Help New Students Feel Welcome in Your Class, Part 1: Changing Lives

You are faced with an enormous opportunity when a new student walks into your class.

While welcoming a new person to a cycling class can happen any time of the year, there are two distinct periods where most of us are faced with a larger number of newbies than at other times. One is during the changing of the seasons as the weather gets colder in the fall and then transitions to winter. This coincides with shorter days and back-to-school times for kids, which in turn may free up parents to come to your classes. The other is during January when the New Year’s resolutionists are determined to turn over a new leaf and get fit (again). 

Do you have a plan to motivate, inspire, and capture this new audience? If not, you should.

I know some instructors wait until the “New Year’s resolution people” go away so they can return to the comfort of their “regulars.” Other instructors want to help but are simply unaware of the special needs of new students and sometimes unintentionally drive them away.  

You can be different. You can be the instructor that inspires new students to change their lives.  

Nothing defines you more as an instructor than how you meet, reassure, inform, and inspire new students. As an instructor, these are your most precious skills. It is with new students that your skills are most needed, most valued, and most lasting.  

Specific skills and attitudes are essential to becoming the best instructor you can be for new students. You must learn:

  • How your unique teaching style might need to be modified a bit for new students.
  • How to use those key moments when you first meet a new student.  
  • How to listen to new riders to help them overcome their fears.  
  • How to guide them through their first class and encourage them afterward.

You can make yourself the instructor they will always remember.

Here is how you do it  

In part 1 of this series, we will address a few issues for you to consider before you teach your next class. In part 2, we will address practical steps to take immediately before, during, and after your class. In part 3, we will offer ideas to create a new student handout.

The first step to improving how you teach new students is a bit of introspection. Ask yourself a few questions. The answers will make you a better instructor.

Question one: What is your personality as an instructor?


Next time we will discuss specific things you can say and do in class to help your new students.


  1. This says it all Bill.

    To paraphrase an old saying, “New students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  

    1. Author

      Thanks, John. I appreciate all the great work you are doing.

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