All you need to know about biking during the Covid-19 crisis
A word from HBL’s Acting Executive Director, Malia k Harunaga
At the Hawaii Bicycling League, we’re all about biking for health, recreation, and transportation – it’s in our mission! We think that bicycles can change the world by providing a sustainable, clean, and green way to get to work or school, to get groceries, to see a friend, to go to the beach, and more. Bicycles provide us a sense of freedom, of connecting with community, exploring our island and experiencing the ‘āina. Riding a bike offers not only great physical health by boosting one’s immune and cardiovascular system, but also provides large mental benefits by making one’s mind more alert and productive. And on top of all that, this low impact physical activity that HBL fights for everyday just happens to also be FUN.
But in the midst of this troubling and stressful time where daily life is disrupted in an unprecedented way by the Covid-19 pandemic we at least have one thing to hold on to. That is biking.
Here’s some tips and helpful information put together from your friends at HBL. We’re all in this together.
First, please do NOT go out if you are feeling under the weather, think you may be sick, or may have been exposed to someone that is sick. Click here for an infographic on the math behind social distancing.
Bike AKAMAI – Ride Responsibly
Like always, be mindful when you bike. But now more than ever, you need to be attentive to your surroundings and obey the rules of the road. Brush up your knowledge of the bike laws for Hawai‘i at HBL.org/BikeLaws. Keep in mind that hospitals and medical professionals are overwhelmed due to the pandemic, so now is NOT the time to practice some sweet one-handed wheelies or jumps, or to try out that super technical trail.
- If you’re out riding during the Covid-19 outbreak, you need to maintain social distancing (6 ft apart from others).
- Wear a legit helmet that fits you properly. Check for the CPSC sticker and that the helmet isn’t more than 5 years old. When worn the helmet should cover your forehead and the chin strap should be buckled and snug under your chin.
- Do an “ABC Quick Check” before you ride – Do your tires have the right amount of air in the tubes? Do your brakes stop your bike in a safe manner? Is your chain, cassette, and chainrings spin smoothly? Are your quick releases snugly closed?
- Ride in a visible manner. This doesn’t just mean having good lights in the front and the back (day-time running lights are not a bad idea!), but where you place yourself on the roadway to be more visible to cars. Don’t be a gutter bunny!
- Fill your water bottles at home and bring enough snacks for your ride. Don’t share bottles or food.
- Don’t be “riding dirty”. This is very relevant particularly at this moment for two reasons:
- Is your bike street legal? Make sure it has the bike registration sticker on, and that if you’re riding in the dark you have the proper lights and reflectors.
- Wash your hands! Properly. Do NOT touch your face with unwashed hands. Bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer on your ride and use it after your hands come into contact with any public surfaces. The latest data says that sunlight creates an inhospitable environment for the virus to live in, but we still recommend that when you get home, the first thing you should do is wash your hands well. For a fun site that converts your favorite song into a “handy” hand washing infographic poster, click here.
Bike Stores are Essential Businesses!
Anyone that has had to get their derailleur fixed or wheel trued know that bike stores are certainly essential businesses. But the Emergency Order reinforced that fact by having them remain open for bike repairs and bicycle supply. HBL has reached out to each shop and compiled a list of who is open (most are!), what their new store hours are, and if they have any updated policies or procedures. To find out about your favorite bike store’s modified hours are, go to HBL.org/BikeStoreUpdates. This site will be updated routinely.
#RideSafeRideSolo. HBL has paused all of it’s group rides through April 30th. We know that biking with others is greatly important for many – the camaraderie it brings, the safety in numbers, the friendships that can develop. But even though we need to maintain physical distance from one another this does not mean we should disconnect with each other – instead, it is a time that we should make efforts to connect with our friends and family even more, just in a different, non-physical, way (phone calls to catch up, virtual face-to-face time, etc.).
- Tell your friends or family where you’re planning to ride and what time you expect to be home before you leave the house (like hiking).
- Have a cycle computer or riding App on your smart phone? Connect with others via Strava, Endomondo, Garmin Connect, or Relive.
- We may be riding individually for the time being, but please, let’s still be friendly! Send a shaka or a wave to a passing fellow bike rider if you can.
- Please, no spit or snot rockets. If you need to, either pull off to the side or make sure no one is around you – that means other cyclists, pedestrians, or even cars.
You may be wondering if public bike share is a good idea right now. Our friends at Bikeshare Hawaii, the nonprofit that runs Biki, have implemented additional cleaning procedures to further protect Biki riders and crew members. You can see what Biki is doing to help here. But just like any public surface, we think it should also be up to the individual to be mindful for their own health and take their own precautions. We recommend wiping down the handles bars of any shared or rented bike with disinfectant before going for your spin. Bikeshare Hawaii has also noted that although all Biki stations are still operational at the moment, people should only use it for commuting to and from “essential businesses/establishments” or for exercise.
And hopefully this goes without saying at this point, if you are feeling sick we implore you to stay at home! We all have a responsibility to take care of not only ourselves, but others as well, and we need to do what we can do stop this virus from spreading.
Advocating for Bikes & Safer Streets
As of March 16, 2020, the “Legislature is currently in recess until further notice. All previously scheduled hearings have been cancelled and no additional hearings or public meetings will be scheduled until further notice”. Does this mean that all bike advocacy and our push for safer streets is stopped? No! HBL advocates Chad Taniguchi and John Rogers are still working to get bike projects going with the City and the State. There are many things that can be done to make sure that bikeways are put in properly and in a timely manner. If you would like to help, sign up to be a part of the ever-important Bike Advocacy Team mailing list to get to be part of the insider loop at HBL.org/AdvocacyTeam.
The HBL Office is closed as of 3/23/20, 4:30pm, per the Emergency Order from Mayor Caldwell. We look forward to being back in the office after the stay-at-home order is lifted (April 30th, subject to change). Although our physical office has temporarily shut it’s doors, our email inbox is fully open (24/7)!
For general inquiries email Bicycle@HBL.org
HBL Events: email Sateash at Events@HBL.org
HBL Membership: email Malia at Membership@HBL.org
Adult & Senior Education: email Carlos at Carlos@HBL.org
Youth Bike Education: email Andrew at BikeEd@HBL.org
Please allow us some time to respond to you as we settle into this new routine. We appreciate your patience!
Please note we have suspended all of our free adult cycling workshops & senior cycling program until the end of April. Our BikeEd program, that teaches 4th graders how to ride, is paused with DOE extending the school closures till April 30th. HBL-affiliated group rides (Start the Week Off Right Monday ride, Thursday Kailua for Brunch ride, Heavy Breathers Sunday ride, Red Hot Ladies Sunday Riving Rides & Cruisers Ride) are cancelled until April 30th.
But fret not – everyone will be giddy to jump on their bikes once this is over and ride with one another. Let’s make that happen. The Haleʻiwa Metric Century and Aloha Fun Ride is moved from April 26th to June 7th (Sunday), and the Honolulu Century Ride & Aloha Fun Ride is still on for September 27th (Sunday).
Why Do You Bike?
Gyms are shutdown. Parks are closed. Residents are told to minimize their use of public transit. People are looking for ways to not go crazy cooped up in their home. Stress of the uncertainty runs high. Many are turning to their trusty two-wheeler to get out of the house and get some liberating exercise. People are looking to their bicycles to bring them serenity (riding on these almost car-less roads is beautiful, is it not?!), to bring them peace of mind, and positivity. Biking to me seems more important than ever. And the Hawaii Bicycling League is here to help get more people bicycling. If you like bikes, and want to show your support and help our organization keep going, we hope you’ll consider becoming a member of HBL or renewing your membership at this critical time. Every member helps make our voice stronger to enable more people to ride, and push for safer streets for all.
Be well, and ride on.
State of Hawai‘i Emergency Order
On Tue, Mar 24, 2020 at 9:15 PM DOD Covid Exemption <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Cycling as exercise is an allowed outdoor exercise activity as long as social distancing is maintained.
Here is a link to the Governor’s March 23, 2020 Third Supplementary Proclamation:
City & County of Honolulu Emergency Order
Date: March 23, 2020 at 5:52:28 PM HST
Subject: RE: Stay at home and work from home
Aloha,Yes, bicycling on roads or off-road is permitted under Mayor’s Executive Order 2020-02.Please note the overarching intent and spirit of the Mayor’s Emergency Order 2020-02 is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the extent feasible in order to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus while enabling essential services to continue. When people need to leave their places of residence, whether to obtain or perform vital services, or to otherwise facilitate authorized activities necessary for continuity of social and commercial life, they should at all times comply with social distancing as much as possible.Sincerely,City and County of HonoluluCovid-19 Response Information TeamFor additional information, go to: www.oneoahu.orgFor State Department of Health information and updates on COVID-19, go to: https://hawaiicovid19.comFor other referral services, go to: www.auw211.org
County of Maui
Resources from other bike organizations:
Bicycle Colorado – Colorado (Shelter-in-place and Stay-at-home Orders)
Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance – Washington (Stay at Home, Stay Healthy)
How to Ride Safely Amid Coronavirus Concerns – Bicycling Magazine