I’ll be the first to admit that I often run or ride alone, but there are times you need a training partner. Trust me, I’m not antisocial, but I find it easier to grab my bike or shoes and go hammer some trails on my own schedule. 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 workout with, but here are our top-five reasons for working out with a buddy.
1. Misery Loves Company
Friends and training partners are essential this time of the year. Weather in most parts of the country is crappy or unpredictable and going out in the rain, cold or dark is no fun. Knocking out a hike, an hour run or a two-hour ride with some buddies is always more enjoyable. Sometimes a good conversation can help you forget you can’t feel your fingers and toes.
2. They’ll Help 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.
3. More Likely to Have the Essentials You Need
When I head out for a long ride on the bike, I triple-check that I have everything I need to solve a problem in a pinch including a cell phone. The Camelback may weigh a little extra but it’s worth it. My mental checklist includes a tube, pump, spare chain links, 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 and a backup plan is always good.
4. A Personal Photographer
Thanks to our handy cell phones, we have the power to share memories with our friends and family. Having a training buddy can mean having a personal photographer ready to capture a lifelong memory or a quick social media post. 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.
5. Safety in Numbers and 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 do go awry. The buddy system is a great way to keep athletes safer. If you can’t find someone to workout with, let someone know where you are or use Stava’s live tracking.
6. Sharing A Passion
Nothing builds a stronger friendship than sharing a passion. It’s pretty much a proven fact that good workout buddies quickly turn into great friends. The conversations you have are likely to move away from typical workout chat and head towards a deeper level as you conquer climbs together or share a feeling of stoke after ripping some single-track.
Thinking You Need a Training Partner now? Here Are Some Ideas on Finding a Great Training Partner
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.