You have your bike and gear ready, your first ride planned, and your snacks prepared but something still doesn’t feel right. Yes, it’s your cycling buddy that’s missing! The last puzzle piece for a successful start of a new cycling season is your community. Let’s go over a few tips to help you reconnect.
At the start of a new season, you probably don’t need much motivation. You’re itching to get back in the saddle and ride again. But just like with everything, the novelty wears off and life gets in the way, and your regular rides turn sporadic. And this is exactly where your cycling community comes in. They keep you accountable, help you grow as a cyclist, and they can give cycling a whole other level of meaning. As much as cycling can be a wonderful solo sport, the sooner you find or create your cycling community, the easier every return to cycling will be.
If you already are a part of your local cycling community, there’s no question they will invite you on a group ride unless you organize one first. If you’re newer to cycling or have recently moved, you might not know your fellow cyclists in the area yet. Here are a few tips to get you connected.
There are two ways to make sure you’re surrounded by friendly cyclists. Either you have to join an existing community or build one yourself. The first option is usually easier, plus it brings a lot of benefits, such as advice on the best local routes, cafes or bike stores. Here are a few ways to get your foot in the door.
Sign up for a race – even if you’ve just moved to a new area and you don’t know a single cyclist, signing up for a race and meeting people there is a sure way to find like-minded cyclists. Plus, there’s nothing better that creates a shared sense of excitement and bonding like suffering and overcoming hardships together.
Ask around at a local bike shop – it’s almost guaranteed people working there will know all the local cycling groups, teams, and clubs that might be good for your skill level.
Look at social platforms – there are local cycling groups on Facebook, Strava has local meetups, Zwift holds local group rides, and even servers like meetup.com include cycling groups.
The second way is to build a community yourself. This can be as simple as getting your family or a few friends into cycling. If you succeed in that, there’s a chance it snowballs into a whole cycling group you would be able to call your own. Here are a few tips to get started.
Organize group rides – this is the easiest and most approachable way to introduce new people to the joys of this sport. Invite your friends for a ride and complain about how much your legs hurt at a coffee stop while enjoying coffee and cake together. There’s no way this won’t work!
Plan a cycling holiday – you can get your family or friends excited about cycling if you outline a cycling holiday. Cycling can be that something special about your next holiday together.
Challenge them – a friendly challenge can be a very effective way to get a friend to join you in cycling training. If you both get excited about a race that pushes your personal limits, you can strategize, discuss and train together. How does a century ride sound? Or a trip across Europe on a bike?
Regardless of how you connect with other cyclists, you’ll be better for it. Now, that’s enough preparations, it’s time to get back in the saddle for another season.