When I first started riding I did ride around on my own a fair bit but over time I found like-minded riding companions who I now consider to be amongst my best friends. I’ve been riding for five years now and over those years I’ve found lots of buddies, both women and men, some of whom have already come and gone in my life.
The first step for me was to find a local group of riders who already met on a formal basis for a weekly ride. For me, this group was called BayBUG which in long form is Canada Bay Bicycle User Group. There are BUGs all over NSW which are formed under the auspices of Bicycle NSW and cater for beginner riders. It was ideal for me, and it gave me an introduction to group riding and plenty of riding buddies.
Over time, as the group got to know each other better we formed some subgroups and started riding on Sunday as well as the regular BayBUG Saturday ride.
The next step was for me to join my local bike club of which I am still a member. This gave me access to regular training rides. I could have actually joined some of these rides without actually becoming a club member but I liked the idea of being part of something.
This has also meant that I’ve met lots of local bike riders, including my now boss.
I’ve also met quite a few female riders by attending several skills days for women including my lovely friend Philippa who I now meet up with for regular weekday morning rides. Having a ride buddy who you commit to, is a great incentive for getting out of bed early in the morning. In the middle of winter when my alarm clocks chimes at 5.15 am, I get out of bed and ride because I don’t want to let Philippa down and she does the same thing for me.
Another technique for ensuring that you have ride buddies is to be the organiser. I’m a natural born organiser so it comes easily to me. If I want to go for a ride on any particular day then I send out text messages or emails to my chosen companions the night before or even a couple of days out. You’d be surprised at how many people will accept your invitation. They might not think to organise it themselves, but they’ll happily come along if you invite them. As the ride organiser you also get to choose where you go and how far you will ride.
You can also ask at your local bike shop. Many bike shops have regular shop rides of varying skill levels or know of ones in their area. In fact, that’s how I found my original BayBUG ride.
And if all of these methods fail, you’ll find plenty of cyclists frequenting the local cafes anywhere from 7.30 to 9 am. Just ask them where they ride and if they are happy for new riders to tag along. Most cyclists I’ve met this way are friendly and open and willing to help out.
And occasionally you’ll find yourself all alone on your bike, and you’ll probably quite enjoy it as I do. You just have to take more care on your own when you’re riding in traffic.
I’d love to hear from others on how you’ve found riding companions and advise you’d like to share.