Cooler weather – Yes, Please!
Less humidity and cooler temps are perfect for cycling, seniors, snowbirds and winning
Feel that? It’s been a refreshingly cool 60 degrees in the morning. This not only signals the arrival of my kids’ incessant requests to put up our holiday decorations now, but it also means we are reaching another special time in Florida: perfect weather for cycling, great temps for seniors to be active outdoors AND the arrival of the state’s cherished snowbirds.
It is no coincidence, of course, that the prizes up for grabs this week in the free Love to Ride Florida challenge are for people 65 and older who log at least one bike ride by Sunday night.
Certainly, COVID-19 is making Florida’s cycling season, as well as the snowbird season, a tough one. Concerns about the pandemic are understandably leading many folks to decide to stay home.
By some estimates, snowbirds—people who live in northern states or Canada during Florida’s hot summers but spend cooler months here—account for a five-percent increase in the state’s overall population. Many winter visitors bring or rent bicycles and ride for fun, exercise and transportation. This year, it’s hard to know how many people will come for their extended visits.
One thing we do know is that cycling offers many benefits for seniors. In fact, people 65 and older who bike tend to retain a walking “efficiency” that is similar to adults in their 20s; walking efficiency is linked to greater vitality and longevity. Bicycling also can be a safe way to reduce the isolation of pandemic-related closures if done with social-distancing and other precautions in place.
For those seniors and snowbirds who do want to get out and ride, here are some suggestions from Bicycling magazine for maximizing benefit while reducing risk:
· Ride solo or with a small group of trusted people.
· Plan your ride for a time of day your route will be less crowded.
· If you’re sick or at-risk of spreading the virus, you shouldn’t go out or exercise.
· Be sure you know what’s going on in your area and if there are any restrictions or mandatory self-quarantines.
· Wearing a Buff gaiter or other moisture-wicking face covering that covers both your mouth and nose while riding, as well as maintaining at least a six-foot distance from others, may help cut down on droplets being spread.
· Definitely bring along a face covering in case of an emergency such as a crash or if you need to stop at a store for a drink.
· And if you can’t get outdoors to ride, feel free to move your exercise indoors. If you have a stationary bike, ride it … and log the ride at Love to Ride Florida because it counts toward your total miles and entry into the prize drawing.
Regardless how the ride is done, log it by Nov. 22 at www.LoveToRide.net/Florida to be eligible to win a prize pack worth $100. Love to Ride Florida is a cycling encouragement and reward program, funded by the Florida Dept. of Transportation, that is free to businesses and to new or avid bicycle riders and that aims to increase cycling throughout the state.
Although I’m not eligible to win prizes through the program, perhaps I’ll see you out on a trail because I plan to enjoy the cooler weather with a ride this weekend. That is, as soon as I get the holiday decorations hung.
Stockings up! Pedals up!
What’s your cycling story? Is it in the Messenger? Our quarterly Messenger newsletter is available online for your internet reading pleasure, just visit the FBA website Home page . Want a hard copy of our Messenger? FBA members have the Messenger delivered to their door every quarter. Join Florida Bicycle Association or visit one of our bicycle shop members to pick up a copy and use the membership form inside to join!