A Love Letter to the Bicycle

Riding a bicycle is not only a coping mechanism; it's also a way to protect ourselves during the coronavirus pandemic.

1 minute read

April 29, 2020, 8:00 AM PDT

By Lee Flannery @leecflannery

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In a time of chaos, the bike brings simplicity. Many rely on bicycles to hone a sense of mental clarity—to practice serenity. 

"Life now is a dizzying muddle of moving parts and complication, assessments of science and sifting through news for what’s personally relevant. The bike, by contrast, asks little. It doesn’t take up much room in our cities, nor in our minds. During crises we need to focus on vital immediate tasks. The bike is one less burden. It frees up mental space," writes Gideon Forman in an ode to the bike. 

Bicycles can be considered as allies during the pandemic, Forman reflects. Bikes foster a sense of self-reliance and personal agency in addition to making the air cleaner and lower the risks of COVID-19. A Harvard University study released in April looked at the effect of a component of air pollution (fine particulate matter or PM2.5) on COVID-19 patients. The research found a “small increase in long-term exposure to PM2.5 leads to a large increase in COVID-19 death rate.”

In light of the study's findings, Forman returns to the beloved bicycle as a protective measure. To stop pollution is to protect ourselves from its negative effects.

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