We connect people wanting to cycle more with local buddies who want to help them. We have helper buddies from many different backgrounds willing to help people in different ways. For example:
All we ask is that if you do sign up, you do your best to meet up with your Cycle Buddy and see how it goes. We can’t wait to hear from you.
What will Cycle Buddies involve?
When you create your Cycle Buddies profile, you’ll be asked about the sort of rides you are looking to do, where you live and what you are looking for in a cycling buddy.
You’ll then see a list of cycle buddies either near your work address or your home address. You can switch between addresses. The list of Cycle Buddies and/or cycle instructors will be filtered according to your answers about the kind of help you want. You can also edit these answers in your profile as you become more confident and your goals evolve.
Once you’ve completed your profile you’ll then be able to contact a Cycle Buddy directly through the platform. Get in touch to discuss your goals and arrange a time and place to meet. Make sure you follow the advice on meeting up safely.
You set the pace with Cycle Buddies. 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.
Set cycling goals for yourself and tell your buddy what they are. Keep track of your progress and share it with your buddy. After you’ve ridden together, share your story with friends and family and on social media, and let us know how it went.
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.
Can I cycle with a disability?
Absolutely yes. There is a huge cycling community among disabled people – see Wheels for Wellbeing for some starting inspiration. Some helper buddies and instructors will have lived experience of this, use adapted bikes, or work with inclusive cycling groups – mention it when you’re getting in touch with people and find someone who knows how to help you.
What if I don't have a bike?
That’s okay! There are lots of options – have a chat to your buddy.
Currently in London there are shared hire bikes and e-bikes available from Santander Cycles, Lime, Tier, HumanForest, Dott and more. For these you’ll need to sign-up to unlock the bike via apps that also show you where your nearest bike is.
And if you’re getting a formal lesson from a cycle instructor, some instructors can provide you with a bike – just ask.
If you’re looking to buy a bike, our retail network map shows LCC-affiliated shops where you can try and purchase bikes, and there is often support or vouchers available through workplaces e.g. the Cycle to Work scheme. And check our our top tips for buying second-hand.
Where can I find advice on cycling?
Take a look at our advice pages here for lots of tips on getting started, or different topics within cycling.
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.
Can this help me find safe routes?
Yes. When you create your Cycle Buddies profile, make sure to select the route planning option and your search results will show you the Cycle Buddies who can help you with route planning.
Once you’ve connected with a buddy you can discuss your cycling experience and goals before meeting up. Let the buddy know about any specific routes you want help with.
You can also get started by reading our route planning guide.
I’m not at all confident cycling – will Cycle Buddies be right for me?
If you can ride a bike and have ridden on the road before then Cycle Buddies could be the right choice for you.
If you’re not at all comfortable riding on quiet roads, then we suggest you go to your local council for free cycle training before you start with Cycle Buddies. Find out about free cycle training here.
You can also find and contact Cycling Instructors using the Cycle Buddies platform, but the actual booking will either be through your local council or by private arrangement between yourself and the instructor.
All London councils offer free cycle training to adults and any instructor on the platform will be able to help you book these for free.
I enjoyed my buddy rides and want to continue
We hope you keep on cycling! Plan more routes, explore London, and enjoy getting around by bike. Find friendly group rides and meet people across London through the London Cycling Campaign events calendar.
Do I have to wear a helmet?
No. Along with other UK cycling organisations, we think the choice of wearing a cycle helmet is up to the individual or, in the case of children, their parents or carers. If you do choose to wear a helmet, make sure it’s fitted correctly. Find out more about LCC’s position on helmets here.
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