6 Awesome Bike Conversation Starters for Introverts
If you consider yourself shy or an introvert, trying something new - like turning up to a group ride where you don't know anyone - can be utterly terrifying.
By the time you've imagined yourself turning up to the event, trying to make awkward eye contact with new people to start a conversation, and then painstakingly planning what you'll say, to whom, and how you might respond if someone asks you a question - it's easy to convince yourself not to go.
At any CWRB rides, we are always in awe of newbies who turn up to group rides not knowing anyone but keen to give it a go anyway! With our years of experience putting groups of people together who don't know one another, we've put together some easy to remember conversation starters to help you get to know your fellow riders.
Because after all, riding bikes is rad so you've already got something in common, no matter what age / size / ethnicity you are.
1) "What got you into riding?"
This is a great question to ask people in your group because most cyclists have some backstory as to how they got into riding! It invites a little more conversation than "How long have you been riding?" which can often get you a reply with a certain number of months or years, but it can be hard to know what to say to that!
Most likely, the person will ask you the same question back which puts you in the perfect position to declare yourself if you're a newbie!
2) "What's a great event to participate in [for someone my level / locally]?"
Whether they ride on the road, gravel or single track, most cyclists have participated in at least one event - be it a grand fondo, point to point ride or a laps race.
This is a great question to ask because it opens the door not only for the person to talk about events that they have done that might be interesting to you, you will have the opportunity to talk a little about the type of riding you've done before which is a nice way to connect with new people in a non-small-talk way.
3) "Where would you want to ride as a bucket list trip?"
Obviously this one is dependent on COVID travel, however fantasising about your ideal bike trip without actually being able to plan it is still fun! You may be surprised at the answers you get... if you ask this one at the coffee shop after the ride, it may be a whole-of-table discussion once it gets going!
This starter can be modified to talk about local spots or rides, interstate or overseas which gives plenty of room to not only start the conversation, but to include a lot of people, which will take the pressure off you feeling like it has to be a one on one back and forth private convo.
4) "What would you consider ideal snacks for a longer ride?"
This opener works in two ways, as you'll get some recommendation of the best store bought or homemade snacks to bring, as well as a segway to talk about what long rides or trips you may have planned, which is always fun.
Maybe you're riding next to someone you've never met, or you're hanging around the carpark before you get started... this one even works after the ride while you're enjoying your post-ride coffee and fruit toast.
5) "What brand of [knicks \ jackets \ helmets] do you swear by?"
An easy one to get things going, but slightly more sophisticated than the old "I love your jersey, where'd you get it?!" line, which will likely get you a one word answer which may or may not mean anything to you.
By asking about brands of different pieces of apparel, you're giving the person an opportunity to talk about why they rate that brand, which means there's some kind of experience involved to ask follow up questions about. For instance: "I absolutely swear by Icebreaker merino underlayers because one time I was in the New Zealand alps and got stuck and had to stay in a hut overnight..." etc.
Queue awesome story to be able to continue the chat about!
6) "I need more bikes in my social feeds. Do you follow anyone interesting / hilarious / inspiring?"
A good one to ask if you think you might like to be friends with someone you met on a ride but don't know how to ask if you can get their number without feeling like a stalkery weirdo.
This starter will likely mean both of you get your phones out, while the potential friend is scrolling insta or Facie to find good cycling pages to follow, you can say something like "Oh, I'll follow you while I'm on here!"
Zing! New BFF for life :P
The key to conversation starters isn't to try and control every aspect of the situation, it's recognising that conversation sometimes needs momentum... so if you're shy or introverted and really get anxious about turning up to group things, hopefully these help you feel empowered to ride bikes more!