Although many British Columbians have settled into a “new normal”, spending more time at home due to the current pandemic, it’s still important for the whole family to stay active for both physical and mental health. And with restrictions slowly easing and sunnier days ahead, a great way to do this is by going for a bike ride, a walk or run in your neighbourhood. It’s still important to ensure outdoor activities are limited to exercising and making essential trips, but before heading out, here are a few ways to make sure you and your loved ones stay safe while doing so.
Cycling, walking and jogging
There’s a reason why bicycle sales have soared during the quarantine — they serve the dual purpose of transportation and workout tool at the same time. Or, simply lacing up some runners and hitting the pavement is an excellent option as well.
- Practicing physical distancing still applies when on a bike, so just like on foot, try to space at least 2 metres apart from others. As an added precaution, the Vancouver Park Board suggests a further space of five metres while running and 10 metres while riding.
- It can be easy to lose track of how fast you’re travelling. Be mindful of your speed and those around you to maintain the recommended distance.
- Keep to the right of the path and pass on the left. On narrow sections, practice courtesy and slow down or stop to let others by. It may not be possible to observe the distance guidelines 100 per cent of the time, but B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says contracting the virus from such an outdoor scenario is unlikely.
- Ride, walk or run close to home to avoid physical contact with smaller communities that may not have access to the same health resources as larger urban centres.
- Avoid peak hours (typically between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.), if possible. Mix in at-home workouts instead of heading out everyday to let everyone enjoy the fresh air without overcrowding public spaces.
Cycling with young children?
Here are a few tips:
- Make sure their bike is road ready. Is the height set correctly, tires inflated and brakes working properly?
- Check for correct helmet fit using the 2V1 approach for kids: the front should sit two fingers above the eyebrows; straps form a “V” under ears and there’s a one-finger space between strap and chin.
- Teach children how to ride in a straight line, and use marked crosswalks and controlled crossings as well as hand signals for turning left, right and stopping. A quick quiz before heading out is a great way to ensure they understand the rules!
- Remind children to always dismount their bikes when crossing the street.
- Always wear bright colours and reflective gear no matter the time of day.
- Run into a snag on the ride? BCAA’s Bike Assist is like Roadside Assistance for vehicles and a benefit included with every BCAA Membership. Call 1-888-268-2222 for help in case of a broken chain, flat tire, or worse. Parents with a Plus or Premier Membership can even register their child for BCAA Kids Go Free and share the same coverage and benefits they receive. Plus, the kids get their very own BCAA Membership card too. Learn more and register at www.bcaa.com/kids.
- Need more activities to keep your kids busy? Students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 can share their favourite safety tips in the Bike Reels: Student Video Contest hosted by BCAA partner HUB Cycling. Visit bikehub.ca/bikereels (or gobybikebc.biketowork.ca outside the Lower Mainland).
- See additional tips for getting back on your bike from HUB Cycling and attend free online classes, tutorials and webinars during their Digital Go By Bike Week from May 25-31, 2020.