Biking is inherently a social activity, along with a great means of transportation and a worthy workout. From the time you learned to ride a bike, you probably loved cruising around the neighborhood with your friends. While some of us have steered toward more serious cycling that involves long training rides alone or with other similarly cycling-obsessed pals, casual rides with less athletic friends are also a great way to keep riding while staying social — and it’s a healthy alternative to happy hours. In short, whether you cycle with your fast friends or slow ones, biking together is still one of the best choices you can make.
Here, seven reasons to give thanks for cycling with friends:
FRIENDS MAKE THE BEST TRAINING PARTNERS
Cycling is time consuming, which means in a 2–6 hour ride, you’ll have time to catch up about everything, stop for coffee and cheer each other on for yet another climb. Friends also make ideal training partners because you’ll be more likely to head out for a ride when it’s with someone you enjoy spending time with — and they’re more likely to hold you accountable when you’re tempted to skip a workout.
YOU’LL KEEP EACH OTHER HEALTHY
Cycling is one of the best activities you can partake in to lose weight, improve your cardiovascular health and reduce overall stress levels. Cycling is also low impact and easy to incorporate into your lifestyle — whether it’s bike commuting or biking to coffee. If you have a close friend you care about, what better way is there to get them to adopt a healthier lifestyle than to get them into cycling?
Yes, cycling requires some initial investment if you don’t already own a bike. But once you get a bike, it doesn’t require much upkeep other than pumping your tires. However, going out to eat at restaurants, getting beers at the local brewery and going out to the movies adds up. If you get a friend into cycling, you’ll save money by including the occasional ride with those dinners, beers and movies.
IT’S A GOOD WAY TO BOND IN NATURE
Getting out in nature has been proven to ease stress. And while it can be hard to find time for friends, inviting a friend to ride can be a terrific way to slow down and reconnect without the interference of smartphones.
IT’S THE BEST WAY TO EXPLORE
Whether it’s your own city or a trip to a nearby area you’ve never been to before, there’s no better way to explore with a friend than by bike. Whether you’re road cycling, hitting mountain bike trails or riding gravel, it’s an excuse to catch up as you explore new routes.
YOU’LL HELP SAVE THE PLANET
Cycling is the kind of activity that can have a positive impact on the environment. But to really make a difference, it’s up to cyclists to get others involved. Convincing your friends to ride bikes instead of driving cars is an excellent place to start — and the one person at a time philosophy is what can eventually turn things around. Once you’ve got them hooked, encourage them to do the same and get someone else to ride a bike.
YOU’LL IMPROVE YOUR CYCLING SKILLS
There’s two types of cyclists — those who prefer to ride alone and those who only ride with others. If you’re the solo type, you could be missing out on an essential cycling skill. Riding in close proximity to others improves your bike-handling, takes advantage of drafting to cover longer distances and forces you to communicate with others using hand signals to work together and avoid hazards.