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.
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!