10 unexpected upsides of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated: Jun 29

Well, that escalated quickly, didn’t it?!

Less than a month ago, us New Zealanders were roaming the streets, going about our daily lives, with little more care than on any given day. Coronavirus was something happening elsewhere in the world, we were safe down here in our sheltered corner of the globe. Fast forward to today. 48hours into lockdown, things couldn’t be more different.

Now is a time of vast change and uncertainty for many. If the media hasn’t already scared the bejeebers out of you, your friends and family probably have. That’s why, now more than ever, it’s important to look after ourselves and try to see the positive side of a situation that we have little control over.

So, without further ado, here are 10 unexpected upsides of the Coronavirus pandemic and some tips on how to utilise it for good.

1) It reminds us of all the things we take for granted.

The freedom to go about our daily lives, to ride our bikes wherever, and however, we choose, our family, our health…toilet paper.

Now, more than ever, we need to remember how fortunate we are to have all that we do. Instead of worrying about scarcity and lack, why not take time to write a list of all the things you are grateful for in your life? Here’s ours: Bike, bike friends, extra time riding our bikes, extra time to write about the extra time riding our bikes...

You get the idea.

Photo: Gabrielle Henderson/ Unsplash

2) It forces us to slooow dooown.

Sorry speed demons, but it’s time to take your foot off the gas for a while. With COVID-19 close to being present in all 195 countries worldwide (177 confirmed at time of writing) medical and health services across the globe are facing some of their darkest days. Hospitals are full; medical supplies are sparse.

Now is not the time to be pushing your limits, practising that new feature or trying to get a PB down your local trails – no matter how well you know them. Any injury you endure will divert emergency care away from the Coronovirus frontline and taking a hospital bed at this stage could be the difference in life and death for your fellow citizens. The facts are plain.

Instead, why not enjoy the excuse to dial things down a gear or two? Get out and explore a more gentile paced track. Practice strengthening those quads on a gritty uphill. Test your stamina on a half-day adventure – following the appropriate social distancing/isolation measures and government guidelines, of course. Or, If you are able, why not just ride your bike into nature, get off, sit awhile and just breathe.

Photo: Daniel Llorente/ Unsplash

3) It gives us more time.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

~ J. R. R. Tolkien ~

With added time comes added opportunity! The question is, are you going to take it?

While most of us are used to dealing in the currency of money, the thing we really should be treasuring is time. Out of the two, it’s the only one you can’t get more of once it’s been spent. So, make sure to spend the extra time you’ve found yourself with doing something awesome! *cough* rideyourbike *cough*.

Then, once you’ve had enough of that (yes, it does happen!) how about that project you’ve been putting off? Hello, junk-filled spare room! Already got your effects in order? Then how about dusting off the guitar in the corner? Or reading that book you bought last year but never had time to “get into”? Wash the dog, wash the cat, clean the car, try your hand at knitting...

Oh! The endless possibilities!

4) It allows us to reconnect.

Sounds strange right? I thought we were supposed to be social distancing or in self-isolation? Well, true that may be but, thanks to the wonderful world of technology, love it or hate it, it does make it easier than ever to stay in touch with those that matter to us; especially for those of us who may be living on the other side of the world from our close family and friends.

For all of us, now is the time to check in with one another, support one another, and share a little bit of positive light between ourselves.

Perhaps there is a friend you haven’t connected with for some time? Why not use this time to reach out to them and see how they are going? One thing is for sure – you won’t be stuck for what to talk about!

Photo: Jon Ly/ Unsplash

5) It forces us to get creative.

You’ve got a real hankering for Spaghetti Bolognese, but you’re not supposed to be leaving the house, half the shops are shut and the ones that aren’t haven’t had pasta or tinned tomatoes in for almost a month. Bugger. Oh well, no bother. You grab some cupboard goods and go to work. Voila! Rice noodles with a rag-tag sauce of mince, baked beans, kidney beans, tomato paste and mixed herbs. Check you out, you creative genius, you!

Of course, it’s not just in the kitchen you can get your creative juices flowing! Keeping the kids amused after the Nth week indoors, trying your hand at drawing or painting; how about using bottles of wine in place of dumbbells for a quick strength session? Once you’re done, sit, unscrew, pour & sip. You’ll wonder why you ever bothered with the gym in the first place!

6) It gives us a chance to upskill.

With added time comes added opportunity! The question is, are you going to take it?

What’s the one thing you’ve always fancied being able to do on your bike but never quite put the time aside to master? Trackstand? Bunny hops? Wheelies? Seize the day, my friend! A quick 30 mins each day will see you advance towards your goal double-quick time and, if wheelies are your thing, the epic Ryan Leech is giving away his 30-Day Wheelie Challenge course for FREE! Check it out here.

Photo: Girls All Ride

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to leveling-up on the bike! Now might be the ideal time to get a new qualification or skill in something you otherwise wouldn’t have dreamed of doing. Fancy being a clown? Yep…there’s a course for that. Between Skillshare, Coursera and Udemy, you can learn just about anything!

7) Mother nature is breathing a sigh of relief.

You’ve likely already seen the news headlines about the marine life reappearing in the Venice canals. As the country entered lockdown, tourists and locals alike were absent and, consequently, so was the pollution from the barges. There have also been numerous reports of reduced air pollution, with decreases in CO2 and NO2 emissions being reported around the globe. It is uncertain as to how permanent these changes will be in the wake of COVID-19, but the mere fact we can see the damage we create in real-time should spark some critical conversation about our choices going forward.

For now, at least, enjoy the respite and be sure to inhale extra deeply whenever you get outside.

Photo: Muratart/Shutterstock

8) It reminds us what is truly important.

Food. Shelter. Family. Bikes.

Survival for the average adult human? Food and shelter.

We are being coerced back to the very essence of life, thus ensuring our survival of it.

While this might sound terrifying to some; it is, in fact, extremely liberating. As human beings, we need incredibly little to survive. We wouldn’t be here otherwise. Do you think your Neanderthal cousin refused to get out of his cave in the morning before he had sipped on the sweet nectar of coffee from his overpriced espresso machine? No, of course not! That shit would get him killed.

Revel in the newfound simplicity that your life has likely taken on, it won’t last forever.

Photo: Toa Heftiba/Unsplash

9) It forces us to adapt to change.

“When it comes to change, people only like those they make themselves.” ~French proverb~

Ahh, humans. We don’t like change! Psychologically speaking at least. Here in NZ, we have now been in lockdown for 24 hours, and that has meant a LOT of change. Change we didn’t ask for. Change of environment, change in routine, change of pace, change of trails you can ride; it’s all going on. But, with this change, comes the opportunity to embrace new experiences.

Part of the reason that we can be so averse to change is that it is often met with resistance. And resistance? Well, that equals sucky hard times. So, what to do? Well, there really are only two options. Fight it, or adapt. Guess which one is easier? Correct. We adapt. And, in that process of adaption, we grow.

So, embrace the chaos! Learn to love it and watch how much easier things become. You may as well; it’s not going anywhere soon.

Photo: Sydney Rae/Unsplash

10) It gives us a new perspective.

I would be willing to put money on the fact that, since COVID-19 was even deemed a “thing” in December 2019, that your opinion on it has changed. It seems for many of the population; we took the journey from glib and dismissive to “Quick! Panic-buy all the loo roll!”, in record time.

Even if you didn’t succumb to the mass hysteria that has swept the planet, chances are you’ve realised this isn’t something to be taken lightly (she says, writing from her home office in enforced lockdown).

Whether your shift in perspective has been for the better, only you can control. Still, my hope is that, after reading this, you may gain a certain appreciation for the global state of affairs, and that it may be an aid that you can use that to see you through the darker days, of which there are sure to be some.

One thing is for sure; the world will never be the same again. Let’s ensure it changes for the better. Together.

"The optimist sees the doughnut, the pessimist sees the hole."

~ Oscar Wilde ~

We would love to hear from you about how you are using this time for the better. What are you up to on your bike? What are you up to if you can’t get out on your bike? What tools, tips and tricks are you using to keep a sunny disposition and help others around you do the same?

Please feel free to comment and share your stories with the rest of the community. Together we are better, and community is essential in times like these.

Kia Kaha, Fierce family.

Stay strong.

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