Don’t want to ride alone, but don’t know anyone else who is into the sport? Why not make your own group? It may be boring for you at the start, but as with anything home grown, the pay off is worth the effort.
We’ve all been there – you’re trying to communicate your passion for riding to an uninitiated friend, but no matter how many times you describe how epic the trail was, they just don’t seem to get it. And it makes sense; admittedly, until I experienced a real trail for the first time, I didn’t get it either. So if you’re looking to get your friend into riding, here’s how to do it without scaring them off.
Get them on a real bike
Almost everyone has a bike, but not everyone has a bike that can be safely ridden on a trail. Rim brakes, rusted suspension and a heavy frame are all things that can really make someone’s first riding experience a poor one. Lend them yours or a mate’s bike, or buy a new one for them, but rest assured, they’ll have a much better time when they aren’t worried about the bike falling to pieces beneath them.
Take it easy
You may love blasting rock gardens and sending road gaps, but think about the first time you went riding – remember how each tree seemed determined to knock you off your bike and feed you to the rocks below. Give them a break, take them to your local beginners loop and slowly work them up to your favorite trails.
Train once, train right
If you’ve ever applied for the Air Force, you’ll know they actually don’t look favourably on past flying experience. This is because it’s easier to train a blank slate than it is to retrain someone with bad habits. Spend time ensuring they have the right position on the bike, and get their pedals and braking technique right, early. It’ll make both of your lives easier in the long run.
When riding mountain bikes, you have to be self-sufficient. You could be miles from help when you get a flat, snap a chain or bend a hanger. Teach your apprentice how to fix these problems themselves, rather than just doing it for them.
Help them buy a bike
Remember, if the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.
If your friend is looking to buy a second-hand bike, be sure to steer them clear of any snake oil salespeople. Make sure you veto any bikes that are overpriced, have questionable origins, or are just unapologetically terrible. Don’t let your friend become a horror story. It’s a certain way to make sure they never ride a bike again. Keep an eye on the market and refer them to your favourite bike retailers (Pushys, of course!), it may be a better and safer option to buy a new bike that’s adequately suited to them rather than buying a sub-par second-hand bike, and these days there’s a huge range of new bikes available, so there’s something to suit everyone. Sign up to the Pushys newsletter to stay up to date with the latest promotions and news!
Riding bikes is awesome – it’s an amazing way to get fit, have fun and make lifelong friends. Guide your friends through the minefield that is starting riding, and watch as their enthusiasm grows!