The Mountain Bike Life

Guys who want to introduce their girlfriends to the awesome world of nature loving on a mountain bike take heed. If you freak her out with tough climbs, tight switchbacks and rock gardens on her first ride, chances are she won’t come back for seconds.

#1 Take her slow and easy on a fire trail first time out.

Point out beautiful nature scenes you enjoy. It’s all about the beauty. (I promise you, she’ll be wowed by your sensitive side. Speed and exciting downhills; in time.)

Girl falling in love with Nature and Mtn. Biking. | Photo: Al Patterson

Girl falling in love with Nature and
Mtn. Biking. | Photo: Al Patterson

My first year on a mtn. bike was an easy solo adventure. Easy and flat fire trails, no big hills or rocks, close to home and rescue, (which I did require one hot summer day), plenty of room to share the trail with speedsters who flew by and the kind of nature views I longed to get lost in. I felt completely safe learning to ride my beginner bike with no companions. The local wilderness park also was free of wild creatures who eat humans. That was a bonus.

#2 Repeat #1 for the first few weeks.

It’s all about confidence. (She needs to trust you so think twice about trying to get her to understand banking tight switchbacks just yet.) At first I HATED trying to climb hills that now, seem so EASY!!

Fast forward to the hot summer day when I was feeling too cool for my own good and I was experimenting with speed…on a fire trail. Girl+speed+beginner bike+over-confidence+inexperience+crappy tires+sand= CRASH!! Luckily I didn’t take anyone out with me.

The group of guys who came to my rescue called the paramedics and offered me sympathy and painkillers. Their leader said he could pop my dislocated thumb
back into it’s correct position, but I declined. At that moment, I wasn’t aware he’d become someone I could trust.

Before the ambulance rolled me out of the park, my future riding buddies promised to teach me to ride better when I healed if I’d like to join them on Sunday rides.

Chivalry is sexy. Girl is happy. Attribution: Katie Milnes

Chivalry is sexy. Girl is happy.
Attribution: Katie Milnes

Over the course of five years, the boys taught me how to ride well and happy. They never asked of me more than what I was ready to try. Week after week, I felt safer and more confident to push myself toward excellence and climb hills, test speed and roll over big rocks. Some girls are braver than others. Some girls have an inner tomboy that works to her advantage out there. Others don’t want to break a nail. (Chances are she may not be cutout for shredding.) Nonetheless, take it very easy and she’ll let you know when she’s ready for more.

(No different than relationships in general, eh?!)

#3 When riding with a group, always hang out with your girlfriend towards
the rear until she’s ready to ride faster.

My boyfriend, who wasn’t my boyfriend back then, always slowed his riding to stay with me in those early days to make sure I was doing okay. He’d ride next to me and tell me what was up ahead (I loved that) and explained a lot of technical things about my bike and riding on dirt. I remember how we’d watch other newbie girls out on the trails with their boyfriends who pushed them too fast and hard. They were visibly shaky and tense and NOT having fun at all. If she isn’t having fun and feeling confident, the chances of her coming back to ride are slim.

Patient teacher has its’ rewards. Attribution: Katie Milnes

Patient teacher has its’ rewards.
Attribution: Katie Milnes

Riding with my boyfriend is one of the most exciting things we do together. I fell in love with him out there because, well, nature took over. Ever notice how you seem to see things much more clearly after a hot day on the trail?

Where else can a couple enjoy the freedom of nature and movement and youthful vibrance along with connecting to the sexy and natural vibe of Mother Nature than mountain biking? Hiking is cool but feels slow sometimes. Surfing must be an awesome experience with your partner, but I can’t see without my glasses. And I don’t like being pummeled by waves. When I discovered the connection to my inner girl out in the dirt, on a bike with knobby tires, I was hooked.

Chance are, your girlfriend may be wanting to learn to ride with you. And it’s a very cool thing to share it with your babe. SO…..

#4 Be cool, ride easy and make sure she has your undivided attention.

If you’re interested in getting closer to your special girl, and want to share the hotness of biking with the cool world of nature, invite her to ride. Chances are good you can woo her to riding twosome happiness if you just let nature take its course.

After all, what better place is there than nature, to encourage the lessons the birds and the bees have been teaching us all these years?

Double track to mountain bike love. Attribution: Bill Andrews

Double track to mountain
bike love. Attribution: Bill Andrews

Boy+girl+bike+nature= very good times indeed.

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