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Offline Eddy81

Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« on: August 10, 2013, 12:32:10 pm »
Hey dogs

I really hope that I can get some great replies on my post...

So I bought my wife a crf250l a while back, she still has to do her learners so we don't ge to ride longer road at the moment.  We stay in Krugersdorp, we usually go play at in the bush on Robert broom drive by the 4x4 track. But we have done a ride or two about 80 Kms both ways.  Everytime we hit the road in traffic there are cagers bullying her on the road,  pushing her onto the shoulder and once onto a (luckily) very flat island between the two lanes of the road. 

So I have spoken to her about riding riding in such a manner to get away from the traffic, tried to teach her what to do and what not to do, she has done an off-road coarse(ada) and a road one (speed queen). But these type of things still happen... She is a very nervous rider, once two baboons ran out in front of her and she didn't even see the one monkey that was right in front of her.

Now the result of all of this is that not only am I a nervous wreck about her, I am starting to kinda put myself in danger too...  I find myself looking in my rear view mirror the whole time, especially I. Traffic when I am supposed to be looking ahead and thinking ahead... 

I would love for her to ride bike with me, and she really wants to, I have told her I couple of times that I think we should rather sell her bike and get her some other form of hobby.  But she doesn't want to let go of her dream to ride bike.

Now at what point do I take a stand and say no,  her nerves are making her unsafe on the road, ( she also doesn't wanna ride infront of me) and jut sell her bike. Or do I sit back and just chill and let her carry on? 

I can't remember that I ever had such nerves riding a bike when I started, maybe for the first km or so, but then it just started to feel second nature to me.  Is it normal to be this stressed about my wife riding a bike with me? Do you guys also go through this when/if you ride with your partner?

I have no idea what to do about this, I even thought maybe a bigger faster bike for her might change the whole thing and enable us to ride safer but I don't think she will ever accelerate fast enough to get out between cars and not allow them to bully her.

What would you guys recommend?


Offline Bundu

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2013, 01:35:59 pm »
I would let her ride in front (or not at all - put your foot down!) and then you can give her feedback on what she is doing wrong and tips on what you would have done differently and why - you should try to find out WHY she is so nervous - it could be because she lacks certain skills, like emergency braking or counter steering (which are essential skills neglected by many newbies and probably the most important skills if you want to stay alive)

good luck!  :thumleft:


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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2013, 01:52:34 pm »
Why not only offload. For me it will be to much to watch my wife ride a 250 in heavy city traffic with aggressive drivers.

Only dirt and offroad, or nothing, foot down ???

Offline JacquesM

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2013, 02:07:57 pm »
I think you would have to realise that some of us take longer to get used to and to get comfortable. Your timeframe is a lot different to hers.

Take the pressure off, not the other way around.

Time and exposure will be your best friends. And relieve her of having to combat the traffic. You need not ride to the gravel road. Stoetbul will be too happy to help with a trailer.

Strongs, many would love their wives to ride with them. Don't mess up.

Offline Rynet

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2013, 02:08:36 pm »
Hi Eddy81 , thanks for sharing .  :thumleft: I get nervous when guys buy their wives bikes and have a dream FOR them to ride. But if your wife has her OWN dream to ride , then you should respect that .

Some people are just more nervous than others and it’s not necessary a bad thing. It makes one careful to dangers. Most of us women did not grow up in the rough and tough world of sports and games like you guys did. My 2 brothers were maniacs on bicycles , skateboards , “kaskarre”, surboards  ,climbing mountains and all sorts of things that had me frozen to the spot. Although funnily enough neither of them ever went on to ride bikes , quite funny that the scarity- cat who couldn’t balance on a skateboard or surfboard got herself a bike of all things.

When I had my dream to own a bike I didn’t know anyone with a bike. My dad point blank refused to lend me money as he would blame himself if anything had to happen to me and you can’t get vehicle financing unless you have a licence .  I had to  make my own dream come true . I bought a 2nd hand Kawasaki ZZR400 mostly because of the beautiful blue colour. Which I couldn’t ride.

I had to pay Billy de Beer to teach me and it took him 2 hours to get me to just pull away and ride a meter. The first two years I wanted to vomit every time I had to corner. I had  nightmares for at least a year. Terrible nightmares. But I had a dream and I pushed through. I would say my nerves is probably my biggest drawback with riding , but on the other hand it also makes me anticipate things. I expect every car to drive into me , every car to jump a robot. I expect a stopped car around every corner. I even expect things to fall out the sky so never relax when riding , although that also makes me feel alive and does not take away from my enjoyment.

I was also lucky as I joined the CMA bikers church so rode in a group and then the BMW club where we had safe Sunday breakfast rides.

Perhaps you also unwittingly put pressure on your wife . I assume she would want you to ride in front so you get to any dangers first . Its more scary to ride in front . Maybe ask a buddy to ride behind her and let her ride in the middle. Maybe also a good idea if she gets to do breakfast rides with a safe group that you and she trusts.

 The only way to make a better ride is time in the saddle.  It’s also a small bike so yes the traffic will scare her. Maybe let her ride more gravel before you let her loose in traffic ?

And most of all be patient. Give it a year or two and let her grow slowly. Guys profit from being thrown in the deep end , but most women don’t . We like to feel safe before we proceed. Let her repeat the basics she learnt in the courses and get a firm grip on stopping and turning and trusting herself . Slowly slowly does it .
Good luck !


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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2013, 02:44:46 pm »
Let her go ride herself - without you. Then all her decisions are her own, where to turn, how fast to ride, what road to be on, when to hit the gravel, when to be in traffic, etc.

If she enjoys it, the rest will follow - her ability, her confidence and a desire to show you what she can do.

That's when you should be riding together - when you know the other rider can look after themselves.

AND enjoy this time you have for yourself, coz once she's got the hang of it, your free time is over!!
« Last Edit: August 10, 2013, 03:29:30 pm by Cracker »
Don't let fear hold you back ..... take it with you!

Offline nemodakar

Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #6 on: August 10, 2013, 02:58:17 pm »
Listen to Rynet.

I went through the same thing with Sweetness. Ride behind her and protect her rear, allow her to determin the speed. Trust her judgement and support her , if giving advise, try to make it sound as if she came up with the solution to the problem.

And get her a bike that can go a little bit faster that the traffic normally goes, so she can get out of harms way when needed.

Having said that, do not get her a bike that is to heavy for her to handle or she will loose all interest.

There is nothing that compares to sharing a love with your wife. Woman love freedom as much, if not more, than we do.

Offline Draadwerk

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #7 on: August 10, 2013, 04:15:47 pm »
What Rynet says.

Do lots of gravel and then only tar.

Learn to ride on gravel, and tar will be easy after that. Bad to say, but she needs attitude in traffic, and that comes only with experience. By attitude I mean confidence and no fear, as fear is your enemy I believe

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2013, 04:25:26 pm »
Stay off tar. It is k@k anyway.

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #9 on: August 10, 2013, 04:38:17 pm »
Your wife seems to be too nervous on a bike in traffic. Perhaps suggest she rides with a group of ladies that are confident riders. Might help ease her nerves. Hope you come right and she does lots of riding with you. Be safe.

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2013, 04:47:29 pm »
When my wife learnt to ride about 9 years ago it was pretty nerve wracking for me too, we as experienced riders do not realize what years and years of riding gives us.......She went to school, Roto Rookies, BMW Academy, then 4 months later to Zambia, time in the saddle is what counts, yes, it is nerve wracking for you, but if it is her passion to ride a bike, help her, we have no right to say 'NO'.......my wife did over 100 000km on two different bikes, did extensive offroad training, handled a 1200GS very well, did many km loaded, panniers, tankbag, topbox, my daughter as well on occasion on tar (who now rides her own bike BTW) my wife handled JHB to Baviaans in one day (1200GS), JHB to Upington in one day on a 650 GS, JHB to CT in two days, (1200GS), all over the show, Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, then one day en route to CT via the Cederburg mountains she had a horrific crash, wrote her 1200 off in a big way, broke her shoulder badly, it was probably the end of her biking days, she still battles with her shoulder today, 3 operations later, two plates, now removed, but, she enjoyed her riding, and the trips we did together on our own bikes were some of the best trips I've ever had, whether she feels it was all worth what she endures today shoulder wise, I don't know, but, it could have been me, would I do it again, yes.....if she decides she wants to now ride again since the plate was removed, I will support her again, if she decides not to ride again, so be it, her choice, it is not a case of what I want, it is her life and her right to decide what she wants to do.
I am nervous every time my daughter goes out on her bike, now 17, she's done my Level 1 offroad course, did well, has ridden over Swartberg Pass on an XR 125, she wants to ride bigger bikes when she can do so legally, will I be nervous, of course, can I stop her doing it, no, not fair to do so. Riding bikes is dangerous, but so is crossing the road these days.
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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2013, 05:59:22 pm »
I also used to ride in front with too much attention on mirrors. Then realised that on the road, the biggest threat is from the back and sides, so I started to let her ride in front and that helped me a lot with keeping an eye on her and forcing cars around us.
Then I started using our intercom system, but you have to be careful to not instruct while riding. I only use the intercom for directions to where we're going and chit chat, this helps both of you relax. If you try to tell a newby how to ride, and what they're doing wrong, you'll freak them out and make it more dangerous.
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Offline Ernst Jr

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2013, 07:11:56 pm »
Stay offroad for a while. Get a piece of road, 1 or 2 km stretch with different terrain, Gravel, rocky, sand, bends. Etc. let her play, up and down, slow then fast, practise turn at slow speed. Etc. load the bikes and following week do the same at another section. She will get used to different situations and learn to make her own decisions. Praise her rather than pointing out, all the mistakes you see. When comfortable with all this. Take her to Tar and in traffic. Be patient, and good luck. :thumleft:
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Offline stevo

Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2013, 07:37:22 pm »
Load both bikes on a trailer and tow them out of town and out of traffic. Find a place to leave car/bakkie and trailer and go ride in a quieter area. ENJOY THE RIDE TOGETHER!!!!! At the end of the day load bikes and go home. She will ride in traffic when she is ready to. In 10 years that Silvia has been riding with me, she still refuses to ride in front. Even when we were both riding road bikes, her logic has always been that she can see the line that I am taking and tends to follow, if I start to brake she automatically slows down etc. She just feels safer at the back.

Now my twins ride as well, am sure I look like a f.......g jack-in-the-box looking around and in mirrors to see where everyone is.  :imaposer: :imaposer:

Good luck and patience, its all worth it.
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Offline Eddy81

Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2013, 08:47:39 pm »
Thanks for all the advice! I am in complete agreement, I do believe riding with her and doing trips will be fantastic! Rynet, I really appreciate the info about how long you were nervous for.  Adventurer, you are also spot on, I look at guys such as yourself and other very experienced riders and wonder if I will ever be that good!  But forget that I myself am allot better than when I just started riding...  But all the posts are spot on and really helpful.

 Things that I will start doing from tomorrow morning:
1. Def. insist on her riding in front more often, that way she can start getting used to using the road on her terms, speed, lines, etc.  I must however stress the point that I am in no hurry and that I'm def. not judging her while riding but open the lines of communication if she has any questions.

2. Start using our coms. on all the rides, that will enable her to ask questions on the go and like what was mentioned in the advice, give her a chance to talk and relieve some stress and get confirmation that she is doing the right thing...

3.  Put riding in traffic on hold for the moment, and recommend riding more off-road and if she wants to ride road, maybe just stay in our suburb for now, this should give her the opportunity to get more used to tight turns, stopping and pulling away( she doesn't ride slow, she just doesn't really accelerate fast enough for traffic riding)

4. Try and relax, cause even if I don't say it, she might be picking up on the vibes and thus make her even more nervous.

5. Encourage her to log on to wild dog and get into communication with fine upstanding folk such as yourselves :). It can only be a good thing for her to become more active on the forum and discuss points that concern her

6. Maybe start looking around for a klr or something similar? I'll def. talk to her about that.

7. Recommend her to now and then go ride alone, and try to just stay in our suburb just in case something happens I can be there very quickly.

Thanks dogs,  I'll tell her to join wild dogs and start socializing...


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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #15 on: August 10, 2013, 08:51:30 pm »
Reminds me of 2008 when my wife started.  My nerves were chattered 99% of the time.  Like your wife, she was too nervous and that made her dangerous.  Today, she is on her third bike, a R1200GS and rides 2000km a month.  She is a good rider and I haven't worried about her in a longt time.  She is 100% competent.  I have also been an instructor with SpeedQueen for some time and I have learnt, from training and teaching my wife, that they learn and experience differently.  It also takes them longer.  We?  We worry way too much.

Don't let her always ride in fron, or back.  Change around.  She needs to follow, but also learn to think for herself by leading.  
Avoid the urge to "crit" her after every ride.
Try to get her to ride with other lady riders, EXCLUDING you.
Try to arrange for her to ride alone.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2013, 08:53:29 pm by AMZ »

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2013, 09:19:52 pm »
Some good advice here, from many.

2 or so 80km rides, and your Wife has not done her learners?
Unsure what the regulations say, but she is going to get around to this soon, right?

Suggested in the spirit of WD, just so you know.

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Offline Stofsuier

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #17 on: August 11, 2013, 12:13:30 am »
Firstly, I admire a woman who wants to ride a bike. I'd give my left nut to have my girl ride with me, she won't even ride a bicycle. Appreciate what you have boet. It's awesome. She deserves praise. She's got guts.

Secondly, if someone wants to learn something, they have to go out and do it on their own. If she says it's her dream she'd by psyched up enough to jump on the bike every 5 minutes. If she has the opposite inclination she will never really learn to ride well. (It beats me sometimes how people want to learn something but never wants to go out and spend time with it on their own.   (????))

A short comparison: when i got my bike years ago in my early 20s i was so excited all i wanted to do was ride. When i was in class at university all i could l think of was about the ride i was going to take during my next free period. I took a 2 hour detour home everyday. I walked, talked, slept, ate riding the bike. I used to sit and stare at it for an hour before i got into bed every night. The first weekend after I got it I took a ride up the N2 from CT and was forced to make a u-turn in Mosselbay when the weather turned bad. (Heaven knows where I'd have ended up if I could go on!) I was totally obsessed. I spoke to everyone who rode any kind of bike and collected every story, tip or advice I could find on riding. And boy, do bikers love to talk about their experiences! I had no friends who rode with me, none of my friends owned a bike back then. I did everything alone. Old bikers told me it would take me 3 months to be totally comfortable on the bike- it took me 2 weeks! I could by then gooi it with ease into any corner with any of them. -This is the only way I know of learning something new.

A friend of mine bought a bike over a year ago and insists on me going to ride with him. He never goes to ride alone. In all this time he has not acquired much of the basic riding skill and is still afraid of traffic. I have to be very patient when riding with him but it's wearing thin because i realize he doesn't really improve and that i have to exercise my patience possibly forever. At the rate that he's going I don't expect him to become a very good rider in many more years to come. In order to just master the basics you HAVE to spend time in the saddle- alone.

So I always tell newbies my story of how I learnt to ride, because I think that they sometimes don't realize that they CAN do it alone. And that by doing it alone they learn so much faster. Then after gaining some experience, come back and talk about your experience to old bikers, learn more, go out and ride some more, come back and gather some more tips, go out and ride some more.... This really is the only way. I am not saying they ONLY have to ride alone! It is ALSO important to see how other experienced people ride.

Then lastly- the person who introduced me to bikes was an exceptionally good rider. And although i did not ride much with him he gave me some advice that I believe shortened my learning period significantly.

1)A bike is something you must "gooi". Don't be afraid of it. Decide where you want it and put it there.
2)Ride decisively. choose your line and don't smoozy along. In traffic that works for a car, not for a bike.
3)Start off gentle. If you ride within your ability, you will ride without incident. His words were "As jy jou kop hou sal jy nooit afkom nie"
4)Ride as much as you can. It's the only way you learn.

Then there are millions of other tips that I picked up as I went along.

PS, if she had a problem negotiating traffic, go on long out rides where she does not have to stop so much. That makes you completely accustomed to the bike and the feel of riding without tiring you out by having to concentrate on stopping, clutch control, moving off, other traffic etc. It also gives the feeling of going on an adventure.

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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #18 on: August 11, 2013, 05:43:42 am »
Being able to share your riding passion with the other half is priceless. Encourage it and be patient.

I spent about three weeks following SWAMBO around in a very quite suburb with lots of stop streets. Went riding every day for an hour before going out into traffic.

The first time in traffic I told her to stay with me and follow my every move.  I took it easy and we did this every day commuting to work. When I saw her coping I started going a bit faster with her following my example.

Comms does add value but beware that it can distract and do not criticize- only encourage and give advice.
Lastly, and most importantly, send her for proper rider training.

I am very blessed and fortunate to have my solemate and best friend being able to ride with me.
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Re: Wife and her own bike causes me great stress!! Help please
« Reply #19 on: August 11, 2013, 06:02:11 am »
Good advice from everyone. My wife and I went through the same thing and I would stress

- Confidence, build up your better half's confidence all the time
- Long rides on open roads with little traffic, you guessed it, to build up her confidence...
- There is nothing like time in the saddle ...
- Try to avoid being her teacher and rather be her riding buddy reinforcing positive aspects of her riding

Strongs man you have a special lady there and the 2 of you can really share some good times together...
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