Where to go from here?
The first half of 2020 has brought unexpected changes in many ways. When Covid-19 spread so suddenly around the world, there was little time to figure out how to deal with this. We stopped everything that was non-essential, we socially distanced, we discovered face masks, and we talked about contact tracing. Just as we were reassessing what is essential and what isn’t, the murder of George Floyd made us realize that systemic racism remains a problem that needs to be addressed.
As we head into the second half of 2020, we are facing a lot of uncertainty. The virus has not been vanquished, and racism won’t stop overnight, either. Thinking about the future can be discouraging, but there’s always hope. We have to stop pretending that all will be fine, and start addressing the issues we are facing. At the same time, we must find a way to live our lives – as much as possible – with the new realities. In other words, we need to pivot from stopping everything that is non-essential to figuring out what we can do safely.
Recent research shows us that being outdoors is better than indoors. This means that riding bikes is relatively safe. Perhaps not racing in large pelotons, but riding alone or with a friend – not drafting closely, but riding side-by-side on empty backroads. Of course, we wear face masks if we have to stop and enter a store, take a ferry, or otherwise get close to others. Travel to foreign countries is not possible, and most events are cancelled, but adventures are available close to home.
In the new Bicycle Quarterly, Peter Gaskill talks about discovering the gravel roads near his home in Girona, Spain, while Lael Wilcox takes us on her first long rides in her home state, Alaska. Yesterday on the blog, Giovanni Calcagno talked about life during the lockdown in Italy, and how he’s been enjoying the gravel trails near his house now that he’s able to ride outside again. With gravel racing postponed for now, Ted King’s DIYgravel encourages riders to find their own routes and rides. Leading the way, he traversed his entire home state of Vermont on Class 4 dirt roads in a single, epic day. Less challenging, we went on an overnight trip to Drunken Charlie Lake that was only a few hours of riding, but felt very remote and away from it all.
We realize once more that a bicycle is a wonderful vehicle for freedom. Just pack a few things and head into the hills or wherever the road may lead you. You’ll discover that adventure is a state of mind. Be safe and enjoy!
—Natsuko & Jan