Our helper buddies are great ambassadors for cycling, sharing their expertise of local routes and giving others the confidence to get around by bike.
If you feel confident cycling on the road with someone else, and are wanting to give back to others, this is the place for you.
What does volunteering involve?
Create a profile on our Cycle Buddies platform and then wait until someone contacts you for help. Then go cycling together, a few times, at their pace, to build their confidence.
Once someone gets in touch, find out what their cycling experience is and what sort of rides they want to do. Follow the advice on the tab below 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. There are lots of tips and advice on our website, these can be used to guide your sessions.
You’ll need to find out what they want to do and where they want to go. Some people want to explore quiet streets locally or plan a longer journey for example to work. You may ride to the park or show them local routes – quiet ways, new cycle lanes and off-road 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.
After you have ridden with your buddy, we’d like you 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.
How long does it take?
We’d like you to be free to go on at least three rides together with your buddy. Rides vary but are typically 60-90 minutes long.
Do I need formal training to be a helper buddy?
You don’t need any formal training to be a cycle buddy (though it is great if you have some!).
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.
What if they ask me things I don't know?
That’s okay! We don’t expect you to know everything, just share your own experience to give help where appropriate – for example, how you check your bike or tips on journey-planning apps.
We also don’t expect you to give people training, so let them know how to access free in-person training with their local council here. They can also contact cycling instructors directly through the Cycle Buddies platform.
Are there any resources to help me?
How do I get started?
Start by creating a profile on our Cycle Buddies platform. You’ll be asked some questions about the kind of help you want to offer. There’s also an opportunity to add some details in the biography section of your profile.
New riders seeking help will be able find your profile based on their own postcode and the search filters based on the kind of help they are looking for.
Searches can be based on home postcodes or work postcodes. Helper buddy profiles can set either work address or home addresses. Postcodes are not public and only an approximate distance is indicated.
Once you’ve created your profile, new riders looking for help will be able to contact you directly through the chat function on the platform. New riders looking for Helper Buddies can search for local buddies, but experienced riders offering help cannot search for new riders.
It may take some time before someone matches with you. What you put in your biography will help.
What should I put in my profile to help other people find me?
Your profile on our Cycle Buddies platform is your chance to introduce yourself to potential buddies.
Remember, you can’t search for them – they can only search for you – so make your profile clear and appealing.
Include a clear, friendly picture of yourself. Remember not to include photos of high-value items such as jewellery or high-end bikes. Make sure it’s the right way up!
Write a profile that a new rider might be interested in.
For example, maybe you speak certain languages, have had epic cycling adventures, or have particular local knowledge you want to share. Maybe you have experience of adapted bikes or riding with a particular disability. Maybe there is an aspect of your identity which might make a new rider be more comfortable with you, for example you ride with a Muslim women’s group, or cycle with your kids. Or maybe you just want to say what cycling means to you or your motivation for helping others become regular cyclists.
Or maybe there’s somethings you don’t want to help with: maybe you only want to help people on local rides and not on commutes in to central London, or maybe the opposite.
Give people the information and let them find you.
I signed up some time ago but I haven’t been paired up with a buddy yet.
If you’re offering to help it may take longer, because someone has to actively choose you to help them.
Improve your chances of being chosen by making your your profile is clear and appealing – see information above.
You may consider helping spread the word about Cycle Buddies locally – we have posters and leaflets available to put up and give away. Just ask email@example.com
Personal safety when meeting your Cycle Buddy
Once you connect with a Cycle Buddy on the platform, it is important to remember that you are dealing with a stranger – please follow our advice below:
Feel free to contact the Cycle Buddies team at any time, on this email address. Please contact us right away if you have any concerns about any aspect of the scheme or the arrangements with your Buddy.
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