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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 09-04-03, 02:39 PM   #1
SinGate
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"Forced" the wife to ride

In retrospect I should not have gone so far....
I love to ride and will hit 1,000 miles for my first time this year. My wife is not a big rider, but thought she may like to get into it. I bought her a new bike (Trek1200C) and a tandem (Trek as well). In any case I thought nothing of going on a 18.6 mile ride with her in tow as my Stoker. Well she was fine and having a good time for the first 10 miles but the last 8.6 she was tired and had a sore rear end. I feel bad that i over-estimated the distance she could go and I forgot that she was a newbie. i have now bought her a new softer seat and will ease her into cycling more slowly.
Does anyone have any suggestions (for road or tandem) that could help her make the transition better?
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Old 09-04-03, 02:52 PM   #2
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I don't know your wife's temperament or her motivation for riding, so it's hard to give accurate advice. However, you should probably scale back the distance/time until she becomes more comfortable. You can gradually increase the distance/time each time you ride. Maybe just add a mile or two each time. If she's competitive or eager to ride faster, she'll probably let you know.

My wife is just getting back into cycling after about 16 yrs. Up until about a month ago, she couldn't do more than about 7 miles. Last weekend we did a 42 mile ride on the tandem. What really got her motivated was when I introduced her to some of the women in the bike club. A couple of them have small kid's and pull them around in trailers. My wife enjoyed their company and it really motivated her to start riding more seriously. She is now going out more on her own, beginning to get stronger, and really start enjoying the rides. At first, it was more pain than pleasure but her body is now beginning to become more fit.

I also bought her a Terry Butterfly saddle which she finds much more comfortable than the Brooks she used to have.

Hope maybe this helps a bit.

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Old 09-04-03, 03:21 PM   #3
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Thanks SteveE.
Sounds like good advise. She wants to ride because she sees how much I enjoy it and would like to share more interests with me. She would like to go on a one day or two day organized ride because those are my favorite and I tend to rave about them.

I suppose some of her motivation is in trying to please me, while my hope is that there is also a sincere interest in the sport as well; itís still too early to tell.
Maybe I need a bike-specific marriage counselor (I best not use Lances' though).
Also my wife is intimidated by biking in general, but I hope that changes as she is going to take some spinning classes at the Y.
We just got both kids into school so we will finally have some free time to ourselves.
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Old 09-04-03, 04:43 PM   #4
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SinGate, this is a common story.

Unfortunately, there's no easy answer especially since we don't know the dynamic of your relationship. As a woman who rides and loves it I'm always amazed by women who don't. But each to her own, right? My gut tells me she must find her own passion for biking not just yours.

Perhaps there is no time. If she seems busier than you in life, perhaps help her free up some time to discover.

It's odd that she finds bikes intimidating, since it's one of the first things we learn to do as a kid. They are a fairly simple contraption. Like swimming, once we learn how it's automatic. Perhaps she's intimidated by all the high-tech stuff we talk about in these forums and that you might share with her. Rec riding doesn't have to be complicated. Maybe a couple of cheap single speeds on the bike path is a good place to start.

Finally, number one complaint for most newbie women is the saddle thing. You'll find miles of posts about that in here. She may need to try a few before she finds the one that will let her ride greater lengths.

Good luck!
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Old 09-04-03, 04:46 PM   #5
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Oh, one more thing. This is way personal I know. And I'm not a therapist but...

If she is into something as much as you're into biking maybe you should try that as well. Kind of a 'share the interests' kind of thing.

You've always wanted to learn how to scrapbook right?
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Old 09-04-03, 05:47 PM   #6
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Originally posted by spexy
You've always wanted to learn how to scrapbook right?
What, did she call you....I have to put my foot down on the scrap-booking. I cleared up some space in the rec room for it but that is as far as I go!

The kids going off to school is a big help, and she is going to have tons of free time now. In fact she is going to cut down to 24 hour work weeks so that we can both help the kids with schoolwork and such.

Seriously thanks for the advice. I'll slow it down and work at her pace. I hope she'll enjoy riding as much as I do, but if not I guess there's always Kayaking and climbing to fall back on (our other more occasional past times).

Did I mention I love you folks! You are always here to help out, I appreciate it!
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Old 09-04-03, 05:59 PM   #7
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Originally posted by SinGate
Does anyone have any suggestions (for road or tandem) that could help her make the transition better?
One step at a time, starting with shorter distances. Debbie was not a cyclist, per se, when we brought home our first tandem. She was excited about it and generally in great shape, but she hadn't spent a lot of time in the saddle in some 30 years.

Our first rides were about 7 mi long. Short for me, but longer than anything the'd ever done and she was hurtin' after those first rides. On our third outing -- after making some adjustments to her riding postion after each outing -- instead of telling me that she wanted to turn around at the 3.5 mile mark she said let's do the whole (14mi) loop. It was her call and she did fine. We did that loop several times over the next week and two weeks after we started riding the tandem we did our first group tandem ride. 25 miles on very hilly roads with 14 other tandems and she was hooked. A month later she did her first metric century at a local charity ride that five couples from the previous month's tandem ride rode as a group. Although it's not essential that you ride with other tandem teams, it sure does drive home the social aspects of tandeming.

Bottom Line: My recommendation for all new teams is to discuss your mutual goals for riding in general as well as for each ride with your wife before jumping on the bike, e.g., how about 10mi today and lets take it easy. Also, let her know it's OK to say "I think we need to turn around" or "lets go short today" without feeling as though you'll be disappointed. In time, you may find her saying "let's do another loop" or "let's go long today".

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Old 09-05-03, 07:00 AM   #8
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Yes, you'll have to have a little more patience. You'll have to accept her limitations, but the more she rides the better & longer she'll ride. In the meantime, maybe choose a destination where you can take a break, then continue back home. Ride to XYZ. You can stop & take a break, get some breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, enjoy the view, whatever, then continue the ride. She'll have a sense of accomplishment of achieving a longer ride and will look forward to the next ride.
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Old 09-05-03, 07:04 PM   #9
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My wife has been taking a spinning class at the Y the past few springs. She has enjoyed tandeming a lot more since doing so as it helps her ride stronger and it gets her conditioning level closer to mine at the start of the riding season. So, in other words, I'm all for it as then I can let her provide the power!!
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Old 09-06-03, 12:51 AM   #10
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Hey Blwyn, thanks for the message.
I'll be biking (solo) about half way up to Green Bay tomorrow (Appleton). I'm going to watch the Packers beat the tar out of the Vikings then bike back home.
:cool:
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Old 09-06-03, 10:37 AM   #11
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You'll have perfect weather for the ride. Go Pack go!
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Old 09-06-03, 04:59 PM   #12
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Wow! Good luck! You have a challenge...
I had the exact opposite problem, my "stoker wench" (call her that cause she's not always nice to me) is a whirlwind of excitement and a power house of energy, i don't know where she gets it from, those slender legs.

So anyway, one time we were hammering up a very steep set of hills on Vancouver Island and i was just about ready to die, we were full-loaded for god's sakes. she yells "don't give up on me now!" i knew something was going to give, i lost my voice the next day and couldn't speak for a week. she pushed me too far.

five years later i got her back when we ascended mt. baker in washington, she didn't want to do it but i persuaded her with my culinary skills. we pushed very hard that day for 8hrs. she just about got hyperthermia and almost passed-out. i made her climb all 4100ft. in the sun with water rations. ha!
yes, we do have fun on that tandem.

later.

mike.
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Old 09-07-03, 04:43 PM   #13
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You'll have perfect weather for the ride. Go Pack go!
Well The weather was great for the ride. I had the wind at my back almost all the way up, then after the Packers lost (insert excuse here), I thought I'd be safer catching a ride back home due to the disgruntled (drunk) fans on the road.
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Old 09-07-03, 08:06 PM   #14
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Probably a wise choice!
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Old 09-07-03, 11:20 PM   #15
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A lot of good advice here for the less experienced stoker. I found the seat thing and pacing thing made a big difference for me. There is a LOT of good discussions on the women's forum on the seat. Three was the charm for me and I have a Gregg Lemond seat I purchased on e-bay. It seems like the ticket. Also maybe you can get your stoker interested in the clothing aspect of cycling. Most women enjoy shopping, even if it is for bike clothes!!!!!!!!!!!

I was not a much of a cyclist. In fact I made my husband take off the clipless pedals on the mountain bike because of my frequent bruises. I love being clipped in on the tandem because the way we work it I don't get out at all unless its to eat or pee. Suits me just fine. We also enjoy the time together.
He likes it because I have to listen to his directions about pedaling, etc. and I like it because he can't escape me when I talk to him
Enjoy!!
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Old 09-08-03, 12:45 PM   #16
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-brnigrl,

Very good post; cracks me up.
"...he can't escape me when I talk to him"
Ya my wife would like that too.
You are so right about the seat too, we are on number three also (hopefully this will be the one).
Thanks.
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Old 09-08-03, 07:04 PM   #17
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brnigrl is also right about the shopping thing.......as soon as we got home with our tandem, my wife was scouring the bike catalogs to get us outfitted with all the things she just knew we needed!
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Old 09-08-03, 07:29 PM   #18
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My wife can shop all she likes. Whatever it takes to get her on the bike.
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Old 09-12-03, 07:09 PM   #19
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The miles would do an experienced rider in at the begining of the season.

Remember that you wiggle on your bike without being aware of it when you ride, your wife might have been afraid to.

Also very likely a more delicate area is also tender after that ride, she can ask her doctor for a lidocaine cream to help get over a long ride. This is not meant for normal use, just when you need it to get back home. It is designed for a specific area and only that type of cream should be used.

With over 40 years of cycling, all you can do is gradually break the cushion in.


I speak from first hand experience.
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