As the state of emergency is lifted across several prefectures and lockdown measures are relaxed, we’re seeing more and more of the world go back to normal. But we’re still not out of the dark just yet, even if COVID-19 is relatively under control within Japan. The virus is still affecting lives on a daily basis and as it doesn’t discriminate, anyone can still catch it.

To help decrease the chances of spreading the virus, Play Atre Tsuchiura – Japan’s largest cycling resort – has come up with a list of 7 tips that cyclists should keep in mind and follow as the world slowly spins back to normality.

Even though the risk of catching and transferring COVID-19 when using a bicycle is extremely low (the activity avoids the three main causes of infection transfer; closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact situations), the following requests have been suggested so that people can continue to enjoy cycling safely.

Try riding solo (#ridesolo)

Enjoy riding solo as much as possible to help minimize contact with people. If you really need to ride with more than one person, be aware of how to social distance whilst cycling.

It is believed that a safe social distance when cycling is around 15 to 20 meters.

Avoid as many stopping points as possible

To reduce contact with people as much as possible, lessen the overall distance of the journey and the number of rest breaks taken during the ride.

The official Play Atre Tsuchiura app and the Tsukuba Kasumigaura ring road website both have information about which support stations are currently open in their areas.

Bring enough food for refueling and stay hydrated

Before you leave, make sure to prepare enough supplementary foods and follow a plan to drink water frequently during your cycle ride. As the summer heat fast approaches, the risk of heat stroke will increase, so be careful and vigilant.

Listen to your body

If you feel unwell or weak in any manner, don’t ignore your body, and instead make the smart decision to call off the cycling event or if you are already out and about, begin to head home.

You should also try your best to avoid the risk of overtraining, as excessive training is believed to weaken the immune system.

Set and appropriate distance and follow a safe route
To avoid overtiredness, it is best to put a limit on your overall journey distance, that doesn’t mean you can’t go far though, as Play Atre states that a cycling journey should be no more than 60km in total length (that's pretty far).

The Tsukuba Kasumigaura ring road, which starts from Play Atre Tsuchiura and follows a route around mount Tsukuba is a 40km round trip, as is the distance to the Kasumigaura Ohashi Bridge.

To plan a safe journey, consider your fitness level and physical condition. Think about when and where you need to take a break and if you can decrease the overall journey distance.

Play Atre notes how the Kasumigaura area has only a few rest areas, so it may not be ideal for people who are not used to cycling.

Gear up with a mask and rubbing alcohol

Be sure to bring a face mask and rubbing alcohol with you when cycling, and be mindful when taking a break or entering a store. It is also recommended to wash your hands and to gargle each time you take a rest break.

Respect others

Everyone has their own way to enjoy cycling. To continue enjoying the ride, try to understand the current situation at hand and pay close attention to prevent the spread of infection.

By being aware and by practicing safe measures, we can create an environment where everyone can enjoy themselves without judging others.

It is important to remember that the behaviour of each and every cyclist will influence the infection situation in the future. By following the above seven suggestions, we will hopefully be able to reduce the grasp of COVID-19, and will soon be back in a world where we can all enjoy cycling without having to worry.

Ride safe! Stay safe!

By - Connie Sceaphierde.