Safer Mountain Biking (and Road Biking) Guidelines in the Age of COVID-19


By Salt Lake Valley Trails Society — Mountain biking has been shut down in Spain and 12 counties in California. We don’t want that to happen here in the Western US. We have worked with the Salt Lake County Department of Heath to come up with the following guidelines. They are the minimums, you should exceed them. Please share these, so that we can continue to enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of mountain biking while protecting the community. Many thanks and happy trails!

Two riders practicing good social distancing on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Dave Iltis

[Editor’s Note: Most of the following items apply to road cycling as well. Please stay safe.]

  1. Give each other space. We recommend a MINIMUM 2 bike lengths to trail users. We know that you will do better than that, you will do your best and still have fun. Air fives, posts and comments are great ways to appreciate the radness.
  2. Keep it to yourself. Don’t share bicycles, helmets, gloves, water bottles, snacks, whisky flasks, post-ride beers, vaping devices or smokes with your friends. If you need to loan a pump, tube or tool to someone, have them keep it until they can properly sanitize it.
  3. Take it down a notch. Hospitals, ambulances and first responders are under tremendous stress. Work on something fun and simple, like manuals, instead of that eyeing up that big gap you’ve wanted to hit.
  4. Ride to ride. Putting your bike in/on your car to ride your bike has always been less than ideal. Riding to trails keeps you fit, outdoors, away from gas/charging stations and auto accidents. Many counties are only allowing county residents at their trailheads and state parks. Ride close to home.
  5. Go before you go. Lots of trailheads and trail areas don’t have restrooms and nobody wants to clean those that do. Before you ride, take a minute to relieve yourself.
  6. It’s snot cool. It’s never nice, but now blowing your mouth, lungs or nose out in the vicinity of others is dangerous to them and will diminish your opportunities to ride with others. Carry wipes or get a long, long, long way away from people and trail with your face aimed at and close to the ground.
  7. Ride the couch. If you are sick, in any way consistent with Covid-19 symptoms, please stay home and get well so that we see on the trail again, soon.
  8. Make believe. Pretend that you are already sick and those other trail users are your best friends. It might be true.
  9. Have a stash. Keep some sanitizing wipes, a spray bottle of isopropyl and/or disinfecting spray handy, even in your pack. Your trail using friends will appreciate that you are wise and caring.
  10. Look out for others. Parents! You need to talk to your children and encourage over-adherence to these and other protocols. We are all in this together, so education, encouragement and calling out others are good tactics. Practice your heckling skills for use during cyclocross season or against those younger and more talented than you.

The Salt Lake Valley Trails Society is a bunch of trail loving mountain bikers in Salt Lake County trying to ensure the safety of our communities. Though we have tried to present the best and most current info possible, you need to stay abreast of current practices and can do so through the Centers for Disease Control. Happy trails.

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