“How do I get my wife / girlfriend to start mountain biking?”
Oddly enough, I was asked this question several times this past week. I suspect there are many well-meaning men out there who would like nothing more than to have their better halves out with them on the bike trails. Like having two lovers who get along with each other, I imagine.
Unless your significant other is already a she-jock, or loves pain (“no epidural, thank you!”) the best approach would be to take it easy and go slow. Here are some tips from a coach’s perspective:
Nobody likes a show-off
Don’t brag about your bike, your upgrades, your skills, your training, past races, upcoming races, etc. People are more comfortable asking questions about technique and equipment when they feel they won’t be judged.
“See you at the top! Bye!”
Bye, indeed. That’s probably the last time she will ride with you. Nothing is more demoralizing to a new mountain biker than struggling uphill while everyone else zooms past and waits at the top. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should; and it definitely doesn’t mean you should expect her to keep up just to watch you flex and show how awesome you are. Ride next to or behind her. That way, you can observe her technique and see how she’s reacting to the ride.
Share your vast knowledge on a need-to-know basis. Demonstrate if the situation calls for it. Give concise tips, not lengthy, convoluted instructions… only when asked. It’s very difficult to concentrate on riding while listening to a flood of do’s and do not’s.
These tips apply to any other sport or activity, not just mountain biking. The more fun and enjoyable the experiences, the greater the chances she’ll keep mountain biking. And before long, she’ll be the one kicking your butt on the uphills!
In the meantime, enjoy this video together.