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Old 06-18-08, 02:28 PM   #1
cwiginton
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Need help with getting wife interested in cycling

Having recently gotten back into cycling (mostly bike path with my kids either riding their bikes or trailered), I now turn to the task of getting my wife interested in participating. She is hesitant to get back on a bike as she was hit by a drunk driver while riding her bike when she was younger. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get her to at least ride on a bike path with me and the kids. As we have 4 kids, it can sometimes be difficult for me to get out and ride, and with the kids riding at different speeds it would be helpful to have another adult on the path with me.

Any suggestions both on (1) motivation for my wife, and (2) possible bike choices for her would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 06-18-08, 03:12 PM   #2
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Does fear of drunk drivers stop her going out in the car or walking on the sidewalks? If she were really afraid of drunk drivers she wouldnt let you take the kids with you. You should get your kids put the pressure on her so you can all have fun together. Get her a bike that costs $100 more than yours in the colour of her choice.
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Old 06-18-08, 07:18 PM   #3
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My son sked me when mommy was going to come on our bike rides.. I said you should ask Mommoy..
He did that afternoon she got a trek and a trailer for my daughter.

exxxxcelllent smithers exxxcelllent
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Old 06-18-08, 08:23 PM   #4
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My wife likes to have a destination on our short rides. One with food and possibly shopping. Our rides are 4 to 6 flat miles. You are having fun, your kids are having fun, find something that will be fun for her. And NO spandex. Everyone wears loose, casual clothing until She wants to upgrade.
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Old 06-19-08, 07:08 AM   #5
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My first thought was 'you will not get your wife interested' she has to do that herself. Your job is to do whatever you think will make her think she is interested in thinking about getting back on the bike. Just a thought.
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Old 06-20-08, 09:25 PM   #6
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I am building up a small indoor stationary bike theater. Basically it is a stationary bike close to and in front of a TV with surround sound. The idea is to have a place to exercise when the weather is bad or I don't have time to go out and ride and to make it fun by watching a movie at the same time. Perhaps your wife might like something like this since it is safe and healthy. And if she gets used to riding a stationary bike in a completely safe and fun setting she might be willing to transfer her desire to pedal with you and the kids on a limited risk managed way.

It is unlikely that the childhood fear she has will ever go away completely and if she does not have an internal desire to ride she will not overcome it. However, if she can learn to link enough positive experience with cycling she may be able to learn to ride on a risk limited basis. For instance, by limiting her risk by asking her to go only once a week in a safe place after she has gained some positive experience you might be successful.

The thing is that her experience with the drunk driver may have been highly traumatic and not so easy to overcome. You have to be sensitive to this and respect this trauma in her life or she will unlikely never be willing to go out and try riding again. I would suggest the stationary bike and then try some strategies for dealing with your kids on your own. If you can learn ways of helping the kids to have a lot of fun when you are out with them your wife may eventually want to ride so she is not left out of the fun. But if you expect her to change she will likely resist.

Last edited by Hezz; 06-20-08 at 09:36 PM.
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Old 06-24-08, 05:08 PM   #7
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As to bike: You're a better judge than any of us on which bike she would ride, but even so, she has to see bikes up close and test-ride them. Your difficulty is getting her to the LBS. That gets to motivation.

If she keeps putting you off, promise some ground-level reward and, if necessary, increase the intensity of the pain you're willing to suffer. First, promise you'll put the toilet seat down every time. It takes little effort on your part, and that should do it. If you're already house-trained, promise you'll clean the bathrooms by yourself if she'll go take some test-rides. If that doesn't work, things get tough. Promise you'll rent 27 Dresses and watch it with her ... all the way to the end. If you have to up the ante, promise you'll also watch a Project Runway marathon. If necessary, man-up and promise to take her to see Sex and the City . Just get her to the LBS.
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Old 06-24-08, 09:47 PM   #8
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As to bike: You're a better judge than any of us on which bike she would ride, but even so, she has to see bikes up close and test-ride them. Your difficulty is getting her to the LBS. That gets to motivation.

If she keeps putting you off, promise some ground-level reward and, if necessary, increase the intensity of the pain you're willing to suffer. First, promise you'll put the toilet seat down every time. It takes little effort on your part, and that should do it. If you're already house-trained, promise you'll clean the bathrooms by yourself if she'll go take some test-rides. If that doesn't work, things get tough. Promise you'll rent 27 Dresses and watch it with her ... all the way to the end. If you have to up the ante, promise you'll also watch a Project Runway marathon. If necessary, man-up and promise to take her to see Sex and the City . Just get her to the LBS.
The good news is that she has already seen Sex and the City, so I'm off the hook on that one. My kids have started in on her a little bit. I have also gotten her to look at some possible bikes on the Internet. She has agreed to go to the LBS to look at the Trek Lime. There is a greenway bike path adjacent to the LBS, so hopefully that will get the ball rolling.
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Old 06-25-08, 11:21 AM   #9
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Good to learn progress is being made.

Working through the children is the best approach. Mothers always want to keep their children happy, just do not get caught coaching them.

When out and about with them, (kids) take a camera, have fun and share the pictures with story and if kids add, "we missed you, wish you were there mommy" you may gain more ground.
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Old 06-29-08, 05:05 PM   #10
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It would be great if she rode with you, especially with 4 kids. But just remember that she may just not want to ride. Buying her a bike doesn't mean she'll ride it. Maybe a better approach would be to take two kids at a time to ride with you, and she takes the other two. Maybe that way, she'd decide on her own that she'd rather have a bike so that the family can bike together. But it'll have to be her choice for it to work.
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Old 06-29-08, 05:15 PM   #11
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Let her buy her own bike when she is ready. Don't you buy one for her. If you do that, it may be forever the wrong bike.

If you can, and she has an interest, get a baby-sitter and ride just with her. Having her learn to ride again, AND having responsibility for 4 kids at the same time, is really going to be a losing situation. She will be so worried about the kids getting hurt as she did that she will have a terrible time.

Or, perhaps there is something she can do for herslef, physically, while you ride - time to herself may be a great big valuable plus. Do you have someone else that you could ride with - a male neighbor with kids (or not) for example?

I think she is going to have a real tough time getting over being hit by a drunk driver. She likely still has PTSD. My wife nearly drowned as a kid, and dtill can't go in deep water without panicking - 60 years later.

Tell her that my wife actually learned to ride at age 60. It can be done.

Ask yourself, "Do I really want her to ride for the fun of it, or do I want her to ride to help with the kids?"

If the answer is "help with the kids," you are not going to be successful. Figure out some other solution.

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Old 06-30-08, 06:22 AM   #12
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You might have your wife try some crank forward bikes like Trek Pure, Giant Suede, Electra Townie, KHS Smoothie, REI K2 T: Nine Tailwind. They feel lower to the ground and more stable. Maybe just feeling safer perched on a bike will make her consider riding. Some of them (especially the step through models) have some pretty, feminine details that might appeal to her. Not sure about how they'd pull a trailer. Test ride and see?
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Old 07-01-08, 11:50 PM   #13
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I can't help you get her motivated but I can tell you how not to to demotivate her. Whenever you say the word "bicycle" don't hit her with a cattle prod, tazer or zap her electric shock collar. If you do that, then she'll associate bicycling with getting a painful electric shock and that never helped anybody.
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Old 07-02-08, 05:38 AM   #14
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Think of something you are really scared of or dislike doing, but that your wife really likes to do. Here are some suggestions: Shopping/Bungie Jumping/Singing in a chorus.

Then think of your wife posting a thread on an internet site entitled, "Need Help Getting Hubby Interested In Shopping/Bungie Jumping/Singing in a chorus."

Now work backwards and think how or if that scenario would work, and apply it to your situation. You may find some insight into her point of view.

Best of luck. I hope she gets over her fears, because cycling is so fun and free and a great way to be active with the family. But she simply might not want to bicycle.
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Old 07-02-08, 03:12 PM   #15
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my guess is your wife would like to ride with you, BUT, having 4 kids myself, she sees this as her "downtime". You take all 4 kids and she has a nice, peaceful hour or two, all to herself.

Probably has NOTHING to do with cycling or not, and everything to do with "Yippee! All 5 kids are out of the house and out of my hair!!" (yes, I intentionally said 5 )
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Old 07-02-08, 04:25 PM   #16
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Look for some organized fun, family oriented rides in your area. Here in Portland there are a bunch of them during the summer and the cyclists rule the streets at those times.
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Old 07-05-08, 05:49 PM   #17
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I recently conquered my childhood fear of bikes.

Not a drunk driver, but teenage boys who terrorized me by speeding past and playing "chicken" while they were on electric 4-wheelers. Resulted in a concussion and a large gash on my leg that required 20 stitches. I was 12 then.

About a year ago I decided that I wanted to learn to ride a bike again. Here are the most important things that helped me:

Off road - NO traffic. I practiced in an empty basketball court until I became confident enough to go on a paved trail with no one else on it.

NO KIDS! I never could have done it with my kids along. Too worried about what they were doing and whether one of them would come too close to me.

Small bike - I'm 5'0 and I started out on my child's 20" bike with the seat set up higher. The fact that my feet could touch the ground (flat-footed) at any time was VERY reassuring. I'm on a bike that fits me now.

The big thing is CONFIDENCE. I had NO confidence in myself or anyone else who was riding near me (or even walking near me). It took awhile to build it up - be sure to reassure her A LOT!

As for your approach - be honest. Tell her that you understand her fears and JUSTIFY them! Tell her she has a right to be afraid! Tell her that you want to make it a family affair - that you enjoy her company and so do the kids and this is an experience you want to share with her!

Of all the above points, I think the most important one is to take her out to ride without the kids. It might even be best if YOU are not on a bike either - that way she feels a little more powerful and doesn't have to worry about how close your bike is to hers or where you are.

So now *my* challenge is to get my husband interested in biking!! I've used the honest approach, but he's not at all interested.

Last edited by jkg7770; 07-05-08 at 05:51 PM. Reason: Added info
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Old 07-07-08, 04:46 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by cwiginton View Post
Having recently gotten back into cycling (mostly bike path with my kids either riding their bikes or trailered), I now turn to the task of getting my wife interested in participating. She is hesitant to get back on a bike as she was hit by a drunk driver while riding her bike when she was younger. I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to get her to at least ride on a bike path with me and the kids. As we have 4 kids, it can sometimes be difficult for me to get out and ride, and with the kids riding at different speeds it would be helpful to have another adult on the path with me.

Any suggestions both on (1) motivation for my wife, and (2) possible bike choices for her would be greatly appreciated.

Assuming a limited budget, I would get her a similar bike to the one you have. So if you have a road bike, get her something that is efficient for the roads and so on. Chances are that in the beginning, she is going to ride with you only.

Regarding safety, most advocacy groups have a "confident city cycling" or some alternative course.
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Old 07-08-08, 09:00 AM   #19
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Another poster said it but I'll echo it again - while it's great to share biking with your wife and kids, it's also nice to give your wife some alone time. My wife is not completely into the biking thing. Our kids are young - 3 and 1 - so when I take them out biking they are either in a bike trailer behind me or the 3 year old is on his little bike with training wheels and I push the 1 year old in the stroller, and my wife jogs with. If I'm pulling the trailer, she goes running on her own.

So we all get good exercise in our own way. She's ridden my bike a few times and doesn't mind it, just doesn't have a strong desire to do it, she prefers running. I think maybe when the kids are a little older and both on bikes, street safe, it might be a little more convincing to her to be on her bike (she has a mountain bike from her teenage years, fixed up in usable shape).
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Old 07-08-08, 07:56 PM   #20
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Start taking medium to long rides without any kids along. She'll want to join you pretty soon. bk
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Old 07-08-08, 09:03 PM   #21
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I appreciate all of the helpful posts. Some have helped me view this from a little different perspective as well.

Just as an update, my wife is interested in getting a bike and riding on the bike paths with us (mostly at the insistence of the kids and because she wants to get back in shape). We have narrowed the bike selection down to the following bikes:

Giant Suede
Trek Lime
Trek Navigator
Trek Pure

She is (obviously) interested in having a bike that she can sit on the seat and put her feet on the ground giving her a bit of added security.

Anyone have any experience (good or bad) with any of these bikes?
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Old 07-17-08, 08:39 AM   #22
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I put my kid's 2000 GT Bullet on Craig's list the other day for $45 and it sold in a day. A fellow and his wife came over, she said she liked it, (by looks alone), he gave me $45 and they took off. It had a small frame on 24" wheels. They wanted something small for her to learn on and he said I might see it on Craig's list again in a month or two. You might try this. This way you not paying a lot for a bike that might not get used and you wife can determine on her own what she likes and dislikes about the bike's features. And if she get's into it she can look forward to shopping for that really cool bike that fit's just right!
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Old 07-17-08, 10:29 AM   #23
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How a ride feels to an individual is very personal. That said, I ride a Giant Suede with 7 speeds. I totally love my bike even after a year of riding. I average about 9-10 miles per ride, 6 days a week. I have ridden the Trek Pure (loved it just as much but it cost more because of more gears); and also have been on the Trek Navigator.

I have to tell you I'm a slow rider who has to scramble through about a mile of dirt, potholes, tumbleweeds, gravel, a huge drainage ditch, etc. to get to the paved neighborhoods I like to ride in. Love the stretched out relaxed feel of the Suede. It seems very stable and solid. My guess would be it's around 30 pounds without the rack, bag, etc.

The Navigator felt too cramped in the cockpit and high up, as did the Giant Cypress/Sedona. But lots of people love those models and ride them a lot too.

Other bikes to try are a Giant Simple (Cruiser) and Trek Calypso (Cruiser). They feel lower to the ground and are probably meant for slower rides too.
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Old 07-17-08, 10:38 AM   #24
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Maybe you would like to start a new thread asking about "which bike for my wife?" now that she is convinced that she wants to ride again.
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Old 07-17-08, 12:22 PM   #25
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OHHHH...good one!

Devious, but good!
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