Maintaining your mental and physical health via bicycle during the pandemic.

Spring is finally here, and the warm weather is beckoning us to get outdoors. Experts are telling us to stay home as much as possible to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which led us to question – is it ok if we go on a bike ride?

We asked an expert, Michael W. Cropp, M.D., MBA, president and CEO of Independent Health, for his advice:

“Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, we can still stay fit and breathe in some fresh air. There are many health benefits to riding your bike including helping to decrease stress levels and boosting your mood,” said Dr. Cropp. “But remember it is important to practice responsible social distancing while riding.”

It is safe to bike in a socially-responsible, socially-distanced manner. Here’s how to bike responsibly:

Ride alone or with your family/housemates with whom you are self-isolating.
Try timing your route for the lowest volume of people.
Avoid crowds of any kind and high-traffic destinations.
Maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from yourself and other riders or walkers you may encounter in shared spaces such as parks and multi-use trails.
Active mobility, like walking and biking, improves lives. In this time of heightened stress, adjusted work-life balance, and acclimating to new norms, maintaining our mental and physical health is of the utmost importance. Whether it’s around the block or the city, a responsible bike ride might be just the ticket for reducing those stir-crazy feelings.

Research shows biking makes us happier. Riding a bike increases our body’s production of happy chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, endorphins, and cannabinoids, thus improving mood, reducing anxiety, and allowing us to better handle stress.

Many of us are working from home for the first time, which may mean we’re sitting for longer than usual. Biking is a low-impact, accessible means of anaerobic exercise for people of all ages and abilities to exercise. Regular biking increases cardiovascular fitness, increases muscle strength and flexibility, and improves balance and coordination.

Not sure where to go for a ride? Here are a few resources:

Want to ride every roundabout in the city? Or tour every Olmsted park? Check out GObike’s ride maps. You can save a map to your Google maps app or download it to use on Ride with GPS.
For a map of regional bike infrastructure, use Google Maps’ bike mode or the GBNRTC’s online bicycle map.
Check out Slow Roll Buffalo’s Social Distance Rides, presented by Independent Health. These five routes feature Slow Roll rides from 2016 through Buffalo’s Olmsted Park system.
If you’re out for a ride, snap a selfie, a picture, or record a message for your fellow community members with the tag #gobikealone, or send it to We’d love to see it and share it via our social media. Let’s stay connected.