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Advise giving advice. (Coaching without getting a divorce)

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Advise giving advice. (Coaching without getting a divorce)

Old 05-22-24, 03:47 AM
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Advise giving advice. (Coaching without getting a divorce)

***title was supposed to be coaching without getting a divorce ***

While I can’t scream the Jerry McGuire line “Help me help you!” I sometimes want to, but I’m sure that would be ill advised.

A Little background, both myself and my wife are just on either side of 60 and in great health. We just got into cycling really in the last 5 years. She walks miles every day and when I walk with her I struggle keeping up with her pace. We live in the driftless part of the Midwest and recently moved and now have a steep climb back into our subdivision.

the challenge I have, is the hills, while I’m probably not the best climber, I very frequently have to stop at the top and wait for her as she gets off her bike and pushes her bike to the top of the hill…….. then I notice she has 3-4 gears left when she arrives, and she is panting. I have tried to explain the gear thing, but I’m thinking she’s not listening because it’s me.

I’ve got a background in sale/business training and coaching and some of the best experience I have is being married to this wife of mine for 33 years, so I know when to shut up. I’m confident it would be easier on her to pedal to the top, but can’t convince her to shift.

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Old 05-22-24, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Bogey Speedwell

the challenge I have, is the hills, while I’m probably not the best climber, I very frequently have to stop at the top and wait for her as he gets off her bike and pushes her bike to the top of the hill…….. then I notice she has 3-4 gears left when she arrives, and she is panting. I have tried to explain the gear thing, but I’m thinking she’s not listening because it’s me.
​​​​​​​Maybe this guy on her bike is the issue? 😂
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Old 05-22-24, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Maybe this guy on her bike is the issue? 😂
😂 , thanks for catching that. It’s early here.
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Old 05-22-24, 06:13 AM
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I believe that there's a for-women-only section of Bike Forums. I've always been curious about what topics get discussed there.

Maybe she would consider joining that forum. The very fact that Bike Forums provides what I imagine is a pleasant environment for women makes it at least worth mentioning to her. (Check the mods first to confirm that there is indeed such a forum. I've seen it mentioned only a few times over the years.)

Edit: here's the most recent thread about the women's forum (posted in 2018). Evidently she would have to join Bike Forums and then apply for access to the women's forum (it's invitation only).

Not sure how you should approach your wife about the idea. (Straightforward: "Honey, FYI, there's a women's-only section of Bike Forums." Reverse psychology: "Bike Forums has a women's-only section, hidden from the male forum members. Stupid idea." Et cetera.)

Women's specific bike forum


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Old 05-22-24, 06:27 AM
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my wife won't listen to me about shifting gears.
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Old 05-22-24, 06:33 AM
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My advice - if she enjoys riding, leave well enough alone, let her ride how she wants and be patient.
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Old 05-22-24, 06:57 AM
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Not from the driftless area, but imagine you've got some punchy climbs. I'm in the flatlands of western MN. Anyway, just my perspective. I know there are climbs I've pushed up where I had a bunch of gears left, but had felt that I was going so slow, that's there is no way I would stay upright trying to use them. Does she have sufficient speed going into the climbs to continue spinning up? If you're able to climb though, given you're stated fitness as opposed to your spouses, I'd imagine that she's in too tall of a gear when she starts the climb, and has missed the opportunity to shift when she should have. Does she shift between gears when on a more rolling portion that isn't a steep climb? It typically is helpful when learning shifting to do so where you're just learning to stay comfortable spinning the same rpms...not when you're struggling with a super steep climb.

I'd suggest she perhaps join a ladies group ride, if one is available, or a no drop ride where ride leaders do some coaching. I know both of these might be pretty rare, as I've only run into a couple of these in the wild. Good luck.
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Old 05-22-24, 07:12 AM
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Looks like she is a stronger walker, and you are a stronger climber.

If there is even a sniff of impatience while you're waiting at the top of the hill, put a fork in it, you're done.

Now Ms. BG is not as strong a rider as I am. My solution? She gets to lead. All day, every day. I'm happy to follow her at her pace, and I can save higher output for solo rides.
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Old 05-22-24, 07:27 AM
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Accept it and get over yourself
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Old 05-22-24, 07:27 AM
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Would she be OK with riding beside you as she approaches the hill, so she could watch you shift into the lower gears? My wife is good about accepting constructive advice, so nothing more to add.
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Old 05-22-24, 09:19 AM
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Have the shirtless pool boy suggest she shift to her smallest gear before the hill, they you will know the issue for sure....
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Old 05-22-24, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1
Accept it and get over yourself
Subtle. Do well in China shops?
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Old 05-22-24, 10:53 AM
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In my experience, there is a certain resistance and hostility toward “mansplaining”. I used to be an offender but have learned to keep my advice to myself and let her experience be her teacher. My wife too was far slower on climbs and it would frustrate the hell out of her, thinking that I was ‘showing off’ when it was really a difference in our abilities. The ultimate solution back then was buying a tandem. She never felt frustrated on hills again, but it certainly made me work one helluva lot harder on climbs. The tandem was long sold and now she has an e-bike and can whip my @$$ on every hill no problem. So there are other solutions without jeopardizing your marriage.

She also knew to gear down for climbs - and that wasn’t enough. Another thought is to ride next to her before the hill and without saying anything, start gearing down so she can see you doing it, but don’t explain it.
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Old 05-22-24, 10:58 AM
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Wives never receive instruction from husbands well. It may be because we don't know how to relate the info or just because she has lived with us long enough to form an opinion as to our intelligence. Options you might consider would be getting her a bike with an internal gear hub or gear driven system. The shifting is usually just a twist throttle type. She might also enjoy a lightweight E-bike that only assists peddling. They don't have to be expensive and heavy for minimal assistance use. Other than that, just let her figure it out.
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Old 05-22-24, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by bargainguy

Now Ms. BG is not as strong a rider as I am. My solution? She gets to lead. All day, every day. I'm happy to follow her at her pace, and I can save higher output for solo rides.
This right here is the answer for me too. I will insist to my wife that SHE leads for this exact reason. She used to argue, saying that she fells like she's holding me back and that it's not fair to me. I told her that, firstly, I was thrilled to ride with her at her pace because it meant that we were riding together, and second, having her in front of me would keep us together so that passing traffic only has to worry about passing a single "obstruction" on the side of the road versus twice with two spread out cyclists.
Regarding the leftover gears, maybe encourage her to shift down lower before the hill(s) so that she doesn't run out of momentum and loses the ability to shift?
I had a girlfriend that was prone to tantrums, and she actually stopped and threw her bike in frustration in the middle of a climb once. I deduced that, just maybe, cycling wasn't for her. It's fine though, I upgraded.😁

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Old 05-22-24, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob
In my experience, there is a certain resistance and hostility toward “mansplaining”. I used to be an offender but have learned to keep my advice to myself and let her experience be her teacher. My wife too was far slower on climbs and it would frustrate the hell out of her, thinking that I was ‘showing off’ when it was really a difference in our abilities. The ultimate solution back then was buying a tandem. She never felt frustrated on hills again, but it certainly made me work one helluva lot harder on climbs. The tandem was long sold and now she has an e-bike and can whip my @$$ on every hill no problem. So there are other solutions without jeopardizing your marriage.

She also knew to gear down for climbs - and that wasn’t enough. Another thought is to ride next to her before the hill and without saying anything, start gearing down so she can see you doing it, but don’t explain it.
That's another point that's difficult to attack. I'm not showing off, my higher cadence and stronger legs just naturally have me about 2-3mph faster than what her body does when we're just cruising. When I used to lead, I'd constantly be checking over my shoulder to see what our spacing was like. She finally understood that it's FAR more enjoyable for me to have her in front of me (please keep it clean) so that I can focus on just enjoying her company, and she doesn't have to feel like I'm annoyed at the need to constantly check on her.
Next up, helping her understand that there is no way I can hear or understand her when she's in front of me, talking to me directly into the wind in her face...😅
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Old 05-22-24, 11:35 AM
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[QUOTE=rsbob;23246591]Subtle. Do well in China shops?[/QUOTE

Never been in one
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Old 05-22-24, 11:37 AM
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Just like skiing, don't offer pointers until asked....and then expect only 50% to be listened to
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Old 05-22-24, 11:54 AM
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One thing you might try is not leaving her behind when starting up a hill. Instead shift down in to very low gears early and stay at her pace. If you have gears low enough to stay with her after she gets off and walks, do it. If she sees you pedaling easy at a higher cadence, she may eventually decide to fiddle with the gears. If you have to get off and walk with her, do it.

Remember it's an activity you're doing together.
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Old 05-22-24, 11:55 AM
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I used to be a ski instructor, and the one thing I learned very quickly was not to be a ski instructor with my wife, until she asked for advice.
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Old 05-22-24, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by RH Clark
Wives never receive instruction from husbands well.
Truth!

Find someone else to recommend using lower gears. She likely will do it, then go on about how brilliant that other person is.

(Based on personal experience, acquired over decades.)
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Old 05-22-24, 12:05 PM
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I was helping out on a "beginners" ride once, and dropped back to sweep up a straggler having trouble getting up a hill. I noticed he still had 4 gears to shift down to on the cassette. My advice? "Hey, you paid for all those gears when you bought the bike. May as well use them."
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Old 05-22-24, 12:09 PM
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If you don't know how to communicate with your wife after all this time .....

Spend the time at the top of the hill wondering what is wrong with Your style of communication that she won't listen, and wondering how you need to address her so she can listen.

Or ... just keep waiting. If she is willing to walk, why aren't you willing to wait?

One thing I might try (which might make things worse, but that is me .... ) is riding back down the hill and up a few times while she is walking.

Maybe say, "You are stronger than me, you are in better shape, but I use the bike differently."

As long as she knows that whatever she does it is fine with you .... I mean, really, how hard is it to wait for your wife, as opposed to fighting with your wife?

(Yeah, don't bother saying you are not fighting ... I exaggerate for effect ... but if she doesn't want to listen to you because it is you ... maybe you have a habit of being uncomfortable to listen to? I know I can be that way.)

As long as she knows she is fine no matter how she gets there, she will probably in time seek better ways at her own pace. And if not .... just wait---seeing as you ruled out the divorce option.
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Old 05-22-24, 12:16 PM
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I get dropped by everyone/anyone on hills. Let her lead. Shift to your lowest gear before the hill. Go up the hill as slow as you can and let a gap form. Time it so that when she gets to the top of the hill walking/whatever is when you arrive also. She'll see you spinning along slowly and might decide to try it also, or not. If you're just climbing a hill back into your subdivision, why do you need to wait for her anyway? Don't you think she can make it back on her own? My wife would be angry in that situation as would I. If someone attacks a hill like they're in the TDF in front of me(and waits for me with a smirk on their face) I'll make sure I climb that hill as slowly as possible. They can go on ahead and I'll catch them on the next flat. Both my wife and I are runners. If we go out on a run together, we'll hang for about a mile then go our seperate ways. We have our own routes. If the run has some distance, we'll pass each other a few times in the neighborhood giving a wave as we go by. Eventually, we'll end up back at the house. Your wife doesn't need an escort for the last part of the ride as much as you think she does.
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Old 05-22-24, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat
Both my wife and I are runners. If we go out on a run together, we'll hang for about a mile then go our seperate ways. We have our own routes. If the run has some distance, we'll pass each other a few times in the neighborhood giving a wave as we go by. Eventually, we'll end up back at the house. Your wife doesn't need an escort for the last part of the ride as much as you think she does.
I think you miss the point of "shared activity." His wife doesn't need an "escort." She might want a friend or companion, however.

The OP doesn't think his wife cannot make it alone ... he doesn't want to Leave her alone during an activity they are doing together. (Imagine going on a date and leaving halfway through, saying "You are smart enough to make it home from here,. Later." There would be no "later.") This is not an activity in which each is pursuing personal fitness goals ... they are doing it Together.

If you and your wife realize that you run differently and don't want to run together, and instead each go out alone from the same starting point, Great. Super. You are not trying to run together, just happening to set out at the same time. That is not what this couple is doing.
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