Group Riding during covid

Club activities and announcements

Moderator: mfarnham

Post Reply
Posts: 862
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:56 am

Group Riding during covid

Post by mfarnham » Tue May 19, 2020 10:39 am

Hey All,

As the weather gets better and Dr. Henry and the province start relaxing some aspects of "lockdown" it's probably a good time to clarify a few things about riding in groups.

First, the province distinguishes between "active play" and "organized sport" and this distinction matters for following the law and following the rest of this post. Technically what Tripleshot does as a club is "organized sport". Getting out on your bike informally, with or without friends, is considered "active play". The province has begun to relax restrictions on "active play", meaning that people can now gather--with appropriate distancing--in groups of up to 6 people that don't have to be family members. This has allowed people to start riding with their friends again.

Meanwhile, restrictions on "organized sport" remain in place. That means Tripleshot rides are still suspended. Further to that, while your Cycling BC accident insurance covers you for injuries you sustain in the event of a crash while engaged in "active play", the *liability* component of that insurance remains suspended because that only applies to official club rides (organized sport). So if you're riding with a group of friends today and there's a crash and someone sues you, your Cycling BC liability insurance will not cover you. Furthermore, if you catch or spread the coronavirus on such a ride, you are not insured against that.

Tripleshot has no authority to limit people's choice to ride informally with friends as part of "active play". I haven't consulted the Exec specifically on this point, so I will just say--coming from me personally--that I encourage members to to engage in such informal rides carefully, respecting provincial health guidelines (including guidelines on distancing both within the group and where the group encounters others), and keeping the public optics of such rides in mind. If people disregard health guidelines on these rides (e.g., don't distance, ride in groups larger than 6, etc.) it looks bad for cycling. If they disregard health guidelines in Tripleshot kit or at the time of a regular Tripleshot ride so that people assume they're with Tripleshot, that also looks bad for us as a club. So please keep health and optics in mind while enjoying the relaxed restrictions.

Regarding the future of official Tripleshot rides:

Cycling BC is working with the province through viaSport to come up with guidelines for a return to organized sport that will hopefully allow us to resume official Tripleshot rides within the next few weeks. These rides will look very different than what we're used to. For example, groups will need to be 6 or less, people will have to pre-register daily for the group they ride with, taking daily attendance will be required for purposes of facilitating contact tracing, starts will be staggered and probably staged from multiple locations to prevent bunching, people will likely be required to carry hand sanitizer and gloves, no helping each other with mechanicals, etc.

The Tripleshot Exec's position on reopening official club rides is that based on what we've seen of the draft Cycling BC reopening guidelines and subject to no major changes in those guidelines and subject to feasibility of implementing those guidelines, we will reopen rides as soon as possible after Cycling BC gives us the green light.

But it's very important to note that when that reopening occurs, you will not be able to just show up for your first official Tripleshot ride and hope to ride. So keep an eye on the forum and your email account for important details of how this will work. We will keep you posted.


User avatar
David Hill
Posts: 154
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:22 pm
Location: Victoria, BC

Re: Group Riding during covid

Post by David Hill » Wed May 20, 2020 9:54 am

Thanks, Martin.

This is very helpful guidance. Sounds like there have been a few small friend-group rides going on, which is great to hear. Good to continue to maintain the positive image of cyclists generally, and TS specifically, by not being a bunch of dicks. We'll get that chance again soon enough.

Happy riding y'all (hope to see you out there from sort of afar...)

Posts: 779
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2017 3:41 pm

Re: Group Riding during covid

Post by JTyre » Wed May 20, 2020 1:07 pm

Thank you, Martin, and the Executive for your hard work on this.

Has the Executive considered seeking input from the TS membership in general on the questions of when and how to restart Club rides? 

There is a massive amount of mental horsepower within the Club, separate from the Executive, and personally I would be interested in hearing what others think about the timing and nature of the restart. When thinking about this, the starting point should obviously be the BC Cycling guidelines (when they arrive), but just because such guidelines exist does not necessarily mean that we should restart the Club on day one or even follow the guidelines verbatim. Based on our collective wisdom, and the idiosyncrasies of our Club, restarting later rather the sooner might be the better option - I just don't know. 

Of course, the Executive is responsible for any final decisions. I'm only advocating for some in-club consultation. In the professional circles that I run in, there has a been a lot grassroots consultation related to the pandemic, and quality decisions with robust buy-ins have generally been the result.

One simple way to start would be with a questionnaire on the Forum. The Forum software has that capability.


Posts: 862
Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2012 9:56 am

Re: Group Riding during covid

Post by mfarnham » Wed May 20, 2020 4:11 pm

We have done some consultation, but with real medical doctors, not with "doctors" of atmospheric science and other such hobbies. :wink:

People are always free to discuss here.

One feature of the brave new world of club rides will be small groups of 6 or less. People will be encouraged (but not required, unless Cycling BC requires it) to try to ride regularly with the same people, to limit the numbers of different people they ride near each week. For those who stick to "home pods" like this, there's all kinds of latitude to set your own pod rules, so long as they meet the Cycling BC minimum. People who want more distancing or want everyone in their pod to report their temperature before a ride can seek each other out and set those rules for themselves. People who want to do just the CBC rules can form pods that do that.

A risk of setting much higher stringency rules on the club than what Cycling BC (in consultation with provincial health experts) requires, is that then some people may find it tempting to forgo the liability insurance and just ride with their friends under less stringent "active play" guidelines (e.g., with no contact-tracing attendance requirements). So we could set very high standards to ride with Tripleshot but then have very few members showing up to abide by those rules and the rest riding under loose "active play" guidelines. Or we could set moderate standards (say at or near the CBC guidelines) and have more people riding with us. In other words, high stringency club standards could actually lead to less safe riding overall. It's also easier to induce compliance with threats of voided insurance (if you violate CBC rules) than with threats of Martin hunting you down and wagging his finger at you from 2m away (if you violate additional Tripleshot rules on top of the CBC rules).

Anyway, those who choose to ride regularly with a pod can select into a pod with the rules they like. That allows for easier enforcement, because enforcement isn't necessary when everyone's onboard with the rules. Another nice feature of a diversity of rules across pods is that we don't need to find the perfect centralized set of club-wide rules which would have to be one-size-fits-all but which may fit very few well. Instead, people can vote with their feet and pick a pod with rules that suit them well. And if one pod's rules are very popular, people can form more pods like that one. Of course, the minimum CBC guidelines will need to part of every pod's rules.

All that said, people are welcome to share their ideas. Those discussions may help people find who they want to ride with. Those with ideas (and others) should consider volunteering as ride leaders for the new small groups, because we will need someone in each group to take and report attendance at each ride.


p.s. I'm a little loathe to put much weight on a forum-based survey because a fairly small fraction of members is regularly tuned in here. So it's not clear it would be representative of the views of the club as a whole.

User avatar
John D
Posts: 1098
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2010 7:50 pm

Re: Group Riding during covid

Post by John D » Wed May 20, 2020 4:59 pm

mfarnham wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 4:11 pm
We have done some consultation, but with real medical doctors, not with "doctors" of atmospheric science and other such hobbies. :wink:
Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!!! Keeping in mind, of course, that I'm the doctor with the irrepressible zooplankton hobby. :wink:

That aside Martin, I agree with the rest of what you wrote. Well said!

"Talk - Action = Zero" - Joe Keithley

Posts: 355
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 4:16 pm

Re: Group Riding during covid

Post by Bosie » Wed May 20, 2020 9:08 pm

Thanks Martin and the executive for your guidance and well reasoned approach.

The unfortunate thing about the COVID pandemic is that, from a medical point of view, there is very little science yet to back up any decisions and, as such, this is very much a political as well as a public health problem. Anyone who advises that they know the answers is being economical with the truth.

As such, most of people views on COVID are informed by their beliefs, culture and their own risk tolerance and personal circumstances. (These are generally reinforced by a healthy dose of Social Media and confirmatory bias). For everyone who believes that the club is being too restrictive, there will be those who believe it is not being restrictive enough and as such, anyone running a club (or province, or country) is in an impossible position in that any decision they make will be wrong in the eyes of those who disagree.

The medical understanding around COVID currently would suggest that for the vast majority of Tripleshot members (under 60, healthy, with few comorbidities) COVID is not a personal health problem and the risk of dying from it is likely far less than getting killed riding our bikes.

In BC and on Vancouver Island, in particular, we have been extremely lucky and currently, I believe, have 1 active case. All cases on the Island have been associated with known outbreaks to date. As such, the likelihood of catching COVID on the Island is virtually zero currently. The likelihood of catching it on a group ride outdoors is even less as spread between people outdoors is not seen as a likely or common mode of transmission.

In my view,we are obliged to follow the guidelines of the provincial government and insurer bodies. I think doing anything more would be needlessly restrictive and would restrict those who legitimately believe that they should be able to ride for the health and social benefits, whilst doing anything less would alienate those who legitimately believe they are being put at risk by the actions of those riding in groups. (in the case of COVID, both beliefs are legitimate and may be "right"),

Probably the most important rule to observe will be to stay home if you are sick.

Be kind, be patient, and just enjoy the fact that so far we have been extraordinarily lucky to not only live in such a magnificent place, but also to be able to begin to consider riding bikes again in groups..
Craig B.

Louise Wallace
Posts: 132
Joined: Thu Dec 11, 2014 2:38 pm

Re: Group Riding during covid

Post by Louise Wallace » Thu May 21, 2020 12:47 pm

Strava also acts as a great contact tracing tool. Everyone (except for the very rare person) uses strava and it tells you who was on your rides and on what days.
Louise W

User avatar
Posts: 2532
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:27 am

Re: Group Riding during covid

Post by Rolf » Thu May 21, 2020 3:31 pm

All you doctors (medical and otherwise) have said such sensible things already, I'm reduced to offering the alarming concluding scene* to 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers in which Donald Sutherland helpfully confirms that Earth is to be consumed by the Pod People:


* If I just spoiled the end of this body-horror classic for you, please advise and I will forward appropriate* damages.
* ie. nominal.
Last edited by Rolf on Thu May 21, 2020 5:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Posts: 95
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 12:29 pm

Re: Group Riding during covid

Post by Curran » Thu May 21, 2020 4:10 pm

As a doctor of the engineering persuasion with aero background, one of my thoughts is around pod formation patterns. A Belgian prof you may have seen had press in April for a paper ... _Paper.pdf (not even peer reviewed yet!) on droplet transfer for runners. While runners move at incredibly slow speeds, and these days are all over the road, the takeaway around slipstreams being the worst place for bodily fluids exchange holds, even more so for cyclists.

So some pod thinking about lateral staggering, trailing offsets, etc. worth thinking about.

From a biological side, as said above lots of unknowns about COVID. What's clear though is that infectiousness not at all well correlated with symptoms. So definitely stay away when you're actually feeling sick, but feeling well or even a normal temperature no guarantee you're not a super spreader.

All that being said, really hoping to group ride again soon!

Posts: 717
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2015 9:54 am
Location: Saanich

Re: Group Riding during covid

Post by Claire » Fri May 22, 2020 5:00 pm

This is all really good to know. But, as a painfully logical and process-oriented person, the uncertainty is really difficult. I don't just mean uncertainty of timing -- "When will CBC provide 'return to sport' guidelines?" "When will we be fully done with COVID and riding in ad hoc groups at the drop of a hat again?" I accept that these are unknowable and tapping into my nascent pool of patience will be necessary.

But what about right now -- what's ok and not ok? As a lifelong rule-bender who's committed to personal reform (for optics sake, but mostly for my own mental well-being), I'm struggling with knowing what the 'right thing' is right now.

I understand there are regulations -- public gatherings of no more than six people; no unnecessary travel, etc... -- then there are recommendations -- one person per household in the grocery store at a time, everyone to wear a mask when in public places (particularly confined ones), and so on.

But I probably don't even have those right. I work in a healthcare setting (part-time) and even here I'm not fully confident of where to find the answers for conducting ourselves outside of the hospital.

If anyone feels confident (and brave!) enough to post here a compendium of today's regulations and recommendations, please do (I will hand-deliver cookies... NM). Or maybe there's a source -- provincial, I would think -- for this information. I want to engage in safe and rule-abiding 'active play'.

If I must continue riding alone (or with just Steve) for a while longer...okay. But while I truly want to do the right thing, I don't want to go overboard and hold myself to stricter rules than make sense and than are required.

Post Reply