Folks, cycling is a friend-friendly sport. Sure, riding is great solo, but the sport is truly at its best when enjoyed with a bunch of friends… the more the merrier until you hit about 40 cyclists (then the double pace line gets too long for its own good).
Like it or not, the f***in’ COVID-19 bug is here to stay for a minute and we should each do our part to mitigate the damage. Typically, I’m not a rah – rah kind of guy when it comes to government plans and regulations, and I have a disdain for politicians equal that of butt-hair cling-ons… but this isn’t (and sure as f*** shouldn’t be) about politics. See, this isn’t one government or political party over-reacting or under-reacting as a response to the over-reaction to the virus. This virus isn’t just limited to a few countries – it’s shutting things down is worldwide. Therefore, you can’t pin it to one party or another (well, you can, but only if you’re a hack).
That out of the way, there are a few things that we need to consider carefully. First, cycling clubs all over America are shutting their rides down, as they should. On the other hand, limiting friendly rides to a few friends while maintaining a fair distance from one another is in accordance with guidelines as long as we’re less than ten. If more than ten show up? Two groups. Now, here are a few more important things to consider:
- Allow me to put on my best Samuel L. Jackson voice… Ahem… Motherf***er, if you’re sick, stay the f*** home. If you’ve got a temp above 99, stay your ass on the couch or ride solo. Don’t f***in’ put your friends at risk over, “well maybe it’s only allergies.” Allergies don’t come with a fever, motherf***er. [ED Sadly, only 50% of people with COVID-19 have a fever according to what I’m hearing from a doctor friend of mine.]
- We’re all aware (or should be) that we have to worry about snot droplets – not sweat. Spit, while not technically at issue, can contain residual snot. Therefore, spit should be considered snot for the time being, just for safety’s sake.
- Snot rockets and spitting should ONLY be done at the very back of the group. If you can’t wait your turn to drop back, signal that you’re pulling out of line and go to the back. Allow me to channel the aforementioned Mr. Jackson: Motherf***er, I don’t give a f*** if your $#!+’s drippin’, get your @$$ to the back before you blow a snot rocket.
- Sunlight, specifically UV light, will kill the virus deader than hell. Still, try not to blow a snot rocket on someone’s driveway or anywhere near their mailbox. Be mindful of where your snot will land so it won’t be tracked somewhere else. Mind your snot.
- Finally, just for reiteration: Refer back to item number one!
My friends, we only beat this thing by not catching it. Act like you’ve got it, even if you don’t. If anyone will be asymptomatic, it’ll be us healthy cyclists – therefore we must act as though we’re contagious if we’re going to ride in a group. We don’t, at least as of right now, have to sit on the couch just yet. Be mindful so it doesn’t come to having to sneak stealth rides at 4 am.
Anyone who tells you a normal road bike with a decent set of alloy wheels is the same as riding a sweet aero bike with a decent set of aero wheels, well they haven’t spent enough time on an aero bike. The difference is astonishing. In all fairness, though, a great bike won’t make a cyclist faster; a great aero bike makes fast easier.
That’s right, my friends. I carted the Venge out yesterday for my ride with Chuck. Technically, Venge Day should have waited for another couple of weeks, but as you can see, it was beautiful outside. Maybe not as warm as I’d have liked, but 50° (10 C) will do.
Having the Venge out was fun right from the first shift, after having perfected the cable routing over the winter. I don’t remember the bike shifting that well right out of the box! Part of the enjoyable nature of the ride was having completed all of the maintenance over the winter – the bike feels new. Everything is tight, there are no creaks or squeaks… no clicks… just a whoosh through the air and that telltale sound carbon fiber aero wheels make when you’re pushing the pace out of the saddle.
We headed into the wind to start, taking it a little easy which was exactly what I wanted… Chuck and I are rarely in sync with easy days – either he’s pushing the pace or I am, but yesterday we just took it medium into the wind. After a bonus 2-mile loop, the real fun started and we pushed the pace all the way home with a tailwind. With the Trek, I’ve really gotta put some effort into getting the most out of the bike. With my Specialized, I can literally feel it slip through the air… and that first time I feel it after spending the first weeks of the new year on the Trek, it always puts a smile on my face.
Venge Day was glorious this year.