If you want to share your love of cycling with others, this is the role for you. You’ll help a new or returning cyclist by giving knowledge and support in a judgement-free space. By cycling together on a regular basis, your buddy will build confidence and discover quiet routes in friendly company. We’ll provide you with full training, then match you with someone who lives in your area of Bristol. You and your buddy will decide when to meet, where to cycle and how far – and that’s it! No pressure, no competition, just cycling.
There is also the opportunity to work with people who are struggling with their mental health, helping them to enjoy the outdoors and feel less isolated. This will involve additional training. You can indicate whether you would like to do this on the application form.
To sign up, fill in our short online form and we will be in touch to discuss your situation. For more information about the role, use the page menu below.
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About the scheme
We want to help more adults in Bristol to make cycling part of their everyday life. Whether that’s getting to work, meeting friends and family or riding for pleasure, we need volunteers like you to help them:
• Discover cycle-friendly routes from their door to places they’d like to reach.
• Build their confidence on two wheels.
• Enjoy sociable bike rides with someone local to them.
Our Cycle Buddy project is funded by Wesport and United Communities’ “Solon Coronavirus Community Fund”.
You can change lives, using the simple power of cycling!
“When I first got on a bike my legs were like jelly after four miles and I was scared to cycle in the city. My buddy was fantastic: she showed me the quiet routes around town. Now, I leave the car at home and do all my shopping by bike. When I go to visit my kids in Gloucester, I cycle to the station. I cycled 50 miles the other week. I used to have high blood pressure - over 200 sometimes. Since I've started cycling, I've lost the weight. At last, my blood pressure check-up was 119. The nurse couldn't believe it! This is such a positive scheme” – Paul, participant.
About the role
If you’re a confident cyclist, aged 18+ who lives in Brislington, Hartcliffe or Southmead, we want to hear from you!
We’re looking for volunteers who are available to ride once a week and can commit to going out on at least five sessions with their buddy. For most people five sessions will be enough to achieve their goals and start cycling independently, however, there is the option to review this and carry on riding together if you are both happy doing so.
Your cycling skills
As well as having access to a roadworthy bike, you need to be confident riding on the road and have a good knowledge of local routes that are appropriate for less-confident cyclists.
This isn’t a teaching role, so you don’t need to be an expert on the Highway Code. However, you will need to be role-modelling good cycling and road skills. As part of your training, you will have a session with one of our qualified cycle instructors who will give you tips and guidance on good cycling practice and supporting nervous cyclists. The key is to help your buddy find routes that are appropriate for their skill and confidence level. This will involve staying up to date on any changes to road/path layout and terrain on routes you use for your rides.
Basic bike mechanic skills would be an added bonus but are by no means essential.
Part of your role is to provide friendly and supportive company for someone who may be nervous about cycling. If you opt to support those that are socially isolated or experiencing mental health challenges (such as anxiety or depression), sensitivity to these issues will be essential too. We will provide additional training in this case.
Each person will have different needs and expectations: Your buddy may want you to provide emotional support, or they may be more in need of practical guidance. It’s your job to listen to them and respond to what they want, not what you think they need. People can be easily put-off cycling if they are pushed to ride too far, too fast or on busy roads before they are ready. Be prepared to cycle distances that, to you, may seem short – using quiet, accessible routes. The goal is to help your buddy to fall in love with cycling, at their own pace!
The role of a volunteer Cycle Buddy is not about:
- Long-distance cycling.
- Teaching people how to cycle (participants will have up to three lessons with a qualified cycling instructor before they come out with you).
- Campaigning for better cycle infrastructure in Bristol
- Match-making in a romantic sense!
- Being a counsellor or therapist.
- Cycle racing
- Finding someone to accompany you on those rides you always wanted to do!
Safety during COVID-19
Current Public Health England guidelines state that you can meet people from different households provided social distancing is followed. After undertaking risk assessments and consulting with our cycle instructors, we are confident that riding with a cycle buddy is safe for people who are healthy and not in a high-risk group.
If you are unsure whether it is safe for you to cycle, we suggest you follow these guidelines on safe cycling during COVID-19 from Cycling UK. We will cover safe systems of working for COVID-19 as part of our training. Click here for information on the symptoms of COVID-19.
Stay in touch
If you’d like to find out about the other services we offer to help people get the most out of cycling, follow us on social media and sign up to our newsletter:
Please note, we are currently only accepting applications from people who live in or near Brislington, Hartcliffe or Southmead.