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Do you have any advice for my GF, who has just started riding with me?
I bought her a Giant flat bar commuter thingo (not sure of the model), and got her a really comfy seat. Also grabbed her some nicely padded nicks...
What advice can you give her, seeing as she is quite unfit, and new to cycling?
Hi Linc, my experience with my wife Gabrielle was a real eye opener for me. She had been doing some serious riding with me on an Apollo so we upgraded to a custom frame. The saddle didn't change but after her first ride she came back and exclaimed "I didn't realize cycling doesn't need to hurt!". It was only then that she told me how painfully uncomfortable cycling had been on a bike that was poorly fitted. The saddle matters a lot but poor fit can make for pain in the soft tissue, great reluctance to descend (due to bad weight distribution), sore neck and shoulders, and ultimately reluctance to ride.
Anyway, my experience with Gabby made me as a cycling coach passionate about bike fit for women. 17 years later, bike fit for women is better but still has a long way to go.
Good points so far.
For sure! I am lucky in that she has my mate's GF to ride with, who is also a n00b.
Luckily, she is really motivated, despite having baboon arse today.
We are both really proud of the 7kms she did yesterday (would have been 10kms but my mate's GF had a puncture).
I had the bike fitted by my local shop (Panther Cycles), who seem to know their stuff.
Would I be wrong in thinking that proper fit gets more important when you progress to a road bike?
Linc, you are not wrong in thinking that but don't underestimate the impact of poor bike fit on a flat bar commuter or mountain bike. Just one example - sitting too upright takes pressure off soft tissue ( the girly bits as one woman called them) but puts all the rider's weight through the "sit bones" which can lead to a sore bottom and a sore back. As importantly, too much weight distributed there means not enough weight on the handlebars which then gives a feeling of a really light front end and a feeling of lack of control.
Changing the subject slightly, I always laugh when blokes go riding with their girlfriends... With the bloke on a really light road bike and the woman on a heavy hybrid or mountain bike. And they wonder why the woman is slow! Just think of the total weight of rider and bike... That's what each cyclist has to get up each hill or slight rise. For most women who are lighter and slighter than most men, the weight of the bike represents a much higher proportion of the total... And yes, there is more to it than that - issues of confidence etc that would make this post even longer.
Anyway - hope you are showing your GF these posts....
Yeah, I will show her for sure!
I agree about the her heavy bike compared to my 9kg jobbie, it isn't fair.
However, I told her that I will buy her an excellent bike once I am sure she will stick with it. I can't afford to buy her a nice roadie to be used 7 times.
Make the ride the means to an end, not the end itself.
Pack a picnic lunch and rug into a backpack (which you carry) and trundle off to the nicest spot you can find within a comfortable distance for her. Sit back and enjoy the lunch and the half bottle of something red or white (her taste) that you slipped into the bag without her noticing Pick a different route home and stop by a cafe for a refreshing latte and biscotti. When you get home, take her bike off her and let her relax. Suggest a hot bath and a massage to work out any knots she might have earned because "You did a great job today, I hope you had as much fun as I did."
Repeat with variations a few times until her bum and legs get used to the idea then see how things go from there.
It didn't work for me, my GLW is still a horsey type but she did enjoy the first time.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
London Boy 29/12/2011
Well I'm not showing her now!
SLAP... Wakey wakey...hands off snakey!
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill.
Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day.
Hey, go easy. The picnic suggestion actually got her out on a bike. No easy task.
London Boy 29/12/2011
If i can give you some intelligent/helpful/useful advice, unlike the HTFU one i'd just say be patient. I made the mistake of buying my wife two bikes and all the gear hoping she would get into it but at the end of the day she just isn't really interested. I have to come to terms with that.
As i said, be patient, and if its in her, she will eventually love it like we do
Seriously, as a women (yes I am), I can see that some women are 'soft' and they like to find 'excuses' and reasons not to do things.
Some women need a lesson in perserverence and I'd say the same to any man. The whole world need to stop being so lazy and try something new, if after 10 rides on the bike she said, 'I don't really enjoy riding but I think I'll give a gym class a go whilst you ride.." Then that would be acceptable.
Get motivated ladies!
ride with her at her pace. If she's new, nervous, wobbly etc, don't get up her. Just go for rides with her at her speed - whether its 5 kmph or 25 kmph. She'll want to enjoy it to keep at it. If you go "come on... hurry up" that's the quickest way to put her off as she'll think she's hopeless.
Have you ever tried motivational speaking, psychology, counselling etc... I'm sure you would be great at it......
Maybe its just not her thing, she's probably into other things that you're not into, doesnt mean you need to "HTFU", "get perseverence", stop being "soft" or "lazy".
I got my wife a pedal assist ebike. Only been for 3 rides and she's already doing most of the ride with it switch off. Takes all the stress out of going "too far" or "too fast".
2013 Scott CR1 Premium - Ultegra Di2 compact.
As someone who is only about 9 months away from buying my first adult bike I have a few pieces of advice more for you than her.
If you can't afford to get her a good bike get yourself a crap one dig up something big and heavy out of the shed or off ebay.
Make it clear that you will signal all the turns so she doesn't have to take her hands off the bars.
Remember that she will have to stop to drink water.
Very strongly second the suggestions to make the first rides short, with at least one stop and coffee, or food, or wine.
other than that good luck
It's great that you are encouraging your gf to cycle with u. But if it's totally new to her you need to give her time to ease into it. The flat bar sounds fine just make sure it's fitted to her properly to reduce any aches and pains, this will make cycling a little more fun. Like anything new it's going to be hard to get into and self motivation plays apart to. Take it easy with her. No need to go crazy fast right now, no need to do high km's just have fun. Ride around the local park just do a few laps, the day or week after do a few more and continue to increase gently so that the enjoyment stays there. As her fitness and pace increases find a local cycling club or bay bug ride. She will certainly find a new and good bunch of people all with the same interest and I'm sure people at her level. Don't forget to remind her we all had to start somewhere and it wasn't easy. Chat about the positives of cycling and health benefits especially the ease on the joints. Please be patient with her as it does take time. When she gets more into it buy her a computer so she can see how she is improving. Good luck to you and her hope it works out so then she can decide to upgrade her own bike.
Well we don't know much about your girlffriends likes and dislikes. But if she liked the picnic idea, she might like touring. Go away on your bikes for a weekend. Go somewhere beautiful. If she's not into camping, make sure its somewhere that has a nice place to stay at night. Otherwise camping is great fun on a bike.
My first tour was with my sister (who had toured before and who was very fit). I was unfit at the time and a bit overweight. My bike was !! BAN ME NOW FOR SWEARING !! - a man's bike and an old one at that and i am 165cm tall. I didn't have knicks or panniers or anything that is usually considered de rigeur for a touring cyclist. It was totally uncomfortable but i did enjoy it a lot - despite the very steep hills with gravel road (more than 10%) i had to push my bike up. We did about 34km on the first day on the bitumen and i would have to stop about every 15 minutes. I am sure you guys would find it a lot easier. Our longest day was 78km on dirt. I also had cheapest cruddiest knobbly tyres which slowed me down even more.
This trip was a warm up for my first overseas tour to make sure its what i wanted to do and see how i could improve my bike set up.
If you try this option, make sure that you carry most of the gear. Even fit and experienced touring couples should distribute the weight of the gear so that they travel at the same speed.
The main thing to say to your gf is that the more you do, the fitter you get, the easier it gets. You won't get very fit riding just a few kms a day though. She's better off improving her fitness with some other exercise, unless she's got some hills en route.
Shucks you old romantic you. How very sweet! Pity that sort of thing wouldnt work on getting my husband to come ride with me
i love my bike(s)
I've been really interested in all of the posts above. I think they just underline the fact that men think quite differently to women. My partner and I started off by walking together, he got really into it and now walks twice as fast as I do. So it's no long an activity we do "together". He suggested that I get a bike so I can go faster. Next thing, he'll get a bike and go faster than me! The "picnic" idea, suggested by a man was really nice. Women like things to be a bit romantic...a bit "together". I'd be happy to ride or walk to a coffee shop, then back after a snack! But he just wants to see how fast he can get there and back! Congratulations to the men who are being flexible in encouraging their women to join in activities with them. I know there are lots of women for whom cycling is "their" activity. What I have written above here is just relating to particular posts.
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