Just bought a bike for my wife - any advice?

deadhead1971
deadhead1971 Posts: 338
edited March 2014 in Road general
My wife has been talking about getting fit for a couple of years. She's witnessed my transformation over the last few years since I started riding, and finally decided to get a bike.

http://www.scarletfire.co.uk/2014/03/tr ... -discount/

I'm looking forward to going out riding with her, but also conscious that it could be prone to difficulties. In the same way that they say it's never a good idea to teach a member of your own family how to drive a car.

Any advice from people who've been through this? What would be your tips for harmonious riding together?

Thanks
Alan
http://www.scarletfire.co.uk


The Ultimate List of Strava Add On Sites!
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Comments

  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    I have no experience but I'd imagine keeping the routes flatish (and quiet) to start off with might encourage her. I'd expect arguments might ensue if she felt threatened by heavy traffic or frustration at having to climb off if the gradient went up.
  • DavidJB
    DavidJB Posts: 2,019
    I brought a wife for my bike.
  • mat1971
    mat1971 Posts: 7
    I recently bought my wife a bike..when we go out I let her lead most of the way,and in the beginning we kept the rides short as it can be a shock to the system if you havent ridden for sometime..within a few weeks we booked a ride out together (welsh raider sportive) short route 45 miles..we now ride separately in the week and together on weekends for a longer ride and are slowly building up the mileage..my advice is to let her ride out on her own a couple of times to get accustomed to it and then join in.. Just take it easy to begin with as not to scare her off...and before you know it you'll have a life long pastime to share..Good luck
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  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    mat1971 wrote:
    I recently bought my wife a bike..when we go out I let her lead most of the way,

    Excellent work ! :D:D
  • kajjal
    kajjal Posts: 3,380
    Another thing to try is finding somewhere quiet like a reservoir to go round. We do this and she is happy enough if I do a mad sprint round for a lap and catch her up again. No real hills and no cars.
  • vertigo16
    vertigo16 Posts: 91
    My God! They'll be driving next...
  • nunowoolmez
    nunowoolmez Posts: 865
    Just make sure she doesn't become quicker than you!
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    My wife had her hybrid before I got my road bike - but since I got the road bike I've been able to commute to work, so increased fitness dramatically whilst she's stayed still.

    To get fit on the bike takes determination - so if that's what she wants to do then you need to be supportive and she needs to understand that it's not plain sailing!
    What we do is set a goal - usually a sportive - to train for - this year we've got a cycling holiday abroad but the first goal will be the Etape Loch Ness in May - that's a tough one (for her) so she's training hard for it.
    It's something she really wants to achieve - for herself - so whilst I'm happy to tow her around the course come the day, we're trying to get the effort in prior to that. We're just using Strava to monitor her progress - it's not the best, but it's a start.

    But ...

    It needs to be kept interesting - the thing with anything hard to achieve is that it's easy to just give up. So if cycling was just a chore (oh I've got to do 35 miles today at Z3) then it'll be more tempting to give up.
    To help combat this my wife has become a Breeze Ride Champion - basically she organises social rides under Breeze/British Cycling banner for women to ride - no long distances, no great speed - this gives her riding a sense of purpose and she gets to meet less fit women who in turn look to her for encouragement.
    Plus - we have social rides of our own - like Saturday morning - bright sunny morning - we rode to a cafe for breakfast (thus getting the ride in before breakfast which is the best time for fat burning!) - I deliberately wore casual cycling gear, trainers and no helmet to stress to her that this wasn't a training ride.
    Sunday saw my first TT - she rode out to the HQ and helped with calling out the finisher numbers - then rode back - a small thing, but many would've brought the car. Then we went for a training ride (neither of us really wanted to go).

    She still doesn't like hills and I don't blame her, but I need to combat that one - I'll probably wait till after the cycling holiday as that's got quite a few climbs in!
  • mattsaw
    mattsaw Posts: 907
    When she asks, "Am I going very fast?" Reply "yes"

    Don't look down at the Garmin and inform her she's doing slightly above walking pace.

    Make sure she knows where the brakes are before you let her embark on a descent of Broomfield..
    Bianchi C2C - Ritte Bosberg - Cervelo R3
    Strava
  • I've just ordered my wife her first road bike too so watching this thread with interest.

    Might be worth also asking in the sub-forum for women too, as they might have the best point of view on what works.

    Edit: I have just added a thread there.
    Allez 16 - bad weather / turbo trainer
    Tarmac Expert SL3 - test colours
    Dogma 2 - ex Team Sky
  • fatsmoker
    fatsmoker Posts: 585
    My good lady insisted on coming out with me once - me on road bike, her on my mountain bike. 16.6 miles of fairly hilly for Leicestershire terrain. It put her off for good. Phew! I patted myself on the back after that. Cycling is my time. :)
  • supermurph09
    supermurph09 Posts: 2,471
    I've just ordered my wife her first road bike too so watching this thread with interest.

    Might be worth also asking in the sub-forum for women too, as they might have the best point of view on what works.

    Edit: I have just added a thread there.

    His wife is probably in there now.....

    "My hubby has just bought me a bike, I've been secretly going to hardcore spinning classes so do you have advice of how to look slow so as not to upset him............" :D
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    fatsmoker wrote:
    Cycling is my time. :)
    That's a shame ...

    Don't you like spending time with your wife?

    I'd be quite happy if my wife could do the same pace as me - it'd open up so many more options for weekends... but she can't (yet) ... so I slow to her pace and we plan routes according to her ability. It's no great hardship.
  • whoof
    whoof Posts: 756
    When you ride with her ride at the same speed as her. This may sound obvious but I see lots of couples with the man 50 m up the road and they are like this for virtually all the ride. Either be prepared to ride together or don't bother at all.
  • We bought a road bike for my wife in the autumn. This was at her request and we found a great guy on ebay who buys ladies bikes, refurbs them to new, makes sure they have appropriate cassettes and then sells them on.

    We have stuck mainly to cycle trails as they let her get used to the bike in a safe environment. Like many women my wife is not as adept as some men in learning how to use the gears and when to change and in which direction so being able to look at her handlebars whenever she wants has been helpful. She has put coloured dots on her hoods to help remind her which lever is for going up hills.

    Cycling is an excuse to eat cake and drink coffee. Every ride is planned with a cafe at no more than hourly intervals. If she turns down the stop that is fine otherwise we stop and have a coffee. I make sure that I carry extra clothes in a rucksack. Unfit people get very hot with little effort but also cool own quickly. So I always carry extra top layers, gloves, etc. Every stop she puts on a windproof to stop evaporative cooling. frequently we restart with the windproof on, do a couple of hundred yards and then a quick stop to take it off when she is warm again.

    I take my old single speed so I can do some training whilst we ride but we ride at her pace. Upside I get to look at my wife's bum in tight lycra!

    I aim for no more than 7m of climb per km and steady with no sharp hills. the aim is for her to be so pleased that she asks when we can go out again.

    I love cycling with her. She is my best friend, we chat look at the countryside, discuss the kids, put the world to rights and come home for a shower........
  • I've just ordered my wife her first road bike too so watching this thread with interest.

    Might be worth also asking in the sub-forum for women too, as they might have the best point of view on what works.

    Edit: I have just added a thread there.

    His wife is probably in there now.....

    "My hubby has just bought me a bike, I've been secretly going to hardcore spinning classes so do you have advice of how to look slow so as not to upset him............" :D

    Knowing the competitive side of my wife, I'm now nervous ;)
    Allez 16 - bad weather / turbo trainer
    Tarmac Expert SL3 - test colours
    Dogma 2 - ex Team Sky
  • Some absolutely brilliant replies there, thanks everybody. I'm really looking forward to it, and will try my best to leave all Strava inspired thoughts at home, and just ride at her pace and enjoy it.
    Alan
    http://www.scarletfire.co.uk


    The Ultimate List of Strava Add On Sites!
    http://www.scarletfire.co.uk/strava-sites
  • Dorset_Boy
    Dorset_Boy Posts: 6,917
    As others have alluded to, it's about being patient and riding for her, not yourself whilst she (hopefully) gets up to speed.
  • darkhairedlord
    darkhairedlord Posts: 7,180
    Once I explained there were four levers for the gears two which were also for the brakes I was in the clear :wink:
  • Baby Trek
    Baby Trek Posts: 118
    I think you will need patience and to be prepared to HAPPILY ride at her speed whilst she gets used to things and builds up her fitness. I have had plenty of frustrating rides with my husband where he will ask if there is a problem because I am going too slow or go off ahead and leave me to go on my own for a while.
  • I've seen that quite often whilst driving about - a bloke cyclist waiting at the top of a hill, probably looking at his watch. Further down the road, a red faced woman cyclist is puffing away trying to catch up, looking pretty fed up.
    I'm so determined that's not going to be us!
    Alan
    http://www.scarletfire.co.uk


    The Ultimate List of Strava Add On Sites!
    http://www.scarletfire.co.uk/strava-sites
  • dov2711
    dov2711 Posts: 131
    My wife has been riding for 4-5 years now and we have had some of our best times together on the bikes. The key as others have said is to make it her ride without being patronising, generally she sits in my wheel and its not letting me know she is being dropped that annoys me more than the actual drop in speed. We have a simple code of "hold up" when I am stretching it a bit too far and "easy" when its all going well.

    Its not great to be working your hardest to stay 50 metres behind someone who is clearly "waiting on you". Logging shared rides on strava etc imo just adds an element of disharmony as human nature pushes you to up the pace just a bit..This isnt as easy as it sounds and getting the competitive streak out of these rides was hard for me.

    We start back together this weeknd as she has had a bout of labarinthytis so I know its going to be a bit of a pain as I am trying to get my own riding in shape after broken ribs and the slower pace isnt what I need just now. However without meaning to sound coy sharing the cycling makes up for it.

    My wife has bagged a couple of 70 mile sportives last year and has a 70, 80 and possibly a 90 planned for this year. Given her limited training time I really admire her spirit and determination.

    As for getting her interested in bike maintenance god knows how that is done!!
  • jasonbrim
    jasonbrim Posts: 105
    I've seen that quite often whilst driving about - a bloke cyclist waiting at the top of a hill, probably looking at his watch. Further down the road, a red faced woman cyclist is puffing away trying to catch up, looking pretty fed up.
    I'm so determined that's not going to be us!

    My girlfriend started riding with me at the end of the summer, and we both love it. She did spinning 3-4 times a week before that, so she was halfway there I suppose. I find that quieter roads and no wind is what she likes the most (staying out of the wind is impossible on the west coast of Sweden though). She's buying her own bike next week - she's been using one of my dad's bikes until now (he's short!).

    She seems to be constantly on my wheel on most hills. I tend to see her drop back a little at the start of the climb, so I ease up ever so slightly, but then when I next look she is half wheeling with a smile on her face making it look easy (while I still think it's quite tough :oops: ). It does help that she weighs next to nothing! She can push me in a hill sprint as well! On the longer hills I need to wait for her, but usually not for very long.

    I find it much more fun that running together, as I'm not allowed to talk when we run! She doesn't seem to mind me throwing so much money on new kit now either, and even wants to get stuff for me (as I do for her) - apparently I'm not allowed to buy myself the new Bonts I want :D
  • jasonbrim
    jasonbrim Posts: 105
    dov2711 wrote:
    As for getting her interested in bike maintenance god knows how that is done!!

    I mastered this one early on! I started by asking her to help me do things quicker. So I would clean the chains and then she would lube them, then she said she wanted to clean and lube them. She also wants to wash her bike after a ride as she feels bad that I do both (when she gets her own bike next week, I'm sure she'll be even more keen!).

    So start small and ask for help. The only thing she wanted to learn was how to change a tyre/tube, but by showing her the other regular things, she has taken an interest in that as well. We haven't had any less-regular things to do lately (although I did change my brakes recently by myself...oops), but I'll make sure she watches next time!
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    dov2711 wrote:
    The key as others have said is to make it her ride without being patronising, generally she sits in my wheel and its not letting me know she is being dropped that annoys me more than the actual drop in speed. We have a simple code of "hold up" when I am stretching it a bit too far and "easy" when its all going well.
    That's a good way of doing it - I do it the other way round (as my wife doesn't often call) - just a "are you alright?" called back and listen for the response ... if it's an easy "Yes" response then I know the pace is ok, if it's an out of breath "Yes" then I can slacken the pace ... if there is no response then I'm either in deep sh1t or she's dropped off the back! ;)
  • keef66
    keef66 Posts: 13,123
    If you want to be absolutely certain you're both going at the same speed, get a tandem. You'll be able to go faster and further than 2 bikes alone
  • Well I just got the dispatch email so hopefully I'll have my wife's new bike by early next week then!

    Can't wait.
    Allez 16 - bad weather / turbo trainer
    Tarmac Expert SL3 - test colours
    Dogma 2 - ex Team Sky
  • florerider
    florerider Posts: 1,112
    Yes, point out that to be treated fairly you need a new bike too :lol:
  • Buckie2k5
    Buckie2k5 Posts: 600
    Once I explained there were four levers for the gears two which were also for the brakes I was in the clear :wink:

    reminds me of the time i tried to teach my mrs to drive. Her 1st question was how come there is 3 pedals and i only have 2 feet. Needless to say 15 years later she still has no licence.
  • bunter
    bunter Posts: 327
    My wife was keen to ride in clipless pedals straight away. She had a couple of falls when she lost a lot of speed on steep hills and didn't unclip in time. This really knocked her confidence and she went back to flats. There's quite a bit to think about when riding a road bike (that I take for granted because I am so used to it). With hindsight I wish I'd insisted she start with flats and build up to clipless.