How to get the wife into cycling/MTBing ?
Mrs Weeksy has said she wants to come out riding, partly for fitness, partly so she can spend more time with me and the boy. I’m more than happy with this, as long as i get ‘my’ time on the bike as well to push on and improve fitness/training.
She can ride a bike, she’s got plenty of power, so we’re not really struggling there. But doesn’t have masses of technical skills at this stage. Any riding in the last 20+ years has been purely cycle paths and canal paths etc.
Obviously i’ve done a fair bit of riding so can give her some pointers, but like everything in life it’s sometimes a case of just GTF on with it and try, learn from doing rather than just from listening etc.
But it kinda brings me onto the best way for her to progress. Something like a bit of Swinley? Or is that a bit too much for someone who’s a bit new to it all at the moment ? We’ve done some Ridgeway stuff a couple of times and she’s been fine offroad, but admittedly that was summer rather than the slop of winter as it is now.
Just kinda wondering how others have done it ? Straight in the deep end (assuming you think Swinley is the deep end of course 🙂 ) or more gentle introduction ?
She’ll be riding my T-130 which is fractionally large for her, but really only a tiny bit… it’s a pretty decent fit.Posted 10 months ago
Someone will be along shortly to mention a…… so I won’t bother 😉Posted 10 months ago
new wife ? I’m not against the idea as such. But she’d have to be an improvement on the current one 🙂
If you mean E-bike, nah, that’s neither required or going to happen. I’ve seen her do 25km (flat) rides, so she doesn’t need any assistance in that context at all.Posted 10 months ago
he means skills day you fool!Posted 10 months ago
Skillz course, if she gets taught some of the fundamentals it’s a good foundation to start riding more technical stuff.Posted 10 months ago
Hmmm that’s a tricky one. Me and the boys have been to Jedi a few times, but i think that may be too large a step in for her this early on.Posted 10 months ago
Swinley blue is probably the ideal place to start – you can pick and choose appropriate sections (mixed in with fireroad), easy to loop around to do stuff again, consistent and predictable (probably more so than heading out on to bridleways).. just mix & match to suit her current skill / confidence level.Posted 10 months ago
It depends. Don’t underestimate how hard mtbing is to a genuine newbie, male or female. Stuff you do without thinking they’ll not do at all, whatever you say, and the speed can spook them so they go too slow and then nothing works properly. I’ve been trying to get a (male) friend into it recently and he’s woefully bad. He’s getting better, and has a go but it’s a long long road.
re partners, I stopped proper mtbing with Mrs Gasket a long time ago but we do go out on the rigid 29ers for a canal towpath/mild bridleway/some road/rufty tufty session which works well. She gets mucky, doesn’t sh!t herself, and we see the countryside.Posted 10 months ago
Swinley would seem a good starting point, friends starting to off-road with us also did bits around peaslake, just be aware that she won’t listen to your advice even if it’s perfectly correct (it’s a marriage thang). If you can get her to fix a puncture let me know how you achieved it, Mrs Kilo can barely put a wheel in a frame after years of riding.Posted 10 months ago
IME it’s not possible to underestimate what she will consider technical or demanding, or for you to underestimate your own skill base. Seasoned riders have a plethora of skills we totally take for granted and are hardly aware of compared to noobs, as well as a totally different mindset to the whole’off-road experience’.
This will create a chasm of your understanding of her riding, and her understanding of her own riding.
Be very aware of this, let her go at her own pace and try not to help too much unless she asks. After all, if you’re married, it means you don’t know anything and won’t be listened to.Posted 10 months ago
Wait… is Swinley the new Oxo Tower?Posted 10 months ago
IME it’s not possible to underestimate what she will consider technical or demanding
My missus plateaued at canal tow paths and that’s fine, I’ve taken her down woodland paths and a bit of Singletrack, didn’t enjoy it. she also watched me race DH a couple of times (many years ago) so she’s informed enough to know what she just doesn’t fancy doing…
So canal tow path, on a sunny day, no cars to contend with, pack a picnic (which I’ll carry), maybe a pub stop, whinging commences after about 8 miles. But that means I know the constraints necessary for a nice family ride…
Our 10 YO is more of a hardcore MTBist now TBH…Posted 10 months ago
Hmmm that’s a tricky one. Me and the boys have been to Jedi a few times, but i think that may be too large a step in for her this early on.
The sooner the better , before she learns bad habits and the confidence boost from Jefi will help massively .Posted 10 months ago
yes as others have said, i’ve been out riding with my wife and she was terrified of things i didn’t even notice on the trail. A small stone, a root and so on. Best get someone esle to help her unless you want a divorce. Same applies to skiing, i’ve seen couples have the most raging rows when one has tried to teach the other! Good luck!Posted 10 months ago
25km on canal towpath is very different to 25km off road even woods! I would definitely recommend a skills day, teaching ones partner doesn’t always go well even if your qualified, (used to be level 1&3 windsurf Instructor) Learning from another lady might also help more, the likes of Katy Curd, etc seeing a talented lady in a male dominated sport will show her she can do this too. & no it’s never too early to have lessonsPosted 10 months ago
Could you encourage or support her to go out and choose a bike and some kit for herself? Do a smash and grab in Decathlon? Also, point her in the direction of any local groups where she could find some like minded people to ride with so it’s not just about following you and the kid around.
Riding hand-me-downs has two main downsides. 1) It not quite the right bike for her 2) It’s still your bike and any faults and ongoing maintenance of it will be soley your responsibility.Posted 10 months ago
Mrs Weeksy has said she wants to come out riding, partly for fitness, partly so she can spend more time with me and the boy. I’m more than happy with this, as long as i get ‘my’ time on the bike as well
Best to nip it in the bud. Fort Bill WC downhill track and say it’s a blue? 😉
But yeah, chilled rides, towpaths and blue routes etc. I took my other half around the Verderers at FOD which I thought was a pleasant little pootle. She was scared…
Riding hand-me-downs has two main downsides. 1) It not quite the right bike for her 2) It’s still your bike and any faults and ongoing maintenance of it will be soley your responsibility.
IME this doesn’t change no matter who owns the bike! I’m still the bike guy… 😁Posted 10 months ago
she was terrified of things i didn’t even notice on the trail. A small stone, a root and so on. Best get someone esle to help her unless you want a divorce
Yep. Oh yes. In fact slightly uncanny – last time I took my wife (who’s fit er, aerobically, does a lot of gym and is far better coordinated than me) to ride a bit of local singletrack. Well, was the last time. I realised things could be going better when, somewhere down the fire road to get there, she got off the bike looking furious, picked up the bike and threw it back down on the ground.
Had we got to the singletrack then single is what I would be.Posted 10 months ago
weeksy – Hannah at P2P does plenty of women’s only rides and coaching. Not too far away either.Posted 10 months ago
Been through something similar with my other half.
Found skills sessions to be the best, an independent person is really good to provide confidence and stops trail side arguments….
Also I would re-consider bike size. We started with a T-130 which on paper was the right size but her new bike is slightly smaller and its helped a lot. Long bikes are great if your skills are good, but I believe for confidence your better with a nimble bike as flat out speed isn’t really the concern.Posted 10 months ago
What kayak23 said ,you need to dial down the GGnAAR and plan family rides ,at places where you and the boy can dick about but she can also enjoy time on the bike.Posted 10 months ago
If you’re in the Swinley area then there is a lot of non-technical woodsy riding in the area, with as much or as little extra singletrack as you want to add of varying technicality, and plenty of nice lanes to link up.
I would not suggest Jedi without knowing her. You have to *want* to do that kind of riding, and there is far more to MTBing besides pushing yourself technically.Posted 10 months ago
Does she actually want to ride a mountain bike properly or just get out with you and the family and do a bit of exercise? If its the latter, trying to get her to improve on the gnarr is pretty pointless.
Stick to fire roads and towpaths and have fun with the family rather than trying to mold her into something she’s not really into. That would just frustrate the both of you.Posted 10 months ago
You’re not a million miles from Reading IIRC. British Cycling / RCC run a ladies only CX skills session on monday nights at the moment.
It wont be as gnarr as a day with Jedi. But on the upside wont be you teaching her.Posted 10 months ago
An Ex of mine would come mountain biking with me, and even got to be pretty good, we went to Cannock pretty regularly and even an Alps trip, but she really disliked the muddy wet rides of anything but mid summer, She much preferred roadie. It was cleaner, easier, you could cycle to a cafe or coffee shop, she loved all the kit. So we tended to do that more and more from Autumn.
It was great for fitness and we could do it together, but I must admit it did a little bit dull for me.Posted 10 months ago
A bit of coaching wouldn’t hurt early actually to give her the right riding position etc. I don’t know where you live but Katy Curd at FOD was good when I’d had a couple of accidents and wanted to get my confidence back up.Posted 10 months ago
All i can say is it has to be FUN. Thr secind it becomes a mega effort or in the slightest bit scary, then you will get a massive turn off.Posted 10 months ago
We ride bikes, and we under estimate how competent we are to a non MTB rider. Just make it fun to get her hooked and then make haste slowly.
Oh, and have fun!!
Taking my wife for a ride round local lanes ,she is fine when surface good but as soon as we hit the less used ones with grass up the middle she holds back and lets me go ,i just stop on regular basis to let her catch up or if i’m going for a segment section i warn her first then say i see you at the end. This works , but anything more than easy singletrack she finds a challenge so that’s where her skill level is and she aware of that and doesn’t want to push it any further.Posted 10 months ago
I think a better bike would make life easier for her (old Giant Boulder,heavy with just front suspension and rim brakes so not brilliant in wet conditions ) she is slowly coming round to this and a 1×11 set up will be better as she has never got the hang of a triple front setup.
I would 2nd (3rd, 4th) the “don’t coach her” contingent.Posted 10 months ago
My wife is quite happy riding around the Verderers in FoD but has no desire whatsoever to progress to doing anything else. Skills courses – “Nope, why would I want to do that?”.
My attempts at encouragement have been interpreted as dismissing the efforts she does put in. Now we ride separately. In my experience – the couple that rides together annoys the buggery out of each other.
Thanks all. Keep comments coming. I’ve pointed her to this thread as I don’t want to push her into things and don’t want to throw her in feet first if she only wants a toe.
Yak, Hannah is a good idea, she was great with our boy plus me and him could do the trails while she’s learning etcPosted 10 months ago
You know Swinley well enough to bypass anything she might not like 1st go on fire roads.
I’m not sure I’d do a skills course until she’s at least comfortable on the bike. Do some fireroads and bits of blue and let her work out where her comfort is first… if she’s not used to suspension session some small rollable “drops” (like 6″)
I’d just make sure you have a flask of decent tea/coffee in the car and dry clothes.Posted 10 months ago
One thing I never get is why you see dad and son on very nice new or nearly new bike and the missus is dragging a 30lb length of gas pipe up the hill.Posted 10 months ago
When she probably Weighs less, won’t be sending it off a 6″drop or shredding anything other than the skin on her palms as she hasn’t got any gloves.
Mahooosive gel saddle
Not swinley, too busy, too hilly, no decent grip bikes feel skittish and drifty on the cobbles
She’ll be on my Whyte T-130. If she gets into it i’ll buy her her own T130 in the size down from mine. I’ll be on the HT while we’re out.
She’s got proper riding kit from a few times we’ve done it in France, helmet, gloves etc… Only thing she’s lacking is a pair of 5’10s but trainers will be OK for now.Posted 10 months ago
touring and cafe’s.
we have a 10 mile rule. and wife makes sure we stick to it. 10 mile, café, 10 mile dinner café, 10 mile café, 10 mile pub. ;o)Posted 10 months ago
Mahooosive gel saddle
Agreed. Mrs Officer has a lovely old school cromo 1999 Orange P7 with XT transmission and fox Van R sprung for her weight. It’s a bike and build thats entirely appropriate for our aspirations at the time (2003/4), but sadly it made not a jot of difference. MTB just isn’t her thing.Posted 10 months ago
She’s got proper riding kit from a few times we’ve done it in France, helmet, gloves etc
Just bear in mind its decidely autumnal at the moment. Even mid day im wearing autumn gloves, night rides are already winter gloves.
A brisk lap of Swinley going quick enough to keep warm is one thing, a bimble is a different matter if your cold and wet and not warming up and it ends up taking 2 hours.Posted 10 months ago
Mrs Weeksy has said she wants to come out riding, partly for fitness, partly so she can spend more time with me and the boy
!= ride an MTB
Personally, I’d look at a nice comfortable hybrid or dutch bike with touring tyres, set a destination such as THE cycling cafe that’s all the rage, and crack on. Thames path cycle route would be my first thought, off road, flat, good surface.
A too-large MTB and a technical trail will be a short-lived experience (marriage).Posted 10 months ago
It depends. Don’t underestimate how hard mtbing is to a genuine newbie, male or female.
This, my wife will happily rip along the roads and towpaths but anything even vaguely narrow or technical is hard work. A “wide” bit of singletrack with a few bumps may be a walk in the park for you but may well give her a real challenge.
I’ve been riding off-road for over 25 years so line choice, body position, braking points, etc. are all dealt with without really thinking. It’s a slow learning curve,
Does she actually want to ride a mountain bike properly or just get out with you and the family and do a bit of exercise?
This is also true. MTB to my wife is a gentle plod along the canals and maybe some fireroads in the woods. It’s not techy singletrack and steeps.Posted 10 months ago
Answer is…. She can tell me in the next few days/weeks… As i say, i’ve sent her the link to read, what she decides to do with it is completely up to her. I’m not going to push her to do techie stuff, i’ll help her do whatever she fancies though. If we do it right we can easily make everyone just as happy as me and the boy can do longer/techier stuff after she’s finished etc for a play. If we were at Swinley for example and didn’t fancy the climb on the last couple of swoopy blues, i can send her along the Fireroad and either me and my lad, or even just him can do the traily bit while she goes along the path.Posted 10 months ago
Makes me realise how lucky I am.
My missus was happily doing slickRock, porcupine rim, poison spider, high street, laggan black, beast etc 15 years ago. She could also board or ski any piste around.
She slowed down a bit whilst pregnant and stuck to easy stuff like llandegla black or slightly easier MTB routes in Skye and the Hebrides. She stopped boarding for a while and skied only on pistes whilst pregnant. (Back in the days when the Grand Couloir in Courchevel was designated a black piste (my son still rips the piss out of me on the basis that he’s been down it and I haven’t (as I bottled it)))
She’s got more cautious and slowed down a bit now but love the fact that we can all do pretty much any bike/ski/ board down the mountain summer or winter as a family (MTB blacks excepted)Posted 10 months ago
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