THUNDER BAY – In Thunder Bay, where the majority of residents typically travel by personal car, truck, or van, the outbreak of COVID-19 coming with the warming weather presents an opportunity for cycling. One of the keys to keeping yourself healthy is exercise and walking or cycling are great ways of staying healthier.
Thunder Bay has been, over the past years, developing a solid network of bike lanes, and there are some really amazing pathways you can cycle on.
During the COVID-19 crisis, riding a bike can give you all kinds of positives. First, you can avoid crowds.
Cycling is an environmentally friendly, low-effort way to reduce your personal stress too. Right now, the Canada Games Complex, local fitness clubs are closed. Cycling can replace that exercise you might be missing.
On your bike, you wear down stress and can help your personal immunity increase. You can also get exposure to fresh air and sunshine, a fully natural source of vitamin d, and that helps boost your immune system.
Here is a great plus: Thunder Bay Transit has bike racks. This means you can combine your cycling with transit as well.
Here’s what you need to know to safely start riding a bike, in Thunder Bay, or in your community:
You’ll need access to a bike of your own. Your local bike shop can help you make sure that your bike fits and your tires are filled — both of which will make pedaling easier, especially if you are a bit out of practice. As a rule of thumb, when seated on your bike, you want your knee to be just slightly bent when your pedal is closest to the ground. For safety, you will want a helmet (not required in Ontario for adults, but a good idea), as well as lights and a bell.
We have great bike shops in Thunder Bay, they include Community Spokes in The Hub, Petri’s Cycle, Fresh Air Experience, 3D Cycle, and Rolling Thunder. All local companies. Shopping local helps too.
An aside, roll up your right pant leg to avoid a grease spot.
Find Your Route
Google Maps will suggest a cycling route in any city.
Follow the Rules
Bicyclists are required to follow the same rules of the road as cars. That includes stopping at red lights and always yielding to pedestrians, no matter what. You need to ride with traffic, not against it, and stay off the sidewalks. Most importantly, remember that you have a right to the road.
Be Seen and Be Cautious
People on bikes are relatively small on the street, so in an effort to be seen, be heard, and be cautious. That means assuming that passing drivers and crossing pedestrians cannot see you. Ring your bell. Yell. Sing. Intersections are especially dangerous, so be sure to take up extra space, be wary of turning drivers, and make eye contact wherever you can. When passing parked cars, bike at a pace where you could stop short if someone opened their door.
Riding a bike is an inherently social act, and if other cities offer any examples, you will not be alone out there.
From healthcare workers on their way to the job in the most germ-free way possible to delivery workers feeding people through quarantine, there are a lot of connections to be made on the road. Smile, wave, and share a little bit of humanity with other people getting by on bike in this trying time.