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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i'm fairly new to the sport and my gf started at the same time as i did. many years ago i rode so it's more of a second time around for me but it's her first time. she likes going and i have no problem getting her to go with me. the problem is that she won't go alone. ever. and i've gotten yelled at many times for suggesting it. i've progressed much quicker than she has because i have no issues about going alone and go quite a bit more frequently than she does. during the week we have very different schedules that make it hard to ride together.

i'd like to get her to go out more which would mean going alone. how do i go about doing this? she's from the city and is really afraid of people being in the woods and grabbing her or getting eaten by a bear (we only have black bears around here and they're scarce). i grew up in the woods around here and it doesn't bother me at all. yet she has no problem running alone on the streets around here which aren't exactly super nice which scares me more. would a can of bear mace or something help get her out or would i just end up with it sprayed in my face for suggesting it?
 

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If she feels that strongly, pushing her will only make it worse. Let her do her own thing. If you want her to get out more look for some others for her to ride with besides yourself. Look for a local riding club and if there is a wormen's ride that would be even better.
 

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feeling squirrelly
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Ok, I am all for riding alone. However, I have been riding for several years and am comfortable that I won't get myself in over my head, I know the trail systems I ride very well and I know enough basic mechanical skills to get myself back (hopefully).

She hasn't been riding very long and I assume you want her to continue riding, so I wouldn't push this issue until she is more comfortable on the bike with handling skills, knows your trail systems well and has some mechanical skills under her belt. Does she know how to change a flat tire, broken chain on her own? Most bike shops and even REI stores will offer a basic mechanic class, attend it with her. Also, since she is so nervous about it I am afraid that if she does relent and go by herself before she is ready she may be so nervous she has a crash or a meltdown and then never wants to ride again alone...

For now, start looking around your area for group rides and social riding groups she can hook up with. A good place to start looking is at your local bike shops or post in the regional boards here on MTBR. don't you have buddies that ride that would take her with them?

Most importantly, be thankful you have a chica who rides and enjoys it. Ask around these boards, that seems to be a rarity! "How can I find a chic who rides" threads are abundant. :) Support her in the early stages of learning and have fun!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
the trail system she would go out on her own in is a few mile loop with not many variations, very simple and she can take my gps if she wants to be certain. we've ridden it a few times together and when the GPS fell off my bike one time we hiked half of it trying to find it and it was pretty easy. mechanical failure would just mean a hike for a mile or two back to the car at worst. we've been pretty lucky as far as flats and chain breakages goes on the trail so i've only shown her once or twice, she hasn't done it herself yet.

we both signed up at a local community college for a 2 day course that was supposed to cover basic maintenance skills as well as riding techniques but not enough people signed up so it was canceled.

it's nothing to do with riding that keeps her from going it's a fear of being alone in the woods. what i don't get is how to get her not to be afraid of being alone if someone else is always there. i know getting out more, riding with others, etc..., gets you more familiar with the woods in general but there's still that crutch of someone else there. is there something i can do to help ease her fear or is it a matter of waiting and hopefully some day she'll do it?


and i am very thankful she likes it. she even likes it so much that she's recruited her sister already who just started last weekend. she has 2 more sisters so soon i could be riding around making all the other guys on the trail jealous :)
 

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feeling squirrelly
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jred321 said:
and i am very thankful she likes it. she even likes it so much that she's recruited her sister already who just started last weekend. she has 2 more sisters so soon i could be riding around making all the other guys on the trail jealous :)
You are about to be bombarded by PM's from guys wanting to be hooked up, clear your inbox. ;)

jred321 said:
it's nothing to do with riding that keeps her from going it's a fear of being alone in the woods... is there something i can do to help ease her fear or is it a matter of waiting and hopefully some day she'll do it?
Tough one, hypnosis? Just kidding, maybe just in general being in the woods more often would help her be more comfortable with her surroundings. Can you schedule some camping trips, hikes, day trips, etc.? The more she is out there (with you) not finding bears and attackers lurking behind every tree, the better chance you have of easing her fears.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
she wants to hike mt washington and camp out there this summer but neither she nor i know how to properly camp outside of a campground so we'll see how that goes :) we do day trips on weekends whenever we can but she's a working student now so time off is scarce and time off without something already scheduled is more scarce so a quick ride is more likely. i guess i'll just keep getting her out there and encouraging and hope for the best.





and pick up a can of bear mace :)
 

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Slothful dirt hippie
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Unfortunately you'll just have to lump it. I would encourage contact with other outdoorsy women, but in the end this is her call.

FWIW I'm one of those crazy nits that's always been more comfortable in the woods than in my own home, definately more comfortable than in the city under any circumstance. Bears and cougars are certainly adept predators that need to be respected, but they're also delightfully straightforward creatures which have fairly clear motivations and thought processes... can't say the same for h0m0 sapiens. The trick IMO with dealing with the latter is lowering "The Azzhole Factor", which means as fast as possible getting into areas that have to be earned by significant physical effort. I figure serial killers and rapists stick to the easiest prey- much like other predators- so a stiff extended climb weeds the most likely azzholes right out. I realize there are specific contraindicating incidents that can be quoted, but I would still guess that the odds are in my favor.

But... I grew up dinging around in the woods solo, even at night. My husband isn't even as comfortable in the woods as I am. It's hard overcoming societal hysteria about this type of thing, and it's sad because IMO that means the bogeymen and azzholes won. :( When someone figures out a cure I will be applying it to husband liberally.

eta: h0m0, because ironically mtbr's PC-o-meter thinks I'm about to make a slam about sexual orientation
 

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Slothful dirt hippie
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I think a lot of us would feel pretty dumb if we were hit by lightning too given how often we talk about it's (un)likelihood.
 

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It's about showing up.
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You can talk until you are blue in the face.

This is an emotional disposition and will not respond to logic. Allow her to experience this on her own as, whether you realize it or not, you have been dismissed as an authority on this topic as your input runs counter to what she knows in her gut.
 

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Coyotewoman
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badjenny said:
The woods are a very dangerous place. You never know what you might come across.



On second thought, I think this is more likely on the bike trail...
AHH! I see you ride the AR bike trail!;) If these guys ever start running in packs out there we bikers are toast:D
 

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The Martian
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You want her to ride more. Presumably she likes the sport and wants to ride more?

Compromise.

Help her find a good, beginner friendly, no drop group or two to ride with when your schedules don't match. You're happy, she's happy, and no one ends up in the woods alone if they don't want to be.

For clarification I do ride alone. I grew up outdoors. I'm still uncomfortable with it at times and would not ride the untraveled trails I'd rather be on alone. I stick to more traveled areas. It's a mental thing engrained by upbringing/experience/genetics/etc that IMO needs to be respected; it may be less an issue as she gains confidence, but it may never go away and you'll have to accept that or loose her as a riding partner (or worse).
 

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LyndaW said:
Let her do what she wants. Pretty simple.
I know it's the Women's lounge, but my letting my then GF and now wife do what she wants, and her being good about letting me do what I want has done much for 19 years of being with the sort of women most men only dream about.

I've found the whole marriage, 3 kids, and nice home thing to be highly underrated and know few couples with the freedoms and happiness we have so my vote is don't push it regarding the little things and that's little compared to what good love is.

Good luck.
 

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I too ride alot alone. It's taken me a while to get comfortable with it. I found as my desire to ride more, ride father allowed me to naturally progress to riding by myself frequently. I also find wilderness areas next to metropolitan areas to be more "scary" than ones really out there. The freaks don't have as far to go.
 

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Are we there yet?
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Being comfortable solo in the outdoors doesn't happen over night. She may not have any interest in spending time solo either. Pushing the subject may only lead to more trouble than is necessary.

Help her find riding buddies that have similiar schedules and are at her level or willing to wait (or visa versa). Register her in clinics that can help her learn techniques. She may become the strongest rider but may never be comfortable alone in the outdoors. There is nothing wrong with that.
 

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You are a lucky guy!

jred321 said:
it's nothing to do with riding that keeps her from going it's a fear of being alone in the woods. what i don't get is how to get her not to be afraid of being alone if someone else is always there. i know getting out more, riding with others, etc..., gets you more familiar with the woods in general but there's still that crutch of someone else there. is there something i can do to help ease her fear or is it a matter of waiting and hopefully some day she'll do it?

and i am very thankful she likes it. she even likes it so much that she's recruited her sister already who just started last weekend. she has 2 more sisters so soon i could be riding around making all the other guys on the trail jealous :)
Really?? Red, you are so lucky that your gf enjoys mtb! You know how many posts we get in the Women's Lounge from guys asking how to meet women mtn bikers or how to get their wife/gf to enjoy biking?

To your credit, it does sound like you truly want her to feel safe and to enjoy herself more, and are not simply annoyed by her emotions. So, I give you 2 points for that!

That said, don't mess with a good thing and make MTB unenjoyable for her by pushing her to do something she feels unsafe doing. Even though you intend it for her betterment, there's just no good way for you to talk her out of feeling this way and you will just come across as judgemental, nagging, and belittling, even if you don't mean it that way. Sorry, it's just how it is.

The best thing you can do is to accept this about her. This is something you may need to come to peace with in general, not just for mtb, because there will be other situations in life where she will feel unsafe that you won't understand. And while you may not understand or relate to her feeling unsafe, you can accept it. As odd as it sounds, by accepting this about her and not refuting it or trying to fix her, you will actually help her feel more safe. And that, my friend, will go along way in your relationship.

The second best thing you can do is to find a friendly local group for you both to ride with. Meet up with them together the first time you ride with them.

On a side note, perhaps evangelizing her sister(s) to ride is her way of solving the problem herself? If you aren't available to ride or want to break off with a faster buddy, she still has someone to enjoy her ride with.

Have fun tearing up the trails! :thumbsup:
 

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I absolutely understand where you're coming from, and also your gf. Statistics can easily confirm that city streets are more dangerous than trails, but normal people won't believe it, especially when the very rare mountain lion or bear attack merits nationwide (worldwide!) attention, but a hit and run, rape or stabbing only makes local news, if that.

I've always been fairly comfortable on my solo rides, often preferring the serenity, but lately I've developed a persistent fear of being bitten by a rattlesnake. I try and try to reason with myself about this phobia, and usually I relax once I'm out there, but it doesn't help that I see up to three rattlers per ride :eekster: from spring thru fall, our local variety is very dangerous and agressive, and once one struck at me from neck height up on the berm! I do have a great group of local gals to ride with, but our schedules don't always mesh. So I try to stick with the more popular trails midweek (in hopes that someone might come across my body within an hour or so), and save my more adventurous spirit for weekend rides with my boyfriend.

My boyfriend also encourages me (without being pushy) to ride more midweek, whether solo or with the gals, and I love him for it. Sometimes we see guys post here whose girlfriends or wives aren't "allowed" to ride trails without them. Grrrr...that posessive crap really, REALLY bugs me. So I salute you for encouraging your gal, however it really does have to be her call. You might nudge her gently to use your LBS as a resource for finding other women riders, also Yahoo Groups. Recruiting the sisters is an awesome idea!
 
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