New to biking and want some company? Or been riding a while but can’t get motivated to ride on your own? Riding with a group, whether it’s one or two friends or an organized activity, is both more fun and more motivating than riding alone. And having planned rides on the calendar will keep you cycing regularly. Here are some of the best places to start.
Your Local Bike Store
Some bigger bike stores host group rides, and even smaller local stores will likely be able to point you in the direction of group rides or may have contact info for local trip leaders and organizers. If you’re buying a new bike, choose the store as carefully as you choose your ride, looking for one that offers ongoing customer service and a supportive community. Some bike stores also offer free maintenance.
Sporting Goods Stores
Larger sporting goods stores like R.E.I. and Sports Basement often have organized riding groups or regularly scheduled weekly rides. Look online to see if the nearest store has an event calendar or go by to see if there’s a calendar or flier you can pick up. Rides may be organized by length or level, or may utilize a route with flexible return options depending on how long you want to ride.
The website Meetup.com has an endless number of groups searchable by subject and zip code. You’ll see bike groups organized by gender and age and groups for families, singles, and types of rides. If you’re worried about keeping up, start with a beginner’s group – you can always “graduate” if you want something more challenging.
Work and School Commute Groups
All over the San Francisco Bay Area, people will take to the streets on two wheels for Bike to Work Day on May 12th, with events planned in Oakland, Berkeley, Palo Alto, the North Bay, and other communities as well as in the City itself. In fact, the entire month of May has been designated Bike to Work month. For families, there’s Bike and Roll to School Week, coming up April 18-22, and many schools have a Bike and Roll to School Day scheduled monthly.
Community Recreation and Education Groups
Bicycling workshops and activity groups can be found at local community centers, after school recreation programs, and even community colleges and adult education programs. Check also for workshops on bike maintenance, which can save you money as well as time.