Is bicycling contagious?

Earlier this week, I received an email from my friend Aubrey, who has recently gotten back into bicycling and is loving it. She’d just ridden four miles on the road for the first time, and after I applauded her accomplishment she responded with the following:

“[A]pparently I am contagious… Both of my parents are riding now! My Mom just did a 6-mile trail this weekend and the 8-year-old next door knocks on their door to ask her to ride. And my father, who is very overweight, rode 6 miles round trip to work when his car was put in the shop! Now they demand I bring my bike with me whenever I go home. I also taught my sister to ride in July. Thanks to your blog advice, you created a ripple in my family!”

The note stuck with me, because bicycling has also had a ripple effect in my own life. After I started bike commuting, two of my office colleagues did, too. My dad is now a pretty avid transportation/recreational cyclist, and I have photos to prove it. When I’m home in Alabama, my parents and I sometimes go on rides together. My brother and I have been biking together forever, of course, but we’ve returned to it as adults. While none of my non-cycling friends in Nashville have become avid cyclists, there are a few who are willing to hop on one of my bikes on occasion.


My theory: People can tell how much fun you’re having riding your bike. Then they get curious, try it themselves, and also have fun.  And duh, everyone knows that fun is contagious!

Have you seen cycling’s ripple effect in your own life? How?

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9 thoughts on “Is bicycling contagious?

  1. ScottUKEireLover says:

    Nice post Tricia. My wife watched joined me on cycling adventures. It was contagious and now we share a hobby which we both love, it’s fantastic!

  2. Thom Wilson says:

    Yes Tricia, you’ve put your finger upon it.
    I know i’m responsible for neglect of at least a dozen cars & trucks by

    “turning on” their owners to cycling.

    Sort of like what the ’60’s were like -fun’s fun after all!
    Great Photo Of You!

  3. Sarah W. says:

    After I returned to cycling, my husband would get wistful, “I wanna ride a bike too.” Then get you one! We did, and he started riding more than I did!

  4. ridonrides says:

    I can’t seem to convert anyone! Even the three friends who had to give up their cars for financial reasons. They would rather take public transportation, which I don’t understand at all. It was my frustration with public transportation that pushed me into bike commuting. I did catch it from a colleague who started bike commuting, but it took a year for me to do it. Friends and family seem to take the attitude of pity towards my bike commuting. Like poor thing can’t afford a car.

  5. Aubrey says:

    I think cycling brings back childhood memories for people, a piece of nostalgia that comes back when they pick it back up as adults.

    Getting back on the bike makes you realize just how tuned out you are while driving, and how little you pay attention to the things around you. Taking life in by bike slows things down… and once people get a taste, I think it’s truly contagious! :) And as we talked about, it’s a great low-impact way to stay fit, which is why I think my parents picked it up after I did. I can’t say I consider myself a cyclist, but I think I’ll be using the bike more often now that I’ve been on the road. Next purchase, a rear rack for shopping rides!

  6. I second that! More of my friends started biking after I did. Although, this was about at the same time that biking around Boston (and elsewhere) became more common and safe. Trendsetter, or just slightly ahead of the curve?

  7. Gabriel1981 says:

    I started riding my bike to work, and then my neighbor started riding her bike to work because of me, she said. She lost a lot of weight and had a great time. We moved away, but I hope she kept it up. :)

  8. Lauren Armes says:

    This is so true! I am always telling people how much I love cycling and it is definitely catching on. A few of my friends have come riding with me and really enjoyed it. One of my colleagues just bought a bike so that she can commute to work too. Great post, love your enthusiasm! :)

  9. Mary Beth Johnson says:

    It is contagious! And a great thing to catch. A colleague of mind found out I rode my bike to work, and started riding too. Her excitement to commute to work via bike fed back into mine – and she has a longer commute!

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