If you’re intimidated by the idea of joining a cyclist club, you’re not alone. Bicycle riders who commute miles to and from work or train for races can seem intense to new riders.

But joining a club can be the step many cyclists take that propels them into racing, long-distance riding and even lobbying for better cycling infrastructure and laws. Here are a few reasons why stepping out of your comfort zone to join a club can be rewarding.

Find a community

In a city of 4 million people, it can be tough to find your niche. One of the biggest benefits of joining a cycling club is that you can make connections with other people who share the same interests as you.

Having a community outside of work and your daily routine may introduce new perspectives into your life and help you feel like you belong.

Give back

Many cyclist clubs also offer California residents the chance to give back to their community. Depending on the club you choose, you may be presented with volunteer opportunities, lobbying efforts or ways to discourage riding while under the influence. By participating in these outreach opportunities, you can feel good about making a big impact. In fact, you may even help save a life.

Improve your skills

Being a part of a cycling club also establishes a close bond between members because of the dangerous nature of bicycling. Your group will watch out for one another while riding and offer tips that help you improve your skills and stay safe.

Gain confidence

It can be difficult for drivers to recognize bicyclists and judge their speed. This makes lone riders more susceptible to an accident. However, while riding in a group, you can ride confidently knowing that you’ll be more easily seen by passing vehicles. And, if you are involved in an accident, you’ll have someone to help you after the crash.

As you continue to grow with your group, their support may also push you to try different types of cycling, such as mountain biking.