You may cringe at the thought that social networks can help improve your cycling experience, but it’s true. As cyclists, we’re part of an exclusive club, so finding others who love riding as much as we do can pose a challenge. Social networks enable us to establish closer connections with other riders far and wide.
With Facebook being the most widely used social network online, it’s one of the easiest ways to connect with other cyclists. Facebook allows you to create “groups” where you, and friends you’ve invited to the group, can schedule rides for specific days of the week. It’s a convenient place for riders to plan and discuss ride events. Usually, the more members a group has, the more participation there is for each ride, so try to make your group as inclusive as possible, resulting in more fun for everyone. Furthermore, inspiring athletes all over the world have their own personal Facebook pages that you can follow for extra motivation.
Instagram is a social network where the impetus for connection lies in the photo. A powerful image can motivate and inspire whether it depicts a trail or road ride. With hash tags, you can make photo libraries that anyone can contribute to, and you can search for inspiration. Hashtagging a photo with “cycling” puts your photo in an exceptionally large photo library that contains up to two million photos.
You can creatively make up your own hashtag that you and your circle of riding buddies can use to motivate one another. Sometimes the hashtag becomes popular and other people in the world join in on the fun.
Instagram is a fun way to capture a snippet of cycling lifestyles. Mountain riders will snap a picture of a new trail that inspires others to explore off the beaten path. Road riders might snap a picture of an intimidating climb. In the end, it doesn’t matter what type of riding you do; what’s important is that you’re having fun, and your picture may motivate someone else to ride.
Bicycles can be complex machines that are difficult to work on without proper knowledge. Youtube allows riders to connect and educate one another. Our own unique video series entited “Ask a Mechanic” answers popular questions that our Youtube viewers have about working on their own bikes. Whether you have questions about bicycle fit, riding technique, or maintenance procedures, our Art’s Cyclery video library is full of information to help heighten your cycling experience thanks to our loyal viewers.
Strava is a social network concentrated solely on physical activities. Cyclists all over the world use Strava to follow, connect, and virtually race other riders.
Strava is a unique social network based on the activities you enjoy. If you have a competitive spirit, then Strava is a good fit for you. Strava has an intuitive interface you can use to analyze your and your virtual competitor’s training data. Goal setting is key to the Strava experience with different challenges presented throughout each month and established KOM’s (King of the Mountain) to race against. It’s a fun network to be a part of, especially once you start forming a connection with other riders to race against or just encourage. Strava is easy to use, with many smart phones or GPS computers syncing directly to the platform.
There’s no doubt that cycling is a growing sport. With more people getting on a bike, social networks enable each and every one of us to connect, educate, and compete. Whether you’re posting a comment about your ride on Facebook, capturing a breathtaking photo at the top of a tough climb, or virtual-racing someone for a KOM segment on Strava, get out there and be a part of the growing online bicycle community. You’ll develop a close circle of enablers who will push you to become a better rider than you are already.