Updated: Jun 1, 2021
While many of us are starting to settle into our new normal as the initial fear around COVID-19 starts to fade, one important thing still remains. We need to be wearing our masks (both on and off our bikes). Masks have found their way into all and every aspect of our lives and it’s time to talk about how they're changing the world of biking.
Particularly, for riders living in urban and populated areas, like metropolitan cities, the risk of biking mask-free is high and heavy. For city-goers whose only source of transportation is public transit such as trains, buses, bikes and skateboard - a mask is becoming a must-have item. Because of this we've created a list of occasions when you really need to be wearing your mask while biking.
Disclaimer: While there are no explicit laws regarding wearing masks outdoors we always encourage riders to bring one along in preparation for some of the following scenarios.
When to Wear a Mask While Biking:
1. Urban Biking
While not all of us find ourselves biking on the roads in our cities, this is a scenario in which you really should be wearing a mask. The frequent stops, crowded corners, and inventible proximity to those around you makes this a prime location to throw on your mask.
2. In Groups
Although you may already be closely acquainted or even quarantining with members of your group its always a good idea to bring your mask to these type of rides. Especially if there are going to be new or rotating members of the group who you haven't been exposed to before.
3. On Public Trails
Public trails are often hot spots for bikers, hikers and walkers in the area. While parts of the trail may appear to be more isolated, this is a location often frequented by others who also think the isolation of the trail means that it's safe enough to ignore typical protection such as masks or hand sanitizer. Be sure to protect yourself and wear a mask in the more crowded parts of the trail (Ex: Trailhead, near restrooms) or in case you run into groups of others along the way.
3. When Commuting/Running Errands
If you're the type of person who loves to hop on your bike to run errands around town you should definitely wear your mask. By wearing your mask on your ride in more crowded areas you are better able to protect yourself from those around you. This also helps you to remember to bring your mask with you into stores and any other shops you may wander into.
We also recommend having two separate masks: one for your rides and one for your day-to-day. Your sports mask should be light, breathable, and able to be worn for longer periods of time. Your day-to-day mask can be as fun as you want! We've recommended some of our favorite performance masks below:
Under Armour, a popular athletic outfitter, is working to make a difference against COVID-19 through masks. The company is now selling a Sportsmask made specifically for athletes. This mask allows for better air flow and less condensation. The outside of the mask is waterproof and the look is clean and dynamic, making movement and range easy and accessible.
Kitsbow, a well-known cycling company, has stepped up to the challenge by making reusable cloth masks - ranging in size and color. They also offer a 20% discount for front-line workers and veterans.
Another popular outdoor company leading the pact fighting against the spread of COVID-19 is Black Diamond. Black Diamond, the popular climbing company has come out with a simple, two-color cotton mask. Similar to Kitsbow's initiate, for every mask sold another one is donated to a frontline or healthcare worker.
Finally, I'm sure we all know how hard it can be to hear others while wearing a mask. Especially on winding trails or in busy cities. Because of this, we also recommend investing in a bike bell or safety headlights to help let others know you're coming when you can't. Here are some of our favorites:
Specialized Flash Pack Headlight/Taillight Combo
"See where you are going, and be seen by motorists, all the while not breaking the bank. Whether you are an all-conditions commuter or a student riding across campus, the Flash Pack has got you covered."
Nutcase Black Kitty Black Thumbdinger Bell
Nutcase has an amazing variety of bells and accessories. They also have a massive selection of bell designs so you can get one that perfectly suits you.