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How to get your friends into cycling

Cycling with your friends can make a great bike ride even better! If you love cycling then you want to share your passion but you need to get the approach right and if you can persuade your friends to cycle with you, make sure you seal the deal by giving them a great bike riding experience.

Seeing cycling in a fresh way

Introducing someone else to cycling can remind you of what got you into cycling in the first place. Even a familiar ride will feel different with someone who hasn’t cycled there before. This is true of bike tour guiding too – often Skedaddle guides are leading trips in areas they are very familiar with but every trip brings a new perspective and nothing beats sharing your passion or joy in cycling with someone else.

Start by talking

Ok, here’s a thought – if they wanted to be a cyclist, they already would be. So, before you go in all Lycra and Strava blazing, try and find out how they feel about cycling. Are there things that worry them? Can they even ride a bike? Share some of the reasons you enjoy cycling and suggest why you think they might too.

Read about how cycling can help your mental health here!

Offer solutions

If your friend said, “I’d like to try cycling but…” now is your chance to offer solutions. If it’s not having the right kit, clothes or even a bike – that is the easiest thing to sort out. But if their reasons are more complicated, such as a lack of confidence or worry about road traffic, you are going to have to find ways to support and reassure them. Check out our Tips & Advice section of the blog for some insights from our experts.

Show them why you love it

Don’t tell them, show them. Think of all the bits about cycling that make you feel excited and happy then plan a ride that includes a taster of all of it. A gentle ride to somewhere with a beautiful view, with a wind in your hair easy descent and a great café at the end would be a good starting point!

Perfect ride preparations

Even if your friend is really fit they won’t be used to riding a bike for a long time so even just sitting on a saddle will feel strange and new. Plan a route that is short and easy – leave them wanting more, not desperate to climb off the bike! Sprinkle in an easy hill if they are up for a challenge but otherwise keep the terrain nice and gentle with as little traffic as possible.

We know how easy it is to get carried away and want to show them all your favourite hills but maybe give them a chance to build up some cycling fitness first! Also, this ride is about them, not you, so go at their pace. Save the introduction to Strava segments till sometime in the future.

5 tips for making sure your friend has a great first ride…
  • Make sure they are safe
    Check their bike over for them so it is safe and ready to go. Do some gentle cycling together somewhere quiet so they get used to the bike again before heading out on the road.
  • Make sure they are comfortable
    Loan them some of your kit. Make sure they have proper padded cycling shorts. Check their bike position.
  • Provide water and snacks
    If they aren’t used to cycling they will probably need to eat more than you. Keep up a constant supply of jelly babies and make sure they drink enough water.
  • Make sure they know the plan
    If you are doing something new it can make even the most confident person nervous, tell them about the route and offer little snippets of motivation all the way.
  • Have fun!
    Even if you are a ‘serious’ cyclist, to get your mate to come out again you will have to make it a fun experience for them. Even if the ride goes badly at least enjoy a coffee, some treats or a pint afterwards and have a laugh about it.

Get them hooked

It might take more than one ride for them to fully get into the joy of pedalling, so be persistent but not pushy. It’s good to remind them about all the health benefits of cycling and get them dreaming about all the beautiful routes and places a bike can take you…

Check out some of our favourite days out on bikes in the UK!

Our shorter UK holidays are a great introduction to cycling and two-wheeled holidays, and a great option for those who enjoy active leisure time – it could be the next step needed to get them hooked!

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