Once I fell in love with mountain bikes, I started falling in love with guys who rode mountain bikes. Between relationships, I dreamed of bike destination vacations, a bike work bench, a greasy man who could show me which derailleur screw to turn, and someone to push me to be a better rider.
I hate to be close-minded, so a couple of times I chose non-riding boyfriends, thinking that it was ok if I was the one wrenching the bikes and planning the rides. As long as we were riding!
I learned so much about how men learn and retain knowledge. When women ride, we are big on technique since we don’t often have a lot of brawn to power through mistakes. When men ride, they have to be the fastest. Rational thought is put aside for the ego.
Here are some tips when bringing a newbie on the trail:
Choose a first ride that climbs a fire road and descends something wide and buff. He is not ready for roots and rocks, especially after how exhausted he will be from racing you up the fire road in his large ring, proving that you have nothing to offer him. Meanwhile, you are churning up slowly, saving energy for the singletrack climb that is about to happen.
Stay ahead of him on the single track. This way he can watch your line and try to follow it. Plus, he thinks your ass is really hot and this will keep him in a delighted mood no matter how hard the trail seems.
Nevermind, stay behind him on the singletrack. This way he does not feel rushed, and every time he falls off the bike, you will also have to stop. This prevents his butt from hurting when he watches you float through a technical rock garden that he bled into after the second pedal stroke.
If he has great cardio, but no technical skills, encourage him to stop at the top of the hills so that you can watch him descend and shout out pointers from his back wheel.
Yeah, nevermind. Get him to wait so you can go down first. No sense in both of you being wadded up in the first turn. Somebody has to be capable of operating the first aid kit. Besides, you want him to watch you catch air and cough in your dust as he bangs down the trail perched straight and tall on his saddle and white-knuckling his bar ends, helmet askew.
After easing him into trail riding, progressively lead him up to harder and longer rides. Make sure you ride every week so that he can actually get better. Throw in semi-technical rides a little bit at a time.
Well. He’s going to hate his bike no matter what because right now a girl is better than him at something. Truly what you’ll have to do involves bribery. If he hates his bike due to that last ride you hurt him with, offer him oral sex throughout your afternoon in the woods. He will finally associate his bike with fun.
It’s important for men to feel useful, so allow him to load and unload your bike. When he isn’t looking, make sure the rack is cinched tightly down.
Include him in choosing where you will ride. Ask how long he wants to be on his bike, whether he’s in the mood for steep climbs or long grinds. Let him decide whether he wants a technical challenge or a flowing ride.
At this point he’s gearing up for another few hours of humiliation, so he may now try to control the situation and become bossy about where you ride. He may nastily say, “I don’t want to ride THERE” when you carefully suggest a ride that nourishes his skill level. At this point, take him to the hardest trail you know, with a long slow climb that tricks him into thinking this is not difficult, but merely time-consuming. When you are as far from civilization as possible, take him down the most technical drop you can find. Tell him there is no “way back” other than down. Wait for him at intersections, but not long enough for him to stop and glare at you or complain about the trail. At the car, tell him how great he did as you get out that first aid kit.
Be sure to lock up the bike you bought him just so he would ride with you. When he urgently moves out, he will take the bike and quickly sell it. Remember: karma is swift.