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A pair of women smiling with their bikes and looking at the camera. This is one of our Cycle Buddies helping a new cyclist learn a route.

Cycle Buddies

Connecting new and experienced cyclists - help and support to start cycling, build confidence, or take on new routes.

Cycle Buddies

Become a buddy

Do you want a little help to cycle more? Are you nervous about riding on busy roads, or do you want to plan a journey to work or to the shops? Or do you cycle already and want to help others experience the joy and freedom of getting around by bike?

Cycle Buddies puts people who want help to cycle more in touch with buddies who want to help them in their local area. Buddies can then meet up and ride together – completing essential journeys safely or getting exercise outdoors. What are you waiting for?

Do you work in the NHS? Find out more about NHS Cycle Buddies here.

What do you want to do?

I want to cycle more

You can sign up to Cycle Buddies – it’s free!

 

We’ll ask you about the sort of rides you are looking to do, where you live and what you are looking for in a cycling buddy. Look out on the events page and in our newsletters for the calls we organise about cycling in London and meeting other cyclists.

 

We aim to match you up with a buddy within a week. Then you can get in touch with your buddy and arrange a time and place to meet for a ride. We’ll send you some advice by email about how to meet and ride together safely. Pay attention to the latest government advice about social distancing during the pandemic.

 

As well as Cycle Buddies, you can do online training or find how to do free in-person training with your local council here. If you haven’t cycled on the road before, we suggest you do cycle training before starting with Cycle Buddies.

 

When you meet your buddy you set the pace. Tell your buddy about your cycling experience and what you want to do. You decide how far and fast you cycle, and if you’d like to meet for more rides after the first one.

 

Set cycling goals for yourself and tell your buddy what they are. Keep track of your progress and share it with your buddy. If you have any questions, or you want a new buddy or you want to become a helper buddy yourself, get back in touch with us at any time.

 

People join Cycle Buddies for different reasons:

 

  • Because they are coming back to cycling after some time off
  • To build up confidence on busy roads
  • To find quiet roads and cycle paths around their neighbourhood
  • To plan and test out a route to work
  • To exercise safely during the pandemic

 

We have helper buddies from many different backgrounds willing to help people in different ways:

 

  • Checking bikes together before a ride
  • Riding to the park for a bit of practice
  • Finding quiet routes around your neighbourhood
  • Planning a route to work or college on quiet roads
  • Sharing experience of things like being seen after dark or clothes to wear

 

After you’ve ridden together, share your story with friends and family and on social media, and let us know how it went.

 

Look at our FAQs or our stories of previous cycle buddies below if you want to know more. Or even better, sign up to start your cycle buddy journey today.

I want to help other people to cycle more

We’re very grateful to people who cycle already and volunteer their time to help others.

 

After you sign up, we’ll match you up with somebody in your area who is looking for help. (It may take some time to match you with the right person, depending on who comes forward in your area). Look out on the events page and in our newsletters for the calls we organise for more information about being a buddy.

 

Please get in touch with your buddy, find out what their cycling experience is and what sort of ride they want to do. We’ll give you some advice on meeting safely and riding together. Ask your buddy what their cycling goals are. Listen and give encouragement. Don’t feel you have to explain everything. Help them to work things out for themselves and to track their own progress.

 

Rides vary depending on what your buddy wants. You may ride to the park or show them local routes – quietways, new cycle lanes and offroad paths are popular. They may want to try out junctions or crossing busy roads – think about how to ride those safely.

 

For a longer ride, like a journey to work, it may be advisable to plan the route in advance, to try it out on your own first and ride it together at a quiet time of day. Sometimes it may take a few rides before you complete the whole route.

 

If your buddy has questions, share your experience - how you check your bike or journey-planning apps or maps you use for example - but do let them know they can get formal training outside of Cycle Buddies if needed.

 

We ask you to offer your buddy at least three rides together. Rides vary but are typically 60-90 minutes long.

 

After you have ridden with your buddy, keep in touch to find out how they are getting on with cycling – maybe contact them after a month and three months. Let them know about LCC activities and group rides they can get involved with.

 

You don’t need any training to be a cycle buddy, and you are not training your buddy in how to ride, but we do want you to feel confident that you can ride safely with another person. We expect you to be riding at the level of Bikeability 3, and always recommend the free training available from your borough – see our cycle training page for further information.

 

Our helper buddies are great ambassadors for cycling – and enjoy sharing the freedom of getting about by bike. If you still have questions, check out our FAQs and the story of our buddies Trish and Jo below. We hope you’ll join us – and that you have fun with your cycle buddy.

I want to find new routes to cycle

When you sign up for Cycle Buddies, we'll ask you what you'd like to get out of the programme. Here you can share any concerns you may have with regards to riding safely on the roads as well as other advice you might be interested in such as finding a great route to your workplace or to your local shops.

 

We'll match you up with a buddy local to you who best suits your needs. Once you've been connected, you can discuss your cycling before meeting up. It could be as simple as riding to the park to practice, or arranging a weekly ride.

 

You can get started by reading LCC's Route Planning Guide, visiting our Routes Guide or by trying out online route planning tools such as Komoot.

How are the helper buddies trained?

The helper buddies are part of a network of LCC volunteers who are experienced cyclists. The volunteers in the network support each other with knowledge and information from their own experience and from delivering other community services. The network is supported by a volunteer borough admin for each borough we are live in and from the office with our dedicated Cycle Buddies Officer. As the Cycle Buddies project grows we are building on our induction materials and running helper buddy workshops.

 

The Cycle Buddies service is a matching service to help people build confidence in cycling and should be done in conjunction with cycle training to ensure everyone has the correct cycle skills to cycle on the road. It is the responsibility of the people being matched to look after their own safety. This is why we recommend each pair has a good chat before any session to fully understand each other’s skills level and expectations for any sessions.

I want to find out about Cycle Buddies in the workplace

Encouraging cycling in the workplace has a tangible effect on employees health and wellbeing with the added benefit of reducing your organisation’s carbon footprint. Cycle Buddies connects people who want support to cycle more in touch with more experienced buddies in their local area.

 

Buddies can then meet up and ride together – practicing a safe commute or getting exercise outdoors.

 

Find out more about Cycle Buddies in the workplace here.

Questions On Cycle Buddies?

We've complied answers to some of the most common questions asked about Cycle Buddies.

What’s it like to be a cycle buddy?

We asked Trish and Jo from Wandsworth, two of the first cycle buddies to meet up and ride together.

Trish's story

"When I saw Cycle Buddies online I signed up right away. I used to go dancing three times a week but I had to give all that up in lockdown. Cycling has replaced my dancing. I’m in my 50s, it’s so much better for me getting around like this. Cycling is fantastic for the heart, for your self-esteem and for your whole body."

Jo and Trish Jo and Trish

Trish's story

"I used to ride only at the weekends. I’d ride on the pavements sometimes even though I knew I wasn’t supposed to - the roads were just too frightening in some places. My buddy Jo has been fantastic. I didn’t feel confident before Cycle Buddies, certainly not to ride to work, but I can do that now."

Jo's Story

"When Cycle Buddies introduced us we got in touch through email and then Facebook and spoke on the phone to set up a ride. We took it in turns riding, I led for a while then Trish took over. It wasn’t me training her, it was us doing it together. I find buddying rewarding. It’s so good to build this community, and I’m so pleased I’ve met Trish."

Do you have questions?

Starting or returning to cycling can be daunting, but Cycle Buddies could be the key to getting on your bike. Answers to some of the most common questions from past buddies are available on the FAQs page.

Get The Answers Go to this link

Sign Up For Cycle Buddies

Whether you're a new cyclist looking for help cycling or an experienced cyclist who can help others start, you can sign up to be a Cycle Buddy here.

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