Cycling in the Time of Corona

The world has changed a bit since my last post. Toilet paper has replaced gold as a store of value. Empty shelves at supermarkets and lines to enter Costco are the norm. All non-essential businesses and institutions are closed, which means no schools, department stores, movie theaters, restaurants, golf courses, churches or sporting events. All group activities are cancelled and we are instructed to stay at home except for essential activities such as purchasing food or prescriptions.

Governor Newsom ordered a state lock down on March 19, although he told seniors over 65 to do so several days before that. Stoker (over 65 though she does not look it) has been complying, so she has not left Casa Brumby for over 2 weeks, except on the back of our CoMotion tandem. When we ride she is closer to me than the recommended (or mandated?) 6 feet of social distancing. But we are pretty sure the order does not apply to spouses, as much as one spouse may welcome it.

I am the designated shopper, which means I leave the house for groceries, prescriptions and take out meals. I went to Raley’s two weeks ago and was in for a shock. I expected no bottled water or toilet paper, but there was no chicken and no eggs or milk or very much bread. Also no potatoes, onions and very few vegetables. The store was crowded, and people were orderly if a little dazed. There was plenty of Cote du Rhone vin rouge, but no Stoli. Now we have a problem. Eggs I can take or leave, but vodka is a necessity.

Riches Beyond Measure

I’ve been to Costco twice since this started, and I’ve got to say this store has its act together. You grab a cart and get in a long line outside. Yesterday at the Lodi store the line stretched all along the south side of the building and around to the east side as well. But it moved pretty quickly. Everyone seemed orderly, no one jumped the queue and everyone kept their ‘social distance’. There were employees offering wipes, and they let shoppers enter only as others exited, so inside the store was not crowded at all. I picked up a prescription and then shopped for a few items, and there was a special lane for toilet paper and paper towels. The items were in stock, but there was a limit of 1 each, and employees were there to hand you the item and enforce the limit. Eggs were also in stock but you could only buy a single 24 pack. I wasn’t complaining. Checkout went quickly because there were plenty of staff. I was very impressed by how Costco was managing the situation and by the cooperative behavior of the customers.

Since this is supposed to be a cycling blog, let me describe ‘Cycling in the time of Corona’. Let’s start with the obvious: all club rides, group rides and organized fund raising rides are cancelled. We are allowed to exercise outdoors, but we are supposed to do it alone or in small groups keeping our distance. This means we are not supposed to draft while cycling, which will make life difficult for some riders. Fearless Frank is a nearly legendary wheel sucker, so he must be dismayed by this.

Stoker and I made a video of us on the tandem on an indoor trainer. We did it as a joke, trying to bring a little humor to the situation. We have been doing occasional tandem rides outside starting from home. I have also been doing solo rides from home, occasionally joining my friend Steve for a little company. No stop for coffee, just ride. And ride easy; I’m just not motivated to train right now. I haven’t climbed a hill in weeks other than a few rollers out toward Clements.

At least we can ride outside. Spain and Italy have banned ALL outdoor cycling. And France has severe ‘shelter at home’ restrictions. If you leave your house for anything you have to bring a form stating which of the 5 permitted reasons for being outside covers your activity. Authorities can ask (demand) to see the form, and if you are in violation of the permitted reasons you can be fined 100 euro for the first offence. And you are allowed outside for exercise, but only for 1 hour, within 1 km of your residence, and only once per day. This would make cycling pretty much impossible unless you want to do a few laps up and down your street within sight of your house.

I realize the world has a major problem right now. Stoker and I are healthy and have food and Cote du Rhone and a comfortable house to ride out this confinement order. We can get outside, do yard work, walk, and ride our bike. So we are lucky.

We are also supposed to fly to France on April 28 and stay there for 6 weeks. Steve is supposed to join us on May 13. We have it all planned and paid for, and what part of the trip is going to happen, if any, is uncertain at this time. ‘Uncertain’ is the only certain thing about cycling, or living, in the time of Corona.

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