We ride to get to work or school and we ride for exercise, but let’s not forget how it all started for a lot of us—neighborhood adventures with our friends. Whether you’re eight or 80, you know that riding bikes brings you joy.

According to studies, spending time with friends isn’t just all fun and games, it’s also good for your health. Combine this socializing with the exercise you get riding bikes and you’d impress any doctor.

It’s easy to get into a routine, and fit in rides when they work for you. Today, celebrate Pedal With a Pal Day and make room for at least one more person on your ride.

Make a new friend

If you’re looking to improve your skills or stamina, a new riding buddy who is more experienced can show you how to handle the trails or help you conquer the hardest hill. If you’re new to town, a group ride can show you some of the hidden gems you still don’t know about. Find a local bike park and ask one of the regulars to show you a new trick. Bikes can be the ultimate ice breaker—you don’t have to worry because you’ve already got something in common.

Connect with an old friend

Catching up with a long lost buddy can sometimes be hard. If you include bikes, some of that awkwardness will just melt away. Riding provides instant conversation topics—you can talk about your bikes, your favorite trails or routes and your dream bike destinations. Bikes just bring people together. Make the ride special by leading your buddy to one of your favorite spots—maybe the ride ends with a picnic under a shady tree or a dip in the local stream.

Become or find a mentor

So you have a new friend, old friend or maybe a current friend who's always talked about learning to ride (or ride better). Celebrate the day by showing them the way. Mentorship is satisfying for both parties—for the mentors it's a way to pay forward your love for riding and for the mentee it's a safe and comfortable atmosphere to learn or improve. Head to a grassy park to teach someone to ride, or choose a slightly challenging route for someone looking to get better. 

Join or start a group ride

Check out your local bike shop or the cruiser ride map here to see if there’s a group ride in your area. If not, become a cruiser ride founder. Gather the neighborhood kids and ride together to the local ice cream shop after dinner, or the neighborhood pool, taking advantage of hot afternoons and long summer days. Pick a theme for the ride—like space, superheroes or rainbows—and encourage riders to dress up accordingly. Plan a route that takes advantage of wide streets, protected bike lanes and greenways and that isn’t too hilly.

If you want to inject a little excitement into your friendships, whether they’re old or new, bikes are the ticket. Sure, riding alone has advantages, but you can do that any day. Celebrate Pedal with a Pal day by sharing what you love so much about riding with someone else.

For more ways to celebrate the Bike Days of Summer, click the icons below: