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From time to time we get requests for an online tool to help find mountain bike pals to ride with, and while we’ve considered the idea, there are just too many better ways for riders to connect. If you’re looking for a new group to ride with this season but don’t know where to start, here are a few ideas.

Head out to the local trail! This is the easiest way to find mountain bikers with similar interests and abilities and definitely the most fun way to do it. Hit up the trailhead on a Saturday morning (or whenever things get busy) and ask folks if you can ride with them. Nine times out of ten they’ll say yes and you can get to know them as you ride. If things go well, ask for contact info afterward and try to schedule another time to meet up.

Join your local MTB club. Mountain bike clubs exist for a number of reasons, not the least of which is for socializing. Pay your dues and show up at the next group meeting or work party and introduce yourself. Many clubs also host group rides at the local trails so check you local club’s website / Facebook group to get the deets.

Sign up for a race or MTB festival. Some races can be pretty competitive so try to find one that attracts beginners and folks looking to have fun. During warm ups and after the race is a great time to introduce yourself (don’t try to do this during the race – you might get some dirty looks).

Get active online. While some mountain bikers would like to have an automated tool that randomly connects them with similar riders, we think there’s a lot of value in developing friendships online first. What does this look like? For starters, post a bit about yourself and where you like to ride on a biking forum where folks from your area tend to hang out. Chat back and forth a bit before asking to meet up for a ride – some people may be uncomfortable with getting together before they feel like they know you.

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Also check social networking sites like Meetup and Facebook to find groups in your area. These online groups often exist for the sole purpose of connecting mountain bikers so take advantage!

Pop into your local bike shop. Some bike shops host their own group rides and they’re always a great resource for learning about the local scene. Chat up the employees and they should be able to help you find ways to get connected.

The great thing about all these methods is that once you meet one or two mountain bikers they’ll introduce you to their friends and friends of friends. Before you know it you’ll have a network of riders you can call up at a moment’s notice to meet up at the trail. Over time you’ll narrow in on those with similar skill levels and riding styles and you’ll forget what it was like riding by yourself. Get out there and network now so you’ll have a crew to ride with this summer!

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# Comments

  • abovetheridge

    Agree with the trailhead approach. As weather warms in your local area, bikers start hitting the trails. MTB races work sometimes, but I’ve found that unless you have a jersey or shirt that represents something in your local area, the spark for a conversation piece is lacking. Usually people are less reluctant to approach someone if they can relate, and that could mean wearing a local bike shop jersey from your area. The MTB groups are great too. I must say, I’ve been a member of mine for 2-3 years, and even though all opportunities to meet at group rides or trail work or club meetings have escaped me, the club’s website always states where the groups will be riding and when. Always a good opportunity to find the congregation of riders and roll over to introduce yourself. 9 times out of 10, they will ask you if you want to join them for the ride.

  • dgaddis

    That’s my front wheel in the bottom left corner of that picture.

    Nice write up, all good tips. MTB people are good people, it’s easy to make friends.

  • AlpineSlayer

    Very helpful article. I’ve been looking into joining the local MTB club in my area for a while now, so maybe this is the year to sign up. I definitely agree that going to local trails is one of the best ways to meet other mountain bikers.

  • mudhunny

    imo, showing up at a local mtb club meeting or ride can be intimidating for us female riders. fortunately, women’s specific clubs/teams seem to be popping up all over the country so be sure to search for those. ive met some of my closest girl friends from participating in a womens biking club, so don’t be shy folks 🙂

  • Goo

    Lot’s of good information in this post! I personally do the bike-shop organized ride thing a lot, or just walk into my local shop and ask if anyone’s riding. It’s worked well so far, and I’m sure these other ways are at least as good!

    -Greg
    http://gregridestrails.com

  • seenvic

    First, I am going to assume your local club is actually doing some good for the sport, locally. Good is defined as having rides, perhaps events, maintaining the local trails, perhaps building local trails, having a relationship with the land managers who decide what happens on public lands. If this is the case, join your local club because it is the right thing to do. Finding folks to ride with will become a natural by product of you getting involved, meeting the local leaders of the movement and becoming a participant in the movement. Even better than finding folks to ride with, you will make friends that will go beyond riding.

    That is my experience. It seems the more I give the sport, the more it gives me back.

  • BonkedAgain

    What? No eHarmony for mtb’ers? Come on Jeff!

    Btw, there are lots of groups here in Colorado that go out of their way to welcome people for social rides. As a programming note, COMBA will be having its first social ride committee meeting (they even have a committee for social rides!) next Monday in Golden.

    Oh, and on the topic of women only rides, there was an interesting article on that in our local paper, The Gazette: http://www.gazette.com/articles/springs-96428-biking-mountain.html Those ladies can be found at wmbacos.org. Oh, and in the Denver area there is another women only group called the “Dirt Divas”, hosted by a great lady named Nancy Kelly. You can find them at http://thedirtdivas.blogspot.com/ Definitely a more relaxed way for the ladies to get involved.

  • sal_pic

    Not to be a debbie downer, but I had a pretty negative experience with a bike shop ride. Long story short: they weren’t too keen on having any beginners ride with them. On the way to the trail they took off, leaving me in their dust. Not being too familiar with the area trails, I couldn’t find the trailhead! If I had made it clear that I was a newbie, I may have ended up on a great ride.

    SO my advice for beginners going on LBS rides: let them know you’re a beginner! They may not ask!

  • Jonathan Taulbee

    Check out RideAmong.com. This is the perfect way to find people to ride bikes with. I just found a local group on there.

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