Joining up with a local mountain bike group ride can be a great time, but like any group activity, finding the right group is key to that great experience. With the world of mountain bikes having different types of riders, different types of mountain bikes (see our breakdown of bikes HERE), along with varying levels of trail difficulties - it’s not always easy to find a suitable group ride for you. While there are the joys of meeting new riders and riding new trails, there are also the nightmares of getting left behind, riding trails over your head, or frustrating other riders. As you search for mountain bike group rides near me, reach out to those bike shops or organizations putting on the group ride!
We recommend asking these questions when considering a group ride:
- What style of bike do most riders ride?
- What are the local trail ratings?
- What’s the average pace of the group?
- How often does the group stop to wait and regroup?
- What type of mountain biking experience is recommended?
The Benefits of Riding With A Group
One of the best ways to make new bike friends and improve mountain bike trail riding is to ride with a group. Having the right group can be motivating and exciting.
Another significant benefit is discovering new ways to ride your home trails. We all get into a routine of riding our trails a certain way, but riding with different people opens up new perspectives on your local trails.
Rather than looking for new mountain bike trails near me, joining a group ride can make your same routes feel exciting again. Not only will you get new trail perspectives, riding with different riders will expand your bike knowledge and gain insights into the local bike community. You’ll see how a different style of bike, like a trail or enduro bike, can make a particular trail feature more doable for you. Or, you’ll get tips from other riders about bike setup; or components like tires, pedals, shoes, saddles, etc. There’s a wealth of insider knowledge in these group rides, helping you make better setup and purchasing decisions.
Do’s and Don’ts of Riding in a Group
Do - Show Up Prepared
Check over your bike ahead of time to make sure it doesn’t fall apart during the ride.
See our mountain bike maintenance tips HERE for details.
Make sure to be self-sufficient on the ride. Even if it’s a short ride, it could easily take three times longer than expected due to somebody else with bike issues or missing a turn.
Be sure to pack tools and extra tubes for essential repairs.
Bring plenty of water and snacks.
Don’t - Jump Into a Group Ride That Doesn’t Match Your Mountain Bike Experience or Skill
Group rides are all about moving together at a steady pace. This can be majorly disrupted if the group stops every few miles from letting someone catch up.
Research ahead of time what type of group ride it is and how challenging the trails will be.
If you’re on vacation and not sure about the terrain, consider hiring a guided ride instead, which will be tailored to your ability and still provide the benefits of riding with another experienced rider.
Do - Introduce Yourself to the Other Riders, Especially the Ride Leader
This gives the ride leader an idea of the size of the group and can help determine if any riders are missing during the ride.
Bonus tip! Break the ice with small talk. Remember that most riders are on a group ride to be social as well! Small talk adds to the camaraderie of the group.
Don’t - Be That Guy That Turns the Group Ride Into a Race or a Gnarly Ride
Turning it into something it’s not intended to defeat the purpose and puts others at risk. Even if you are an advanced rider joining an intermediate-level ride, ride within the boundaries of the group ride.
Do - Ride Within Your Limits
Everyone in the group has a responsibility to ride safely and make it back together. If there’s a trail feature you're not comfortable with, get out of the way and let the next rider go through. If you were to crash with others coming up behind you, they are in greater danger. If it’s the type of group ride where everyone sessions a specific trail feature, this would be the better time to go for it.
Don’t - Leave Early Without Telling Anyone
If you’re off the pace and not feeling like you want to continue, let others know you leave early. Make sure to communicate this to the ride leader. If nobody knows you cut out early, eventually, the entire group will have to stop and look for you, which ruins the ride and causes a lot of extra stress.
How to Find People to Mountain Bike With
The most common ways to find group rides are through your local bicycle shop, local trail advocacy groups, and social media in your area. Thunder Mountain Sedona, for example, has regular group rides that are only posted on their social media.
For Arizona mountain biking clubs, check out this list of groups throughout the state HERE. Many of these groups post rides to their website or social media. Overall, following your local bike shop, local ride influencers, and local trail organizations on social media will give you some pointers to different group rides.