I’ll be the first to admit that I often ride alone. Trust me, I’m not antisocial, but I find it easier to grab my bike and go hammer out laps on my schedule. Also, I am often testing bikes that are under wraps, so out of respect for the company, I do my best to test these bikes when the trails are less populated. Riding alone doesn’t bother me too much, but it will never replace the experience I have when riding with a buddy. There are numerous reasons you should find a person or a group to ride with, but here are my top-five reasons for riding with a friend.
1.) THEY’LL KEEP YOU MOTIVATED
More often than not, when I ride alone, I find myself looking for excuses to be lazy. I’ll show up to the trailhead later than planned, and if the opportunity to do a bonus lap presents itself, I’ll manage to talk myself out of it; however, when I’m riding with a friend, I’m 10 minutes early to the trailhead and begging my fellow rider to go for another lap. During climbs, I’m more motivated to keep a strong pace, and on descents, I have twice as much fun watching my buddy’s ride while simultaneously focusing on my own. One of the top-five reasons I enjoy shredding with another rider is feeling a shared level of motivation with that person.
2.) MORE LIKELY TO HAVE ESSENTIALS YOU NEED
When I head out for a long solo adventure, I triple-check that I have everything I need to solve a problem in a pinch. My mental checklist includes a tube, an air pump, a multi-tool and so on. When riding with a buddy, I still bring the essential items I need to be self-sufficient, but I’m much less concerned about being stranded when I have a friend with me. A feeling of support is yet another reason I enjoy having a riding buddy around.
3.) A PERSONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
Thanks to our handy cell phones, we have the power to share memories with our friends and family. When I ride, especially on a new trail, I snap quick photos so I can remember the ride, whether it be days, months or years later. Having a riding buddy can mean having a personal photographer ready to capture a lifelong memory. An important rule to follow is that if you want photos taken of yourself, you must be willing to take photos of your riding buddy as well. Better yet, take a few photos of your friend while they’re out on the trail and surprise them with the photos after the ride. Having an extra pair of hands to help capture the moment is one more reason you should consider bringing your riding buddy along.
4.) SOMEONE TO CALL FOR HELP
As much as we don’t want to think about it, we can’t deny that mountain biking can be a dangerous sport. When things go wrong, you don’t want to be alone. Having a buddy along for the ride will mean you have someone around to call for help if things go sideways. The buddy system is a great way to keep riders safer. Any time I plan to ride where I’ll be out in a remote area, I try to find someone to come with me.
5.) SHARING PASSION
Nothing builds a stronger friendship than sharing a passion. I’ve found that my good riding buddies quickly turn into my best friends. The conversations you have with your riding buddies are likely to move away from typical bike talk and head towards a deeper level as you conquer climbs together or share a feeling of stoke after ripping a descent. Having another person to share my passion with is my biggest reason for bringing a friend along for the ride.
HOW TO FIND YOUR BUDDY
There are numerous ways to meet friends who love to ride. Next time you’re out on the trail and see another rider cruising alone, ask if he or she would like to do a lap with you. Often when I do this, the other rider shows me a trail I’ve never seen before; other times he will even show me how to ride an obstacle in a way I never would have imagined. Another great way to meet fellow riders is to join a group ride at a local bike shop or find a Facebook group that meets up near you. It is okay to ride alone, and sometimes I have to do so myself, but having the opportunity to share my ride always makes for a better adventure. So, get out, make some friends and let’s all shred together.
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