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COVID-19 has changed our lives. Social distancing and semi-lockdowns have become the norm but there are other social changes occurring that are beneficial.

Cycle paths and rail trails are now busier than normal because those stuck at home have realised that they need to keep fit somehow and cycling is a great way to do it. Old bikes have been dusted off, new bikes have been purchased and the whole family has hit the rail trail together.

Bike shops around Australia have been booming with sales of new bikes, repairs to old bikes and the purchase of cycling accessories and apparel. One bike retailer noted that sales were better than the Christmas peak and that he expected it to continue for many months.

The Riesling Trail in South Australia has counters at multiple locations along its length which have been in operation for several years. The counts for April showed a decline of 21% compared last year. That’s not bad considering that there were no numbers associated with Easter and school holidays, local tourist events and a half marathon on the trail. The rail trail usage in April was all local people utilising the rail trail, proving that is much more than a valuable tourism asset. Social distancing was evident but waves and smiles as you passed while riding have never felt this good.

The silver lining in this difficult time is that families have time to enjoy activities together, they have rediscovered cycling and they are exploring their local rail trails. Sometimes we need a jolt to make us focus on the things in life that really matter. COVID-19 will eventually be controlled and life will return to some form of normality but the growth in cycling and the desire to discover more rail trails will continue.

Visit your local Riesling and Rattler Rail Trails when you have a free day or two, you will enjoy the freedom and the fresh air. If not lucky enough to be local, plan for a visit when restrictions are lifted!

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