Find yourself a cycling mentor to help guide you along
By Nicola Rutzou from Women Who Cycle
You’ve no doubt heard of the benefits of working with a mentor in the business world to help guide your career, and the same benefits can be gained in any aspect of your life. You might think that riding a bike is pretty straightforward – you just jump on, turn the pedals over and you’re off. Right? Like many activities in life, to do it well you need some guidance and cycling is no exception.
When I first started road cycling nearly 14 years ago, I thought it was pretty simple. I bought myself a bike, a few accessories, and some ill-fitting clothing, and I was off. Little did I know that there was way more to it than I had ever imagined. So, I sought some help from others who became my bunch of unofficial mentors in my quest to become a competent cyclist.
Whether you seek out a single person as a mentor or a group as I did, there are many benefits.
Learn faster and support your growth
A mentor can teach you bike skills, mental preparation, and so much more than you would learn if you did it alone. They can also support your growth by providing feedback on your progress formally or informally depending on how you interact.
Share expertise and provide source of knowledge
Sure, you could consult YouTube. There’s a myriad of ‘experts’ sharing their expertise via the Internet but there’s nothing like face-to-face guidance from someone who’s made the same mistakes as you and wants to share their knowledge.
Keep you accountable and help set goals
Having a person to guide you along also makes you accountable for the goals you might have set together. It doesn’t mean you have to hand in your homework, but it will help keep you on track. You might seek some help with improving your cornering, and knowing your mentor will check in on your progress will encourage you to practice your technique.
Offer encouragement and provide constructive feedback
There’s nothing like some encouragement and positive feedback to motivate you to keep trying to improve. It’s like having your own personal fan club, and they can also offer a little constructive criticism as well to correct any problems.
Benefits for the mentor
This is not a one-sided relationship. The person acting as your mentor also benefits from the association. It helps to improve self-awareness and build confidence. It also provides the mentor with the personal satisfaction of knowing they’ve helped another person to improve their skills and enjoyment of riding a bike.
It can also build on the leadership skills of the mentor. In fact, I didn’t ever think of myself as a leader until I started helping other women join the wonderful world of cycling. It made me realise that there are many types of leaders, and through mentoring, I was indeed leading.
How do you find a cycling mentor?
Women love to help other women. To find a mentor who can help you with cycling you need to find out where women in your area congregate. In my case, it’s my cycling club, Lidcombe-Auburn Cycle Club (LACC) but for you it might be a cycling group, cycling coach, or similar. Ask around, search on the Internet, or social media channels, or the groups of cyclists you see at your local cafe.
Finding a mentor to guide you will bring immeasurable benefits to you and the mentor. Happy riding.
Nicola is an obsessed road cyclist who writes her own blog called Women Who Cycle, which you can check out HERE. She’s also the Women’s Coordinator of her cycling club LACC.