[STAFF EDITORIAL] Get into gear for summer

GO+FOR+A+RIDE.+Biking+is+an+excellent+way+to+relieve+stress+and+get+outside.

Noa Ní Aoláin Gross

GO FOR A RIDE. Biking is an excellent way to relieve stress and get outside.

What’s better than biking down a hill, wind blowing in your face, under the shining sun? Nothing. It’s the most invigorating feeling to effortlessly glide down the hill after a tiring trip up. However, the experience of biking may now seem long forgotten to many.

For over a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused global devastation. Safety regulations paired with the cold months of Minnesota weather and schoolwork have made it difficult to spend time outside. Going for a bike ride this summer is one of many COVID-smart activities to partake in; why not go for it?

Dust off your bike, throw on a helmet, and go for a ride.”

Biking can be done anywhere, anytime, and with very little risk of contracting COVID-19. The CDC updated its outdoor masking guidelines, suggesting that masks are not necessary outside as outdoor, unmasked transmissions of SARS-CoV-2 have recently been very uncommon. A rapidly increasing percentage of the population, especially in Minnesota, have been at least partially vaccinated. According to mn.gov, a total of 4,885,672 vaccines have been administered as of May 16. This means the chances of infection while biking outside are very low, and fear of infection should not be a deterring factor.

While many students will have a lot on their plates this summer, it is important to take a break—after all, it is summer. Although it may seem counterintuitive, breaks are scientifically proven to improve focus and productivity. A 2012 experiment conducted by Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a professor at the University of Southern California, and her colleagues at the Michigan Institute of Technology, suggests that breaks in the outside world promote new forms of mental processing. Therefore, taking a break to do something outside helps revitalize the brain and train it to think in new ways. There will always be more free time during the summer than during a school year, so take advantage of that time to reset, and come back to school with a refreshed, healthy mind.

While there are other ways to spend time outdoors, biking is the one of the most beneficial, both mentally and physically. While sitting outside and enjoying the weather can certainly be a fun way to enjoy a break, most students have spent much of the past year inside and on a screen. By going for a bike ride, muscles are activated, and there are no computers involved. This gives the eyes a rest while providing exercise that is crucial to staying healthy. Not to mention, bikes are a great method of transportation, so a group bike ride with some friends to a fun destination couldn’t be easier.

So what is there to lose by going for a bike ride? Don’t try to talk yourself out of it. Dust off your bike, throw on a helmet, and go for a ride.

This editorial was originally published in the May 2021 issue of The Rubicon.