During one of my afternoon bike rides last month I could not help but notice there were a lot more cyclists out than usual. I did have to pause and wonder if the seemingly higher number of cyclists was just in my head because it is spring time, or if there were actually more cyclists than usual – which would make sense because cycling is one of few pastimes still available during lock down.
I went home and did a little digging into the numbers and lo and behold I found that the high number of cyclists was not just in my head. At a time when the majority of the world’s population has been under restricted movement, cycling seems to be having a moment.
Bike shops across the US are reporting a surge in sales as more and more people are taking to two wheels. Families have found bike rides to be a great activity to get out of the house and stay active. Many cities around the world have even shut down entire streets to allow for pedestrians and cyclists to exercise with more space. Folks who used to rely on gyms for exercise have now turned to cycling as an alternative way to get a workout and now that things are opening up a bit in many places, cycling is also increasing as a mode of transportation.
To avoid crowded buses and subways folks across the world are doubling down on cycling and walking infrastructure as safer means of social-distanced commuting. In Europe cities like Milan, Paris, Brussels, London and Belgium are investing heavily in car-mitigation efforts by expanding cycling lanes and dis-incentivizing use of personal vehicles. As folks start to go back to work we hope this trend continues as it would be a great way to curb vehicular traffic which some people think will rise as people shy away from crowded modes of public transportation.
As anyone who has been on tour with us knows, we strongly believe bicycles are a wonderful mode of transportation. There are few other ways to experience the sense of freedom you can feel when jumping on a bike and exploring your surroundings. Many of us have been cooped up in the same location for a few months now and – if you’ll allow me to project here, are itching to get out and explore. And while we cannot yet jump on our bikes and follow the Chalk Arrows across Europe or South America, it is still a great time to get out and explore your own backyard.
Riding (at a safe distance) with friends is very doable as a way to “socialize” as well. For a mid-ride pick-me-up you can still throw on your mask and support local coffee shops as they are re-opening. If you take your phone or GPS with you when you ride why not try a new back road and see where it leads. There are still plenty of adventures to be had even if they are in your own zip code.
The day will come when we travel by bike and you will be able to follow our chalk arrows across Europe or in Chile and Argentina, but at the core, what we at ExperiencePlus! love most about cycling is its ability to connect people with communities and cultures. And if there is any silver lining to this, hopefully it is that more people are indeed learning to share the love of cycling and find themselves enjoying the beauty of their own backyard.
Are you getting out for rides? We’d love to see it! Please send us photos from your rides and let us know what you’re enjoying most about cycling in your own backyard.