Ways to encourage your friends to cycle

Victoria Hazael's picture

Ways to encourage your friends to cycle

We'd all like our friends and family to cycle, but sometimes it's hard to encourage others who aren't as keen, or those who say they want to come for a bike ride and just never get around to it. Cycling UK's Victoria Hazael shares her tips to help you get your friends cycling.

1. Talk to them about cycling 

Just have a chat with your friend about cycling. Did they cycle as a child? Did they enjoy it? Find out why they stopped or if they never learnt you can help to teach them

2. Explain why you like cycling 

Talking about the reasons why you ride a bike and the benefits it brings to you and your community is a great way to get people more interested in cycling. Many people think you need to be super fit or really brave to ride a bike, so explaining how easy it is will really help. Introduce them to some of your friends who cycle too.   

3. Lend them a bike

If they haven't cycled in ages, and if your bike fits them, take them for a little spin in the park. Don't expect them to buy a bike or fix their old bike to give it a go. Don't aim to go far or fast, just get them back in the saddle and see how they feel. Be really encouraging. 

4. Pop round with a pump 

The next step is getting their bike working. Offer to help your friend get their bike ready for a ride. Do this on a different day to when you actually go for your first ride together so that you aren't pushed for time and stressed. Help them to see how easy it is to pump up tyres. Take time to show them how little things like getting adjusting the saddle to the right height and pumping up the tyres can make a massive difference. Alternatively, attend a Big Bike Revival event.  

5. Lend them anything they need 

People who are just trying out cycling, and aren't sure if they will like it, won't invest in kit, so be kind and lend them some things to get them started. 

6. Ask them where they'd like to go 

Plan a route together, aim for somewhere flat and traffic-free like a tow path or old railway line. Keep the ride short and have a set destination that helps them to feel like they have achieved something.

7. Be prepared

Don't ask them to carry lots of kit. As the more experienced cyclist take what you both need. Remember to bring enough snacks and drinks.

8. Give them the choice to go further 

I often take friends along to towpath four miles to the next town, go to a cafe and say we can either ride back or take the train. This gives the new cyclist the choice to push themselves further if they want to, and going back the same way means they will know what to expect.

9. Arrange your next bike ride 

As soon as you get back home safe and your friend is feeling great about what they have achieved, arrange another bike ride and put it in the diary. People are more likely to commit to doing something new again if there is a set date and once someone has cycled a few times with you they may feel confident enough to go without your support or join an organised bike ride. Bike Week is a great time to get started. 

10. Help them find a safe route 

If they want to cycle to work, school or the shops, help them find a quiet route that avoids busy roads, complicated junctions and roundabouts. Our Journey Planner can help. 

Have you encouraged your friends to cycle? Share your experience and  advice in the comments box below. 

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