The world could always use more cyclists. We want to help make that happen with this series. Let’s look at how to get new people excited about cycling, how to plan the perfect first ride, and how to keep them interested over the long term. More people taking up cycling is literally better for everyone. Let’s do it!
First thing’s first: you have to get excited. Maybe your friends have never had a good experience cycling as adults or they simply have no idea how fun and fulfilling riding a bike as a hobby can be. Here are a few things that can help with that.
Show them the beauty of the sport
Andy Schleck, a Tour de France champion, summed it up perfectly in our interview. He was giving this advice to parents of aspiring cycling pros, but it applies to anyone you are trying to get into cycling:
“Try to show the beauty of the sport to your kids rather than focusing on making them race and win,” Schleck said.
There are several ways to do that. You have to choose the right approach depending on what appeals to your friends. You can show them some of those legendary Tour de France rivalries if they are competitive. The Raymond Poulidor and Jacques Anquetil one is a great story!
If your friends like nature and adventure, show them some mythic climbs, beautiful routes, and amazing scenery they will be able to see if they get into cycling.
If your friends are into an active and healthy lifestyle already, get them hooked on the health benefits of cycling. Cycling can help you lose weight, for example. You can share this inspirational story.
But regular aerobic activity has many more health benefits. It reduces all kinds of disease risks. In fact, the largest study of its kind has shown that the simple act of cycling to work makes you live longer!
And cycling has benefits outside of the individual cyclist. It helps our whole society thrive. Bicycles offer a means of transportation for the economically disadvantaged and they help the elderly stay included. More people interested in bicycles means it will be easier and cheaper to get one and there will be more pressure on city planners to make cycling safe.
Share your passion
The most important aspect at this stage is that your friends and family feel your excitement. Describe how much fun you had on your last ride, how great you felt, how much fitter you are than before, or how you bonded with others through cycling. The passion you have for cycling is infectious. Use it to get your friends hooked. The next step is planning their first ride. We’ll go over that in the rest of this series.