Ask Uncle Dave

Dear Uncle Dave: COVID-19 has me down. Should I ride my bike?

Words Dave Tolnai
Date Apr 2, 2020

Dear Uncle Dave:

Even with all this COVID stuff going on, I still want to ride my bike. Does that make me a bad person?


Hopefully Not Evil

Dear Hohner:

Since my house has gone into COVID semi-exile, looking after the dog has taken on a massive role in our lives. Most days, walking the dog is the only time that we leave the house. The highlight of the day is the 5PM walk, when we head down to one of the local parks and let the dog run around like a maniac. Numerous other shut-ins are on the same program, and it's a good opportunity to yell questions about how our days went at one another from a safe distance. Even this is starting to feel irresponsible.

You'd think that with all this time made available due to all other forms of outside entertainment disappearing, I'd be a busy little beaver, writing all of the things that I've never been able to find the time to write. But that winds up being just one more problem with this stupid COVID thing. I'm already spending the entirety of my day sitting in front of my computer, so I hardly want to spend my evening plunking away on my keyboard. Even if I do want to write, every possible thing that I might have to say about this stupid virus is made redundant or invalid within hours of writing it. Plus, there's all of the drinking. It adds up to a healthy sum of "why bother?"

Here's something I started writing at some point last week.

I've been lucky to make it through the majority of my life relatively healthy. I've broken a few bones and sprained a few ligaments. My organs do their thing with minimal feedback. I've had a few concussions, both diagnosed and not, but none that have placed too much strain on my existence. The worst that I can say about my health is that I tend to get violently ill every time I visit a tropical country. This has involved projectile vomiting into the back stairwell of a bus that was bouncing along a dirt road in Costa Rica (followed by several days in bed). It has involved painting the bowl of a seat-less toilet in a Havana bus station, and praying that the same thing doesn't happen on the toilet-less bus that we were there to catch (followed by several days in bed). And it has involved picking up what I affectionately refer to as my Mexican Stomach Buddy( followed by several months of general illness).

Getting rid of my Mexican Stomach Buddy (MSB for short, not to be confused with MBS) involved several rounds of medication of escalating potency. For the final round, my Doctor brought out the big guns. I have no idea what it was, but the pill was the size of a chocolate coated almond, and it tasted as bad as the shit it made me feel like. Near the end of the cycle, it took all of my willpower to continue sticking those pills in my mouth. I would dry heave and weep and feel sorry for myself and wonder if it was all worth it. It felt like the cure was worse than the disease.

That's kind of what it feels like right now. We're living through a truly crazy period of humanity. I don't think I've ever experienced something that so dramatically changes from one hour to the next. It was almost exactly a week ago that shit started to get really, really crazy, and boy I wish I could go back and tell week-ago-Dave what was coming. What the fuck is next week going to look like!? And as I sit here, waiting for another inevitable shitstorm to hit, my mind drifts all over the place, and some of those thoughts drift towards wondering if it's worth stuffing this giant, purple, horrible tasting pill down our mouths.

And the conclusion was going to be "Yes! It is!" That's what medicine is! It's something that you take, that makes things better, and that might kind of suck at times. Then a certain someone started talking about how we "can't make the cure worse than the disease" and that pretty much killed this train of thought. It is illuminating though, isn't it? This should be a point of optimism and stoicism, not one of crying and stamping our feet like a bunch of toddlers who refuse to let our mothers give us our cough syrup.

What about riding our bikes, though? Dave! The bikes! I mean, people are dying and losing their jobs and losing their minds, but what about the bikes! What the world really needs right now is another hot take on whether or not we should be riding our bikes! How about this one!

Let me pause for a moment to thank Cam and the Doctor for their interview, the other day. It's really nice to hear somebody cut through the bullshit with some honest opinions based on experience. These are the kinds of things that might actually change an opinion or two. Now on with the hot take.

Certain people are going to carry on like nothing has changed. Certain people are going to consider the consequences based on events around them. Nobody will change their actions based on anything that anybody else has to say. A week/day/hour from now, it will probably be completely different and nothing that was just written will matter.

Which starts to point at the big problem with loose rules. Interpretation! I would bet that if you had a conversation with just about anybody right now, they would think they are doing the right thing. They could probably look across the way at somebody doing almost exactly what they were doing at that precise moment and find countless ways to rain judgement down upon them. Humans are incredibly good at this.

Think of yourself driving down the highway. There's countless jackasses driving too slow and why won't they just get out of the way? And there's almost as many psychotic idiots who are driving way too fast and don't they know that they're going to kill somebody? We have an amazing ability to look upon ourselves as perfect and to assume the worst of almost everybody else. Worst of all though, we take the actions of others and we allow them to subtly adjust our own. Every psychotic idiot that goes flying by causes us to put a tiny bit more pressure on the accelerator. Every moron that cuts to the front of a line causes us to care a little bit less about the people around us. We all take cues from the people around us, and that influence is seldom pushing us towards the letter-of-the-law side of the spectrum.

Right now seems easy, from an actions and expectations point of view. Just about every expert and every government, everywhere, is asking for some level of isolation, some basics with regards to hygiene, and some expectation that we shelve our greediest impulses. There's enough data out there now to suggest that these measures are working in many places. Almost everybody knows the things that they should be doing. So why are there still so many examples of the wrong things happening?

As I sit in my house on a nice, sunny, springtime day watching countless people wander by, it's very hard for me to not take that cue and head out for a walk myself. Often, I do. I know that I will be able to keep my distance from other people and I'm confident that I'm not going to contract this virus by heading out into the world for a 30 minute walk. I also know that if I do become infected, my impact will be fairly minimal. These are the things that I can tell myself.

But I also know that, read a certain way, this isn't helping. It's keeping me sane, for sure, but really, I'm just one more person wandering around that can potentially pass this virus along. I'm one more signal to everybody else that this is fine and okay and nothing to worry about. And it's at this point that bicycles start to enter into the equation.

At this point, it becomes about intention. Why am I working from home? Why are businesses shutting down? Why are hospitals stressed and health professionals getting worked to the bone? What does it say about me if these things are happening yet I'm still wondering where my next bike ride is coming from? And this is the reason that I've stopped, for now, riding my mountain bike in the woods.

For some, this might seem crazy. The probability that any one action that I take on a bike ride will lead to a bad outcome is minute. Chances are very, very good that if I go for a ride, I won't contract the virus, I won't spread the virus, and I won't end up in the emergency room with an unrelated injury. The statistics are on my side. But the statistics also tell me that if I don't go out there and drive my truck and park in a parking lot and handle a gas pump and ride my bike, I'm even less likely to create any of those bad outcomes. The statistics also tell me that on an individual level, none of those bad outcomes are likely to happen, but when they are extended out to hundreds and thousands and millions of people, it becomes a near certainty that something will.

We're not in lockdown yet. Trails aren't closed. But it's impossible for me to not pause to consider the seriousness of the sacrifice of others. The nurses, the doctors and all the delivery drivers who are probably a tiny bit scared that their next interaction might see them infected, or the people laid off because their business has shut down. This is how it becomes a question of intention. Do I want to act in a way that I'm benefitting the cause, or do I want to act in a way that I'm not? Do I want to signal to the world that I'm concerned and doing what I can to help, or that I'm going about my business as if everything is normal?

Honestly, I don't really care if you ride your bike, or not. One person riding isn't going to be an issue. If you sneak out one morning for a quick solo ride on a mellow trail, everything is probably going to be just fine. Your statistical equation is not going to be the same as mine. It's going to be different if you live right next to a trail or if you don't, if your trails are gnarly, or mellow. But I ask you to pause for one moment and consider that this is a collective challenge and our success will be the result of billions of tough choices. If our only consideration is our personal risk and the immediate consequence of each tiny action, we're in trouble. We need to consider what would happen if numerous other people do the same thing, and what the result of that would be.

On a personal level, I have my job. I'm relatively young and healthy. I have a pantry full of food. I have a dog to entertain me and I'm able to leave the house a few times a day to enjoy the outdoors. I don't really feel like I can justify anything more than that, right now. Strolling out to my truck and casually swinging my bike over the tailgate feels like a bridge too far, and not riding my mountain bike for a while feels like the absolute least that I can do, no matter how statistically minor that might be.


Uncle Dave

Uncle Dave's Shut In Club

What am I doing instead of riding my bike? Well, besides fuck all, these are some things that I'm thinking about.

Taking a Ryan Leech Course

Yes, I realize that this would potentially involve riding your mountain bicycle. But if you have to ride your bicycle, maybe focus on perfecting your skills on a nice, soft, isolated lawn someplace? I've even seen some free offers floating around via e-mail, so who knows what you might find if you ask nicely.

Take another kind of Course

There aren't many things in this world that bore me more than self improvement. I'm a really bad, impatient student and I want you to give me the 3 things that I need to know RIGHT NOW! Still, there's a few holes in my otherwise impeccably appointed toolkit, and I should probably start filling some of them. A co-worker raves about the MIT micromasters she is pursuing. Boingboing has some deals on online courses right now in their online store (shit...maybe I should even go learn how to write properly?). There's hundreds of free courses out there. Find one thing that you wish you could do and see if you can learn how to do it.

Buy some good coffee or tea

After my 5PM dog walk, making a nice coffee or pot of tea is one of the things that keep me going these days. I just replenished my tea stock (Murchies No. 10 Blend!) and I'm about to order some new beans (Milano Conca D'oro!). There's no point in drinking sub-par shit right now.

Buy some good beer

Speaking of not drinking sub-par shit, stock up on your favourite beverage before they get shut down! I've got some Darkness and Fluffy Cloud on order from 33 Acres (free shipping over $50!). If I lived on the other side of the bridge I'd order some Bourbon Blood Orange from Bridge (free shipping over $40!). I'm confident that with a bit of effort you can find a good, local brewery to support.

Feed the birds

Order yourself a squirrel buster and some sunflower seed chips and you'll be amazed by what shows up. Fun for the whole family!

Uncle Dave's Music Club

As a shut in, I've been spending a tonne of time listening to music. As a result, I took a cruise through my collection and started plugging some holes that I've missed over the last few years. One of these holes is The Babies, which was a temporary side project for Kevin Morby, way back when (as well as Cassie Ramone from Vivian Girls).

Alligator is the kind of song that makes me really happy. Some jingly, jangly guitars. A few time changes. A distracted sense of ease. All of the best Kevin Morby sort of things are on display here (sorry for assigning him most of the credit, but the man is prolific), and I'm glad that I finally got around to this.

Shit, may as well listen to it live, as well.

As always, Dave is eager to hear your questions, or perhaps more so now that he's mostly housebound. Send an email to askuncledave@nsmb.com. Dave is currently, and for the foreseeable future, standing by.

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+3 grambo Pete Roggeman Todd Hellinga
DMVancouver  - April 1, 2020, 9:45 p.m.

Thanks for that. I’ve been in the camp that thinks continuing to ride (in a more conservative manner) presents a reasonable risk, but you make good points about the collective impact and intent.


+6 grambo Pete Roggeman Truleofthumb Todd Hellinga Mammal Cam McRae
danimaniac  - April 1, 2020, 10:45 p.m.

Yeah it sucks....and these measures aren't even chocolate coated or resemble anything nice at all.

Dave, nice philosophical take there, employing the categorical imperative is what lacks (maybe) most in an ever more egocentrical world. I actually hope that this disruptive event will lead to more socialising, more altruism, more thinking about the effects my own actions have on others (butterfly effect and on and on).

At the same time, as a guy living with two small children and wife in a two bedroom flat without a garden going outside every day is the only way to stay sane. It's funny though how daily risk assessment has become more normality now than neccessity.


+3 danimaniac Timer twk
Pete Roggeman  - April 2, 2020, 7:16 a.m.

More socializing (maybe, in some places, more socialism!) and altruism would be great silver linings. More of a focus on risk assessment would also be great - for individuals as well as for the average individual's understanding of how governments and organizations plan for and deal with big events like this.

As individuals, I think there isn't enough consideration given on a daily basis to risk assessment. America may be considered more litigious but Canada's not far behind when compared to Europe, where personal responsibility is more prevalent. Over there, you're usually given more latitude to make your own decisions about acceptable risk (using backcountry skiing as an example) but you're also responsible for the consequences (you can't sue everyone to recover the cost of all your losses, and you may be charged for part or all of the cost of your rescue). Search and Rescue may cost you money, but in Switzerland at least, you could buy an annual policy for 80 CHF (roughly 80 CAD) that would cover your costs - a worthy annual investment that supported SAR and covered your ass in case you screwed up.

Then we get into pay-to-use fee structures, which I'm also a big believer in, but that's a conversation for another time.


+4 Pete Roggeman DMVancouver Todd Hellinga Cam McRae
Rich Chin  - April 2, 2020, 5:54 a.m.

This is a really well written and thoughtful piece.  I’ve been struggling with this issue myself.  Many in the local trail organizations are still riding, but the parks have been more crowded than ever with each type of user becoming critical of the other.  I’ve been squeezing in solo rides, but they are not so solo when the trailhead is packed.  Thank you for this.


+2 Pete Roggeman twk
fartymarty  - April 2, 2020, 6:56 a.m.

Music wise - it's a good time to wrap your head around "Trout Mask Replica".


+1 Timer
Velocipedestrian  - April 2, 2020, 3:49 p.m.

Or its homage "Swordfish trombones".


fartymarty  - April 3, 2020, 12:16 a.m.

Not familiar with it but will check it out.


+9 DMVancouver Sandy James Oates Pete Roggeman Todd Hellinga Andrew Major Tremeer023 Cam McRae PeterO Luix
Rob Gretchen  - April 2, 2020, 7:30 a.m.

Great article and made me do some self reflection.   What is really concering to me is the effects this crisis is having on mental health... I think its hard to argue that alcohol and drug abuse are spiking as is depression and severe anxiety.   I have this in my family (myself included) and without some exercise the prognosis is bleak.  Biking has been paramount to my journey to stay healthy.   My son has ADHD and sensory processing disorder and with schools closed he is depressed and my concern is this could get worse for him.    Cycling is one outlet to keep him and I ironically safe from ourselves.    We are in a very rural setting so there is very low risk of community spread and its tires on dirt only (low risk).


+10 Rob Gretchen Pete Roggeman Todd Hellinga Mammal DMVancouver Tremeer023 Cam McRae danimaniac Luix goose8
Dave Tolnai  - April 2, 2020, 7:39 a.m.

Hi Rob:

This isn't a point that I addressed directly.  You're right, we all need some kind of outlet, lest we head down a worse path.  I think this is why I tried to keep it to my specific situation.  If I lived closer to a trailhead...if I didn't live in a major city with relatively crowded trails...if our trails weren't kind of gnarly...if I had absolutely no other outlet.  There are lots of things that might point me towards another decision, but I just hope people put a bit of thought into their own, personal decision and think about the potential impacts beyond themselves.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Mammal  - April 2, 2020, 9:39 a.m.

Great addendum, Dave.


+8 Pete Roggeman Todd Hellinga Mammal Andrew Major Velocipedestrian Cam McRae danimaniac DanL
Dude@  - April 2, 2020, 8:17 a.m.

Get into routine, routine, routine - ASAP!!!! I am kind of lucky that I can remotely work from home, but it has become much harder, it is not as efficient but I am figuring it out.

In California, we have been in lock down for a few weeks now. At first, I got caught up in the shelter-in-place zombie land, sleeping in later than normal, not a lot of energy, just blah. I had to break this!!! I recognized this and forced myself to get up early and take shower like any normal day - this helped a lot! Rolling out of bed into the office, was not good for my mental health.

Now I wake up early (6am), and jokingly commute from my house to my house - but it is true. I get on my road bike exactly like I was commuting before and just end back up at my house - haha. This is what I did on a normal workday. Then I go into my office and work! Now my energy is back to normal and feel good. I still go for easy mountain bike rides in the evening with dog/family, but the routine was key for mental stability!!!

Because I am working at home, I will do a 30 minute spin at lunch again fresh air and exercise.

Get back into routine - it helps a lot!


+1 Pete Roggeman
Mammal  - April 2, 2020, 9:40 a.m.

Great advice. I need a dose of this. Thanks.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Dave Smith  - April 2, 2020, 8:22 a.m.

well played, sir


+1 Pete Roggeman
Vik Banerjee  - April 2, 2020, 8:26 a.m.

I listen to the BC Medical Officer's daily briefing every day. As long as she keep saying it's a good idea to get out and ride your bike that's what I am going to do. If she says to stop doing that I will.


+1 Cooper Quinn
Dave Tolnai  - April 2, 2020, 4:44 p.m.

Honest question...has she said anything about mountain biking?  I'm totally guessing, but my thoughts would be that when she says something about going for a bike ride, she's not thinking about the same thing that we are.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Mammal  - April 3, 2020, 12:05 p.m.

Although from certain perspectives, the risk level for the average person hauling their dusty bike from their garage, is likely very similar to that of the average veteran mountain biker, taking it easy on their local loops. Again, personal risk assessment required.


+2 Sanesh Iyer DanL
Dave Tolnai  - April 3, 2020, 5:05 p.m.

But this is the entire point.  If we all just sit back and judge ourselves to be uninfectable and uninjurable due to our superior health and skills, it's not going to end well.  The same goes for liberal interpretations of what the powers that be are actually saying.

If 100 skilled mountain bikers go out for a ride, chances are pretty good that 99 will be fine, and maybe only 1 person gets injured.  That person might not be you, but you're certainly participating in the statistical party.


+1 Greg Bly
kain0m  - April 4, 2020, 1:31 a.m.

But we are suspect to risks everywhere. Nothing is 100%. I tend to think along the lines of the 80/20 principle. 80% take 20% of the effort / cost / whatever. And vice versa. 

If we all lock ourselves up in our homes indefinitely, is it even worth living anymore? And don't be fooled, there is absolutely zero chance of eliminating this virus, so all we are doing is staying on life support until we have enough people infected and healed to have some sort of herd immunity, where it won't come to significant outbreaks. Trouble is, the time horizon for that is years to decades - New York is on the brink of collapse with its medical system with 100.000 people infected. Takes two weeks on average. So 200.000 infected people per month is what they could sustain with their infrastructure. In a city of 8.4 million. Which means 41 months of absolute state of emergency until everyone would be through - which in and of itself wouldn't be possible.

Bottom line is, were gonna have to find a different strategy than to "flatten the curve" if we, as a species, want to survive this, simply because our current strategy will keep us in a unacceptable state for years. You can reduce social interactions for a few months, then people will start dying because of it. People will starve because of poverty. People will commit suicide. People will loose anything they had if we were to sustain this self-quarantine imprisonment in ours homes for years. At which point, definitely, the cure is much, much worse than the disease.


+1 DanL
UFO  - April 4, 2020, 4:49 p.m.

hear you loud and clear, but a couple of points which I suspect you are already aware of. 

We've been asked to be physically distant and socially responsible for maybe a month now, 6 weeks if we want to be extra generous. Nobody has talked about long term strategies, the months upon months and the years that you are referring to. Your report on the challenges in NY, speak to the need to focus on the here and now, because if we don't their/our future is bleak.

Regarding physical distancing and more careful risk management, this is something we can do right now to help and make a difference for the near and far term future. This is so we can buy time for the medical system to treat the patients who will be very sick, so hopefully nobody needs to die unnecessarily. So we can buy time to control the flow of the really sick so the researchers can develop a safe vaccine for all to use.

Generally speaking 'we' are still allowed to be out and about to enjoy ourselves so long as we keep to ourselves, and are responsible about it. Not too much to ask IMO for a few months, when the whole world has banded together to try and accomplish a common goal.

We as a species will live through this and be largely ok (social, economic considerations aside). But more importantly there is a humanitarian discussion about life preservation for those who do not, and should not, have to die.

+2 DMVancouver Pete Roggeman
Todd Hellinga  - April 2, 2020, 9 a.m.

great thought provoking piece, Dave


+2 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman
Andy Eunson  - April 2, 2020, 9:09 a.m.

It’s risk management. I have two dogs that need a couple hours a day of outing. Trails in Whistler are icy and if you get off the packed portion you may go in deep on one side which is risky for me with a slightly bum knee. Plus the valley trail is also icy in places. It’s that in between time where you want regular footwear part of the time and studded the rest of the time. Plus residents seem to all come out for family walks mid afternoon. People are by and large staying distant but people with kids kind of clog up the trail so you have to adjust your walking speed.  All doable. But I drove to Squamish yesterday morning and rode easier trails and walked where I don’t normally walk and managed the risk. Saw one person. Dogs had a good run. I went early in the cold to minimize contact with others. I see a greater risk walking here than riding there.


+7 Mammal Todd Hellinga DMVancouver Andy Eunson sansarret PeterO Luix JVP Greg Bly
Cooper Quinn  - April 2, 2020, 9:15 a.m.

All I can say is, if y'all don't shape your trailhead & access point behavior up, this won't be a decision you have to make anymore.


Mammal  - April 2, 2020, 9:43 a.m.

Absolutely. This is going to be the make or break, when it comes to North Van trail access.


+2 Mammal Pete Roggeman
Kenny  - April 2, 2020, 10:05 a.m.

It's weird though. Like, how much brainpower does it take to open up trailforks and identify an alternate access point? People are either stupid, lazy, or both I guess. There's so many ways to into the trail systems.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Mammal  - April 2, 2020, 10:59 a.m.

I've been a bit dumb-founded myself about this. I was happy the closed the Fromme lot, but that just turned the Braemar access into a nightmare of casual congregation. Get inventive, and spread each other out a bit. It's not hard.


+3 Mammal Cooper Quinn Pete Roggeman
DanL  - April 3, 2020, 7:14 a.m.

I've watched bumper to bumper "fuck you I don't care if you can get your bike back into your rack" parking all week. When one block back there's space for everyone everywhere. Astounding.

Check out what's going down in the South Bay :



or even worse :



+1 Pete Roggeman
[user profile deleted]  - April 2, 2020, 11:37 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

+2 Mammal Pete Roggeman
dorkweed  - April 2, 2020, 12:32 p.m.

Dave - have you had any of the Superflux beers?  They're the choice of Thomas Vanderham based on the recent photo essay/video thing he did, so they must be good (I kid).  It's darn fine beer, and they're delivering in concert with their friends at Strathcona.  Can't recommend it highly enough.  I'm keen to try the blood orange - thanks for the tip.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Perry Schebel  - April 2, 2020, 12:51 p.m.

SF rocks. the current batch of color & shape is on point. loved the coconuts ipa. just doing what i can to support local small business. so much fantastic beer produced in the hood.


Mammal  - April 2, 2020, 12:56 p.m.

+1 for Superflux. Great beer.


+3 Dave Smith Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Dave Tolnai  - April 2, 2020, 1:25 p.m.

Confession...I've never actually had the Bridge Blood Orange.  Their Peach Fuzz beer is one of my favourites though...and I'm keen to try their Blood Orange.

Superflux just sounds like it would be good, based on the name.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Perry Schebel  - April 2, 2020, 2:09 p.m.

lured in by the rad packaging; stayed for the great beer. same with boombox.


+1 Pete Roggeman
Dave Smith  - April 2, 2020, 2:32 p.m.

Tolnai, I highly recommend you pick up a 4 pack of SF Colour and Shape but be careful - They are scary easy to drink. I had 3 last night without even realizing it which made for a slow Thursday start.


+1 Pete Roggeman
dorkweed  - April 2, 2020, 3:09 p.m.

They are indeed deceptive. Manana is also damn good.


+2 Mammal Pete Roggeman
Dave Tolnai  - April 2, 2020, 4:48 p.m.

Okay.  When I drink through my 33 Acres I will consider this.  Looks like Superflux is offering shipping within Van/North Van for $5 with that money going to any laid off employees...that seems fair.



+1 Pete Roggeman
Perry Schebel  - April 2, 2020, 9:33 p.m.

Oh damn, c&s is sold out...


capnron  - April 2, 2020, 12:36 p.m.

I started Ryan’s Wheelie course a couple weeks ago and realized, after reading a few  “to ride or not to ride”, articles that one of my worst injuries was at the Whistler River campground showing (off) to a buddy how to wheelie, when I looped out and broke my collar bone putting my arms back to save myself. I’ve since postponed my Wheelie course...

Thought provoking stuff Dave.


Mammal  - April 2, 2020, 12:57 p.m.

I was thinking this myself, when I saw the free challenge. May not be the time for venturing into new-skill territory. Stick with what's already in the "auto pilot" files.


+3 Morgan Heater Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
LWK  - April 2, 2020, 1:49 p.m.

FWIW, a couple of the early lessons in the wheelie course are specifically targeted to get it ingrained in your head to use the rear brake to prevent looping out, and getting comfortable jumping off the back of the bike. Ryan's progressions are very good at addressing safety and building skills in small, safe, incremental steps.  Each to their own risk assessment but I'd suggest this is actually a pretty low risk activity if you follow the program.

If any sort of trail riding turns into a no-go (which I suspect will happen as people just dont seem to understand the concept of "social distance"...) I know my garage and backyard will turn into a makeshift trials zone to practice beginner level trials riding.  I do this all winter in the garage as it is and I've found it to be a fun challenge and a surprisingly good workout!


+2 Pete Roggeman Velocipedestrian
Luix  - April 3, 2020, 6:01 a.m.

I have sucked at wheelies my whole life. So when Ryan's course popped up free the past month, and having a nice size backyard, I jumped in. Having much stricter mandatory isolation rules here in Argentina than the ones you have up there in Canadia -we cannot go outside on a leisure activity, not even to walk our dogs- made it a whole lot easier, I won't lie ;-).

I can't stress how much I've improved my skills in such a short time. And since the course leads you in with bail out moves at every stage, the risk of serious injury gets pretty well minimized IMHO.

My personal advice: Just practice jumping off the bike if you loop back until it feels natural. I "wasted" a whole training session perfecting that move, and I couldn't be happier about it. Throw in a helmet and whatever protecting gear you feel it'll make it safer for you, and take it easy on yourself. I approached the course with the humilty of a rider who was never able to hold a wheelie in 40 years of riding. YMMV, but once you align your preceived ability to your real one, things get a lot easier.


+1 Luix
DanL  - April 3, 2020, 7:05 a.m.

Two easy ways to figure out if what you're thinking about is ok for the population fighting covid-19...

1 : Ask your self if what you're doing is a good idea when 100 people do it as well, followed by 500 etc (William Forster Lloyd and The Tragedy of the Commons - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons)

2 : Go and watch 'Contagion' then ask yourself if any of your actions could be framed within that film as an example of "I can't believe they just did that" with the associated dramatic music and Soderbergh style camera work.

If you're still looking for outlets but are happy with a mild risk that can be mitigated with proper hygiene, then spend those risk points on your community instead. See who needs help, see what opportunities are out there to move BC past this point in time faster. Keeping it within the booze-sphere, Sons of Vancouver,Deep Cove distillers and Black Kettle are now making isopropyl alcohol (the other great IPA) but need bottles and Aloe Vera. Call your local hospital and see what they need. And tune your bike or something to keep this on point for an nsmb article.

Want to expand skill sets or just learn new things? Khan academy and Harvard online are two great examples. Comor is offering a free Altus AST-1 prerequisite course for the AST1 course.


+1 capnron
mrbrett  - April 3, 2020, 8:21 a.m.

The Babies. Good stuff.


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