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IMBA posts COVID-19 guidelines for mountain biking

Guidelines for dealing with trail days, group rides and new trail users during outbreak

With the coronavirus outbreak forcing Canadians to practice social distancing and self-isolation, many riders are asking questions about if, and how they should be mountain biking. The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) has published a statement offering guidelines for how to safely mountain bike during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The guidelines cover group rides and trail days, which IMBA recommends suspending, as well as changing rider interactions on trail, staying safe and dealing with potential new trail users.

Of course, mountain biking is only an option so long as your local health authorities continue to permit doing so. Italy, France and Spain have all placed restrictions on cycling outdoors. Other jurisdictions, including in North America, are considering following suit. Such restrictions take precedent over IMBA’s recommendations.

RELATED: France bans cycling, restricts running to 2 km from home

If you show any symptoms associated with COVID-19, you should avoid going out in public.

Full International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) statement on mountain biking during COVID-19 (March 17, 2020)

Getting out on the trails is tremendously valuable. Trails bring us together, but to keep each other safe, we must keep our distance. How can our community navigate this challenge?   

First and foremost, refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for best practices, as well as guidelines from your state and local governments. Then, as appropriate, cautiously take advantage of local trails and outdoor spaces unless you are feeling ill. We will all benefit from fresh air.

Should mountain bikers host group rides or trail work days?

Please cancel, postpone or reschedule upcoming events including races, trail work, and group rides until there are new government directives. For now, let’s ride in very small groups, keep our distance, and enjoy our trails close to home to minimize the risks associated with car travel.

How can trail users pass responsibly with social distance?

Stay alert, slow down, and communicate with each other from a distance about how to proceed. With gyms and rec centers closing, there may be new users on the trails. It’s a great time for community education on responsible riding and for being patient, exemplary stewards.

We will provide updated guidance on these topics as appropriate. IMBA Local partners can expect more information in your weekly resource newsletters.   

IMBA is primarily a remote organization. Our team is not traveling and are self-isolating in our homes, including our four-person crew in the Colorado office. To date, the field operations of IMBA Trail Solutions have not been significantly affected. But we are strictly adhering to CDC guidelines, are monitoring this working environment constantly, and are ready to make adjustments for safety and public health at any time. IMBA’s work to create, enhance and protect great places to ride can mostly continue for now. We sympathize with everyone already feeling a significant impact in this crisis. We are preparing for the impacts we expect as best we can, and your continued support will help.

Many thanks for your diligence and discipline in this challenging time. Thank you for your support for mountain biking, trails, and IMBA. Stay healthy and stay in communication with one another. We’re all in this together.