A few thoughts on Covid-19 safety when cycling with others:

  • Outdoor activities are, in general, many times safer than indoor activities. Incidental, short contact at less than 6 feet carries little risk. You do not need a mask to pass someone, pedestrian or fellow cyclist.

  • It is safest to cycle with members of your household since there is little-to-no increased exposure risk from the cycling activity itself.

  • When cycling with others outside of your household, it is still important to pay attention to duration, density, and distance.
    • The longer you are in contact with someone, the greater the risk of acquiring or passing on a viral load.
    • The more people and/or households represented, the greater the risk of acquiring or passing on a viral load.
    • The shorter the distance between cyclists, the greater the risk of acquiring or passing on a viral load.

  • Ride further away from each other than you would normally. This caution is especially true if you are in someone’s slipstream or downwind of them.
    • If you stay in someone’s slipstream long enough, even 20 feet might not be enough distance to avoid spreading the virus.
      • For example, if I’m following directly behind you going 15 miles an hour for an hour or two, it is possible that I will catch Covid-19 from you, even though we were outside and much more than 6 feet apart.
    • If you stay downwind of someone long enough, even a distance of 12 feet might not be enough to avoid spreading the virus.
        • For example, if the wind is blowing from the left, and I am immediately to your right, even spending 10 or 15 minutes in that position could spread the virus.

Rules of thumb:

  • Keep your group small
  • Keep further apart than usual and certainly more than 6 feet apart
  • Don’t spend extensive time in someone’s slipstream or downwind of them
  • Change your relative positions to each other often
  • If you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive STAY HOME.
  • If you have ANY symptoms at all (including fatigue, loss of smell, fever, sore or scratchy throat, stuffy nose, cough, joint aches, etc.) STAY HOME
  • Masks work. The safest way to group ride is for everyone to wear a mask. Even then, keep more than 6 feet apart when riding and change relative position often.
  • Slower, less demanding group rides are safer than when you hammer it. [The harder you ride, the harder you are breathing. The harder you are breathing, the more virus you are putting into the air and the further you are sending those respiratory droplets.]

These “rules of thumb” do not eliminate the risk of exposure, but they do reduce the risk of exposure while cycling with others outside your household.