April 2021 Top Talk

Club Riding During Covid: What are the risks? The League of American Bicyclists held their annual Bike Summit online from February 28 through March 3 of this year. During the opening session, keynote speakers addressed multiple topics related to the activities of bicycle clubs across the nation. Of particular interest during the era of Covid-19 was a presentation by Michael Roshon, M.D., Ph.D., the Chief Medical Officer of USA Cycling.

Dr. Roshon began his presentation by affirming what we have heard many times before; Covid-19 is spread by respiratory droplets and direct contact with infected individuals. The main defenses against infections are the use of masks and spacing indoors, hand hygiene and vaccination.

He went on to say that there has been almost no transmission of the virus in outdoor settings. He stated that only one known incident of outdoor transmission has been clearly documented, involving two cases acquired in China among a group of people who were in very close contact for a prolonged period of time. He further stated that among 787 active bicycle racers, there has been only one case of Covid-19 and, that one case was not related to cycling. In fact, Dr. Roshon has not found evidence of any cases of Covid-19 being transmitted between cyclists.

Another interesting point he raised was that Covid-19 does not appear to be spread by contact with surfaces, which would include pens and sign-in sheets. The risk of transmission does exist in indoor settings when people do not wear masks and are within six feet of each other. For that reason, coffee stops should be conducted outdoors, and indoor meetings should not be resumed until herd immunity is attained. Dr. Roshon was optimistic about realizing herd immunity; it is estimated that over 200 million Americans currently have natural immunity from mild or asymptomatic infections, 51.6 million more have been vaccinated as of March 28, and vaccinations continue at a rate of over 1.5 million each day.

Finally, a poll was taken of the attendees regarding the activities of their bike clubs. The majority indicated that their clubs have resumed, or intend to resume, regular rides by this spring.

One year ago, we discontinued our club rides because none of us knew the actual risks of infection. Now, with twelve months of data, we know. I look forward to seeing you on the road!

Doug Myers, President