An Empty Street: Bicycle Commuting During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Early last week, I accompanied my spouse on his morning bicycle commute to the hospital. I do this every once in a while, when he’s working on a weekend or I have the day off. It’s pleasant to ride together, and to start the day off with fresh air, exercise, and bike chat.

This ride, though nominally the same as always, felt different. There weren’t any school buses, or kids walking with their bright orange flags. Car traffic was light. Stores and restaurants were closed, or crowded with people stocking up on supplies. The birds were louder (or seemed like it, without the constant droning of automobiles).

empty four-lane road with shadow of bicyclist

Marshall/Lake bridge had very little traffic compared to a typical “rush hour”


And we were different – me, working from home indefinitely; him, working extra hours and with new responsibilities. He’s a nurse, and has been working very hard to take care of sick folks lately.
After seeing him off at work, I biked home the long way, and spent the rest of the week at home. Daily dog walks, bicycle rides, and yard cleanup were the only reasons I left the house. We connected with friends and family online, playing games or just chatting (like’s Virtual Happy Hour).

I hope all of you who can do so are staying home, and I thank those of you who have to be at work.

empty road with bicycle lane

Summit Avenue: fewer cars on the road, but more people out bicycling and walking (or kicking a soccer ball across the road)

Jenny Werness

About Jenny Werness

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Jenny (she/her) is a carfree, bicycling, tree-loving St. Paul resident, with a Ph.D. in organic chemistry. She believes that our rapidly changing climate should be of utmost concern to all of us. Board of Directors of, 2019-2024; Executive Committee - Content Manager.