How to get new riders started
I know you, you love cycling. Outside of your commitments like work, school and family riding your bike is your favorite activity. You look forward to those rides even if they are infrequent for the feelings of enjoyment, freedom, relaxation, exhilaration and more that you get on the ride. But one thing that you may not know about cycling is that it is in a big slump for the last 10+ years. There are just not enough people taking up riding, whether it is kids or adults to keep cycling growing. Getting someone else to ride so they can have those same experiences is one of the most rewarding things I do! If you want to get more people riding read on about how to do it.
Become a cyclist yourself
Okay the first thing to do if you want more people to ride is to see yourself as a rider! Many riders play down how much they love to ride for their own reasons but if you start to change that by letting people know that you have a passion for riding people will open up to you. This means you may be answering some questions about riding but that is okay, it’s the first step for them, just don’t spend too much time doing it, ask them to ride.
Be gentle with them
Okay this new person you have encouraged to ride is a mix of nervous, excited and other feelings. Be patient with them. Make the ride short, easy and fun. A new rider needs to do a short ride that doesn’t scare them. Avoid things like high traffic areas on the road or rocky technical terrain off road. That giant climb you love to sprint up really has no appeal to someone first starting. Diving into turns feels great to an experienced rider but might just wind up in a crash for a new rider.
Talk about the ride after
After any good ride we all feel excited. Before you rush off spend a few minutes letting them highlight what they liked. Let them know you had fun too. Avoid critiquing their efforts on the ride. One way to bring a rider down is to focus on what they could have done better, there are times for that but let that new rider ask for help first before you offer it up…
Plan the next outing
Before you leave set up a “date” for the next ride. The sure fire way to let someone know that you had a good ride is to set up your next ride day right then, salesmanship 101! You want to keep that momentum going until they can find their own motivation on their own. Like many things making riding a habit is the key. It’s easy to bail on rides when you first start if their isn’t a reason to go again, be that reason.
Now go out and find some new riders who might want to take up cycling just like you.