Owings Beach - The "Real Deale"
Ride leader: Steve Palincsar
Members: Jessica Hirschhorn, Harry Kidd, Alan Kurzweil, Janell Saunders, Marc Blackman, Linda Blackman, Mia Haynes, Rod Barnes, Pat Walthers
Guests: Rodney Cobb
Route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/32094371 36 miles, under 900' elevation
Weather: Wonderful. Bright sun, interesting partly cloudy skies, breezy, 49 at the start rising to 59 by mid-afternoon. A lovely spring day. Flowering trees on the verge of their glory, even the despicable and loathesome Bradford Pears were looking good today, almost enough to forgive them for some of their legion sins.
Mishaps & Mechanicals: none
Today's route could have been called "By the Bay, By the Bay, By the Beautiful Bay." After riding through the rolling farmland along South Pollinghouse and Nutwell, we stopped at the South County Cafe for a rest stop. No virus panic here, just business as usual. After the break, we went on to Franklin Manor on the Chesapeake Bay (where we stopped for some photos)
then went onto the Shadyside Peninsula where we visited Cedarhurst before returning for a second rest stop at Christophers Fine Foods. We then went on to Chalk Point
Photos by Jessica Hirschhorn
for some scenic views of the West River before returning to Harwood School. A grand day for a bike ride, and we all had a terrific time.
But, as Laurence Olivier kept asking in Marathon Man, "Is it safe?" A question very much on everyone's mind, given the current national state of emergency due to the Covid-19 virus. So how about it? Is it safe?
In an article published by Bicycling Magazine yesterday, "How to Ride Safely Amid Coronavirus Concerns: Answers to your most frequently asked questions as the virus continues to spread," by Jordan Smith:Is it safe to ride outside?
Yes—in fact, it’s safer to be outside than inside when it comes to disease transmission. When people congregate together and someone sneezes or coughs, droplets get onto objects that people touch, and then people touch their face, Nieman explains. The best plan for riding right now is to go out and ride with a healthy buddy or small group and enjoy the outdoors.
Should you avoid riding in groups?Your exposure to sick people in that situation should be minimal, as someone who has a fever and a cough won’t feel like going for a ride, Labus says. When in a group, you could protect yourself a bit by spreading out and avoiding unnecessary hand-touching. Don’t share water bottles or snacks. And of course, don’t forget to wash your hands when you get back.
We kept our distance (you can see the proof above) both during the ride and during breaks. That wasn't difficult with a small group and no pacelining. I did caution everyone at the start, "No Snot Rockets," and of course we don't have to worry about people showing up for a ride feeling sick - that simply isn't something people do on recreational rides like this.
I did institute on change in our normal procedure to avoid shared contact during the sign-up process: instead of having riders sign the waiver (potentially sharing contact with the paper, the clipboard and the pen) I took down names and emergency contact information as told to me from a safe distance.
Hardly a day goes by without news of some cycling event or other being canceled or postponed due to the emergency. It's almost certain now we won't be hosting the Rural Legacy this June, and I imagine we'll be hearing about the cancellation of the End Hunger ride any day now. We may even have to reconsider the April All-Class ride. But I think we can safely continue with regular rides provided we follow common sense safety practices before and during the ride, and especially at rest stops.