When you nail the first ride and your friend finishes it with a big smile on their face, you did the most important part of the job. But there’s still a bit more you can do to ensure your friend sticks with cycling and maybe even becomes an enthusiast like yourself. Here are a few tips.
First, it’s important to realize that cycling is not going to be a passion for everyone. Maybe your friend already has many other hobbies and cycling will just be a casual interest they do a few times a year with you. That’s ok. Don’t force it, your friendship is more important than how often you go cycling together.
But when your friend shows interest, then you can jump in and make their transition to a fully fledged cycling enthusiast as smooth as possible.
Visit places of interest
Your bike friends will probably ask this themselves, but make suggestions even if they don’t. One of the most unique and enticing things about cycling is that it allows you to explore a much larger area than you could on foot while using your own body as the sole engine. Make a list of interesting places to visit in the area and you have the next few months of cycling planned.
Try different types of cycling
There are so many ways to enjoy cycling. You can take your friend on an epic 100-mile road journey, you can look for the most exciting downhills, explore trails deep in the forest, climb the tallest mountains you can find, or go bikepacking. See what your friend resonates with the most and go for it.
Focus on how much fitter they are
Most people don’t do cycling mainly to get fit, but it’s always nice to see that you’re getting fitter while doing something fun. Help your friend see how much better they are compared to when you started. For example, you can try repeating your first ride after a few months to really feel the difference. When they start feeling fitter, they might want to improve in other aspects of lifestyle, like their diet. You can point them to some good resources to get them started.
Introduce them to the cycling community
One of the most effective ways to make someone a lifelong cycling enthusiast is to introduce them to other cyclists they can connect with. Once you have a healthy group of cycling friends in your life, you’re guaranteed to regularly get in the saddle. It can be a source of friendly competition, support, shared fun, adventure partners, and motivation.
Suggest cycling as a way to commute
One of the most reliable ways to make cycling a regular part of anyone’s life is to use it as a means of transportation. Someone who is new to cycling and really excited to spend as much time with their new bike as possible will jump on that suggestion.
Sign up for a race together
If your bike friend is competitive, then try mentioning a few exciting races you’re considering. If they show interest, you have the perfect opportunity to bond over the pains of training and excitement of racing.
Teach them how to maintain their bike
One thing that’s rarely fun for new cyclists is bicycle maintenance. Try offering a helping hand and teach them the basics. It might just prevent them from quitting this wonderful hobby if they don’t have to run to a bike shop with every little detail. Changing a flat tyre, replacing brake pads, or adjusting the derailleur can all be valuable skills.