Easter Ride Plans

Riding Near Home This Weekend

Words Cam McRae
Date Apr 10, 2020
Reading time

Ahead of the Easter Long Weekend, B.C. Parks has shut everything down. Public access is done for now and this impacts mountain biking in a few areas. Locally, Mount Seymour will see access severely restricted and Squamish will be even worse off. Whether this is the result of poor optics, a few people behaving badly, or widespread problems, we'll likely never know. The statement from B.C. Parks is a general one, and makes no mention or specific rationale or of consultation with Provincial Health Authorities:

The decision to close the park system is informed by continued feedback from RCMP, local government, First Nations, local search-and-rescue organizations and the general public. While many people are observing the physical distancing requirements set by the provincial health officer (PHO), some continue to ignore the order, making enforcement in a wilderness setting challenging.

Before we dig in, I'd like to make it clear that I am acutely aware there are people dealing with issues that make impaired trail access seem trivial. Whether these hardships are related to health or employment or housing, there is a shocking amount of suffering happening as I write this and those issues are vastly more important than anything related to outdoor activity. This awareness should also help guide the actions of anyone feeling hard done by because your favourite trail is closed.

Issues can collide, however, and the decisions we make at a personal level can have an impact on the lives of others. One example relates to the stories of mountain bikers ignoring social distancing guidelines, travelling in non-household groups to ride in other communities, and shuttling together when that has been discouraged.

I am aware that those of us who ride mountain bikes may be targeted excessively because of a few factors; we are easily identifiable by our vehicles, our dress, and the conspicuous bicycles at our sides; we travel in groups, we are often seen enjoying ourselves (possibly smugly? with high fives?), we have enemies (some of you are reading this! Hi! Sorry!), and we concentrate near trails accessible to us leading to higher density. That being said, the reports of bad behaviour can't all be exaggerated or fabricated, and having been a mountain biker for most of my life, I am not entirely surprised to hear that some members or our community are acting like selfish assholes, knowingly or otherwise. One of the worst examples I've heard about involved someone whose Strava fly by data shows them riding in Squamish, who also has a Strava segment from New Orleans, less than two weeks ago.

I have been asked by more than one Squamish community member to remind riders from other areas to ride close to home. Reports of carloads of riders from out of town, whether that is Whistler or Greater Vancouver, arriving together and shuttling Squamish trails, make me cringe. I understand their desire to ride Squamish, and I share that desire, but it's still hard to believe these riders are unaware of how stupid this is right now. How hard is it to notice a global pandemic? It's pretty easy to see why locals would view this behaviour as unbelievably selfish, particularly when the repercussions are felt mostly by those locals.

Contrary to what you may have heard on social media, the B.C. government is not telling citizens to remain indoors currently, or even recommending that course of action, despite the actions of B.C. Parks. Their press release is quoted below.

Safe recreation Getting outside for fresh air and exercise is important – so long as family can keep a safe distance of at least two metres from others outside their household. Some parks and beaches have closed because they’re too busy. There are many other quieter outdoor spaces to enjoy, so long as everyone can keep a safe physical distance. Being outdoors, walking pets and physical activities, such as going for a bike ride are all safe, so long as a safe physical distance is maintained.

The take home is this: if there are trails open in your area, and you plan to ride your bike, good behaviour is only part of the solution, but it's an essential part. Another portion relates to our aforementioned visibility. The optics of our behaviour need to be beyond reproach. Here are some guidelines:

  • Ride in the community where you live.
  • Ride to minimize your risk of injury as much as possible.
  • Physical distancing of the recommended 2 metres may not be enough if we are seen from a distance. Make it clear there is ample space between you and others.
  • Whenever possible, ride to the trails. If you must drive, don't park as close as possible to the trails; park a distance away and ride your bike to the trailhead.
  • If you are riding with others, do not park in a cluster and do not drive together.
  • Be nice. Extra nice. From a distance.
  • Give other trail users right of way and more than 2 metres of space.
  • Eye contact won't transmit COVID-19; smile and be friendly from at least 2 metres away.

Here in B.C., our efforts at social distancing seem to be paying off. Our health care system has been able to keep up thus far, and numbers of new cases and fatalities are trending downwards. Hopefully, if this continues, some of the escalated measures will only be temporary. Our actions can make this outcome more likely, or destroy it completely.

Enjoy the long weekend as best you can and stay safe and healthy!

Related Stories

Trending on NSMB


+4 Andrew Major Cam McRae Beau Miller Pete Roggeman playdead... Jason Wolfe
Bruce Mackay  - April 10, 2020, 3:51 a.m.

I am an RN, in an ER in the interior.  Mountain biking is my outlet.  The the parks are closed because of exactly what you mention Cam.   People are NOT following social distancing in the parks (already groups, not families, out camping this way).  Its worse in areas near cities, and despite it's in a few areas, BC Parks is provincial organization so it's having a provincial effect.


+7 Tremeer023 Pete Roggeman Mammal playdead... Cam McRae dave_f Tim Coleman
Brian Moreaux  - April 10, 2020, 2:21 p.m.

Family doc in Southern Oregon here. Our riding population is far less dense than yours in BC but I am seeing similar behavior with shuttling/full parking lots. Thank you to the folks at NSMB for setting the example for our greater riding community. You guys always do a good job of looking at complicated issues with nuance and care and this approach has been especially helpful during the Covid ordeal. Cheers to everyone who is doing their part.


Cam McRae  - April 11, 2020, 4:57 p.m.

Thanks Brian! Very nice of you to share that.


+7 Andrew Major Sandy James Oates Cam McRae Beau Miller Todd Hellinga Tremeer023 Pete Roggeman
Bruce Mackay  - April 10, 2020, 4:19 a.m.

One of my co-workers asked "What's the first thing you plan on doing when things settle down?"  W/O thinking I said.  "Go for a ride with my Boyz (we're all around 50, so forgive that) and post ride BBQ!" .  I can't do that now.  So far I know I've been involved with 3 confirmed cases (#s are low here, so far).  One of my Boyz has the "Big C", 2+years of chemo (fuck cancer!)  The risk of me passing this onto ANYONE I know, who could have contact w/ him is why I'm riding solo, or w/ the wife and kids only for as long as it takes.  Small potatoes, really.  3 of my fellow RN's are married to people with health issues that put them at HIGH risk.  They aren't even living w/ their spouse and kids rt now... This thing is no joke.  If those out there doing whatever they want, have caused me this further "small inconvenience";  Fire Truck Them!  If these people have no one in their life that they can remotely conceive making the sacrifice of standing 2m apart and driving solo to the trail head for (they probly don't care enough to notice those issues though), then "The Man" will continue to step in an make the choice for ALL of us.


+7 Andy Eunson Cam McRae Kos Beau Miller Tremeer023 Pete Roggeman playdead...
Vik Banerjee  - April 10, 2020, 5:23 a.m.

My go to plan on long weekends is to stay local while everyone else battles traffic and crowds at destination trailheads. This time around everyone will be staying home with me so I'll just make sure to head out on dawn patrols riding from home to the trailhead so I don't add a car to the parking lot and so that I should be headed home when most people are loading their bikes on their vehicles.

So far our local trails remain open and we have not been asked not to ride. As long as that's the case I plan to get out when I can.


+4 DanL Beau Miller Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Dave Smith  - April 10, 2020, 9:39 a.m.

Well played.


+5 Cam McRae goose8 Beau Miller Pete Roggeman playdead...
rndholesqpeg  - April 10, 2020, 10:58 a.m.

It has been annoying here in North Carolina, people are still traveling in from out of state and not keeping distance. I won't say its spurred on but some of the local Pro's have been posting shuttle party pics on social media and group ride photos which just seems irresponsible to legitimize bad behavior to their 10's of thousands of followers. I just think this is going to cause us to loose trail access and possibly worse, lead to the spread the disease.


+2 Beau Miller Pete Roggeman
Cam McRae  - April 10, 2020, 12:20 p.m.

So frustrating.


dan_l  - April 17, 2020, 6:04 p.m.

What pros so I know who to not support. The things we do have consequences...


+4 Tremeer023 Pete Roggeman AndrewR AJ Barlas
Beau Miller  - April 10, 2020, 11:31 a.m.

Shuttlers gonna shuttle is what I've seen. That fucking hard to pedal up the local hill solo or with one other socially distanced partner?

People, they're the worst.


+2 Beau Miller Pete Roggeman
Tehllama42  - April 10, 2020, 12:29 p.m.

There are right ways and wrong ways to do that... there's nothing magical about social distancing, it's that if done correctly it gives contact tracing a chance of containing outbreaks.


+4 goose8 Beau Miller Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
sticko  - April 10, 2020, 11:35 a.m.

As well as local riding, I think getting creative with trail choice too is key for me. Mix it up. Alternative routes up and down make for a more dispersed network. I doubt I'll ride Expresso for 6 months at this rate! Spread the trail love, so to speak!


dan_l  - April 18, 2020, 5:57 a.m.

Not sure if an option for others but I’ve attached saddle bags to my hardtail but a backpack will do. I use it to get my cardio on city streets or even riding 10 miles one way to the trailhead. The saddle bags are for days I ride only city streets and if I want to use it to pick up essential items at the store.


+2 Beau Miller Pete Roggeman
Tehllama42  - April 10, 2020, 12:31 p.m.

Brilliantly put, it's quite simple, and should be easy to follow.

The tragic answer is that there's nothing magical about social distancing, it's that if done correctly it gives contact tracing a chance of containing outbreaks.  Those are the best tools we have, and that's the ultimate goal here - a lot of ignorance (to include at government levels) are what's making those two tools less effective than they should be (but adding a lot of needless cost where that's achievable).


+6 Matt Lee GOrtho Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Beau Miller Cam McRae
+5 Andrew Major Pete Roggeman Greg Bly Beau Miller Tim Coleman
GOrtho  - April 11, 2020, 5:49 a.m.

Thanks for posting this. Pseudoscience used for fear mongering has no place in these times. If any single thing has been thus far proven to be protective from Covid-10 it's maintaining normal body weight and stopping chronic co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and poor pulmonary health. Exercise in all forms is vital for this.  It's currently our only good defense consistent with normal societal function.


-1 Mammal
DMVancouver  - April 12, 2020, 7:45 p.m.

@GOrtho - calling it pseudo-science isn’t quite fair. They are using a sophisticated fluid mechanics model that has the potential to do a reasonable job simulating what they’re looking to show. The limitation is more that the study has not yet been peer-reviewed or published. They are also trying to model something that is quite complex, and they need to get a lot of things right for it to represent reality.

Their results might be accurate or they might not, and even if the physics are right, the phenomenon may or may not pose significant risk of virus transmission. Once the research goes through its due process, we will know more.

At the very least, it’s an interesting use of this model to explore the idea. I agree that people sharing the findings as fact are jumping the gun.


-3 Mammal twk Beau Miller
Kerry Phillips  - April 11, 2020, 8:17 a.m.

Study or not it’s simple physics. Drafting is a perfect example of the physics of the air moving around an object in motion creates low pressure on the opposite side.  Like a wing. Tail of a truck. Inside of a morons head. Back of a motorcyclists helmet. Side of a building. Mother Nature does not forgive.


+5 twk GOrtho Beau Miller Andrew Major WheelNut
Tehllama42  - April 11, 2020, 8:39 a.m.

For some truly inexplicable reason, I tend not to find 'simply physics' as the preferred way of describing validation of computational fluid dynamics... might just be me.

Is it possible? Yes.  Likely - no.  Is it drastically more likely you're going to get it being in a grocery store and interacting with objects there?  Definitely yes.


-1 Beau Miller
Kerry Phillips  - April 11, 2020, 9:23 a.m.


This is a pretty good video on vapour dispersion and micro droplets.

Yes, as we all found out in school there is no such thing as simple physics. that's why most dropped out.


Kerry Phillips  - April 12, 2020, 9:44 p.m.

That is a very comprehensive demonstration. Thanks for posting

dan_l  - April 17, 2020, 6:09 p.m.

Well they trust those same computational models to get airplanes off the ground the first time they test them...


+5 Matt Lee Tremeer023 Pete Roggeman Beau Miller Cam McRae
IslandLife  - April 10, 2020, 7:34 p.m.

People are so fucking stupid... I live on the island... pretty low numbers over here and we're still riding, but carefully with good social distancing.  It's much easier over here with a much smaller population base.

But guess what... ferries were packed to capacity this long weekend!  Haha, fucking idiots...


AlanB  - April 12, 2020, 1:39 p.m.

Talking to staff at the hut, they're serious about closing trails. RCMP have been called in and I heard they had an incident with a mtn biker this weekend. Don't be surprised if someone is handing out tickets on the trails.


Skooks  - April 12, 2020, 2:39 p.m.

Thanks Alan. Are all Cypress trails officially closed?


Simon LI  - April 14, 2020, 3:44 p.m.

Must be exciting


Please log in to leave a comment.