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Mountainbiking, Women & Lifestyle

HOW TO… get him/her into Mountain Biking

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We all know that mountain biking can be amazing, but your significant other might not think so. There are a lot of things you can do to make their conversion a beautiful romance and not a train wreck. Before you end up with your partner throwing your spare bike at you halfway round a double black diamond trail why not try out the following (and in doing so avoid my mistakes);

1. Are they interested in giving it a go? – I appreciate that this this seems like a no-brainer, but all too often we’ve assumed that our partner will love our favourite pastime as much as we do. If your better half has made it fundamentally clear that they have no interest in getting on two wheels then it might be time to put the idea to bed (or find a new partner!).

2. What is putting them off? – It is hopefully more likely that your partner is open to trying new things, but has a few misgivings. It’s time to find out what those bugbears are and take them seriously. Yes, you might think it’s silly that they think the idea is scary, or that the saddle is going to hurt, but try to remember what it was like when you first got seriously into mountain biking.

3. Horse-trading – Why not give something they love a go? Your partner is trying out something they don’t love, for a variety of reasons but most likely in order to make you happy; why not offer to give something they love a go. You never know, you might find that you really love crocheting or horse riding? (best not to combine the two)

4. The ‘spare gym kit bin’ – We all remember forgetting our PE kit at school, and being forced to endure the humiliation and discomfort of wearing sweaty gear, which didn’t fit us and had been enjoyed by more teenagers than your mate’s older sister. As a bare minimum make sure that if you are lending them any kit you have washed it, or better still help them out with buying a pair of riding shorts with a cushioned liner, making those first fumbling baby steps a little easier and ensuring you bring them over to ‘the dark side’ in the end.

5. Double Black Diamond trails come later – It should go without saying but beginners to the sport might not enjoy sliding down that root chute or clearing a hip jump like you do (or don’t). If they spend the entire afternoon sliding through mud and grazing themselves on the lips of berms then they wont be coming back, this may or may not have been your plan all along!

This probably shouldn't be your first ride down together...

This probably shouldn’t be your first ride out together…

6. Technical Jargon – You might find it simple to understand the difference between 27.5 and 650b but your other half has probably spent their time understanding more useful things, like French or what days the bins need to be put out. Deciphering the myriad of technical (and marketing ) terms employed within the bike industry takes time and, its becoming a bit of a theme, failing to take the time to patiently explain the terms will leave riding alone on a permanent basis.

7. The fundamentals – Do take the time to explain the basics to them, it might be obvious to you that you need to lean back over the bike when descending, but it isn’t to everyone. Take the time to explain and demonstrate body positioning, foot placement, head position and you will ensure that their first few rides involve more smiles and less accidents. And if you can do all of the above whilst not being patronising then you may well live to see tomorrow with all of your limbs.

8. Safety First – You should accept that they are going to fall over, a lot, and they are going to hurt themselves. You need to ensure that they are prepared for this, if you can teach them how to fall off the bike then all the better, but make sure that you provide them with a well-fitting helmet (not your old one if you’ve got an enormous head!) and ideally some gloves and pads. If they’re hideously disfigured as a result of that bumpy trip down the world cup standard DH track (that you live next to), you promised they would enjoy, then they make swear revenge against you in this life or the next.

@tahneeseagrave knows what safety is

@tahneeseagrave knows that pads are important…

9. Big Bikes – When your partner is just starting out it is unlikely that they are going to want to part with a few thousand for the latest Enduro-specific stallion you’ve been drooling over, so you’re either going to think about lending them you’re spare bike (old bike) or think about renting them a bike that actually fits, opt for the rental bike. It will have been well serviced, it won’t weigh much, and the rear mech wont fail halfway up a mountain, unlike your 2003 Kona Stinky with ‘Monster T’ Forks that way more than your partner. Consider the bike rental a small investment in your happiness, if they enjoy mountain biking then they will thank you showing it them in the best possible light, and if they don’t then they (or you) won’t have blown a few month’s wages on what is now an expensive and Enduro-specific clothes horse.

10. Enjoy your time together – Your partner is probably doing all this to spend quality time with you (or they think you are cheating on them with the uplift driver!) and don’t forget it. Show them the best of the sport, and be encouraging. If your scheming and planning pay off you’ve have a partner in crime out on the trails for years to come! It is important to remember that everybody is different, and you’ll know best how to ensure mountain biking appeals to your partner, but try to show remind them of that feeling they had when they were 6 and rode their bike without training wheels on the dirt behind the house for the first time, mountain biking can be a way to reconnect with that feeling of freedom end excitement and escape from the pressures of the world.