How to get your wife / girlfriend to mountain bike?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mazda-monkey, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. mazda-monkey

    mazda-monkey Just a Member

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    Thanks for such a cool site! New to the site but I have been riding every weekend for over a year. Anyhow, need advice from those who may have tried to get their spouse riding. She has no experience whatsoever. While shopping for a bike for her, I find alot of bikes that have 2 rides on them and they are 2 years old- makes me think most (not all of course!) women try it and give up soon. I also have a 6 year old son I recently have been trailering around Aliso, it would be nice to get the wife out there too.

    Thanks!
     
  2. AAARGH!

    AAARGH! A Pirate's Life For Me

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    I think every guy would like to see their wife or g/f kick their butt up the hill, for a little while anyway. It means their passionate about the ride.
    Anyways...my story with the wife and daughter lasted about two seasons. They liked it, but didn't want it as bad as I did, and didn't want to work as hard. They probably would have continued if we had more access to rolling singletrack, more shade trees, more green, less climbing, blah, blah, blah.
    I live in Corona, most of my rides are local, Skyline, Chino, etc. The one time we went to Aliso with a group was a blast. We started at TOTW, went down Cholla I think, crossed through the bottom of the park, then got to Mathis. I had looked at the book earlier in the week and kept telling my wife how great it would be. About halfway up Mathis I pulled up next to the wife, "hey, how's it going?" She looked at me totally pissed and said "this is some serious bulls--t!" I said "ok, I'll see you at the top." (picture Mike Myers on Wayne's World)Had a great overall day anyway, her too.
    So, go slow with significant other, unless she is already a jock, or loves pain.
     
  3. Marshall Willanholly

    Marshall Willanholly New Member

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    I think the most important thing is to make sure they have the desire to try it. As hard as it is for us MTB'ers to believe, some folks don't enjoy the outdoors, getting dirty and sweaty, and being chased by mountain lions.

    Next is to get them a bike that fits properly and that they feel comfortable on. Finally, be willing to go on rides that are shorter and/or less technical than usual while your SO gets used to riding on dirt.

    The first time I took CB out, we went to Aliso. I had planned on just riding from the church back to the bottom of Cholla, thinking a relatively smooth fireroad would be the best introduction. The loose sand at the beginning of the trail freaked her out and she went down a couple times in the first 1/2 mile. We cut our losses and turned around. Fortunately, she was willing to try again. The next week we went to Whiting Ranch, and she had a blast. There were sections that she walked, but the rolling singletrack was a lot more fun for her and she was hooked.

    Pads have been very important as well. When she first started, she would usually have a fall or two on each ride. Nothing major, but usually ending with scrapes and bruises. She picked up some 661 veggie guards for her knees, and the next time she fell, she was pretty excited to be able to get right back up and continue. In addition, if she was playing a wedding (she's a harpist) the next day, she didn't have to worry if what she wore exposed her scars.

    One additional thing that helped was attending women's bike camps. The first one she did was the Women's Only Weekend in Big Bear. She got some great coaching from other women and met a lot of women who loved riding too.

    My last piece of advice would be to ride WITH her, as opposed to going at your usual pace and then riding circles in the trail while she catches up. Be supportive and don't offer too much coaching all at once. It will take patience on your part, but in the end it's incredibly worth it. We both look forward to our rides together and have had a lot of great experiences through riding.

    Carla at the Dirt Series camp in Santa Cruz:
    [​IMG]

    CB at the starting line. 2005 Women's Only Weekend XC race
    [​IMG]

    Riding together last year in Arizona
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Shu

    Shu Active Member

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    You will have to tone down your agressiveness when riding and go at her pace...you have to ride w/ her...not her w/ you....turn it into a casual ride and conversation...the Fully Loop is PERFECT for newbie couple rides b/c it's scenic enough and the climbs are short and not too difficult...DON't push too hard or constantly tell her what to do...let her make some mistakes on her own...this will make the ride more appealing to her(not having you nag her)....if she wants to stop for the day but you only rode a couple miles so be it...don't get mad...the times you ride together are for her(until she builds up stamina...member how long it took yourself to build it up)....you will see her get better and if she enjoys the sport she will ask for different places....
     
  5. cbHarping

    cbHarping When can I ride again?

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    First things first - I liked to be on a bike and enjoyed riding. I also loved the outdoors and wasn't afraid to get dirty.

    MW was extremely patient with me when I started out. I felt comfortable at El Morro, so he sacrificed many weekly rides at other places to stick it out with me at El Morro every week while I found my comfort level met and was ready to tackle some new stuff. He rode WITH me instead of shooting off ahead, so I didn't feel bad about being slow.

    Pads are SO important. When I first started, I was constantly falling (nothing major) on each ride, usually scraping up the knees. That got me nervous and I was thinking about FALLING every time I got on the bike. Pads gave me that boost of confidence I needed, knowing that if I did fall, I wouldn't be adding to the collection of scars quite so fast! I strongly suggest 661 Veggie knee guards and 661 chicken wings elbow guards. They're soft, and you can still climb and pedal comfortably - AND be protected.

    Also, have her get out there with other women, too! I was always riding around with the guys, but it is inspiring for a women to see other women succeeding at riding as well! :bang:
     
  6. Impy

    Impy New Member

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    I agree with CB, assuming that the interest is there, it is very inspiring for beginner women to see other women riding. It eliminates the "well he can do that because he is a guy" thing that many women may feel when attempting to follow their SO. Not to mention, there is often a lot of conflicted feelings when an SO tries to teach something, on both the teacher's and the student's part.

    For example, most guys just learn by following someone's line - even if it looks scary they just go for it. Most girls, on the other hand, are more likely to want to stop, look at something, have it explained, and then try it, often with a spotter.

    Many guys grow up with a BMX background as kids, and they feel comfortable bunny hopping, jumping, etc from day one. For many girls, this is completely foreign and scary at the beginning, and presents a barrier than many guys don't appreciate. All this can be overcome, but if you want your gal to succeed you must be aware of it.

    CB brings up another extremely important point - getting comfortable with one trail before trying new stuff. So if your girl likes a certain trail, do that trail over and over again.:)
     
  7. Permagrin

    Permagrin Hard landing comin' up!

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    And I agree with Impy and CB. She does have to like being outdoors and getting dirty and if that's not at the top of her list of things to do, you're going to have a hard time convincing her a trail with rocks and sand is funner than a ride around the park on the bike path.

    We don't want to feel like we're slowing you down so if you ride with her instead of around her like stated below, and let her know there's no shame in walking and looking until she gets comfortable, then I think she'll be more inclined to continue to learn. I ride alot by myself but I really appreciate it when I'm out with the bf and he slows it down to make sure I haven't cracked my head on the ST that I know he wants to fly down at warp speed because it makes me feel like he's there "just in case" and not at the bottom wishing I would hurry up.

    Then again, some women don't like it and that's ok too. I guess you just need to let her figure it out on her own and give her the tools to enjoy it instead of dread it. Good luck!
     
  8. Chewyeti

    Chewyeti Circus Bear

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    am i the only one who doesnt want their GF into riding?

    i mean.. its 'ME' time... and it is something that zens ME out...

    its my escape.....


    she wants to go.. but i am highly reluctant
     
  9. Impy

    Impy New Member

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    Who says she has to go with you? 90 % of my rides are solo, and not with my man. I am all about the separate space . . but it is fun to have someone who shares your interest...

    Just think how cool it would be if you came home from a great ride and said "Hey I just cleaned that really trickey thing" and she knew exactly what you meant and exactly how cool it was and was just as stoked as you, and then got all excited and hot and bothered....and..;) ....
     
  10. cbHarping

    cbHarping When can I ride again?

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    If she wants to go...why not? You don't have to give up your alone time! You can do rides together, and rides separately. She'll understand when you want to do a 'ME time' ride! My BF and I ride together, and we go on rides alone or with other groups apart from one another.

    You can have a BLAST together as a couple, going on trips that include riding or spending the day together locally.

    Besides, if she did get into it, you would have so many envious male MTBers. I don't know how many times MW has been told how lucky he is to have a GF who rides too. :)
     
  11. GeorgiaOfTheJungle

    GeorgiaOfTheJungle THE Penultimate Mtb'er

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    She MUST be interested, there is no way to push your own enjoyment onto another, as great as it may seem to you. That being said, most of the advice here is great.

    Please remember to stay by her in the beginning, for encouragement as well as any needed mechanical support. One thing, to assure that you still get your ride time in, is to go for your own ride in the am, then ride with her later (or vice versa). That way, you both get the ride that you need. And, get her a decent bike with a proper fit--if she really does like it, you'd end up having to upgrade real soon, which may explain all the 2yr old bikes (you can always start with a rental for the first session).

    **Story Time** On one of my first rides, after learning what the peddles were (I rode ponies before, you don't have to peddle with ponies), I set off with my then bf and a friend. My friend stuck with me, while my bf rode off a few miles ahead (I had no idea this was customary). Well, my chain fell off--and of ALL the things that I had no idea of, it was how to fix a chain that fell/why it fell/what the hell I was supposed to do. Luckily, my friend was there to calm my panic and help me out. Unfortunately, I then realized all that could go wrong and didn't want to ride with someone that would just leave me (a few miles back then was a GREAT deal--most of my ride). I kept the riding, ditched the guy. Now I can even change my tube ;)
     
  12. DirtRider

    DirtRider Dirt is good

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    Chewyeti... i know where you're coming from. i had a g/f back in the day who wanted sooo bad to go snowboarding with me. i found out later that her motive was just to smother me so i wouldn't stray...

    However, i disagree with ya for a few reasons. When the right woman asks to be involved in your outdoor activities that you are passionate about, only good things can come of it.

    Case in point...I didn't golf until i met my wife!! My wife didn't dirt bike until she met me!!! she doesn't MTB yet because of having 3 kiddos but we constantly chat about getting her involved.

    Sooo, what i'm trying to say is that it would be awesome for you to share some of the same passions with your g/f or wife. she will understand so much more when you ask to ride with your buddies because she prolly already had a girls ride planned...:bang:
     
  13. Letyrides

    Letyrides Roar!

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    [​IMG]

    Hey! Tha's me behind Carla at that race. So much fun. I miss those WOW weekends. I agree with eveyone here, she has to have a bit of a desire or curiousity to get out there. Get her out on a newbie ride. There are plenty of wives/GF's that could encourage her. We tend to lose patience with our loved ones when they try to teach us something. I don't know why but it happens. Maybe hearing it from another female perspective will get her motivated.
     
  14. LBmtb

    LBmtb good times Staff Member

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    This is a pretty good thread IMO. I recently broke up with a long time gf because I felt we didn't have much in common anymore (among other reasons). One of the major things we didn't have in common was riding. She tried it once, wasn't really into it and I couldn't really see her ever getting excited about it. With riding and STR being such a big part of who I am, I decided that I wanted a significant other that I can share more aspects of my life with.

    I think it's super awesome when I see couples like allison/mechman, andy/annie, marshall/carla, etc who love riding and can share that with one another - not only does that mean everybody has fun but they also strengthen the relationship.

    Okay, I'm done with the mushiness. :)
     
  15. jeffj

    jeffj Bloated Mountain B'hiker

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    I've been together with my wife for 28 years (since October 1979). Mountain biking per se hadn't really become known at that time. I didn't start riding regularly until 1996.

    If you are together with someone for the long haul, things will come into and go out of your lives. We'd like to believe we will stay the same, but if you live long enough, you will try many things. Some will stay with you and others will merely be a phase.

    There is a saying that if you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans. Regardless of your beliefs, you just don't know what life may have in store for you.

    Your wife or GF will have to make it her own thing and you have more of a chance IMHO of making her hate it than you do making her love it.

    If there is resentment about each other's activities and interests, then there's likely to be problems elsewhere. In the long run, it's not about the bike itself or the time you spend riding, it's about your relationship with each other.

    Those that have a great relationship and can share the MTB passion should count themselves extra blessed.
     
  16. springrubber

    springrubber New Member

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    My girlfriend was outdoor active to begin with so that kind of helped. She is still getting used to the rock and sand thing. I will never forget how many emotions she through my way at the Whiting newbie ride. First she loved me, then she was angry with me, then she loved me again, then rocks and she hated me. Cool single track and she was back to loving me. Just be prepared to take the blame for everything and take her on ALL newbie rides. My girlfriend is more likely to remember advice frome Neil or Gene than me:lol:
     
  17. BrewMaster

    BrewMaster Thirsty

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    I think it's just like getting anyone into MTBing. Keep it fun.

    As said above, if they have the desire to do it first, then the rest will fall into place. My wife just started riding because she saw how much fun I would have and how I always want to go riding. She's had a good time and she is looking forward to building her skills so she can ride other trails.

    Be encouraging and don't get frustrated and the rest will fall into place.

    dang. Hardcore. Linda doesn't like going down hill yet and she's afraid she is going to go OTB. I don't blame her, she looks pretty out of control on some down hills.

    How did you teach allison to love the downhill stuff?
     
  18. mazda-monkey

    mazda-monkey Just a Member

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    Thanks for all the advice-

    1-Get a bike that fits well.
    2-Get elbow / knee pads.
    3-Take it slow / easy with encouragement - don't get frustrated.
    4-Have her ride with other women.
    5-Take a basic skills class.

    Maybe the title "How to get your wife / GF to MTB?" sounds forceful. I don't want to force it on her, should have read "How to introduce your significant other to MTB'n".

    BTW- Anyone selling a decent full suspension women's bike? Need an extra small / small.

    Thanks again!
     
  19. RacinJason

    RacinJason Banned

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    To start Take your woman on a ride that is all fun with a beautiful view.
    No big hills climbing is not a great way to be introduced to mtn biking to start.
    Work on the simple things without going all hot dog to start. This only makes riding intimidating. When you are just learning you don't want to see everyone making things look so easy. Starting small and learning how to shift and brake is something that will make every ride in the future much more enjoyable.
    It only takes one crash to stop a wife or g/f from continuing with the sport.
    Make it an adventure.
    Every trip should get progressively more beautiful.
    I start on a day that has a nice temp be prepared for anything. Walking back to the car on your first ride makes things take a little longer to be appreciated.
    Get her involved with the mechanics of her bike. Many times you would be surprised what things your woman will find interesting especially if she is having a great time riding.
    She will love tricking out her bike even if its just little things bling ano parts . That makes working on your bike exiting. You know you have to go ride after getting something new. DO NOT PUT YOUR WOMAN ON A BIKE YOU YOURSELF WOULD NOT RIDE! Think stable comfortable light reliable. If you have to borrow a bike do it. You only get one chance to make a first impression. If things go horribly wrong right from the start . Well then you are back at square one.
    Get your woman a great helmet it must fit right. It is distracting if your helmet is flying all over the place and covering your eyes. Don't forget pads if you are at stage 2 . If you keep it easy you might not need pads to start. Sometimes rolling up with body armer scares the new rider. Check her simple skills to evaluate what precautions you need to take. If she looks really unstable riding in front of the house go extra easy and maybe light pads.
    Make sure she has water and even snacks have a picnic at the park bench at the top of telegraph at chino. If she does something cool make sure you tell her.

    I am just brain storming to see what I can do to help.

    I was lucky with Willie she is great. She was my soul mate in every way from Music to personality to riding. Although she did not ride when I met her she was interested in doing it.
    I have helped many people get started.
     
  20. Impy

    Impy New Member

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    Very true indeed!! Although it is nice to have a SO that bikes, its not critical.

    Having one who supports what you do, though - that is critical.
     

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