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  1. #1
    Big Man Riding... MMPC's Avatar
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    Who rides with a GF/Wife?

    I've got a great new woman in my life and - after taking her biking last weekend on a rental Fuji mtb - she now wants to buy the bike to ride with me on the weekends! I'm thrilled beyond words at this prospect and don't want to SCREW IT UP! Not only so that she'll continue to bike with me but so that I don't mess up the rest of our relationship with unrealistic cycling expectations, etc. So, I'm looking for advice from those of you who bike with your girlfriends or wives.

    My GF is currently much slower than I am (as I'd hope since I've been riding regularly for 1.5 years now while this was her first time in a decade) and I know she'll slowly improve. Meanwhile, I'm fine with going on slower leisurely rides with her on the weekends while pushing it during the week. But what's the best way to gently encourage her to ride faster while keeping it fun and her interest peaked? Also, does anyone have examples of what NOT to do? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member LordOpie's Avatar
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    women are a pain in the butt! My last g/f wanted me to push her, but not too much. That's too annoying. Play it safe... go on every ride with her as if it's a recreational or recovery ride for you. Go on harder/faster rides with us.

    Don't push her. If you want to encourage her, bring a surprise picnic along next time

    Until she shows a serious desire, like buying body armor let her dictate the pace and all that.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I'm going to recommend a tandem.

    If you are compatable, it'll be a good investment because you'll love it. If you aren't compatable, you'll find out fast. If trying to ride a tandem together reveals your incompatability, a tandem is cheaper than a divorce so it will still have been a good investment.

  4. #4
    Senior Member nick burns's Avatar
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    My gf is a triathlete & we ride together quite a bit. She's a little slower than me, but not much, so I pull most of the time. I do like riding solo too, so her being a tri person gives the added benefit of me being able to out alone when she's swimming or running.

  5. #5
    Beauty Everywhere snowy's Avatar
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    Ok, so being a girl myself, go with what Lord Opie says. Just go her pace now. Most girls will quit if you push them too hard. Me on the other hand I have gotten so use to riding with men that I can beat the pants off of some of them. But I'm mostly talking about Mountain Biking, and not road. You will have to put in your rides alone to get the max out of it but to begin with be easy on her. You'll know when and if she is picking up pace!!! Good Luck

  6. #6
    Listen to me powers2b's Avatar
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    I rode flat trails with my ex-girlfriend. I encouraged her to ride as fast as she could and when she got tired we would turn around and I would tow her back by grabbing her belt at her hip.
    She got a great workout and didn't have to worry about struggling on the return trip and I got a warm-up ride followed by a hard ride as I towed her back.
    It was great fun for both of us.
    Enjoy

  7. #7
    Senior Member LordOpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowy
    Me on the other hand I have gotten so use to riding with men that I can beat the pants off of some of them.
    If you weren't so married, I'd enjoy having my pants beaten off

  8. #8
    Big Man Riding... MMPC's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies so far - they're very helpful. Everyone is pretty much confirming the way I thought I should go with this. I was already encouraged by our ride last week when she stood up and raced me up a short hill on the bike path! But otherwise I do plan to get my more "serious" rides in during the week and then just enjoy her company more than any workout during the weekend rides...

    LordOpie - I'd very much enjoy riding with you and your group again - anything planned?

  9. #9
    contrarian lala's Avatar
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    I commend you, MMPC, on your efforts. Work with her and don't drop her. Keep the communication up if you are doing street riding (we're going to take a left at the next light), so she knows what to expect. Keep it fun and every one will be happy. I myself find tandems irritating if one is the stoker and the pair is very unevently matched. It's just boring, eh?
    Higher ground for the apocalypse!

  10. #10
    Are we having fun yet? Prosody's Avatar
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    Ride with the girlfriend; leave the wife at home.
    You're east of East St. Louis
    And the wind is making speeches.

  11. #11
    Luggite bsyptak's Avatar
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    I'm lucky enough to have a wife who is generally *faster* than me! At least on the road bike. I seem to be a bit faster on the fully loaded commuter, but not enough to matter. She's a better runner, I'm a better snowboarder. Nice balance.

    This sort of thing is pretty common with one partner being better/faster/worse/slower than the other.

    The key is that they want to do something with you, and it should be obvious what you should do.

    Save the speed for solo rodes.

  12. #12
    Senior Member LordOpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMPC
    I was already encouraged by our ride last week when she stood up and raced me up a short hill on the bike path!
    ALWAYS lose the race, especially if she stands to hammer. For god's sake man, the view is worth 100x the victory. And if she asks if you let her win, say, "not exactly 'let', you distracted me."

    Quote Originally Posted by MMPC
    LordOpie - I'd very much enjoy riding with you and your group again - anything planned?
    nothing specific. Snowy's getting her new ride next week or two, so we'll have a social ride to welcome her to pavement. Bring your g/f for that one.

  13. #13
    cut my gas use in half Jessica's Avatar
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    You can set the tone at appreciative and enjoyable, or you can set it at faster and stronger, but you can't have both.

    I follow my slower S.O. so she sets the pace, encourage frequently, and plan on a recovery or recreational style ride. Oh, and if you are taking any load, you take all of it. Equalizer...

    I love it that she is interested at all.
    And I am sure there are other choices I haven't thought of, yet...

  14. #14
    Beauty Everywhere snowy's Avatar
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    oh yea, I'm so looking forward to riding with the group too!!!

  15. #15
    Big Man Riding... MMPC's Avatar
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    Wow, such great advice from everyone - THANK YOU - please keep it coming!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica
    I love it that she is interested at all.
    Me too!

    Quote Originally Posted by LordOpie
    nothing specific. Snowy's getting her new ride next week or two, so we'll have a social ride to welcome her to pavement. Bring your g/f for that one.
    Sounds great! I'll definitely plan on that.

    Snowy, have I met you yet?

  16. #16
    militant commuter
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    An aside, I met my girl while riding and she showed me how easy it is commuting.
    Your GF sounds like she is fast, not a lolly gagger, which is good, some people just dont see that they can stretch it out and fly along on a bike. I have found that when I start to drop my GF, I shift into a lower gear (high cadence) and leave it there, so that I don't keep pulling away. Also, the honesty on the bike, about energy levels, how fast is fun, etc is honesty that is useful everywhere else in a relationship. Congrats and good luck.

  17. #17
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nick burns
    My gf is a triathlete & we ride together quite a bit. She's a little slower than me, but not much, so I pull most of the time. I do like riding solo too, so her being a tri person gives the added benefit of me being able to out alone when she's swimming or running.
    Same with me (except it's my spouse). We're in our 50's. In fact, she got me back into riding because she is mostly a runner and swimmer and wanted someone to train with. That said, I fely very comfortable getting back on a bike and am having a great time (and nearly as obsessed as everyone else on this forum).

    She can usually beat me up hills, and I have my friend, gravity, on my side on the descents. I may be a little stronger on the flats, but our neighborhood is more "roller"-ish. We do more solo riding during the week (mostly due to our schedules), and try to ride together on the weekends. She does wimp out when the temperature goes below a certain point (usually 60), though.

    Last September, we did a 4 day inn-to-inn tour in Vermont, and it worked out really well. We're looking forward to doing a century or two this summer.

  18. #18
    Beauty Everywhere snowy's Avatar
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    Snowy, have I met you yet?


    MMPC-Met me in person???? No? But I do live here in Denver, and I too have gotten interested in road biking. I currently mountain bike. I use to live in Lakewood. GOD I miss that place. Now living in Westminster. My husband is not into biking at all so I'm solo here.

  19. #19
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    i have longed to get my GF into riding, but she is consistantly opposed to it so i've given up on the dream. however, i wonder how much fun i would have riding so slowly to be honest. i usually don't like to wait for people, so maybe this is a blessing in disguise. bike riding is my great escape, and i think i want to keep it that way, at least for now.

  20. #20
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    We second the motion: TANDEM!
    Celebrating 30 years of riding TWOgether this week!

  21. #21
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    When going on long rides with gear, make sure you make your load as heavy as possible and her load as light as possible. That will balance out your speeds and endurance levels a bit.

  22. #22
    Senior Member LordOpie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zonatandem
    Celebrating 30 years of riding TWOgether this week!
    oww! oww! I just got a cavity reading that!



  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMPC
    But what's the best way to gently encourage her to ride faster while keeping it fun and her interest peaked?
    I'm surprised that no one has offered this suggestion: talk to her. Tell her what is it about cycling that you'd like to share with her and why. Ask what her expectations and interests are. Is she competitive and an athlete? Or a recreational "smell the roses" kinda person?

    I'm also surprised that no wag here (and I would expect it to be a "he") has answered your question by saying that he rides with both his SO and his g/f.

    In any event, I'm envious of you folks who ride together. My SO is chronically ill and disabled, so I am unable to share the joys of cycling with her. Even a tandem is out of the question: not only could she not pedal, but if we fell, she'd be at serious risk of severe injury. It's particularly depressing on a ride--winter, summer, doesn't matter--through beautiful country and I see things I'd like to point out and share. I've thought about taking a camera along on rides, but that seems an inadequate, 2-dimensional solution to a 3-dimensional view.

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    My girlfriend bought a bike at the beginning of last summer. I can count one one hand how many miles it has on it now. At least I didn't buy it for her.

  25. #25
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Go somewhere fun and take the safest, easiest route you can. We hard core riders might not think much about climbing the local Alpe d'Huez while dodging traffic on a shoulderless road, but that'll scare the bejeezus out of a newbie.

    And like others have said, take all the load. Carry the backpack, load up the panniers, pull a trailer if you have one.

    And let her know how glad you are that she's riding with you.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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