Friends are a glorious luxury aren’t they? Having friends that are like minded and share the same hobbies as you, is even more luxurious and leads to some of the most wonderful ventures you’ll ever take part in.
We’ve all hit that phase where we’re feeling a little lost in life, not sure how to make new friends and have often stumbled across cycling. Luckily for anyone involved in the cycling community, a majority of its participants are amazing and so easy to get on with.
There are so many fabulous disciplines and events within cycling, you are destined to make new friends to cycle with and enjoy life with.
Where to make cycling buddies
The first place to start chatting with fellow cyclists is your club, and if you haven’t joined one yet, head over to our search tool here to find a club and get started. Through your club you can find people who are like minded, maybe some people prefer to do the discipline that you do, or you have other common interests outside of cycling – don’t fear about making conversation with people, everyone has been in the same boat.
It’s also worth making conversation at races, we know the atmosphere can be quite tense and scary, but everyone is feeling the same way – you’d be amazed how much easier the race is if you don’t feel like everyone is out to destroy your legs and actually most people are also worried.
Joining skills sessions is always a good place to make friends, Coach Watto holds a skills session in Regents Park at 6:30 Tuesday-Thursday, each day has a variety of abilities so try to make sure you choose the right one. We know lots of ladies who have started their cycling venture in the park, made friends and progressed into club environments.
You could head down to your local race circuit, whether that be a velodrome or closed circuit, or check them out online. They will usually have sessions being held for skills, or experience sessions. When you visit your local race circuit or session, you can make contacts, find fellow cyclists to go on training rides with – have coffee and build friendships.
For example, Newport Velodrome holds various track sessions for all abilities check their sessions out here.
Another great place to chit chat is Herne Hill Velodrome or similar places, you can head down to watch the racing and get involved in the wonderful atmosphere. You’ll be amazed at how many people found cycling through watching some races.
You can join in on an ultracycling, sportive or audax event and meet lots of new cycling friends. Lots of people join the longer – slightly less competitive events to make new friends. Although lots of cyclists look intense and scary – chances are they’re worried themselves, in the middle of an intense effort or away with the fairies… don’t be afraid to smile and wave at your potential new friend.
Learning from friends
Friends don’t only provide great support systems, but you can learn a lot from them too. Sometimes, it takes some longer than others to learn certain skills, but looking at it from a different perspective or getting to practice with friends can really help you hone those skills. Practice makes perfect.
If you’ve been struggling to learn a specific skill, then ask a pal – we’re sure they won’t mind helping you, that’s what friends are for!
They also provide great morale, who doesn’t love a gossip and pedal with a cafe stop somewhere in the ride.
Friends also provide adventure buddies, you can travel the world with them, bike packing or experiencing your first audax, completing your first century ride – whatever it is, it’s better with friends.
Cycling and Mental health
Yep, it’s true, not many people understand the profound and positive effect sports has on mental wellbeing and how it can bring you joy and happiness you can’t gain from many other things.
Sports becomes addictive because of how it makes you feel, cycling can be a super hard sport at times – but so many of us continue to enjoy it… why? Because of the mental stimulation and joy it brings us through the pain.
Gains from cycling
- New friends – great for happiness
- New skills – a joy in itself
- Release of endorphins – the happy chemical!
- Increases mood
- Decreases depression and anxiety
- Provides a balanced lifestyle
- Reduced stress
- Increased self esteem – contributes to how we feel about ourselves and perceived self-worth
The mental health benefits you can gain from being part of the cycling community are wonderful, including all the above. The cycling community gives you a family, a family of people who can relate to the possible struggles or positives you’re going through in your cycling venture. They are also friends who you can talk to about anything going on in your life, they can support you in a way that includes getting out on your bike to clear your head, taking you for coffee, showing you new disciplines or events and can also help you get a job within the community that could make you much happier.
Those are just a few of the gains you receive subconsciously from cycling, if you’re struggling at all head over to Mind for a chat and some more information.