by Dianne Koch
The effect of being cooped up with the pandemic has brought about surprising results, most notably the resurgence of biking in American life, a rise in park usage, a cleaner atmosphere, working from home, and a calmer, slower lifestyle.
Bike store owners have reported that bike sales, particularly of the cross or hybrid bikes, are extended out to October or November delivery dates. Some of the bikes are made in China, which was first hit with the virus. Parish Marrugg of Bicycle World reports those factories are back in production but at limited capacities so American customers must wait. The wait for bicycle parts is also longer than normal.
Other outdoor sports are also seeing an uptick in participation. Kayaks are gone within a few hours of being placed on the floor at Dick’s Sporting Goods.
All city and county parks have seen increased usage as well since being outdoors is good for fresh air, good exercise, and developing an interest in nature, sports, or history. Perhaps residents will be more appreciative of the wide variety of park services and amenities we have available in the Dubuque area. Families have more time together as they are encouraged to self-isolate in household groups.
A cleaner atmosphere is another startling facet of this time. With so many people limited to their homes and the ability to be connected to one’s job via the internet, traffic in all parts of the world is way down. Photos of the differences in the atmospheric conditions are quite noticeable. The 2020 Trek Bicycle catalog illustrates the dramatic difference with two photos from New Delhi, India, dated October 20, 2017 and March 30, 2020.
Meanwhile, the decrease in traffic has caused many to note the quieter streets, which has, ironically, gotten more bike riders onto the streets, notes Dave Hartig of Bicycle World.
Last, a calmer, quieter lifestyle is another unexpected ramification from the pandemic. Parents aren’t spending time in traffic, and trips to the stores are limited and more judiciously planned. Gone are trips for our children’s practices and rehearsals, and nearly all live concerts, graduations, and large group events are cancelled. These will return in time, but for now alternatives are taking place: playing board games, practicing and composing music, reading, computer gaming, cooking, and watching Hamilton.
Perhaps lots of new skills, hobbies, and interests will arise during this time of isolation. The unintended effects are notable and worth thinking about for the future. Meanwhile we may be frustrated with the isolation, we do have the outdoors yet and many opportunities await us as we wait the pandemic out.