Biography/Disclosures
Biography: Aldasouqi is professor of medicine and chief of the endocrinology division at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in East Lansing.
Disclosures: Aldasouqi reports no relevant financial disclosures.
May 11, 2020
3 min read
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BLOG: Essential businesses during COVID-19

Biography/Disclosures
Biography: Aldasouqi is professor of medicine and chief of the endocrinology division at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine in East Lansing.
Disclosures: Aldasouqi reports no relevant financial disclosures.
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A few weeks ago, I called Tommy, the wonderful sales associate at Denny’s Central Park Bicycles in Okemos, Michigan. I asked Tommy if/when they will reopen for business. Tommy said that the governor’s first lockdown mandate precluded bike shops from the “essential business category,” so, they closed the shop. He asked me, as a loyal customer, to log on to the state’s website and write the governor to petition a move to consider bike shops essential so that they can reopen.

We all have a hard time determining what is an “essential” business during a pandemic.

Hospitals, clinics, groceries and pharmacies? No dispute.

Barbers shops, spas and salons, gyms? Debatable.

Saleh Aldasouqi, MD, FACE, ECNU, takes a lighthearted look at issues at the intersection of the humanities and medicine.
Source: Aldasouqi

So, what about bike shops?

To me, bike shops should be declared by the state as an essential business during this time.

Here is the rest of the story.

I used to go to the gym but had to quit a year ago when I developed sports-related hip disorder, called piriformis syndrome. It was caused by playing pickleball. It took several months to heal.

I decided to go back to the gym in March, before the lockdown. I went with my son, Anas, and I enjoyed 1 hour of aerobics and our favorite family sport, Ping Pong. One day later , the gym opted to close, before the official governor’s initial lockdown mandate.

So, no more gym for me or for my son.

While we continued to work in clinic and hospital, following the social distancing guidelines, I felt that now, as the weather is warming, it is time to return to my other favorite sport — biking.

I do not have a bike anymore; we sold mine at a garage sale a few years ago. That is when I sustained a vertebral fracture while biking in Mackinac Island and was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis. I have been on therapy for few years, and now my bones are better. I started biking again last summer. The picture in the figure is from Shanty Creek Resort in Northwest Michigan, one of the state’s top ski resorts.

In the summer, Shanty Creek and similar ski resorts in the state become summer tourist attractions; people hold conferences and weddings in these spectacular resorts. I was invited to speak at the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Michigan Chapter on the topic of X-linked hypophosphatemia. After giving the lecture, I wandered around the resort and glanced at the bike section in the resort’s gym. I saw pretty bicycles, and with the gorgeous summer day and the spectacular scenery, I could not resist. I rented a bike and took a 1-hour ride, for the first time in 5 years! It was fun!

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I had then decided to buy a bike come spring.

Now that spring is back, my son and I went to our local bike shop in late March before the lockdown. We each bought a bike, but mine had to be ordered.

Then the bike shop had to close following the governor’s first lockdown mandate.

I could not get my bike.

When we received the new governor’s order last month, I was pleased to know that while the governor extended the lockdown until mid-May, she did include bike shops in the “essential business” category. And I was so happy.

Last week, I called Tommy and asked him about reopening. He said they will call me when my bike is assembled and ready for pick up. I couldn’t wait.

Finally, yesterday, Tommy called and said the bike is ready.

After rounding in the hospital in the afternoon, I headed to the store. The store is open; however, they are following strict social distancing guidelines, as mandated by our governor. No customers were permitted inside the store. There were a few customers ahead of me, so I waited outside to be served.

Finally, Tommy came out, with my lovely bike.

I thanked him and told him about this post. He thanked me for being a loyal customer and appreciated the opportunity to help highlight a local small business.

I thank the governor for allowing bike stores to reopen. Indeed, they should be considered an essential business during these difficult COVID-19 times. People need exercise. As important, people need a break from their long, stay-at-home period to go outdoors, relieve their stress and maintain their sanity!