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IMBA & 4 Trail Associations Share Best Practices for Riding During Covid-19 Outbreak

Mar 19, 2020
by Sarah Moore  
2020 Pinkbike Field Test Photo by Trevor Lyden

If you're somewhere where you're allowed to ride, follow these best practices. This is an evolving situation so make sure to follow the most up to date recommendations from your local government.

International Mountain Bike Association

bigquotesTo our friends and partners in mountain biking,

Getting out on the trails is tremendously valuable. Trails bring us together, but to keep each other safe, we must keep our distance. How can our community navigate this challenge?

First and foremost, refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for best practices, as well as guidelines from your state and local governments. Then, as appropriate, cautiously take advantage of trails and outdoor spaces unless you are feeling ill. We will all benefit from fresh air.

Should mountain bikers host group rides or trail work days?
Cancel, postpone or reschedule upcoming events including races, trail work, and group rides until there are new government directives. For now, let’s ride in very small groups, keep our distance, and enjoy our trails close to home to minimize the risks associated with car travel.

How can trail users pass responsibly with social distance?
Stay alert, slow down, and communicate with each other from a distance about how to proceed. With gyms and rec centers closing, there may be new users on the trails. It’s a great time for community education on responsible riding and for being patient, exemplary stewards.

We will provide updated guidance on these topics as appropriate. IMBA Local partners can expect more information in your weekly resource newsletters.

IMBA is primarily a remote organization. Our team is not traveling and are self-isolating in our homes, including our four-person crew in the Colorado office. To date, the field operations of IMBA Trail Solutions have not been significantly affected. But we are strictly adhering to CDC guidelines, are monitoring this working environment constantly, and are ready to make adjustments for safety and public health at any time. IMBA’s work to create, enhance and protect great places to ride can mostly continue for now. We sympathize with everyone already feeling a significant impact in this crisis. We are preparing for the impacts we expect as best we can, and your continued support will help.

Many thanks for your diligence and discipline in this challenging time. Thank you for your support for mountain biking, trails, and IMBA. Stay healthy and stay in communication with one another. We’re all in this together.
David Wiens, Executive Director of the International Mountain Biking Association

Vermont Mountain Bike Association

bigquotesThe Association hopes you and your family are doing well. Like you, The VMBA office has been learning how to keep our community safe and figure out how to plan for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.

It’s critical that we all find the time and space to remain responsibly social, physically energized and clear headed; especially as we work from home with families. The silver lining is that the outdoors offer all of the above. The office and chapters are aware that folks want to get outside and it looks like an early spring. With that in mind – please check trail conditions before going out. It’s also a great opportunity to get your gravel bike out (or finally flip that old road steed into one).

As things play out and more information becomes available, we will update this blog. For now we have the following updates:

Events: Last week, the office asked chapters to postpone events at least until April 30th. It looks as though this date will be pushed out indefinitely until recommendations form the CDC and VT State leadership changes.

Membership: Like every year, your membership is a critical part of the office’s ability to provide the services that every chapter utilizes. Please consider renewing this year when the time is right for you.

Staff: The VMBA office staff will not be attending events of any kind and will be working remotely. If you need to reach any VMBA staff member, please email or submit an inquiry on our Contact page.

Trail Days: Being outside in small groups and keeping responsible social distance may be a great way to capture some level of normalcy this year. The office has been in touch with chapters about techniques to consider while hosting trail days.

Pressure on trails: The ability to easily keep recommended social distancing on trails is likely to increase use significantly this year. This bump in riders out on trails is a great opportunity to smile, say hello and encourage them to join VMBA in support of the groups that make their time in the woods so enjoyable.

Shop Local: The Association would like to encourage everyone to support our local small businesses that will be hit particularly hard this year. These folks have generously given to local trail groups for years. Let’s rally for each other and go out of our way to shop local even more. Check out shop’s social media channels on the different ways that they are continuing to provide service to their customers while still following CDC recommendations.

The safety of every Vermonter is the Association’s highest priority. VMBA will remain committed to messaging from the Center of Disease Control and State Officials

Be well."
Vermont Mountain Bike Association

Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association

bigquotesTo our biking and trail user community:

We know many of you are grappling with how to proceed given the quickly evolving COVID-19 situation.

We also know that the trails are a wonderful place to get out with your family and pets, to breathe some fresh air, and take a moment to be grateful for all you have.

***PLEASE make smart and conservative choices when you’re out on the trails! Our local health services and staff simply do not have the capacity to deal with biking injuries at this time, and have specifically requested that we spread the word.***

Also, if you’re out on the trails please be respectful of others and keep your distance, for your own health and that of the community – many people are self-isolating and just hoping to get out for a bit of movement.

Our events are currently scheduled to start at the end of April. However, we are monitoring this situation carefully and will postpone/cancel events without hesitation for as long as it is deemed necessary. A huge thank you to our sponsors who are doing their best to continue supporting the community during this time.

Our Trail Crew, who are already experts in social distancing and hanging out alone in the woods, will continue to do their great work and keep the trails in tip-top shape for you all.
Squamish Off-Road Cycling Association

Salt Lake Valley Trails Society

bigquotes1. Give each other space. We recommend a MINIMUM 2 bike lengths between 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 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.

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 you 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.
Kevin Dwyer, Executive Director of the Salt Lake Valley Trails Society

North Shore Mountain Bike Association

bigquotesGiven current events home and abroad with COVID-19, the forest can be a great place to practice social distancing and escape from the world for a bit.

As the situation is changing daily, we are asking the community to please exercise extra caution when you are in the forest as our emergency services and hospitals need to preserve capacity to deal with the current pandemic. Let's be part of the solution by keeping our distance, not gathering in large groups, and keeping recreation-related injuries minimized. So keep it slow, keep your distance and make the safest choices when you are riding, hiking and running.

On our end, we have postponed our Season Opener to later in the year and are suspending all upcoming trail days and events for a minimum of two weeks.

We’ll be constantly monitoring the situation and will provide updates regarding future events, trail days and Fivers.

We will still be out making sure the trails are the best they can be for the community.
North Shore Mountain Bike Association

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  • 109 1
 the most important thing is to act as if hospitals are not open right now. the staff are overworked and they are the number 1 place to contract the 'rona. stick to slow&flow.
  • 10 1
 "muh muh muh myyyyy corona"
  • 3 0
 @twozerosix: If you're referencing 'My Sharona' by the Knack, i've been thinking the same thing... I'm guessing a pretty good cover of the song will come out soon!
  • 1 1
 I don’t know man, I’m pretty sure the grocery store is worse than the hospital for getting the vid right now. All the sick people who are ignoring their symptoms out looking for TP and using the self check terminals...
  • 4 4
 don't be silly still gonna send it
  • 3 0
 @bhastey: apparently there is several out on the Tube - this is best of the 5 I saw lol
  • 1 0
 @SirWonky: Thank you man... Thats freakin awesome!
  • 1 0
 @jordanrh: f*ck, can't really argue with that
  • 30 0
 Getting out for a ride during this time can be great for body and soul, just be sure to ride cautiously as a crash and subsequent trip to a health care facility could tie up resources as well as cause further exposure to illness. Rubber side down...
  • 30 1
 From someone living in Ireland, with close family in Spain and Italy: #StayThef*ckHome I self-isolated since Monday, even with the low numbers that we have here in Ireland, 4 days later, several times bigger than what it was on Monday. USA had +5k cases today, almost same as Italy, already near 15k, tomorrow will have more cases than Spain or similar. As for deaths, is sad, but it will go up non stop too. All these MTB associations are all in USA, ask to the ones in Spain or Italy and soon, France, Germany. Don't underestimate what it's coming to you guys, we did it and we are paying it on human lives, lots of them.
  • 3 0
 Surprised your comment isn't getting more props or responses. Thumbs up from me. Doing our best to lay low. California just shut everyone in. Washington not yet maybe soon.
  • 1 19
flag Rageingdh FL (Mar 19, 2020 at 22:30) (Below Threshold)
 F u dude. You can take my freedom when you pry it from cold dead fingers.
  • 2 0
 @jimeg: France just released an official statement, all activities banned for now, same as Spain and Italy, and every other country will follow as numbers grow higher
  • 3 0
 @Rageingdh: I hope you are kidding. If not, try not to be so selfish, just for a little while. You are still free and you are still an American. We need to think of our parents and other folks who are high risk. We need to pull together and focus on saving as many of us Americans as possible. Same applies to these other countries as who are really having to buckle down and take steps to preserve themselves and their people. This is temporary.
  • 15 0
 Another thing to consider is carpooling to the trail. If you are planning to ride with a friend, maybe best if you drive separately as to not spread the virus between each other. The Montana Carpool.
  • 1 0
 The Wyoming Carpool. You drive... and I'll drive too.
  • 7 0
 I love the trail builder social distancing comment - it is so true. I build with no one else for a reason!
  • 2 0
 The only person that tells me how to shape berms is ME.
  • 3 1
 @dglass: Being a middle aged dude with a technical background in soils who has built things all my life in the field- there is nothing I love more than having a Millennial from IMBA or like give me a lecture on how to build something. Agreed "ME" is a great team!
  • 7 0
 Mo more trail side blowies, it'll be difficult but I'll do my best.
  • 8 4
 #6 keep your disgusting body fluids to yourself.
So many people are still walking around spitting and snot rockets.
Stay home if you can't grasp the concept.
  • 4 3
 So many roadies blow snot rockets where I live even as you pass by them driving. Pisses me off..
  • 2 0
 @Beez177: People down voting common sense and hygiene. Welcome to Pinkbike
  • 4 2
 Never though I would see the day when clearing your nose could be considered attempted murder?
Hope some sort of solution to this problem gets sorted out as soon as possible!
  • 8 5
 also from IMBA: "and definitely don't ride in the wilderness. this has been proven to be the epicenter of the outbreak."
  • 10 7
 What does everyone think: Is it too early to resort to cannibalism?
  • 13 2
 na bro yer good.
  • 27 1
 Start with your own cock
  • 3 2
 Not much of a stretch for you since you devour boner burritos...
  • 12 0
 Just don't eat any comedians: they taste funny.
  • 3 0
 You better watch out for tainted meat.....
  • 2 0
 The trails are packed. I just went riding. Shelter in place = people getting out and about.
  • 1 0
 No doubt! I go out to ride or build for the last week and it's been like a holiday in the park! Never see this many people out there.
  • 4 1
 I'm still reeling from IMBA doing something remotely useful.
  • 3 0
 Get high so you ride paranoid.
  • 11 1
 Disappointing considering the link has the words "rear entry" in it.
  • 1 1
 ummm... ok?
  • 3 0
 Looks pretty hot....
  • 1 0
 @RayDolor: you mean hot like HOT or hot like heat? or both
im thinking both...lol
  • 1 0
 @13en: I mean that suit looks pretty hot to pedal much in. And dangerous, all that bagginess catching on the seat, the frame, the spokes, ...possibilities for mayhem in that thing are endless. to to mention what sight of it would do to a horse.......
  • 1 0
 @13en: I meant BOTH; sorry for the delayed response, man.
  • 1 0
 @RayDolor: Haha yeah its both
  • 2 1
 Keep two wheels to the ground. Stay safe.
  • 1 0
 No shuttling?
  • 1 3
 Mixed messaging from the NSMBA who held a trail day yesterday with kids...
  • 5 0
 they didn't have it and somebody hasn't had a chance to update the calendar. "On our end, we have postponed our Season Opener to later in the year and are suspending all upcoming trail days and events for a minimum of two weeks."
  • 1 4
 Mixed messaging...NSMBA just held a trailday yesterday with kids...https://www.pinkbike.com/photo/18413480/
  • 2 4
 What if I'm riding somewhere where IMBA hasn't ruined the trails???
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