One thing we’ve become certain of in the past few months is that nothing is certain. The Covid-19 crisis has turned most of our lives upside down in one form or fashion. Our group rides have certainly not been excluded from that. Our rides as we’ve become used to them, may not be the same for quite awhile.
Why support group rides during this crisis?
Group rides are happening anyway. In many cases in numbers much larger, with participants much closer than CDC, State or Local guidelines and mandates. These groups are putting participants at deeper risk, with no club support there is no supplemental insurance and no contact tracing, meaning if someone on the ride tests positive for Covid-19 there is almost no chance everyone on that ride will be notified.
Through managed group rides, STCC can provide a safer environment with smaller groups and the all important tracing capabilities. Additionally, as you read further below, our smaller groups will say something about our care for the community and respect for the laws and guidelines needed to control the spread of this virus, while providing our members with an activity that will improve both their physical and mental health.
The Health Departments of both Collin and Denton County view managed group rides as very low risk of passing infection. These activities are outdoor and there are (or should be) few times where people are within six feet of one another for extended periods of time.
We rolled out our groups in June and although things went extremely well, we discovered that just modifying our existing group ride structure didn’t fit well with group needs in the new world we live in. Even with the restrictions we put in place, with all the groups in one place we found it difficult to maintain a strict maximum of 10 participants per group, as expected by city, county and state officials. This was affected by “friends” and drop backs from other rides, but something we needed to address. There was also the issue, just as important, of public perception. Even though our participants did a pretty good job of practicing social distancing in the parking lot and we split into groups of 10 on the road, those of the public driving by had the perception of a larger event that extended beyond the mandates.
On the positive side of things, we implemented an online waiver process. Not only did this greatly minimize the amount of paper we had to deal with, but it gave us that all important contact tracing capability that was used when the inevitable happened, a positive case of Covid-19 by one of our participants. We were able to quickly reach out to those on their ride and notify them of possible exposure.
After reviewing our initial rollout, we have modified our approach to further ensure both your safety and to be able to continue most of our groups when and if another positive case is encountered. We are continuing the suspension of our regular rides and are moving to a Managed Adhoc ride model. We have a number of Ride Leaders that are willing to take groups and have defined multiple start locations. During this time our each Ride Leader will control the route, the distance and the day and time of the rides, so pay attention to our FaceBook page for announcements.
Some bullet points for the rides:
- *(UPDATE 10/17/20) 16 participants per group MAX, counting the Ride Leader
- Participants must pre-register in advance for their group. This will be done through our club store as we did with the Covid-19 waiver. The Ride Leader will include a link to register in their ride announcement. Registrants will be checked off at the ride start. If you aren't on the list, you will politely be turned away.
- STCC Members Only. For the time being, these rides will be limited to those with a current STCC Membership
- There will be NO on-site registration. Anyone showing at the site that has not pre-registered will be turned away.
- There will be NO drop back options on these rides. Although our rides will remain no-drop, if a person makes a bad decision on a ride (wrong pace, wrong distance, etc) they will be expected to have a contact for pickup. Group will make sure they’re ok and have made that contact, but we will not require the group to give up the ride they came for.
- Participants required to carry a mask. Currently, there is a statewide mandate for the use of masks in certain situations. As required, for breakpoints, SAG or other situations where you can’t maintain at least six feet, we do require that you have a mask in your possession before you leave the lot with us.
- As always, if you are experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms (or any other communicable illness for that matter), DO NOT TRY TO RIDE WITH A GROUP!
Some additional notes. Each Ride Leader will have multiple start locations they will use, but no more than one STCC group will start from any single location. One more thing we have put in place to ensure we keep the maximum rider count to the 16 or less registered.
Regardless of all the precautions taken, no activity is risk free. It is up to each of us to take our own situation into account, along with our general comfort level with group riding, to decide if this is for you. Shawnee Trail Cycling Club puts your safety first. We will always be here for you when you do reach that comfort level.
The information on this page may change periodically as we navigate through all the new things, so visit often!