Cycling in the time of Corona - Keira McVitty
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, cyclists around the world are certain of one thing: bikes still aren’t canceled. We talked to a few of our friends on how they are navigating riding during this time—adapting to new regulations and restrictions, coming up with novel ways to ride at home and stay creatively and socially stimulated, and keeping race legs primed for the days when we can ride (and race) together again.
Keira is a former professional bike racer who has parlayed her ‘insider’ access to cycling into a social media business and YouTube channel (@ginger_biskwit), where she documents her cycling adventures.
Are you still riding outside?
We’re very lucky here in the UK to still be allowed out for exercise once a day, as long as we’re not doing anything too crazy and we’re staying two meters apart from everyone else.
What do those rides now look like for you? Have your reasons and intentions for riding a bicycle changed during this time?
I’m definitely not riding as far now as I used to, so no crazy rides or using roads that I’m not familiar with. I don’t want to have to be picked up by anyone if I have an accident or place more unnecessary pressure on the health service. So I’m keeping it no more than an hour or two [from my house]. But I’m also running a few times a week and taking my dogs out for walks. Even if you’re not doing those kinds of things, I think it’s good to get out if you can for some fresh air. Sitting at your window or out in your garden works, too!
Have your reasons and intentions for riding a bicycle changed during this time?
Initially, when it all came out, I kind of lost my purpose for where I was going and what goals I had coming up for races. So I decided to just pretend that I was still doing the same events that I was going to do and to carry on training for them.
How’re you staying motivated? Any tools you’re using to help you?
I’m not going to lie, I do think it’s hard to stay motivated! But I have found that, for me, the biggest motivation is holding myself accountable—setting up training and workouts for myself and seeing the gradual improvement in my own fitness from sticking to that consistent training program. And even though it’s hard, there are lots of tools that can help. Personally, I use Training Peaks, but you can also do it by writing it in your calendar and allocating time for it or looking at Strava (it has a premium section that you can use for training). There are a load of indoor cycling apps that I've also been using to some effect.
On my Instagram and YouTube channel, I’ve been staying motivated by running a live indoor turbo session, which is every Wednesday, 6:00 GMT (UK time). And surprisingly, I’ve been really enjoying it. It’s a nice community atmosphere and makes something that would normally be quite boring and difficult to motivate yourself to do - an hour of effort - something that is actually quite fun! I get to be ‘Mrs Motivator,’ as it were, on a Wednesday night! The response has been really amazing for it, too; I didn’t expect many people to join, but I’m getting around a thousand people tuning in to do it, which is crazy. I’m just happy that it’s bringing value to people since it helps motivate me, and I hope it helps motivate other people, too.
Lastly, do you think how you approach riding will change after this? What do you miss most?
After this is all over, I don’t think my approach to riding will change that much. I think what it has done is make me realize how grateful I am for all of the amazing rides and different people in this area. I just kind of miss the scene, the people, being able to hang out.