OK, I’m sure we all have family and friends but how many of them actually have the same passion for biking as you? The cycling bug bit you and you’re hooked. If you’re like us, it’s can be hard to coordinate with friends due to busy schedules. Most of our rides are actually by ourselves but when we ride with other people. Magic happens.
When a group of friends all have the same passion, we eat the same “food” (biking). This means we talk the same language, we understand each other, we experience the same obstacles and emotions on the trail. We relate to each other because we are doing the same thing! It’s our support group and who we confide in when we want to challenge difficult obstacles on the trail. Our friends bring out the best of us, they support us and we have a ton of more fun.
Face it, riding by yourself sucks but it does have some upsides. Let’s state some of the obvious.
- You don’t need to wait for people or have people waiting for you.
- You can go at your own pace without feeling any pressure.
- You have the freedom to change the route, choose the destination and decide whether to call it quits or keep going!
- It’s just you, your bike and nature.
Now, let me inspire you as to why riding with friends and finding a mentor is to your advantage. At the very beginning of our cycling careers, improvements come fast. From one week to the next, you get stronger, you ride faster and farther and you do it all the while getting less tired. After a while, our performance stagnates and plateaus. Why is that? I think we’ve all experienced it. That’s when many of us will start looking for answers on the internet or by observing riders they want to emulate. I remember asking questions such as, “how do I ride faster?”, “How can I corner better?”, “How can I improve my pedaling performance?”, “What is the proper nutrition for off and on the bike?”
This is where riding with friends and a bike mentor is so crucial for your improvement as a cyclist. In reality, this can be applied to anything in life. A mentor will have more experience than you and willing to share tips and tricks of the trade that may seem simple but hard to apply. This is what you want. You want someone willing to share knowledge. This is the time to ask questions! Ask tons of questions and apply the answers you get into practice as quickly as possible. The sooner you practice your new tips, the faster they will become second nature.
A mentor can also be someone who has less experience than you. Be open to new ideas and if they sound good. Try it. You can also make observations of what NOT to do. This is important too. Now, you can become the mentor and give back to the community and help them out. The circle of life. Look, there will always be someone better than you at something so instead of feeling intimidated or shy: study them, observe them, ask questions, and most importantly practice what they do.
One very important thing is, do not give into pressure. Mountain biking can be a dangerous sport. We’ve seen it all: broken bones, bruises, internal bleeding, scrapes and even worse; broken morale. Accept that in order to improve on the bike, you will need to get out of your comfort zone and this will lead to crashes. There is just no way getting around that. At the same time, trust your gut. There is no shame in walking a section. Always put on your helmet, if pads make you feel more comfortable, wear them. I know, I do.
Riding with friends and finding a mentor is way more fun than riding solo! You will learn a lot about what to do and what not to do. You will discover new trails, new techniques to maneuver a tricky section of the trail and sometimes overthinking is your enemy. Trust in yourself. Be confident. You can do this.
If you guys have any questions. Please leave them below and stay tuned for the Outdoor Kit!
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