversation going even when you can’t be in person.
Ride leaders are encouraged to explore these options and come up with new ideas of their own! If you have any questions or ideas about how we can facilitate new approaches to inclusive bike fun, contact us.
To help riders set expectations, we have a specific set of guidelines that ride leaders may choose to adopt:
- Maintain appropriate distance while riding and at stops, and respect others’ desire for distance.
- While masks are not required while outside and appropriately distanced from others, expect that some participants will choose to mask according to their comfort and risk level. All participants are expected to support and accommodate those who continue to mask. Have a mask readily available, should it be requested.
- Masks are recommended for all when indoors.
- And as with all rides, don’t attend or continue on a ride if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or feel sick.
If a ride leader agrees to follow these specific guidelines, a special marker will appear next to their ride on the calendar:
Ride participants are expected to follow these rules at rides which agree to this plan. Should a ride leader set more stringent requirements than are in this COVID Safety Plan policy, all riders are expected to follow the more stringent policy.
If you have questions or concerns about the safety policies for a ride, past or upcoming, reach out to the ride leaders or contact us. Shift reserves the right to moderate calendar listings, and this may include removing the COVID Safety Plan designation from a ride if we are aware that it does not follow this policy.
Please note: These guidelines have changed over time as conditions and public health guidelines have evolved. For past rides, refer to the page history on GitHub to determine the version of policies in place at that time.
Last updated: May 2023