[This article originally appeared on bicyclecolorado.org]
None of us were born bicyclists. Well maybe you were if you are Taylor Phinney and both your parents were professional cyclists. But the rest of us had to get our start somewhere else.
In my last post, I mentioned how a friend helped me get into bicycle racing. I believe many of us have this person in our lives, a person who inspired and introduced us to bicycling. It could be your parents, a friend or maybe your coworker. My realization a number of years ago was that I could be that person to others. I bet you too have helped mentor others into cycling.
My top 5 ways of getting a friend into bicycling
Here are my top 5 tips for getting a friend, family member or coworker into bicycling.
5. Encourage your friends to participate in one-day events like Bike to Work Day or a summer-long event like the National Bike Challenge. These events are great for introducing bicycling for fun and transportation to people of all ages and abilities.
4. Go bike shopping with someone new to cycling. Help your friend pick out a bike and necessary gear. Getting a new bike is a really fun experience, but one that is often intimidating at first. Having a friend along makes the bike shopping process a little easier. Check out Bicycle Colorado’s member bike shops here.
3. Don’t bike your drive. The roads we drive on are often not very bicycle-friendly. It may take a little research and exploration, but there are often nicer bicycling streets and paths not far from arterial roads in our Colorado communities. You can help fast track a friend’s route finding with a few tips and suggestions. Many of the routes I ride on today are the same ones a friend or family member showed me years ago.
2. Invite a friend on one of your favorite rides. I like riding on my own, but riding with friends can be a truly enjoyable experience. Riding with others is also a great way to learn bicycling skills, tips and behavior.
1. Be a bicycle ambassador. This sounds a little cheesy, but I think it is important. I was labeled as “that bike guy” at other offices that weren’t bike focused like Bicycle Colorado. I enjoyed helping others find information about bicycling routes, equipment and events. Some people even started riding on a regular basis. I don’t claim to be totally responsible for getting my office mates into bicycling, but I think I played a part. You can do that too by being a bicycle ambassador.
You might change someone’s life in a major way by helping them get into bicycling. Some of the benefits include:
Besides helping a friend or family member, increasing the number of people riding bikes in Colorado is beneficial to all of us. By getting more people riding in Colorado, we:
Sign up a friend as a Bicycle Colorado member with our gift membership program. The more members Bicycle Colorado has, the more we can accomplish. Also, there are some great benefits to membership including Bicycling magazine, free one-year membership to Zipcar and more.
Do you have any stories about getting friends or family into bicycling? Please let us know, we want to hear your tips and suggestions.
Mark Erickson is the membership manager at Bicycle Colorado. Mark enjoys commuting to work by bike and putting miles on his road bike. He also hopes to ride on dirt more this year.
About Bicycle Colorado
Bicycle Colorado uses the tools of education and advocacy to make Colorado one of the most bicycle-friendly states. We encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions and provide a voice for people who ride bicycles in Colorado. With the support of our members, we’ve made significant strides in improving bicycling since 1992.
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