Pat in his ‘Rona mask, riding into great shape.

A Lot Of Us Are In The Best Shape We’ve Been In For Many A Year.

Gasping for breath up a steep climb recently on the mountain bike with my riding friends, I thought to myself, “Where is the race? Nobody’s going to the Olympics, why are we racing on this ride?” 

Then it occurred to me that my group and a lot of other groups of cyclists, runners, and other fitness enthusiasts are in really great shape.  People are not traveling for work or pleasure just yet, and a lot of folks have a lot of free time to get their work done at home and then go ride, run, walk, hike, or  some other form of exercise.  I am calling it Covid Fitness. and it is a national phenomena. 

I recently went into my local bike shop, Dirty Harry’s, in Verona, PA and learned their business is booming.  Barry Jeffries, the owner, told me that they have 350 bikes on back order and their repair business is off the charts.  Barry, Scott, Brocc, and the boys will have a record year in sales and service because a lot of people are turning back to cycling as a recreational activity during this pandemic. 

The health clubs are not fully operational yet and people need to get out.  What better way to do it than on a bicycle? As the bikes roll in the door from the manufacturers, the boys at Dirty Harry’s build them up as fast as possible and out the door they go.  Sold!!  All kinds of bikes.  High end mountain and road bikes, E-Bikes, kids bikes, commuter bikes, you name it.  They are selling like a fish sandwich in Lent. 

The Peleton home cycling exercise equipment is back ordered by at least six months and that is the case with a lot of sports equipment providers.  Most outdoor equipment manufacturers have had a strain on supply because of the surge in purchases due to the Covid 19 crisis.   A good news-bad news scenario for the sporting equipment industry in that record sales are being offset by a strain in supply.  They have the customers, many new to the sport, but are having a hard time keeping up with demand. 

So back to my group.  We have guys and gals who travel for work, guys and gals who are retired, and many working from home.  These folks have always been active but recently, they probably have ridden mountain bikes and road bikes more than they ever  have in recent years because the distractions have been put aside due to this pandemic.  I have complimented a lot of cycling friends on their fitness and their response has been, “Hey, Pat, I don’t have much to do.”  And, “We have not been able to go to work at the office, or sit and socialize in a restaurant, or go to a movie or concert, so really, outside of exercise, what do we have to do besides work at home  and read a book?” 

The end result is that a lot of us are in the best shape we have been in for many a year and my group keeps pushing, pushing, pushing every week on scheduled rides in various venues around our area of the country. The CDC says nothing better to combat this virus than boosting the immune system with sunshine and outdoor exercise. The texts and emails buzz every week with the proposed riding schedules, and the good thing is that at least we are not sitting around with nothing to do.

So, again, the pandemic has caused a lot of disruption to our lives as well as to lives all around the world.  It has caused a lot of us to reflect on what is really important in life and how we have taken things for granted.  This too shall pass, and the world will learn to live with these kinds of viruses and change our daily habits on how to deal with them.  But in the meantime, there have been some good things that have come out of this time and the great outdoors has been calling to a lot of us. 


  1. jeff german says:

    Hi Pat:

    Nice article on Covid fitness. Exercise and workouts have kept me sane during the unique time.

    I live in Bend, OR near Mt. Bachelor. I also have taught for over 25 years with NSCD at Winter Park, Achieve Tahoe at Alpine Meadow’s and now as a volunteer with Oregon Adaptive Sports.

    I also have had the privilege to be a volunteer with Disabled Vets at Snowmass every spring.. what a bummer, cancelled this year, of course.

    Let’s talk sometime: 303-906-4046

    By the way, I hail from Monroeville and learned to ski on the steep slope of Boyce Park!

    Jeff German

    • Hi Jeff. Started our BOLD ski program at Boyce many years ago. Love Bend. Was there last fall mountain biking with friends who bought a home there. Was supposed to go back next week but we cancelled. Letting things shake out a little before traveling on an airplane. Hoping for a good ski season. Thanks for reading.

  2. Tamsin Venn says:

    Pat, great article. I was in a ski and tennis shop yesterday, on a tennis mission, and a man was buying two new complete sets of Alpine skis/boots/poles. July 30! Maybe ski shops will see the same run on business this winter as the bike shops. Certainly for Nordic/snowshoe equipment anyway.

  3. Most cyclists are adrenaline junkies and speed addicts. Even when it is made perfectly clear to everyone that the ride is NOT a race, most people ride at their top speed. They don’t stop or slow down to smell the roses or admire the views. Instead, they ride as fast as they can so that everything is a blur.
    I once tried to join a cycling club. I joined one of their “social” rides, but there was no socializing. People were given a map of the route and they sped away, never to be seen again. You don’t need a club for that!
    Cyclists sacrifice everything for the sake of speed. They spend thousands of dollars on a bare bones bike – just the frame and wheels – no fenders, no lights, no luggage carrier – just a stripped down bike so they could go a little bit faster than a well equipped bike.
    LAtely, people have been buying e-bikes. Everyone claims they bought an e-bike to make biking easier, but they are deluding themselves. Nobody rides easier. The e-bikes simply make it possible to ride even faster. It’s all about speed, not ease of riding.

  4. I push myself and try to be as well conditioned as I can. But I am not racing anymore and I don’t want to get hurt. You can be in good shape and not race. Just sayin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *