Some hobbies are best when experienced alone. Creative hobbies often call for at least some measure of isolation to give your ideas time to grow and mature before being shown to the world. On the other hand, physical hobbies in the vein of biking or running are often just as enjoyable alone as they are in a group. In fact, MTB group rides offer quite a few perks that you won't be able to enjoy if you take off by yourself.
It's important to note that a group bike ride is no reason to skimp out on the basic essentials for a proper ride. Make sure to inspect your bike for damage or maintenance needs before setting out. However, if your ride is too old and in need for several repairs, it’s best to consider buying a new one in order to avoid having your bike breaking down in the middle of the road. According to mountainbikereviewed.com, Schwinn Protocol 1.0 is one of the best mountain bikes for downhill riding and trails. Its dual suspension provides smooth rides with great control, making it the perfect option for any outdoor challenge.
Moving on, you need to make sure to bring food and water if you plan to be on the trail for any lengthy period of time. Also, wear your helmet and any protective gear you have. If you plan to ride at night, make sure you have working mountain bike trail lights and reflectors to help keep the group aware of one another's location.
With that out of the way, here are a few upsides to taking your friends or family along on your next biking trip.
1. You Get to Meet Fellow Cyclists
Some hobbies make it easy to find other enthusiasts and biking can easily be one of them if you let it. Finding a group in the first place might take a bit of work on your end, but the benefits of having friends who are into the same things you are can be the difference between a beloved lifelong hobby and a passing fancy.
Joining a cycling club or signing up for cycling events are the quickest ways to meet other cyclists, but there's always the option of seeking others online or just showing up at your local trail.
2. Bike Breakdowns Are Less Dire
Even the tightest maintenance schedule can miss fine details here and there. Chances are you're going to experience a breakdown at some point in your riding life that isn't entirely your fault.
Punctures, flats, broken chains or dead trail lights can happen to anyone and dealing with any problem alone isn't the most fun way to spend an afternoon. Having a group with you means you won't have to worry about finding help should you be unable to get back on the trail, but that doesn't mean you should skimp on preparation.
Proper trail prep might mean learning additional skills once you're out and about in the wild. Pack appropriately and stick with your group and you might not need those survival skills after all!
3. Group Dynamics Make Biking into a Social Outing
Again, not every hobby gives you the chance to stop and chat with your friends. Harder trails certainly require a level of attention that isn't conducive to extended discussion, but the camaraderie of the trail while on MTB group rides with fellow enthusiasts might help slow your pace and get you to enjoy the trail in ways you hadn't before.
Larger groups tend to have a more relaxed pace and that means more time to ogle the scenery and chat with your friends. Not every ride has to be a fast-paced race to the finish line. Just make sure you understand the basics of riding with a group and when it's appropriate to go hard or ease off the pace, especially if you wind up riding with less experienced cyclists.
4. Group Cycling Is a Group Effort
If you find it hard to stick with a routine or just can't quite wrap your head around going it alone, group exercise offers accountability and a herd mentality that could help you stay in the game.
The number of stories you'll likely hear over the years that have to do with diets or exercise routines that were abandoned a short month or two after the new year begins will outnumber the grains of sand on the average beach. Don't be a statistic! Find friends to pedal with and you'll have an easier time staying on a schedule.
5. You Just Might Learn Something
We all like to work at our peak possible performance. There's nothing particularly fun about being unskilled at something and cycling is no exception, which makes a group ride the perfect time to pick up a few pointers.
Not only can you find cyclists with riding styles that may be worth studying, you get to spend time watching their form to figure out just how your body should move while pedaling. Getting involved in a mountain bike program is a great way of meeting more cyclists and making new friends to ride with. Experience may be the best teacher but watching someone else can come in a close second.
If you aren't sure how to start MTB group rides, you may just need to take a look around your neighborhood to see who else has an interest. Maybe there's an experienced club or maybe you'll have to found one of your own.
Whatever the case may be, riding mountain bikes with fellow cyclists paves the way to good health and long-lasting friendships forged over a common hobby.
By Amanda Wilks