How is it that when my spousal unit wants to go riding, it takes him all of five minutes to assemble a crew—even on the fly! It’s quite magical how quickly and seamlessly it all seems to come together. But when I want to ride with my lovely lady friends, it takes tons of planning, calendars, doodle polls, multiple group emails or texts, and a bunch of finagling to get us all in the same place at the same time! Why, oh, why?
Maybe it’s our personalities, the spontaneous type versus the planner. Or maybe it’s that Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus kind of thing. Does he just have more single friends with more free time? Well, yes. And the kid factor is huge. No kids definitely frees up the schedule but bringing kids, and even bringing the dog can turn a “no-go” situation into a, “I can go if I can bring my toddler” opportunity. But then, of course, that option takes even more planning. It’s a bit of a conundrum.
Want to make riding easier and more accessible for yourself and your friends?
Here are eight simple steps to take (for guys and gals alike) to help you get out there riding together, again and again:
- Get the Word Out-
Sitting inside on a sunny spring day just wishing you could ride with your friends gets you nowhere, fast. Stop the yearning and start the wheels-a-turning! Let your pals know that riding is important to you and that you’d really like to do more of it with them. Make a pact and don’t look back. Then, when friends get the urge to ride, you’ll be one of the first people they think of to invite along!
- Assemble a “Go To” Crew List-
Start talking to friends to find out who’s in. Get a group text going that links the crew together. Maybe you have one list for roadies and another list for mountain bike friends (or maybe they are one in the same). When everybody is on the same page, it’s amazing how many people can wing it at a moment’s notice, or even a day or two of advance planning.
- Take to Social Media-
Looking to expand your crew, reach the masses for a charity ride, or share ride pics, videos, maps, driving directions and more? Facebook is your friend. Start a local ride group or join an existing group. When you turn to social media for spontaneous and planned rides, you can widen your net of potential riders and meet new friends at the same time.
- Start a Meetup Group-
Join a bike-lovin’ Meetup Group or create your own. Branching out can introduce you to new routes, unexplored trails and new riding buddies. Learn more at: http://www.meetup.com
- Join a Shop Ride-
Most bike shops have weekly shop rides. Some even have multiple rides and women’s only rides. Visit your local shop to find out how (and when) they roll!
- Sign Up for a Bike Club-
Most cities (and even some small towns) are lucky enough to have actual cycling clubs. Google it to see if there is one near you!
- Mingle at a Mountain Bike Park-
Mountain Bike Parks are springing up all over the country and they are a perfect place to hang out and meet like-minded riders. Most have a central meeting spot where riders can stop to refuel, meet up with friends or take a break. This is a great opportunity to mingle and ride!
- Post a Flyer-
There’s nothing wrong with marketing a little bike time for yourself. Go grassroots and create a flyer to post at your gym, yoga studio, workplace, church, doctor’s office—wherever people gather and have time to read!
Finding your crew isn’t hard to do. And in fact, your crew could be as few as two. But getting that perfect fit is up to you. In an era when people tend to spend far less face-to-face time and a lot more screen time, use those screens to your advantage to connect with friends and scheme up real life fun and activities. Get creative and who knows who you’ll be pedaling with next weekend. It takes a little effort, but the payoff is so worth it.
About the Author: Lori Hinton is a freelance writer and Diamondback contributor based in West Seattle, Washington. She loves riding with her home crew and her gal pals too.