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  1. #1
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    getting girlfriend into biking / picking a bike that I'll want to ride when she won't

    My girlfriend is moving in with me. She works about 700m away from our apt, but still drives there. What would seem to me to be a no-brainer has evolved into a discussion about sweat, rain, and poor treatment of a car engine (my input). To be fair, it does get nasty hot/humid here, and it can rain on a whim, though usually not long in duration. Ideally, she would start out riding to work, come with me on weekend neighborhood rides, fall in love with riding, and in the future be receptive to multi-week unsupported stealth camping tours. I said ideally.

    There are 2 basic directions I could go with this: a cheapo bike so not much is lost if she doesn't get into it; and a good bike that fills a void in my current lineup so that I can use it if she doesn't get into it. I think buying a cheap bike for her could increase the chance of a lack of interest. So I'm thinking about getting a decent folding bike for her. I probably don't need to extol on the virtues of a folder in this venue, but it would fit easier in the elevator and could fit in the back of her car as well.

    I have a BF Pocket Rocket which I love. If I were picking for myself I'd like to get a 16" folder for bringing along when smaller folded size or faster time is helpful. A Tikit or Brompton would be great but I'm balking at the price for a (ahem) 5th bike. Also, although BF's multiple sizes are usually regarded as a good thing, I'm 6'1" and she's 5'2" so I doubt any Tikit would be a good fit for both of us. I also have a hankering to try out an internal geared hub. The Dahon Curve D3 seems like a good fit, though still a bit pricey in my mind for a 3 speed. I was interested in the Raleigh Folding I8 as well, but its folding characteristics are similar enough to my BF that it wouldn't really fill a different need for me. Any other bikes or viewpoints I should consider?

    2007 Giant Talon
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  2. #2
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    Get a Curve second-hand, an old XL if you can find one cheap or a D3 in Cloud White (Flame Red being a bit too girly).

  3. #3
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    What does your girl friend want to do ?

    If she is new to cycling and even faintly anti, then starting her on a 16" wheel bike does not sound like a good introduction to me. Take her to the bike shop and let her try something that a) fits her, and B) will surprise and delight her, maybe 26" wheeled cross / hybrid bike, something that goes whoosh when she hits the pedals, if that doesn't hook her nothing will. Put her on something twitchy, as most 16" bikes are, and you could end up buying her a new CD player for her car instead.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diode100 View Post
    What does your girl friend want to do ?

    If she is new to cycling and even faintly anti, then starting her on a 16" wheel bike does not sound like a good introduction to me. Take her to the bike shop and let her try something that a) fits her, and B) will surprise and delight her, maybe 26" wheeled cross / hybrid bike, something that goes whoosh when she hits the pedals, if that doesn't hook her nothing will. Put her on something twitchy, as most 16" bikes are, and you could end up buying her a new CD player for her car instead.
    Are all folding bikes twitchy? I feel my 20" folder is well, twitchy. Pretty much all handlebar movements are transmitted very faithfully!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlavallee View Post
    My girlfriend is moving in with me. She works about 700m away from our apt, but still drives there. What would seem to me to be a no-brainer has evolved into a discussion about sweat, rain, and poor treatment of a car engine (my input). To be fair, it does get nasty hot/humid here, and it can rain on a whim, though usually not long in duration. Ideally, she would start out riding to work, come with me on weekend neighborhood rides, fall in love with riding, and in the future be receptive to multi-week unsupported stealth camping tours. I said ideally.

    There are 2 basic directions I could go with this: a cheapo bike so not much is lost if she doesn't get into it; and a good bike that fills a void in my current lineup so that I can use it if she doesn't get into it. I think buying a cheap bike for her could increase the chance of a lack of interest. So I'm thinking about getting a decent folding bike for her. I probably don't need to extol on the virtues of a folder in this venue, but it would fit easier in the elevator and could fit in the back of her car as well.

    I have a BF Pocket Rocket which I love. If I were picking for myself I'd like to get a 16" folder for bringing along when smaller folded size or faster time is helpful. A Tikit or Brompton would be great but I'm balking at the price for a (ahem) 5th bike. Also, although BF's multiple sizes are usually regarded as a good thing, I'm 6'1" and she's 5'2" so I doubt any Tikit would be a good fit for both of us. I also have a hankering to try out an internal geared hub. The Dahon Curve D3 seems like a good fit, though still a bit pricey in my mind for a 3 speed. I was interested in the Raleigh Folding I8 as well, but its folding characteristics are similar enough to my BF that it wouldn't really fill a different need for me. Any other bikes or viewpoints I should consider?
    1. just how many miles do you plan on her riding to work? she (you?)lives 700 miles away. you seem to be trying to plan her life for her like she's a child or something.

    2. has she had any interest in your four bikes? if she has not, what makes you think that buying something for her, which you could/would also use, will make her more interested? there's nothing worse than seeing those know it all pushy men trying to get women they are with into cycling when there is no interest whatsoever. i see these men all the time and i feel sorry for the women they are with.

    3.why can't you just leave her alone?

    4. if cycling with a girlfriend is that important to you, find another woman who would be interested.

    5. if you want another bike for yourself, just get one.
    Last edited by merry2; 09-26-11 at 08:10 AM.

  6. #6
    jur
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    I say the opposite. Take her on bike paths for coffee rides. Chances are she will enjoy it if you ride carefully at her pace. This last bit is very important.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  7. #7
    Erudite white trash lexm's Avatar
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    As usual, I think Jur has it right.

    If you want to introduce your girlfriend to cycling, suggest riding a bike to do something she wants to do. Let her discover the attraction of riding for herself - in her comfort zone and at her pace. If she finds it attractive, she'll look for more opportunities to incorporate cycling into her life. A bike bought for her before she's ready to embrace it is a burdensome obligation, not a benefit.

    In the meantime, not another word about her driving 700 meters to work - unless you want to be an ex-boyfriend.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlavallee View Post
    ... I was interested in the Raleigh Folding I8 as well, but its folding characteristics are similar enough to my BF that it wouldn't really fill a different need for me. ...
    The Raleigh Folding i8 is a very nice, relatively-inexpensive folder. The Nexus 8-speed hub is, IMHO, its best feature. The 2012 model is black and has a quick-release handlebar clamp. The 2011 model is white and has a fixed handlebar clamp. I'm pretty sure the Dahon "Revolve" handlebar stem will fit the 2011 model.

    -HANK RYAN-
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  9. #9
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    There is a small BF on Ebay right now.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattlavallee View Post
    My girlfriend is moving in with me. She works about 700m away from our apt, but still drives there. What would seem to me to be a no-brainer has evolved into a discussion about sweat, rain, and poor treatment of a car engine (my input). To be fair, it does get nasty hot/humid here, and it can rain on a whim, though usually not long in duration. Ideally, she would start out riding to work, come with me on weekend neighborhood rides, fall in love with riding, and in the future be receptive to multi-week unsupported stealth camping tours. I said ideally.

    There are 2 basic directions I could go with this: a cheapo bike so not much is lost if she doesn't get into it; and a good bike that fills a void in my current lineup so that I can use it if she doesn't get into it. I think buying a cheap bike for her could increase the chance of a lack of interest. So I'm thinking about getting a decent folding bike for her. I probably don't need to extol on the virtues of a folder in this venue, but it would fit easier in the elevator and could fit in the back of her car as well.

    I have a BF Pocket Rocket which I love. If I were picking for myself I'd like to get a 16" folder for bringing along when smaller folded size or faster time is helpful. A Tikit or Brompton would be great but I'm balking at the price for a (ahem) 5th bike. Also, although BF's multiple sizes are usually regarded as a good thing, I'm 6'1" and she's 5'2" so I doubt any Tikit would be a good fit for both of us. I also have a hankering to try out an internal geared hub. The Dahon Curve D3 seems like a good fit, though still a bit pricey in my mind for a 3 speed. I was interested in the Raleigh Folding I8 as well, but its folding characteristics are similar enough to my BF that it wouldn't really fill a different need for me. Any other bikes or viewpoints I should consider?
    First of all, you said she only have 700m to commute to work. I mean, you can walk 700m; most people do if they want to get themselves in shape one way or another and it's cheap. If she's not into walking and rather opting to drive, I think you will have a harder time convincing her to bike. There is a reason why she wants to drive. It's comfortable, secure and dry. Nothing beats that. I take it that she's still young and healthy?!? If that's the case, there's more reason for her to live a sedentary biased life style. The only way you can convince her to ride to work is to demonstrate the health benefits of mild exercise. Good for cardiovescular as well as joints and muscles (more so with women) and slowing down the aging process. When you're young, you don't feel that bad. When you are older however, things start breaking down and so which is why mature and middle age women are more health conscious than their younger peers simply because, they are just not young anymore.
    Don't force your girlfriend into doing things she does not like and don't treat your girlfriend like a child either. If she loves you very much, she will do things to impress you.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificcyclist View Post
    First of all, you said she only have 700m to commute to work. I mean, you can walk 700m; most people do if they want to get themselves in shape one way or another and it's cheap. If she's not into walking and rather opting to drive, I think you will have a harder time convincing her to bike. There is a reason why she wants to drive. It's comfortable, secure and dry. Nothing beats that. I take it that she's still young and healthy?!? If that's the case, there's more reason for her to live a sedentary biased life style. The only way you can convince her to ride to work is to demonstrate the health benefits of mild exercise. Good for cardiovescular as well as joints and muscles (more so with women) and slowing down the aging process. When you're young, you don't feel that bad. When you are older however, things start breaking down and so which is why mature and middle age women are more health conscious than their younger peers simply because, they are just not young anymore.
    Don't force your girlfriend into doing things she does not like and don't treat your girlfriend like a child either. If she loves you very much, she will do things to impress you.
    oh that means 700 meters? lmao.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Russcoles11's Avatar
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    It has to be a bike she likes, don't even bother trying to get one you would use if she doesn't like it. The result will be that she won't like it and will then think the whole thing was a ploy to get you another bike. Get something quality but second hand, maybe vintage with a basket on the front which she can decorate with plastic flowers. A bike like this gives the message that you are not expecting her to do stealth camping tours if she doesn't want to and also makes it clear that this is HER bike. If you get it right she will name the bike.

    And Keke several factors affect how sensitive your steering is, wheel size, geometry, tyres, headset etc. Generally small wheels=more twitchy. My Dawes Kingpin is probably the most twitchy steering I have ever come across by a huge margin. This is because the front forks slope forward quite a bit, it has 20" wheels and the headset allows the forks to turn very freely. I used to hate it but you get used to it. To reduce how twitchy your steering is, the simplest thing is to carry weight on the front of the bike. Get a basket, bar bag or front panniers to carry stuff in.
    Last edited by Russcoles11; 09-26-11 at 04:18 PM.

  13. #13
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    I have a used Bromton M3R I put FS in the LBS . 6 Ben F's.

  14. #14
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    of the people responding to this, who is a woman?

    just wonderin

  15. #15
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    I am a woman. It won't work. I did the same thing - bought a "surprise" bike for my husband in hopes that he would fall in love with biking like I did and come riding with me on weekends. He was annoyed and returned my well intentioned gift. I should have known better than to think that he would be interested just because I am. Long story short, I had good intentions but poor insight.

    Let your girlfriend decide first that she wants a bike and is interested in biking before you purchase anything.

    If you absolutely insist in buying a bike, get a Mu P8

  16. #16
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    If you are off bicycling all the time and come home and tell tales of the great adventures and the wonderful coffee houses you ate in, well, you MIGHT have a chance but a person that is so self-important that she drives when she could walk? No chance. Tell her tales of global warming, I'm sure that will work (not).

  17. #17
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    Hmm, awfully judgmental in here..... Well the biggest reason she's driving is that driving made sense for the past 5 yrs from her old place several km away, and she's only moved here in the last week. I don't really feel that I'm treating her like a child by mentioning an option that she hadn't considered. And yes, 700m is an easy walk, but in the current temps it will result in a decent amount of sweat, which for her job is not good. The 700m is dead flat, so I think riding a bike there would be better for the car, environment, parking situation, etc and still not cause sweatiness. Things should be cooling off here in a month or so, so maybe the bike plan would be more feasible then. She's expressed interest in a bike for weekend rides to breakfast or bars, but is not interested in the Japanese "mama chari" bikes which are cheap, heavy, and standard issue here. Even if she wanted to come for a coffee ride or try riding to work, she doesn't have a bike, so that's the part I want to work on--plus the weekend rides would be fun.

    I like the used bike idea but the market here is full of really low quality bikes. The bike shops sell either mama charis or way overpriced mid-grade bikes, so I'd probably mail order this. I'll keep an eye on that Ebay Bike Friday, and I see there's a pink Brompton on there too. I hadn't thought about the 16" twitchiness combined with her riding experience. She's ridden before but it's been a few years now. Some of the sports stores here have Dahons (I've heard) so maybe we'll look for a Curve for a test ride. The word "cute" came up when I showed her a D3 picture.

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  18. #18
    Lao
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    Well my suggestion would be: back off a little. I mean, she already wants a bike for weekends and she has yet to know how to get to work as she just moved there. Give her some time to realize whether it is necessary to drive every day or not. Don't push her into bike stores but follow her gladly when she wants to look for a weekend bike. Then, either she will learn by herself that biking to work is quite nice or she will still think it is stupid and then there is probably not much to do about it.

  19. #19
    Senior Member badmother's Avatar
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    Velouria wrothe about this in her blog. She used to be "one of those girlfriends" and is maybe the best one to say something about it.


    http://lovelybike.blogspot.com/2010/...-get-bike.html
    °Empty drums make a lot of noice... (Old Hungarian proverb).

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diode100 View Post
    What does your girl friend want to do ?

    If she is new to cycling and even faintly anti, then starting her on a 16" wheel bike does not sound like a good introduction to me. Take her to the bike shop and let her try something that a) fits her, and B) will surprise and delight her, maybe 26" wheeled cross / hybrid bike, something that goes whoosh when she hits the pedals, if that doesn't hook her nothing will. Put her on something twitchy, as most 16" bikes are, and you could end up buying her a new CD player for her car instead.
    Can your girlfriend post? If she can, let her use a computer to ask us herself if she wants a bike.

    Quote Originally Posted by merry2 View Post
    1. just how many miles do you plan on her riding to work? she (you?)lives 700 miles away. you seem to be trying to plan her life for her like she's a child or something.

    2. has she had any interest in your four bikes? if she has not, what makes you think that buying something for her, which you could/would also use, will make her more interested? there's nothing worse than seeing those know it all pushy men trying to get women they are with into cycling when there is no interest whatsoever. i see these men all the time and i feel sorry for the women they are with.

    3.why can't you just leave her alone?

    4. if cycling with a girlfriend is that important to you, find another woman who would be interested.

    5. if you want another bike for yourself, just get one.
    How sad a person would dump someone just because they don't happen to share an activity that you enjoy. If she is a good person who loves you, what of it she does not happen to share bikes with you? If you are itching to buy another bike, just be honest with yourself and buy the bike for yourself. Not use your girlfriend as a fall-girl.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jyyanks View Post
    I am a woman. It won't work. I did the same thing - bought a "surprise" bike for my husband in hopes that he would fall in love with biking like I did and come riding with me on weekends. He was annoyed and returned my well intentioned gift. I should have known better than to think that he would be interested just because I am. Long story short, I had good intentions but poor insight.

    Let your girlfriend decide first that she wants a bike and is interested in biking before you purchase anything.

    If you absolutely insist in buying a bike, get a Mu P8
    There is nothing wrong with good intentions. Just keeping in perspective and insight as to what our partners-in-life really want and need the most in an healthy relationship. You. Not bikes so much.
    Last edited by folder fanatic; 09-27-11 at 11:49 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member ro-monster's Avatar
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    Much as I love riding my bike to work, if I lived only 700 meters away, I wouldn't bother. I'd just walk. Personally, I get much sweatier riding somewhere than I do if I walk to the same place.

    I do agree with some of the other posters. If you want to get her a bike, make it one that really appeals to her (even if you think it's hideous) and don't compromise on the fit just so you can ride it too. No one is going to be enthusiastic about riding a bike they find uncomfortable and unappealing.

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