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  1. #1
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    So, I'm going to teach my girlfriend how to MTB...

    What's a good place to start?

    I'll admit, I'm still exploring trails in MD and VA myself (only couple months MTB'ing experience), so I'd love to hear your thoughts. She can ride a casual bike, but pretty much has no knowledge of MTB'ing, road biking, etc.

    If it helps, I live in Arlington, VA.

  2. #2
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    Wakefield and Laurel Hill are both excellent beginner trails and both are reasonably close to Arlington. They feature easier trails that are still interesting, not a lot of elevation gain and loops that don't require going long distances.

    Wakefield - Log Off Ride OnTrails and Routes Wiki
    Laurel Hill - Log Off Ride OnTrails and Routes Wiki

    If her fitness is good, you could also try Rosaryville across the river in MD. Its very non-technical, but the loop is fairly long (10ish miles) and features a decent amount of climbing.

    Rosaryville State Park - Log Off Ride OnTrails and Routes Wiki

  3. #3
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    Let somebody else teach your girlfriend to ride

    Quote Originally Posted by urban_ View Post
    What's a good place to start?

    I'll admit, I'm still exploring trails in MD and VA myself (only couple months MTB'ing experience), so I'd love to hear your thoughts. She can ride a casual bike, but pretty much has no knowledge of MTB'ing, road biking, etc.

    If it helps, I live in Arlington, VA.
    "All of that sounds like a bad idea", my girlfriend sitting on the couch next to me.

    If you want your girlfriend to actually want to go for ride a second time and still speak to you, find someone in the DC area who is certified as a IMBA Skills Instructor and have them give her a lesson. Second option, do some internet sleuthing and find a women's clinic in the DMV that she could attend. All will be better options than you trying to teach her (especially if you only have a couple of months experience on a mountain bike). Trust me.

    It is great that you dig riding and want to share it with your partner. Ideally, that introduction should be in a way that her failures or whether or not she is enjoying it in the moment are not directed at you.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    Laurel Hill is a fantastic trail system! I take my kids out there all the time, so you and your girlfriend should be fine. The trails are smooth and not very technical, but have plenty of ups and downs (unlike, say, the CCT or C&O Canal) that make it lots of fun. Fall is the best time to ride there and, once the leaves turn, the park is gorgeous.
    2004 Surly Cross Check
    2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker
    2011 On One Inbred

  5. #5
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    Based on what you've said, I'd stick with pavement riding for a bit first. Once she's comfortable and having fun doing that, move up to places like Laurel Hill, et al as others have mentioned. Just don't force anything. To have any success in this sport, you've got to want to do it on your own.

    From my own experiences of trying to introduce people to riding, the costs of getting into the sport is always the biggest barrier. Not that you need to sell a kidney to get a worthy ride, but anything beyond a few hundred dollars will send a lot of people back to the couch.

    Just my two cents.

  6. #6
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    Bought my other half a full suspension wallgoose for her bday last year. She needed a bike so she could ride around the neighborhood with her kids. She wanted a cruiser but I told her a mountain bike would be more all-purpose and be easier to keep up with the kids. She has started getting more into riding now and her and I have started taking day trips out to different parks and trails, some paved, some dirt. Some of the trails have been a little too much for her skill level but she has never quit. I've been letting her learn the same way I did, by just doing it. The only advice I gave her to start with was to only go as fast as she was comfortable with, and if a section was too steep or rocky/"rooty" just walk the bike down. She still prefers nice flat rides but she is starting to enjoy some of the more difficult trails more. And shes getting faster as time goes on. I dont find myself waiting at the top and bottoms of hills for nearly as long as I used to.

    Best advice I can give is to not give her too much advice, be patient with her and let her learn at her own pace and stick with easier trails for a while. Might take you 2-3 times as long to do a trail but I personally think its more than worth it.

  7. #7
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    Get in touch with a bike shop or local bike club and ask about beginner level group mountain bike rides. Riding with more experienced people will help both of you out, and some groups will even help with some riding skills.

  8. #8
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    Re: So, I'm going to teach my girlfriend how to MTB...

    Maybe something like the Seneca Ridge Trail. It runs between Blackrock road and riffleford rd in the Germantown, MD area. The output will be pretty heavy (for beginners) , but the trail is pretty nontechnical and has some very easy sections. Just a thought.

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