Convincing your significant other to ride?
Anonymous 11/21/2012 at 2:53pm #
I ride to work, and am trying to do it for more items here and there.
My wife does some walking at night and has postulated jogging but only tried it a couple times.
I think she’s a perfect candidate for riding, it being more exercise than walking, more forgiving than jogging/running, and faster and more fun than both.
However, my suggestions have been brushed off, not rudely, but without any hesitation, either.
It’s ashame living in squirrel hill because there’s so much of the city that’s so accessible that way once you get a little willpower for the hills.
Also, could make for a family outing down on the trails since our oldest daughter LOVES to ride, and I have a carrier I can borrow from a neighbor for the littler ones.
Right, so there all these positive reasons, but it’s been so unequivocal, I’ve just about given up until spring hoping more sun and warmer weather might make for a better advertisement.
Maybe for now, maybe for then, if there’s any tips/tricks anyone has used to get close friends/family in on the act, please share.
i’ve gotten my sister and my girlfriend into riding. both were reasonably interested in the idea, but my gf especially was terrified of city streets. now she does all manner of errands by bike (when the weather’s nice).
the key for both, i think, was to start out slow. maybe rent a bike for her, and ride on the trails with your family once the weather gets nice again. maybe do the north park loop, which contains even a hill or two.
my gf and i rented a tandem in florida a few weeks back, and it was a fan-awesomely-tastic experience. it was also all trail, all the way. i think that is key.
We started riding together, so this may not help…We started on the trails riding from Western Penitentiary to the South Side and back. Always with the neighbors and always stopping for appetizers, lunch or some such thing. It was slow, safe, and social. A great introduction into riding.
From there it just snowballed. She sold her hybrid so she could keep up. Pedals and shoes. Self paced rides such as the WPW fall rally. Never ride with the neighbors anymore , Lots of random bike gear (jerseys, tshirts, shorts, computers, etc…)Back of group rides suck as Trek Sunday and PMTCC…now middle of those rides (sometimes) Long self guided road rides. Vacations centered around biking (a week in Oregon Columbia Gorge area this summer).
This is our third season and a lot has changed but we still always ride together and often. She probably pushes me to ride more than I push her. So we came to this activity together so this may not apply. I will tell you though, even though we like the challenge of longer/harder rides we still enjoy the occasional slow roll to the Southside for lunch on a sunny afternoon.
I think hills and traffic intimidate a lot of people and they won’t give it a chance. Make a deal with her that you will try something with her in exchange for trying this with you?
Anonymous 11/21/2012 at 4:29pm #
I have asked her why, and her answers at different times were that she had no interest, or that it wouldn’t be fun for her, which I think is a non-answer, and maybe an allusion to hilliness respectively.
I would love for her to embrace this like I have, but would be satisfied in the short term to hook her into it even if it’s just a weekend family ride on a flat trail. I’m willing to make a deal for that, so will try that angle.
In terms of confidence in streets, the thing that helped me with that was riding with someone more experienced, at night when the streets were pretty close to empty. If I can get her far enough to contemplate that (big, big if), is anyone willing to be her bike buddy? I’d love it to be me, but somebody has to be at home with the sleeping kids.
I have to say that, honestly, the thing that got me into riding around more (other than my husband asking me to) was reading the blog Lets Go Ride a Bike. I’m not girly, not that into clothes, but for whatever reason reading that blog made everyday biking seem so much more accessible. Just a thought.
I think these are all good suggestions, but you should be prepared to be OK with the fact that she may just not want to.
My hubby loves to ski. Me, I have absolutely zero interest in skiing. I don’t want to learn, don’t feel like trying, and don’t want to endanger some injuries I have that are basically managed but can flare up at any time.
Likewise, I have a friend who is into scuba. He REALLY wants me to try it. Again, I don’t care and have plenty of activities I enjoy or that I want to try. Probably never going to get into scuba.
So I think encouragement is fine, but if she’s anything like me, she’ll dig in if she feels pressured. Tread carefully
There are some good ideas here, but maybe there are other things to consider…..
1. It sounds silly, but have you asked if she is physically and psychologically comfortable on a bike. Maybe a small adjustment or issue specific pep talk is needed. My sister complains that her butt hurts everytime she rides — so she doesn’t ride much. She understands that she can condition her backside so that riding is less uncomfortable, or use different clothing/equipment to eliminate her issue (pressure? angle? sit bone placement? other?) but it might not be something your wife knows enough about to ask the right questions.
2. I think riding is almost less the goal here than having her experience cycling. Riding the trails is great for someone who wants to learn to ride. For someone who really doesn’t (yet) see the joy in riding, perhaps the destination is the key. Start with very small FUN rides. Ride to the coffee shop. Ride to the library, if that is her thing. Maybe create a “wish jar” where you put the money that you would have used for parking, and then you can use it for a small splurge once a month or something. (I know I am reaching here, just trying to think outside the box.)
3. Definitely build on the enthusiasm of the kids. A trip to the playground is planned? Having your older daughter “beg” to go by bike rather than by car or on foot could go a long way to seeing some change in attitude.
4. I remember that as a kid, the bike represented freedom, and liberation from the confines of the immediate neighborhood. That’s what got me hooked. But, as an adult, I am often reminded that riding (rather than driving, or even rather than walking as an exercise) takes a little more work and a little more forethought. Are my tires pumped fully? Do I need lights? Are they on my bike already, or do I need to dig them out? What kind of lock should I bring? Where is it? What will the weather be, and what should I wear? Will I want to change clothes when I get there? What do I need to carry? Do I need a pack, or will the rack be sufficient? Where’s my helmet? Mine fits me like a glove by now, but if I hard to fiddle with it each time to get the fit right, that’s a hassle I might prefer to avoid. There are DEFINITELY days where just thinking through those questions discourages me from riding. As a busy parent with several young kids, it may be that the cycling option just requires more planning and more thought than she feels she wants to put into it. And that’s before she ever gets on the bike, where she may or may not feel comfortable. I totally understand that there are some folks who might not want to go to “all that work” to have a “less than magical time.” Especially if it takes away from her sole “alone” time which could be when and why she walks for exercise.
So, don’t make it “try cycling instead of walking.” Walking might be her “sanity” time, and she might not want to clue you into that fact. So, try building on the fun element, and try making it a “let’s take the bikes rather than the car, or to a local fun place” instead.
Once she’s been on a bike a few times with the family, she’ll be in a better position to determine whether she likes riding, or not.
P.S. Don’t even let hills enter the discussion for a couple of weeks. If she has to try something new AND get potentially hot and sweaty, or freezing cold, in the process, that’s a fatal flaw in your efforts. You live in Squirrel Hill, can you find 3 locations that you (and the kids maybe) can ride to that don’t involve hills? And where the ride might be limited to 10-15 minutes at a time? That’s where I’d focus my efforts, even if I had to create “excuses” as to why I wanted to go to that coffee house, or that branch of the library rather than one that is closer, or otherwise potentially more reasonable to her.
And, as Pinky says, don’t give her any reasons to dig in. Maybe biking is YOUR thing, and she wants something else that is HER thing. Forcing the issue is unlikely to help her see the light in that case.
I run into much the same problem. My wife never had the experience of riding for fun, never needed it for transportation, and never had a bike that fit.
Now, the only places she needs to go, where a bike might even be an option, are difficult suburban roads like Perry Highway, and Highland Rd in McCandless. Hilly, trafficky, and chancy even for experienced cyclists like myself.
I’ve gotten her to join one Flock ride, but she’s been on a bike so little, that for even the slightest hill, she has to get off and walk.
It’s a chicken-and-egg argument. I’ll be following this discussion for further suggestions.
I agree with Pinky. My wife is also really really into skiing and I hate it. The more she tried to get me to ski the more I hated it. We have lots of things in common and others we do not. As much as riding is important to you and all of us on this message board it isn’t for everyone. I’m sure there are other things that you both love to do that you can do together.
So I guess I’ll stop trying to get mrs. marvelous to watch Big Trouble In Little China and find another movie to watch with her.
Finally, I hate that movie. We are watching The Notebook instead.
Anonymous 11/21/2012 at 6:45pm #
but BTiLC is an AWESOME movie.
Anonymous 11/21/2012 at 7:06pm #
She rode a lot as a kid in Ohio and was very active then. Not so much now. I’m not sure whether that’s an indicator of potential, potential annoyance at my suggestions, or both.
I found something cheap enough that I thought it was worth the “experiment” (never mind that in my mind I am a drug dealer trying to get her hooked).
I chatted with her today about it and she laughed a little, and said she’d think about it.
There are some rides in squirrel hill from our home that are very flat by Pittsburgh standards. That includes getting to Forbes and the section of Murray between Beacon and Forbes, so that plus parking annoyances is some inducement.
Anyways, will ~try~ to restrain myself, but I’m just bursting waiting on a yay/nay.
byogman-try a ride into Murray for dinner/snacks/movie during a day. The lack of frustration you feel just biking in instead of searching for parking or time spent walking may convince her it is a useful way to travel on occasion.
Also, here’s my fav shortcut to get around biking down Shady or Forbes out of Sq Hill: biking up Shady Ave, left onto Aylesboro, right onto Denniston, straight across Forbes, left on Darlington, straight thru up “hill” and onto Beechwood bike lane.
Only bad part is that this only works in this direction, Darlington is one-way off Beechwood so you can’t bike up it:(
Bob Firth has a bunch of bike routes for “scaredy cats” on his web site (http://pdfs.bobsmaps.com/Pgh_Comfort_85x11.pdf). You might find it useful planning where to take your SO on a ride, if you can get her on a bike.
Im wondering if showing her this thread may help?
Also, I know my wife is very self conscious when I can get her to ride a bike. It is getting better the more she rides, but I think there is a bit of vulnerablity for her while riding. I have also learned to NOT correct her riding or shifting….thats something I have to figure out in the future!
Perhaps a few rides where there is noone around may hel ease her in.
Topical and interesting.
Anonymous 11/21/2012 at 8:56pm #
I like the map even if I don’t like everything the mapmaker says.
I think it’s a great start for someone hesitant about riding in streets in general.
There’s always a bit of a line to walk between encouraging, helping, and being just plain annoying. I’m not sure where showing a thread falls, YMMV.
Fortunately, once my wife is on a bike she’ll have a deep well of experience to draw on and I doubt I’ll have any correcting to do. More the opposite, I’m predicting, especially around stop signs.
Anonymous 11/21/2012 at 9:05pm #
This posting on the Lovely Bicycle blog and its comments may be relevant:
Anonymous 11/21/2012 at 11:23pm #
Good link, something to chew on. Reinforces the goodness of the idea that someone else be her “mentor” for road riding.
Mr marv, I will be happy to watch big trouble in little china with you. I love that movie. It has been too long since I have seen it.
Anonymous 11/22/2012 at 1:37am #
@byogman, it’s a great question.
I think if you ask her to ride with you once in a while because it’s a great way you can spend time together/do something fun as a family, that could be a great approach. Perhaps even see if you can borrow/rent a tandem to try out?
On the other hand, suggesting riding as something she could do with other people for fitness/health purposes may not work. That could be a down-the-road thing, after if she decides she actually likes riding.
What worked for me was a rack, panniers, and a romantic picnic.
Finding a comfortable saddle helped…
Big Trouble in Little China = awesome.
the Notebook = something to be thrown away at the end of the school year.
Mr Marv, when are we having an “Avengers” and bike ride movie watch? I’m in for that!
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