There have certainly been many changes that have gone on during the pandemic in just about every facet of life. Maybe the one change that took the most getting used to was wearing a face mask virtually everywhere to protect against the spread of the virus as much as possible.
For indoor activities, it has been pretty much mandatory in most locations. Outdoor activities have a little bit more leeway, which is why some people might not know what the call is with a face mask while cycling.
Should cyclists have a face mask on at all times? Is it safe to ride with a face mask on? There are certainly many questions out there to this day, and some riders might not know much about what they should expect.
This is a look at what people should be doing when they are out on their bike, and what makes the most sense to stay as protected as possible as the world inches closer to the end of the pandemic.
Is it Safe to Mountain Bike Wearing a Face Mask?
Generally speaking, it is safe to cycle with some type of face covering. In fact, there have been people who have gone on cycling trips in the past and worn face masks for protection against the elements well before the pandemic.
A face mask can help with anything from handling allergies to navigating through smoke, smog, or other adverse air conditions.
Some masks are so big that they can either fog up glasses very easily or block vision somehow. If that is the case, cyclists should be looking for something else.
Having blocked or hindered vision causes a brand new set of problems for riders if they are not careful. All other options are perfectly usable on the bike. (Source)
How Effective Are Face Masks While Riding a Bicycle?
The debate goes on as far as how effective masks are while doing any activity. With that said, cutting down on the virus spreading in some capacity will always be beneficial in the end. Having multiple barriers can significantly reduce the chances of any outbreaks happening in the cycling community.
When worn properly and made of the right material, it will be effective to wear masks while riding around. Some masks are better than others, and some are built specifically for performance.
Some of the top companies in the industry are focused on making sure that they offer something that performs well and keeps everyone protected.
With venting options and other tricks of the trade, it is less of a hassle than ever before to wear something without feeling like there are a ton of restrictions.
Any Scenarios Where a Person Can Go Without a Face Mask While Cycling During a Pandemic?
It is generally good practice to stay as protected as possible when cycling in toda’s climate. Not only is it going to keep people safe, but other riders are going to feel comfortable.
With that said, if someone is training by themselves and has plenty of open space, wearing a face mask does not need to be mandatory.
This is why bandana and gaiter options are becoming so popular for a lot of cyclists. They are very easy to slip on and off when necessary, and there is no need to stop riding at all.
When there is part of a trail where people can move their mask in place so that everyone is protected. If the next few miles after that there is nobody around, it makes sense to slip it down and ride as comfortably as possible.
Every location is different as far as rules and regulations are concerned, so pay attention to them to make any final decisions. Most are still enforcing masks to be worn at all times in public areas, so make a smart judgment as far as that is concerned.
Generally speaking, the more populated a place is, the more likely it will be that a person must wear a mask at all times. Since cyclists are generally trying to stay away from people so they have as much space to ride in as possible, the chances of having areas to ride without needing a face mask are high.
Can Eye Protection Help Fight Against the Spread of COVID-19 While Cycling?
There are many people who are pretty surprised to hear that a pair of sunglasses, or even a visor, can help fight against the spread of COVID-19. This is because the virus can spread through other openings on the body besides the mouth.
That means the virus can come in through the eyes, and since they are so close to the nose in the first place, there might be some other hidden benefits of having protection.
Most cyclists are already wearing some form of eye protection anyway, so nothing brand new needs purchased. It just might make a little more sense to keep them on all the time, and have different visors on throughout the day. This way, it is much easier to see.
Should Cyclists Continue Wearing a Face Mask Post Pandemic?
Riders who have any type of problem in tough situations should consider wearing a face mask or some other type of covering over the face.
This is to cut down the chances of dealing with dirt, pollen, and other irritants that might pop up during the ride. Some people even wear a face mask to help protect against the sun.
Riding with a face mask mostly comes down to how comfortable a person can get the feel overall. Some people are never going to get used to wearing a face mask at all, so they will probably lose it as soon as COVID-19 is over.
However, others may latch onto the idea of having more of the body covered. They can give people another protective layer, which helps in so many different ways when they are riding against the wind in some scenarios.
If the plan is to wear a face mask well after COVID-19 is over, consider investing in a few different options. Some might have a face mask for colder conditions and warmer conditions.
Others might buy the same face mask a few different times to switch them out and not have to wash them after each use.
This is definitely the time to try out a few different face masks and see if any of them feel like they are worthy of wearing on a more consistent basis.
Cycling Tips During a Pandemic
Cycling has fortunately not been completely changed like many other activities during COVID-19. Since there is a good amount of social distancing already with cycling, some minor adjustments have allowed people to stay active and get outside.
However, there are a few tips to keep in mind that make it a safer environment for everyone involved.
1. Stop Riding in Big Groups
Some cyclists enjoy riding bikes in large groups. It might even be what got people into riding in the first place. These large bike rides can be a huge motivator for some cyclists, and it just becomes a fun activity to meet new friends in general.
It is recommended to stay away from these larger rides for now, as the chance of a super spreader event occurring goes up. That said, a solo ride is always a great option, and even smaller groups with decent social distancing will be fine.
Eventually, people will have the opportunity to go back and ride in big rides again. However, so many people being relatively close and sweating can definitely cause the spread of germs rather easily.
It might not seem like the germs can spread that much with a decent amount of distance between bikes, but riders actually need more than six feet of distance because of the speed they are going.Â
2. Limit Face Touching as Much as Possible
Most cyclists are going to touch their faces throughout a ride. It is just something that comes naturally, as people are either wiping away sweat, getting dirt out of their eyes, or adjusting their glasses.
It is a habit that is sometimes very hard to break, but it is one of the fastest ways to spread germs. Cyclists should try to cut down on touching their faces as much as possible so that they do not have to deal with any additional risk.
Keeping hands clean during a ride is a pretty tough task, and one that no person is going to be able to pull off if they really try to.
A face mask will help to some degree prevent people from touching their face too much, but even that comes with some adjustments here and there.
The best way to stop thinking about touching the face is to find a face mask that fits comfortably and needs minimal adjusting.
No one wants to feel forced to make adjustments so that they have things situated properly. It is an issue that might be more annoying than anything right now, but it makes sense to spend time getting it right the first time.
3. Opt For More Rural Trails
Cyclists going long miles usually try to avoid populated areas anyway, but there should be more focus on rural routes than ever before.
It opens up the amount of space a person is working with, and it lets them see the number of people on the trails up ahead. This makes it a great opportunity for cutting down the chances of picking up the virus.
Depending on where a person lives, there can be a lot of different trails out there that are filled with miles and miles of open space.
It might not be the typical trail that a person is used to riding, but it is definitely worth exploring as a way to feel that much better and safer.
4. Keep Spitting, Snot Rockets, and More to a Minimum
A lot of riders might not even think twice about spitting or shooting a snot rocket, but it is much more dangerous in todayâ€™s world. Especially when people are around, try to keep all of this to the minimum as much as possible.
It is hard to break some habits, so there will be times where a person might find it absolutely necessary to do so. If that is the case, try to find a place that is pretty secluded to pull one of these off.
It is usually common decency to do that in the first place, but it will especially be true in todays world.
Cost of Cycling Face Mask
Expect to spend a little bit more than usual when purchasing a face mask for cycling. That is mostly because a simple disposable mask that a lot of people have relied on during the pandemic is probably not going to cut it for a cyclist.
That is because it will be too easy to sweat through and damage, and it is just not effective enough when staying active.
Instead, opt for something made of a breathable material that matches sports clothes. Think about cotton, polyester, and other solutions out there that are lightweight and effective.
Some will really love having a vent on their face mask to feel like they are breathing a little easier. Companies have released several standout options worthy of consideration.
Final Thoughts on Face Masks and Cycling
So many people have picked up the habit of wearing a face mask while cycling that they are likely not going to turn back.
It makes a lot of sense from a health perspective, and it can protect more than just the spread of a virus for riders. Finding those hidden benefits has actually helped some cyclists.
Yes, it is a bit of an inconvenience, and it can make a person feel a bit closed up if they do not have it fitted properly. However, after trying out a few options, usually, someone can find a fit that works for them. After that, it is wearing a mask consistently and becoming a bit normalized with it.
As long as the mask does not start hindering performance, it is going to be a great addition to any rider consistently. A lot of people are going to feel a lot more trusting in how they are going about their business than ever before.
It makes a lot of sense for individuals to ride with a face mask on, at least for a little while longer as COVID-19 starts to come to an end.
In certain parts of the world, it still is very much a risk, which is why so many are paying attention to all the protocols as much as possible