The coronavirus has effectively put the world on pause and slowly but surely it’s taking a toll on the cycling industry. Our fellow riders and industry workers are facing unemployment and uncertainty in regards to their futures, and now is our opportunity to rise up as a community and support them. We may not be able to stay connected in person, but here are some ways in which you can support the cycling community from a distance.
Note: No one understands your current financial situation better than you do. We are not recommending that you donate your money to any of the following causes. We only wish to provide you with possible ideas for staying involved if you feel like you are in a position to do so.
Think Big Picture
Bicycle Adventures Guide Relief
In an effort to increase safety, the current travel climate has all but been eliminated. This means that many adventure guides, including those spreading the love of bikes, are currently out of work and struggling. Our friends at Bicycles Adventures, which also operates Sacred Rides, Evergreen Escapes, and Seattle Mountain Bike Tours, have canceled tours and are looking for help in supporting the independent contractors they formerly employed. Many of these guides are in countries that lack social services that could have helped fill their financial gap, including Nepal, Guatemala, Argentina, and Thailand.
In an effort to continue supporting their guides, Bicycle Adventures is selling inventory from their retired bike fleet, along with components and accessories. Donations are also welcome. Click here to see how you can get involved: Bicycle Adventures Guide Relief
Goggles For Docs
Goggles For Docs is a collective effort to provide frontline healthcare workers with protective eyewear while they battle COVID-19. Using the Goggles for Docs website you can send your new or used goggles directly to a hospital in need or you can drop off your eyewear at one of more than 200 designated drop off sites throughout the United States. More and more goggles/eye protection will be needed as the coronavirus continues to spread, so dig through your old riding gear and see if you have a pair of goggles to contribute.
Find a hospital in need here: Goggles For Docs
World Bicycle Relief
World Bicycle Relief is committed to helping people in rural and developing areas thrive and expand their impact on society by providing them with transportation in the form of durable, locally assembled bikes. WBR is asking for donations to help mobilize medical workers in areas where reliable transportation is uncommon to help them combat COVID-19. A donation of $147 will provide a worker with a bicycle and has the potential to save countless lives, but donations of any size are accepted.
Donations can be made here: World Bicycle Relief
Outdoors For All
Outdoors for All is a Seattle-based non-profit with the goal of enriching the lives of children and adults with disabilities through outdoor recreation. Each year they improve the lives of more than 2,900 people thanks to their large number of volunteers and small core of full-time workers. As events and public gatherings have been put on hold indefinitely, Outdoors for All has had to suspend organized activities and furlough many of their staff members. They hope to continue operations as soon as public mandates are lifted, however it will be more and more difficult for them to do so as they depend largely on the funds generated from their events.
Donations to Outdoors for All can be made here: Outdoors for All
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association is a non-profit organization in the U.S. working to empower young riders through coaching, competition, and community involvement. They have suspended their events until the “Stay Home” mandates are lifted and are hoping to extend their schedule further into the summer to provide participants with opportunities similar to what was planned before the virus took hold. With dozens of chapters throughout the country, the volunteer and donation opportunities are endless. Reach out to your local chapter today to see how you can help support them now and in the future.
When you turn on the news or read about the happenings of the world online, it can be easy to forget that small actions go a long way in contributing to the global effort. We can all do seemingly little, insignificant things differently right now that can improve our chances of returning to “normal” life in the long run. If you’re not looking to make donations (which is completely understandable), here are a few ways that you can help contribute to your local riding scene.
Join and Support Your Local Trail Association
One of the best ways we can continue to help our local riding communities is by lending our voice to future causes and developments. Joining your local trail association usually only requires a name and an email address (in some cases a small donation), but it can help your community leaders fight for new trails and cyclists’ rights through the power of numbers. If we show our local governments how large our community is and how quickly we are growing in size, positive changes are more likely to follow.
If you want to support your local trail association financially, reach out to them directly to see how you can do so. Fundraising is an ongoing endeavor and our local trail advocates will increasingly need our financial support as funds from local governments are diverted elsewhere during crisis. If you’re in the Bellingham, WA area and ride Galbraith Mountain, the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition is still raising money for their expanded parking lot. Or for $10 you can enter a raffle to win a complete Trek bike, a Transition frame, a voucher from yours truly, and many more prizes while contributing to the Willamette Valley Cyclist’s pump track fundraiser. Opportunities to give back to your local trail associations are plenty, sometimes you just have to seek them out.
Listen To Your Local Trail Association
Now that you’ve joined your trail association, please listen to their recommendations in regards to riding your local trails during the “Stay Home” orders. Each trail association will have different guidelines, but if your trails are still open they’ll likely be similar to those in Bellingham: Stay home if you can’t ride from your house to the trails, don’t ride in large groups, don’t ride with people from outside of your typical circle, and, most importantly, don’t ride if you’re feeling sick.
If we don’t follow the rules set forth by our local governments and trail advocates, it’s likely that the rules will become more strict. If we all hunker down and do our part now, we have a better chance of getting back to regular riding and life sooner.
Keep Your Local Bike Shops and Breweries Open
Thanks in large part to organizations like People For Bikes that pester the government on cyclists’ behalf, local bike shops have been deemed essential as they provide a method of transportation to the masses. Now could be a great time to get your bike serviced so it’s ready to hit the trails as soon as you are. Reach out to your favorite shop to see if they’re still operating and ask if they have special rules to handle social distancing before you head over and give them some business. While you’re at it, call your local brewery and see if you can buy a growler or a flat to help them pay their bills. Each day their taprooms sit empty they edge closer to a permanent shutdown, taking your delicious post-ride refreshments with them. The bike community is nothing without our local bike shops and breweries.
Last But Not Least
If you’re going to ride, pretty please with a cherry on top, just be smart. Know your limits and stay well within them. With ski resorts closing early many people immediately jumped on their bikes and took to the trails. While the early start to the season makes it feel as if we’ve already burned through a large chunk of our rideable weather, we haven’t. It’s only mid-April. During any other year this would be the beginning of the riding season, so there’s no need for us to push our limits right now as we still have the entire season ahead of us. If you really need your fix of sending, try to satisfy it by watching old videos from your favorite riders.
Cheer Up With Some Good News
We could all use some good news right now and thankfully, despite what you’ll see in the headlines, there’s a ton of it coming from all around the world. While some of the following articles are not bike-related, they still demonstrate how individuals and businesses alike can step up to help one another in difficult times.
Good News from the Industry
Pinkbike has done a great job of compiling the impacts of COVID-19 on the cycling industry, but they’ve also put together an article that highlights some of the ways in which the industry is helping push back against the virus. Yeti is manufacturing face shields, Specialized is donating bikes and masks to frontline workers, Smith, 100% and Oakley are all donating and creating eyewear for healthcare heroes and many more industry leaders are fighting in their own way. Click here to see the full article.
Lyft is Offering Free Rides to Those in Need
Lyft, the rideshare company, is donating thousands of free rides, scooter trips, and bike memberships to those in need. Through their LyftUp initiative, Lyft is helping families, low-income seniors, doctors, and nurses commute to and from work as well as reach their local grocery stores. They hope that in doing so they will be able to help vulnerable populations access essential services and necessities. Click here to see how Lyft is going above and beyond.
The Cycling Community is Growing
While the world is standing still, the cycling community is growing. Gyms, ski resorts, and many other exercise outlets have been closed around the world, but riding a bike remains an essential activity and has been encouraged by global leaders. If we can find a silver lining in this situation it could be that our beloved sport is gaining traction and the recognition it deserves. The more people that begin riding bikes, the higher the demand becomes for improved cycling laws and trail access. There are hundreds of articles from all over the world that recognize cycling as a growing industry during the pandemic, but here is one that caught our attention.
We hope that wherever you are, you’ve been able to stay safe and healthy. If you have any feel-good articles that you think we should add to this blog, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.