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  1. #1
    Fake it 'til you make it
    Reputation: JLantz's Avatar
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    Introducing the S.O. to MTB .... Success Stories

    I've been with my Lady for a good 12 years now (we're both 30) and would like to introduce her to MTB.

    She likes to hike, and in general, get outdoors, though is not a self-proclaimed "sporty" type.

    The intended purpose of this thread is to be a collection of inspirational stories from those who have accomplished a successful introduction and a fruitful continuance.

    Please share!

    Last edited by JLantz; 07-08-2008 at 09:46 PM.

  2. #2
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    Well my advice is be prepared to just understand if she doesn't like it and don't push her. My wife loves to day hike with me and we have a great time with that, but mountain biking isn't her thing (even on simple dirt pathway type trails she doesn't care for it--get her on some rocky or rooty singletrack and my butt is getting chewed out). She will bust her tail on a long day hike, but wants to sleep at a Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton at night--no camping. So liking the outdoors doesn't necessarily mean she will like mtb'ing.

    I'd say introduce her by taking her out, rent her a nice full-suspension bike that is set up properly for her, stay out for a reasonable amount of time and not lose sight of the fact that for some of us a two hour ride is normal--but for a new rider it may be pure pain--and stay on easy trails until she starts to want to do some more difficult stuff.

    Good luck. You never know. Maybe she'll be kicking your butt soon and calling you a wussie for bailing out on some technical section she just cleaned without hesitation.

  3. #3
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    I actually took my wife out for the first time the othe day. It was a great success. She bickered a little bit when I didn't read her mind when she was tired and wanted to stop but then she learned to use her mouth to speak when she got tired. Go figure.
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  4. #4
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    I guess I got lucky, but my S.O. took to it better than allot of guy's do.
    Comfort is so important. Make sure the bike she rides fits her good ,be patient and take it easy on her.

  5. #5
    MountainTourCross
    Reputation: treestan's Avatar
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    (there are a number of threads on this, I recommend a search)

    I've been working on getting my girlfriend into MTB. She is a work in progress. Started by getting her a bike that fit perfectly, and that she liked (cant have ugly colors now, y'hear?). Then, got her started riding by doing 'destination rides' - going to a restaurant or lookout on the other side of town, gradually increasing distance. Now, shes comfortable riding about 12 miles before getting absolutely pooped.
    To get her on the trail, I brought her to a place with a lot of fire roads, just so she could get some dirt under the tires. This same place also has nice (short) sections of singletrack so she could get a taste of what 'real' mtb is. I was amazed. Once we were on the dirt, shifting seemed to come much more naturally, she was riding in better body position, and pushing her limits.
    We've done the fireroad/bit-of-singletrack ride a few times now, and she is getting more comfortable on the bike. Shortly, as soon as she's comfortable with the route, she'll start riding to work, something that'll boost her ride tolerance (and thus, something I am obviously stoked about). Next weekend, we are making our "destination" ride be to the trailhead. The first time out, we arent going to ride a full trail loop, but rather, just ride a little ways into the woods and eat lunch. The plan is to do that a few times, until she is comfortable enough to go for the loop (a big jump, since the loop she could handle is around 9-10 miles). After that point, I think I'll declare here a MTBer.

    Oh, also when she breaks something on her bike

    The key point here is comfort. Small steps, and not pushing her too far outside her comfort zone. Let her do that for herself.

    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Don't worry, be happy!
    Reputation: formica's Avatar
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    Lots of good threads in the sticky in the women's lounge

  7. #7
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    Get her on a full suspension bike. Yeah, you probably don't want to buy one for her right away since she may not be into it. So, rent or demo a good one from the bike shop and make sure it fits her great. Then make sure the suspension is set up just right for her. Finally, tire pressure is very critical, it makes a huge difference in ride and traction and getting it right will increase her confidence and give you a greater chance of success. My wife rides her tires at about 25 psi. Rent or demo a few times and take her on some easier, smooth trails with good scenery. If she decides she likes it and you get her her own FS bike then it is your responsibility (and in your best interest) to ALWAYS make sure her equipment is in tip top shape and working perfectly. I do whatever I can to make my wife's bike as comfortable and enjoyable as I can. If upgrading something will help her perform better, be more comfortable or have more fun, consider it done. Get her a nice ride, don't skimp on her gear!

    This is how my wife got passionate about mtn biking. She had a full rigid bike for a few years and went on a few mountain rides, but never really got into it until we got her on a nice FS demo bike a few times. Then we decided that it was worth it to shell out the $$ for her own FS mtn bike. She's now REALLY been mtn biking for 8-9 years and LOVES it, and has really become an awesome rider! She can't get out often enough. In the two races she did this year she won both by very large margins!

    When you do get her out on a ride, don't be barking at her what to do in every situation (stand up, get over those bars, get your butt behind the seat, etc.). With my wife it worked better if we stopped before a challenging section and talked about 1 or 2 skills needed to make it through (and why they are needed) so they were fresh in her head and she could try them when she felt comfortable doing so. It also may be helpful to let her try it on her own and if she fails then you can say, "it helps me get up that steep section when I lean over the bars and scoot way up onto the nose of the saddle because you need to get your weight forward to keep the front of the bike down, but you still need some weight on the rear tire for traction." Sometimes it works best if I wait for her to ask what she should be doing differently.

    She hated it when I rode behind her (she felt too much pressure). She much preferred to follow me (it will help her see how you pick your line). Go slow, stop often, and talk.

    As a side note, over the last couple of years she has been introducing some of her lady friends to mountain biking and has found that some of them do better in an all-girls setting. I think it all has to do with patience and understanding (some of their husbands have neither).

    Anyway, these are just some suggestions that have worked successfully for us. I hope they work out for you, because I'd rather ride with my wife than anyone else!

  8. #8
    It's about showing up.
    Reputation: Berkeley Mike's Avatar
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    One thought

    Never over reach her own desires and motivations. Avoid doing things for her own good if she doesn't want them.

  9. #9
    Linoleum Knife
    Reputation: forkboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JLantz
    The intended purpose of this thread is to be a collection of inspirational stories from those who have accomplished a successful introduction and a fruitful continuance.
    My ex-girlfriend's will to ride was destroyed on the Slickrock trail in Moab.

    After that, she gained 30 lbs, and married her ex-boyfriend from high-school.

    For me, that is somehow both successful and inspirational.

  10. #10
    @adelorenzo
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    Get her a pink bike! Seriously though, it worked for me, although my wife was already a roadie so less of an obstacle to overcome.

    Also, start of with fire roads/wide trails and not too much climbing.

    Finally, don't ride with just her! Serious again: my wife HATED riding with me, I was always ahead and she hated me trying to tell her how to ride. Go out with a bunch of people, mix of skills and genders. Look for a local girls' ride -- we have something called the dirt girls.



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by forkboy
    My ex-girlfriend's will to ride was destroyed on the Slickrock trail in Moab.

    After that, she gained 30 lbs, and married her ex-boyfriend from high-school.

    For me, that is somehow both successful and inspirational.

    I'd call that a win-win situation, it's only bad if they gain 30lbs & marry you, lol

  12. #12
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    In all seriousness, put her on the bike on easy fireroads, don't push her & hope for the best.

    Like Gatorback said, be prepared for her not to like it (odds are she may not), but the worst thing you can do is push her, just heap lots of praise on her, give small tidbits of advice where applicable & play it as it comes. .

  13. #13
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    I just got my wife a hardtail she picked out. She liked the idea of mountain biking before she even tried it, so she is determined to get better. When we bought the bike the first parking lot test was the first time she had been on a bike in 10 years. She started off on a paved path in town and has now been riding beginner and easier intermediate local singletrack. She's learning well and is enjoying herself. Can't ask for much more.

  14. #14
    Don't worry, be happy!
    Reputation: formica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NJMX835
    In all seriousness, put her on the bike on easy singletrack, don't push her & hope for the best.

    Fixed.

    Fireroads? Pfft, where's the fun in that? Easy fun singletrack, that is how you create a mtb addict.

    c.

  15. #15
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    my story

    4 years ago, my girlfriend showed interest incoming on a ride with me, so I borrowed a friends janky mountainbike and off we went. One hardtail and two fullys later, she's the one getting me up early to go ride 3 days a week, and commuting to work on her mtb so she can practice her skills on the short stretches of dirt. That first ride 4 years ago, it had been 13 years since she'd been on a bike of any kind, and she'd never thrown a leg over a mountain bike.

    There are still days where she's funked out about not being as good as she thinks she ought to be, but nowadays she's more often AMPED to be riding. And there are still days when I half-selfishly try to push her beyond what she wants to do that day (it's not about 'can she do it', it's 'does she want to do it'), but she's learning her limits herself and that they're not permanent. It's awesome to watch.

    There are rides for me, and there are rides for her, and there are rides for us. Different things.


    A bit of unsolicited advice to the OP:

    I think you've got the right idea "introducing" the SO to mtb'ing. It's not about teaching your SO, or coaching, or whatever. It's about being there and being supportive as they learn themselves.

    Take her out on the singletrack, but choose a ride that's a level or two easier than the one you think she can do. Leave it up to her to test her boundaries.

    The Women's Lounge is also a fun read. Definitely a source of inspiration for my chic.

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