How to Keep Your Girl Riding (and Retain Domestic Bliss)
Congratulations. You’ve cleared the first hurdle and taken your girl on her first mountain bike ride, and she’s still speaking to you. Nice job.
Maybe you made an agreement: she tries mountain biking, and you’ll try scrapbooking. Maybe she’s wanted to get into riding all along but was too scared. Maybe you followed my advice. Maybe, just maybe, she really likes it. The question is: How do you keep her riding?
Below are five more tips on how to keep her on the trail and your relationship solid.
Tip #1 Repetition removes resistance.
Resist the urge to move your girl to an intermediate ride. It’ll bore you to tears, but you need to keep the technical and aerobic challenge levels the same so she can progress at her own pace. This pace will seem glacial to you. Be patient. She’ll let you know when she’s ready to move up.
Tip #2 You’re her mechanic.
Don’t burden her, in the early stages of the learning curve, with knowing how to adjust her cables or even put her front wheel on properly. Check her bike before every ride. Yes, eventually she will have to learn how to fix a flat and lube her chain, but remember she probably didn’t grow up tinkering with her dad in the garage like you did. Cut her some slack.
Tip #3 Continue to watch your language.
As your lady becomes more comfortable on her bike, encourage her to push her limits. Do it carefully, though. If you notice she’s walking her bike over the same rocky patch, encourage her this way, “Great job looking twelve feet in front of you while riding. Keep doing that when you come up on rocks, and you’ll glide over them.” Compliment, then encourage. Sorry, but we’re delicate creatures.
Tip #4 Speed is her friend.
Skiers, snowboarders, and kayakers already know this. If she’s any one of these (or all three!), you can explain the need for speed in this way, “It’s the same as snowboarding, honey. The more speed you have going into an uphill, the easier it is to reach the top. The same principle applies to mountain biking.” If she’s new to the speed theory, demonstrate it for her. She’ll need to see it to believe it.
Tip #5 Practice on-road.
In the early stages of learning how to mountain bike, getting used to the equipment is half the battle. Take the bikes on errands, to lunch, or on paved paths. More time in the saddle, regardless of the kind of time, will increase her confidence level. Stop signs are good for practicing braking. Hopping curbs will teach her about speed (see Tip #4). Call these rides urban assaults so they sound advanced.
Sooner or later she’s going to either love or hate mountain biking. If she comes to love it, you both win. If she comes to hate it, well, enjoy the scrapbooking.