You might be able to start her out on a small non threatening no effort bike... But if she has already told you NO WAY then she is probably right...
Well, when I met my wife, I built her an upright mountain bike with hybrid tires and handlebars. She liked it ok but didn't see the point. Years later before our first child we started walking a lot. Turns out she is a destination hiker/biker, no destination, no point. So from there we started walking and biking to places, dinner, grocery store, hardware store, Target, post office, etc. Before we had the first kid, she started having trouble with the walks so she wanted to ride. Nothing heavy obviously, but just enough to keep some fitness. She liked that a lot and now likes to go ride anyplace that isn't walking distance, or if we have several local errands to hit. I am building her a new bike that is a little bit more of a speedy hybrid and she is actually pretty excited about it. It was used but we had it powder coated and will have all new components. The other bike was important though, because she could stand pretty close to flat footed and develop her balance.
The best advice I can say is make it a fun time between both of you, and give her a decent, lighter hybrid and you have half a chance. It took me years for her to like it but I tried to keep things more casual in recent years and that is the kind of riding she likes and wants to do. You want someone to go race with, find someone else, she may build up to that but don't force it. If this is a real activity you want to do with her, you have to set her up with success with the same (relative) quality of stuff that you have or at least something she feels balanced and comfortable on, REALIZE it is an activity for companionship, and find that trigger that may help her to make sense of the activity. I had to warm up to the activity by walking a bunch first (and still do) and then worked towards riding.
When my wife was out of town, I rode with my seasoned (60's) female neighbor the other day, whom likes to ride but admitted that her last love was a bully about the ride, yelling for her "push" herself. He came off as a bully to her, what she wanted was a companion on the journey instead. It made me wonder if I was ever that guy before.
- What type of biking are you trying to "sell" her on? Road biking, mountain biking, bike paths?
- Does she know how to ride a bike?
- Is she severely overweight?
It took me three years of working on my wife before we got bikes, and the first ones we got were mountain bikes. She was very overweight (still is...) and felt like she would either break a bike or just wouldn't have the strength or endurance to ride. It was a confidence issue.
So, one day we just happened to be in a shopping center with a Performance Bike, and I decided I wanted to go look at bikes. Neither of us knew anything about bikes at the time, but as a kid, I had a GT, so there was no other option for me, I wanted another GT...but man, those GTs were expensive, or so we thought.
I hadn't been on a bike in over 20 years at the time, so a $400 bike to me was a lot of money. It was sticker-shock. We did some research and decided on a GT Avalanche 1.0 for me and a 3.0 for her. They were on sale, so the prices weren't too bad.
She came across an ad in the local paper for a ride with a club, so we decided to show up with our newly purchased bikes. We met some cool people and decided we'd join the club. We still belong. Rachel and I aren't exactly competitive like the majority of the others in the club, but we like to ride, nonetheless.
We took our first mountain biking trip with a few people who were fairly "seasoned," and it was fun. We were extremely tired by the end, and I liked it a little bit more than she did, but she did have fun...she just didn't like the rocky terrain. Given she was always the "10-speed around the neighborhood" kinda rider, it was understandable.
We went out again with the same people and someone else, and she crashed and wound up being a bloody mess, but she had a good time this time. Soon afterwards, we felt we were "up to par" with riding, and purchased road bikes, but then discovered neither of us felt safe on backroads littered with rednecks who would drive by and "smokescreen" us with their diesel trucks. She has asthma, so this was a bit problematic for her. Not to mention, there were the horn-blowers, the ones who would pass by us within about six inches of our bikes, and the ones who would just throw stuff at any cyclist they saw. We now stick to the paths, as the risks just aren't worth it for us.
Over the past three years, she's become quite fond of mountain biking. While she's not a huge risk-taker and doesn't like climbing logs and such, she does like the fast downhill sweepers, etc. I myself, take a few more risks, but nothing too serious. She still has trouble with the concept and technique of climbing, but she's getting better every year.
Before riding, she was adamant about NOT wanting to ride. It was all my idea, and I pushed her to do it. I basically told her, "Honey, you're seriously bored, and you really need a hobby. You really need some excitement in your life."
...And so she got excitement and loves it.
Sometimes all it takes is that little push. Make it clear you want to ride WITH her, and explain the benefits of riding; the health benefits, the "adventure" aspects, and of course, the opportunity to spend quality time with her. If you're a strong rider, don't "leave her in the dust," just ride with her. :thumb:
...Or you could just go get her a bike and say, 'C'mon, we're going for a ride." :thumb:
I got my dad a bike for his 70th bday, even after he told me, "I don't want a bike!" He saw it and fell in love with it, especially since it was an old-school looking cruiser bike like the one he had as a child. :thumb: He was super-excited and he had a grin on his face from ear to ear. He just jumped on that bike and took off, just like a little kid.
My mom was adamant she didn't wanna ride either and claimed she didn't know how to ride a bike. Never mind, she used to ride around with my brother and I on the back of her bike. I got her a bike last season, too. She just hopped on and took right off. She was super-excited. Now, instead of chasing after the grandchildren on foot while they're on bikes, she can ride with them.
So, now my both of my parents have bikes, and they ride whenever the weather is nice. They absolutely love their bikes. :thumb:
My wife is the same way.
I have tried and tried to get her interested in riding, but she wants nothing to do with it. A simple bike to just cruise down the greenway on? Nope...not a chance :(
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