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  1. #1
    Patria O Muerte!
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    First tour with the missus - tips?

    Hello all,
    In a week and a half me and my fiance are going on our first tour. Worry not, i don't have equipment questions :-)

    I myself am a pretty avid commuter, fairly fit and have all the equipment imaginable. She on the other hand, rides infrequently and isn't used to many hours in the saddle. Lately i've tried to bring her up to a reasonable level of fitness buy taking her on rides in the area. The longest was about 45 kilometers in the Jerusalem mountains - pretty challenging ride, and she handled it very well. Tomorrow we're going on a 60 km ride, that's more or less flat.
    She's very motivated, enjoys riding and is very excited about our upcoming trip.

    My question is, and i imagine i'm not the only one who's ever "dragged" a partner on a tour - what do you do to keep them happy and motivated, going day after day and not giving up when things get tough?
    I already resigned to carry all the gear, except for the tent and a few small items. What else can i do, once we've left home to live in a tent for a week in the desert?

    Thanks,
    Emil.
    When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.

  2. #2
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Stop before she is tired or hungry or thirsty. Once she is any of those three, it's too late and your trip is shot!

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shemp's Avatar
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    Lots of encouragement, use her pace, and carry all you can. My wife also appreciates it when I ride up beside her and give her a boost by pushing her forward for a minute or two, especially helpful in headwinds and false flats.

  4. #4
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    Don't plan to spend more than 4-5 riding per day. Have a back up plan if she gets sick of it and wants to cut a day short. (I have yet to do a tour were I didn't cut at least one day short of goal)

    If fact, get ready for her to say *let's not ride today* some morning and do something else.

    Remember that you're about to commit the rest of your life to this young women and don't let something stupid, like a bicycle get in the way.

    Don't worry-- you'll have a great time!

  5. #5
    Slow Rider bwgride's Avatar
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    To make the tour enjoyable for her, do these:

    1. cater to her
    2. ride no more than 45 to 65km a day
    3. stop often
    4. make the tour scenic, with shops and interesting stores to browse
    5. stay in motel every other night if you initially planned to camp; soft bed and warm showers are bonus
    6. eat at a nice restaurant
    7. carry the heavy stuff
    8. be positive, confident, and in high spirits
    9. give her a massage at night

    On the other hand, if you want to make this tour unpleasant and alienate her, do these:

    1. make her carry heavy loads
    2. ride about .5km ahead of her, stop look back and wait for her, and as she is about to catch up, ride away again
    3. look disdainfully at her when she needs rest or bathroom breaks
    4. carry separate tents to sleep in
    5. inform her that she smells offensive after riding
    6. when meeting and talking with others, don't introduce her
    7. suggest that the tour end early because you are bored
    8. and, most important, comment that her rear looks wide while sitting on the bike and that she should not wear tight biking clothing

  6. #6
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    "what do you do to keep them happy and motivated, going day after day and not giving up when things get tough?"

    Get electroshock so you never even think that stuff again.

    I think that if she is confident enough to cycle out front, then you should follow her all the time, weather allowing. Another thing is to find an easy track with bail out possibulities and interesting but not brutal terrain. Resist the desire to take her to all your favorite places if they are too tough to get to. Basically ask yourself whether you want to be happy together and do this again, rather than getting caught up in a trip specific agenda. Change the gear on your bike so you suffer, like remove the the grany chain ring, and instal 50 psi max tires while she is on the best Schwalbe's.

    Of course, if she is a happy marathoner who loves a physical challenge, then it's probably a different mater...

  7. #7
    Senior Member lighthorse's Avatar
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    Her pace
    Her route
    Her choice of motel or campgrounds
    Her choice of load
    Don't let things get "tough"
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  8. #8
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    You could try a tandem - that way she doesn’t have to worry about pace, directions, etc (or much of anything actually - my wife simply enjoys the ride/view).

    For our first tour - I chose a destination that interested my wife more then me. It was in her home state, to a place she wanted to visit but had never been, and involved activities that we "hers". I ended up having a great time and learned to love a new area of the country - and my wife gained a love of touring.

    We are doing another, longer tour this summer, and will admit that the destination is still skewed in her favor... but not as much.


    And +1 everything the other folks already said.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Stop before the going gets tough

  10. #10
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    fvalenti's post was really good. Letting your wife bike the destination is a great idea.

    I plan on using this idea this summer.

  11. #11
    Senior Member xilios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FidelCastrovich
    Hello all,
    My question is, and i imagine i'm not the only one who's ever "dragged" a partner on a tour - what do you do to keep them happy and motivated, going day after day and not giving up when things get tough?
    I already resigned to carry all the gear, except for the tent and a few small items. What else can i do, once we've left home to live in a tent for a week in the desert?

    Thanks,
    Emil.
    First of all don't drag her along, she has to come willingly
    Second do not carry all the gear let her carry her own stuff, if she doesn't like touring she will give up regardless.
    Talking to her and keeping her motivated should be enough to get her over the hard bits.
    Don't worry so much, she will let you know if she likes it or not soon enough
    Have a nice trip, and good luck.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Make sure she is warm and comfortable

    And well fed.

  13. #13
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    Don't moo at cows. I can't resist, but it drives my wife crazy.

    -- Mark

  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    Send her with somebody else for her first tour. That's so if she has a bad time she won't be able to blame you the rest of your life. If she has a good time, then let her plan and lead your first trip together. Hey, you might not be able to imagine this now, but maybe you'll want this hobby for yourself!

    OTOH, if you survive this, you'll survive anything. Better to know now.

  15. #15
    Senior Member CrankyFranky's Avatar
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    I agree 100% with Lighthorse. I've done 10 to 12 thousand miles over a decade and a half with two different women partners, and the trick is to let the less avid one to choose the route and you share the navigating... and always remain in the present. This method even got us over Puy Marie carrying a tent and full camping gear!
    Shalom!

  16. #16
    VWVagabonds.com Losligato's Avatar
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    A few weeks ago in Vietnam we met three British women in their 40s-50s cycling from the UK to Australia. Sitting around the table at the cafe were four cycle touring women (including Amanda, my wife) and me, so the conversation naturally turned to the difference in touring "styles" between men and women. Here is an outline of the conversation... from my male perspective.

    -Touring is not a race. Whoever is less fit on a particular day (she will surprise you) sets the pace.

    -The group found it helpful to set small goals (every ten kilometers rest a few minutes and drink water)

    -The toilet/pee spot issue is very different for women. Start looking for a suitable spot to stop before it is becomes pressing.

    -Eating. Every touring couple we've met has commented on how the female bonks sooner than the man when they have not eaten. Physiologically, I do not know why this is. Always have a few snacks handy and do not push beyond the feeling of lightheadedness. That goes for both of you.

    -Route Planning: Amanda does most of the research and planning of routes. She is more detail oriented than I and she can determine how far we go on a particular day. We are both happy with this.

    -I respectfully disagree somewhat with the light-load-short-days-she-decides-everything rules above. If you are a good couple you will be able to find a middle ground where you are both enjoying the trip.

    Happy travels
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  17. #17
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Ride WITH her ....... don't ride off into the distance and then expect her to catch up somewhere down the line.

  18. #18
    Occasional poster countrydirt's Avatar
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    When she drops you on a climb, don't pout!

  19. #19
    Senior Member ollo_ollo's Avatar
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    Be sure to schedule some "conversation" breaks. Women are generally more verbal than us men & they need some talk time.

  20. #20
    Senior Member NeezyDeezy's Avatar
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    spike her gatorade with EPO

  21. #21
    Patria O Muerte!
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeezyDeezy
    spike her gatorade with EPO



    Lately she discovered PowerGels - she loves them and feels like they give her a boost of energy. Placebo?Nothing wrong with that.

    Thanks everybody for great advice, i'll be sure to print out the important points and tape it to my arm, so i don't forget :-)

    Today we went on a 80km training ride and it was great. It was mostly flat, and her performance far exceeded my expectations. I think she is ready. Although, i realize that one ride is not a week long tour. Anyway, i loaded up the 4 panniers with books and sweaters to see what it was like to ride a fully loaded bike. Here too, i was surprised to see how quickly i adjusted and how the bike handled. Especially since it's not a touring specific bike, but a hybrid city machine. It felt very stable and the weight held me back just enough to even myself and her out, speed-wise.

    By the way, i showed her this thread and she found you guys very funny. Plus i scored some points in the "oh, you're so considerate" department.

    I think we'll have a great time down in the desert.
    When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Lolly Pop's Avatar
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    Bon voyage!

  23. #23
    Walmart bike rider gpsblake's Avatar
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    The most important thing is for BOTH of you to ENJOY the tour. If cater so much toward your wife that you stop having fun, then there's a problem with that also. Compromise is what is needed as there will be both fun times and challenging times for the both of you.

    Have fun. That's what it's all about.

  24. #24
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ollo_ollo
    Be sure to schedule some "conversation" breaks. Women are generally more verbal than us men & they need some talk time.
    I must confess that this confuses me for a couple of reasons:

    1. I tend to be more verbal and chatty than my g/f. People are different all over, I wouldn't be planning something like this just because, "oh, she's a woman, she needs to stop and chat."

    2. Why on earth do you need to schedule breaks for conversation? When my buddy and I tour, we chat as we ride, we'll chat when we stop for food or ice cream, we'll chat while we set up camp... there's no need for designated "conversation breaks." If you find yourself riding too hard most of the time for conversation, you're working too hard! When touring, I think that you should have enough breath left over most of the time to hold a conversation. Steep hills are obviously excluded. Anyway, talking while riding is a pleasant way to pass time in the saddle, and a lot more efficient than working harder and making stops for conversation along the way.

  25. #25
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    1) Start off easy - 10 miles per day? I think when people are getting into this, the destination is seen as the attraction, while the riding is a necessary evil, but it's hard and tiring and boring. Only later do you start to feel as if the riding is the attraction.
    2) For the first couple of days, ask her if she wants to stop early in the day, and don't say it as if you're hoping she'll say no. Say it as if you're fine with stopping if she wants to. After a couple of days, ask her how she's doing early on, but if she says something positive, don't ask if she wants to stop - not until later in the day.
    3) In the morning, after a nice cup of coffee and a relaxed breakfast, ask her how far she wants to go that day. Let her set the goals. Never urge her to do more - if she's going to get more ambitious it will come from her.
    4) If there's a headwind, ride in front of her and block it.
    5) If there's no headwind, ride behind her and sing to her. (Okay, this is iffy. How's your voice?)
    6) If she wants to stop to rest, or sightsee, or pee, or shop, act like you had been thinking about that too, and you're happy about stopping.
    7) Do more than your share of the camp chores.
    8) Don't track dirt into your tent.
    9) Be amenable to a rest day whenever she wants one.
    10) Be amenable to a motel whenever she wants one.
    11) Don't snore. (Breathe-Right Strips?)
    12) Make the first tour as easy and pleasant as possible. Go in a location she likes, in good weather, and treat yourselves to good food, good accomodations, etc.

    We met a couple in their 70's on the Oregon Coast who had been touring together for 30 years. Some of the guys asked the woman for advice on how to get their wives interested in the hobby they loved. She said to start out with very short distances, and stay in someplace romantic, like a bed and breakfast, with excellent food. If they loved that, they'd be on their way to becoming tourers.

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