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Old 07-15-2012, 10:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by viverrid View Post

I go first to try to prevent her overcooking into corners, show her the line in loose conditions, etc.. But today I guess I was not successful, since she rode into a ditch.
Obviously the two of you have known each other for a while. Her riding behavior probably could have been predicted by the way the relationship was handled before.

The question I would like to ask is, do you usually tend to do something for her when she thinks she is incapable of doing it, or when you feel that she needs help?

Because it looks to me as if she is always waiting for you to help her or assist her in some way. That is a learned behavior. I could be wrong in my assumption but that's why I ask.

Also, for her to be successfull at this, it will take work and effort. I believe she feels that she is somehow entitled to be a master at riding a motorcycle, and hasn't put in quite the effort. Think about how long it has taken you to master the kinds of trails you ride, or the style you have. The little mistakes you have to pay attention to, and correct for next time. From reading this, I feel as if she isn't the type of person who enjoys focusing, learning, and adjusting all silmultaneously. Not saying that she shouldn't ride, but definitely something to consider while going out and sitting on a machine that will go 60 or 70 + mph.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:42 PM   #17
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Interesting Thread...

I just took my wife out tonight to see if she liked riding; that way I can ride to a friends place for dinner and have a beer or two, and she rides home, or whatever. I trust her completely, as I know how she drives, and she is one of the few people I am relaxed with when sitting in the passenger seat. I think how a person drives will dictate a portion of how they ride. She used to ride 100cc scooters in Asia when she lived there, (not quite the same, but similar.) She's ridden Pillion for a few years, and is really comfortable riding bicycles in city traffic. When we first met, she hadn't rode a bicycle that much, while I try and ride half as many miles as we put on our truck each year. I didn't want to be the over bearing boyfriend who made it no fun for her. I did build her a bicycle up, and left it in the basement, ready to ride. Soon enough, she started riding it, and also we did as a couple, with the agreement that we meet at home if we're separated, and make phone contact if one person is home for 10 minutes before the other arrives. We have since gone on multi day bicycle/camping trips, and it has been really rewarding. Mountain biking, on the other hand...she just did not want to go there! Her words were "I think I talked too big!" about wanting to go. That's cool, I LOVE sharing certain things with my wife, but it just cannot always be. Actually, it's not completely cool, because I pretty much live for the singletrack, but there is so much that is right, that just like you, I'm willing to overlook it In my experience, I have found that having women spend time doing these activities with other women is what gets them up to a level where they want to ride with their partner. Women seem to learn best from other women. Has she ridden with any women friends?
Are there any female riders you know who would be willing to take her out?
She was smiling from ear to ear after getting into second gear today, so that is a good sign. From here on in I said to her that I would rather she learn from professionals rather than me.
For some of us riding is a past time, and for others it is the best thing on Earth. Keep us posted, it sounds like you are an extremely patient person.
Do you go to Yoga with her, or do a lot of other things together?
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:00 AM   #18
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Meh, she sounds like my husband. No mechanical ability at all, and even less foresight.

Give her a break - congratulate her for her efforts and confine her to the parking lot for a while. Maybe another BRC when you aren't around to observe. Then make a decision. She's going to get herself hurt at this rate. :(
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:44 AM   #19
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Sounds very much like my wife.
She wanted to ride, I bought her a bike.

Rode it once in a while for 2 years, usually following me.

A rider was killed by a left of center SUV a few years ago about 5 miles from our house.

Now she doesn't even want to ride with me unless we are on dirt roads.
Selling her street bike, but now she thinks she wants a dirt bike.

I honestly don't think she needs to be on a full size bike, as I fear she is going to badly hurt herself.

I bought a scooter to ride around here in Miami because I got tired of trying to park a Silverado HD in the city.

Took the scooter home a month or so back when I had to set up another job and when I came back here she kept my scooter

Rides it all over town, usually wide open (50cc) and loves it.

Me, I don't understand. She said she would ride in a sidecar rig with me but when she rides on the street with me now she will not lean into a turn.
Says it feels like we are going to fall over if she leans, so I lean and she tries to sit up straight.

Told her she was going to get both of us hurt, so I ride alone now. It's faster that way
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:32 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by viverrid View Post
My wife tries to learn to ride on and off, years apart. Every time is close to starting over, but with slightly different errors. She never progresses enough to get beyond beginner, then quits. So the next time she tries, she's still a beginner.

Some time ago, in her 40s, my wife became interested in learning to ride. It was NOT something she "always" wanted to do, or always thought was cool. Just that she saw me going out to ride, and coming back hours later, and wanted to see what is was about. She even thought she wanted to ride trail, since I talked about trails so much.

She learned the basics of how a motorcycle operates on an XR-80 that one of the kids had. Then got her license through MSF and began rising on a DR-200. She's small, only weighed about 100 lbs., and thought the DR was high and heavy. She frequently had problems, and not just motorcycle-specific problems, but brain fade forgetting things she used daily driving a car.

Like once we pulled into a small commercial parking lot and were going to turn around to park. There were 3 nose-in spaces empty, next to each other. I was leading, rode straight into the right side of the right-most space, and made a U, coming out in the left-most space but toward the middle space, plenty of room for my wife to swing around even wider. Instead of following my line, wife rides diagonally straight across the right & middle space before turning another 45 degrees and running out of space, now 90 degrees to the original direction. And then asks "What do I do???" Well, like you might do in a car while making a 3-point turn, turn the front wheel right and back up, then left and go forward. Instead she just drops the bike.

After a number of other low-speed drops, she has a trail accident that results in an injury. She allows her upper body to be thrown forward going over a SMALL obstacle, her right elbow to be driven down, and this causes her to crank on WFO throttle, resulting in her hitting a tree. She breaks her thumb. The patch of missing bark on the tree was visible years later.

She quits trail and her riding peters out. After it sits a couple of years, we sell her bike. A few years later, I ask her if she would try again with a smaller bike, because I can buy a TTR-125L with street paperwork. She says okay and I buy the bike, but it only has paperwork. No way will it actually pass inspection. I spend almost as much getting it inspect-able as buying it. 2/3 of it was shop labor since I had a shop do it. If I had cared to to wrench it myself, I could have done it for a few hundred $, including having the stator re-wound.

She likes the lower height and lighter weight but always had issues with the kick start. One time she went out to ride, and for the next 15 minutes I heard various "PUTTs" and "PUTT-PUTTs" followed by periods of silence. She comes back inside almost crying, asking why her bike wouldn't start. We go over that the gas is on, the "choke" (really an enricher) is on, the switch is on (no key, just a switch). I go out and try it, and it starts and runs on the first kick.

She asks me how I did it. I shut it down with the kill button (leaving everything else set up the same) and ask her to show me what she was doing. It was like her wrist was geared to her ankle. Every time she kicked, she twisted WFO throttle. The bike starts easily on the enricher AT IDLE. It can't take any throttle, much less WFO, until it warms up. I ask her why she cranked throttle and she says "I thought that's how you start a motorcycle". That's not how we started it last week.

Then she has another injury accident. We are going down a 2-track on state land when we catch up to a Jeep. The Jeep stops so we can pass. I go around between the Jeep and a brush pile; nothing wrong with the line but there's not much room. Wife starts to go around but is afraid of the Jeep so brakes without pulling in the clutch, stalls, and falls over into the brush pile. She puts her hand out with the fingers spread, most of her hand goes through the pile but a stick catches her thumb and dislocates it.

She quits riding again, and after the bike sits a couple of years, we sell it. Years later, I buy an XT-225 as my "sick bike". Similar concept to when an old guy trades his cruiser for a trike. For when I get really sick from my cancer, so I'll have an easy to ride bike even though it's too small for me, and maybe I can ride a little longer. I am moving bikes around in the driveway and she sits on it, says "Hey, I think I could ride this." So we try again.

This time around she is confused by the kill switch. She turns the bike off with it, then walks away leaving the key on. I point out to her the lights are on. She goes back, turns the light switch to high beam, walks away again. I point out it's now on high beam, she switches the lights back & forth a few times, then blows the horn. So I point out the key position, and she replies "You told me the kill switch turns the bike off." She's had so many "forgets" on the {correction} kill switch that I put a piece of duct tape over it. It can still be used, just it's less visible.

This morning she gets confused with the e-start. She comes to me and asks me why her bike won't start. She says the gas is on, the bike is in neutral, she's turned the key but it won't start. I walk over, press the starter button, and it fires right up. I ask her what happened when she pushed the button and she says she didn't. She forgot about it. Thought turning the key would start the bike. That's not how we started it last week.

So today we went on a mixed surface ride. I'm worried about her slowing down enough before a blind downhill dirt road left curve so I make a big deal about flashing my brake lights several times before the crest preceding the turn. She makes that one okay and I accelerate around the following uphill right turn. I continue up the road but she doesn't appear in my mirrors so I stop and wait. She still doesn't come along so I turn around and find her bike in the ditch off the left.

She ran wide on an UPHILL visible turn, across the oncoming lane and into the ditch. She says her helmet hit the ground but not hard, and the handlebar hit her in the ribs. The bike isn't banged up much. She is game to keep riding and we continue our loop, which includes a lunch stop. Tonight she is feeling sore and I tell her she'll probably be stiff tomorrow. I hope she keeps riding this time. She doesn't really know how/why it happened. Says she didn't accelerate, but I don't think she braked either, just coasted wide until she ran out of road.

This isn't really a rant, just a dunno WTF.

I don't think bikes are for your wife, or possibly good for your wife. My wife is like that with mountain biking. Been riding waaaay over a decade. Still find her in a big gear on a hill, working harder than she needs to. Me "why are you in big chainring"? Her "I don't know".

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Old 07-16-2012, 01:35 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Barry View Post
I don't think bikes are for your wife, or possibly good for your wife. My wife is like that with mountain biking. Been riding waaaay over a decade. Still find her in a big gear on a hill, working harder than she needs to. Me "why are you in big chainring"? Her "I don't know".

Mine too, been mountain biking 8 years now with me and will still be in a big gear and killing herself on a climb.
She raced track bikes in high school, lots of gears confuse her.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:59 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by viverrid View Post
She has a dirt road loop from our house that she can ride by herself but how much is she going to learn by continuing to circle the same loop.
Quite a bit I think. Honestly if she enjoys going the same path, and as a kid we all did that on our bikes right, then every min she is on a bike helps. You don't have to push to have fun just putting around can be enough for some. Maybe doing more easy rides set up for her skill level. I also think it is a great idea to get her riding with someone else. If she has a friend who she can ride with the suddenly it's something she is doing for herself instead of for you.
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:13 AM   #23
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My buddy bought two KLR 650's so he could ride with his wife. She took MSF and such. The bike was too tall, so he lowered it. She periodically dropped it while standing still or maneuvering a parking lot. She had lots of trouble getting on the highway from their dirt driveway too. She had to climb to the tar and stop for traffic. Then she had to get going again. He bought her a Recluse clutch. Bingo. Suddenly the bike is like an automatic or centrifugal clutch. Start in gear and twist the throttle to take off like a scooter. The only time she uses the clutch is for shifting.

My wife thought she wanted to ride, but the closest she came was riding my son's pitbike, which was an Aprilia 50cc scooter. She rode that thing quite a bit, though. Just not enough to want her own and eventually the desire to ride passed...
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Old 07-16-2012, 03:29 AM   #24
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I love this thread because it mirrors my experience with the wife so much. Since we married, I have tried and tried to teach my wife those things that I love. I wish she would teach me her loves, but they are few and far between. It does not seem like she has any mechanical ability or mechanical sense. Take for examples: ATVs.

I taught my wife to ride an ATV, a blaster 200 cc stroke. Thank God I had already added a longer swingarm, otherwise she would have ended up upside down alot. The whole exercise was awful for both of us. Much crying, mashing of teeth, and screaming "I can't do it!!" This would be followed by her trying the task and easily conquering it. Then we got to the next hill and all would start again. Every time we would come to a stop, she would then kill the bike while pulling away. EVERY TIME! It is a kick start bike, and unlike me, it takes her 28 kicks to get it started again. I got so tired of it that I raised the idle till it sat there at 4000 rpm, yet she would still kill it. AHHHHH! Turns out that when she came to a stop, she would then try and get going in whatever gear she was in when she stopped. After it died, she would put it in to neutral in preperation for starting it. This from a girl who has driven a manual car!! Long hill climbs would also conclude with her making it to the top, crying, screaming "I hate you!!" Yet she made it to the top without any problems. Never fell off, etc.

So you have got to be asking "Why does he ride with her??" Well, turns out that a submariners life does not include having many civilian friends. People don't want to hang out with guys who are gone for months at a time. And I didn't want to ride alone, so I would take her. I am an idiot.

So teaching her to ride a street bike is completely out of the question! She had a stick shift car for almost a year as her daily driver, yet she can't drive my mustang without bucking and stalling. With her DD, she can get it going then drop the clutch, just like another post mentioned above, and that doesn't work in the mustang. But it does work offroad in an ATV.

Can anyone give a reason why the act of doing something does not yield improvement? Yes, I was once a beginner on a bike, and a car, and an ATV, but every time I rode I got better. Yet I never see this is her endevours. I know that most people would just give up trying, and enjoy those things I love by myself, but I married my wife because I want to be with her, not so she can stay home all day while I am out. Having mostly separate activities is not my preference.

BTW, she does occasionally ride on the back, and has improved a lot on that, but we had many experiences where she would try and straighten the bike up during turns. No fun, scary actually.

Rant over.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:03 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by xavier296 View Post

Can anyone give a reason why the act of doing something does not yield improvement? Yes, I was once a beginner on a bike, and a car, and an ATV, but every time I rode I got better. Yet I never see this is her endeavors. I know that most people would just give up trying, and enjoy those things I love by myself, but I married my wife because I want to be with her, not so she can stay home all day while I am out. Having mostly separate activities is not my preference.

Rant over.
If you do the same wrong thing over and over you'll never get better. Perhaps her mind isn't open to doing it different ways. I tried teaching my ex to ride and she just couldn't get the hang of starting off. She'd sit and rev a bit, wait, rev a bit more, wait again, then either shut it off or dump the clutch and stall it. She told me she was nervous. There were a couple times she would come to a stop and forget to pull in the clutch. I would sit on the back, with her in front, and ride around the backyard so she could see exactly what I was doing with the controls, and even then she couldn't get it.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:46 AM   #26
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When I taught my gf how to drive a manual car, she didn't really understand what was going on with the clutch, gas, brake, shifting, etc. I explained to her HOW the car worked and after that she got it right away. She doesn't drive a manual regularly, but she could drive one in a pinch if she had to. Basically my point is, have you explained HOW the machine works and what all of the controls do and how they affect the bike? From my perspective it's easier knowing how everything works on the bike instead of just hopping on and trying to get it to go...I think so many people are used to things just being automated that they never stop to actually think about what the machine they're "operating" is actually doing. Just IMO. I guess she must know what the controls do, but does she know how they work? Maybe take her through the whole bike and show her all the moving parts and how all of her inputs affect the bike on a mechanical level.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:24 AM   #27
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As much as I love motorcycling, I believe there are some people not cut out for it. My wife is one of these. Like other people discussed here, she is fascinated by my love of riding, and longs to experience it herself. She has expressed her desire to get her license for street riding, but never progressed beyond "beginner" in safe settings.

She was fairly disappointed when I talked her out of taking the Aprilia 750 up and down the road, so we headed for the forest. She started out on the XL250, then an XL600, and even the Aprilia 750 off road! (I figured it would result in bike damage, but she managed to keep it upright, even when applying throttle while locking the front brake .)

I think it comes down to remembering what you really care about. My wife and I have talked about this (she's a psychologist), and she says she simply doesn't have the desire to commit gears, buttons, and various workings of machinery to memory. Likewise, I can't seem to remember the difference between a petunia and a tulip. Forcing the issue could get someone you love killed.

It turns out what she really wants is to be part of something (and everything) she knows I love. To this end, I bring her along on the majority of my rides. It takes a bit of effort, with more rest breaks and bathroom stops, but she is part of my hobby. I even bought a com system so we can talk during the ride, which improved the experience for her ten fold.

I ride solo often enough to enjoy the sport side of riding, but I would hate to be permanently solo because I encouraged her to do something she isn't cut out for.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:42 AM   #28
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In the midst of teaching the GF to ride... thankfully, she's taken to it really well. She took the MSF in May and owns a Vespa 250 that she loves taking out on rides. She's still learning a lot of the "big picture" stuff (mostly maintaining situational awareness on the road), but the basic riding she's getting down well. I'm still nervous as hell watching her ride, however, simply because I worry about her reactions to when things go to shit-- i.e., panic braking, surprises in the road, etc. That stuff will come in time, we're doing plenty of PLP to commit reactions to muscle memory, but we'll see how it goes.

That said, my advice FWIW:
1. Riding may not be your wife's thing. No shame in that, she gave it the college try, far better than most. But these things happen.
2. If she has that much trouble with the clutch, a scooter might be a friendlier option for her. Eliminates one of the problematic "variables" right off the bat. Sorry that such a step would take your dream of dirt riding together off the table for now, but that might only be temporary-- i.e., if she grows comfortable on the scoot, she might be more comfortable in her progression.
3. If she's committed to a street ride, look into the Can-Am Spyder. VERY friendly to beginners, particularly the semi-auto version. You can't drop it, you don't worry about gravel/road hazards, shifting is a breeze, etc., etc. I admire them so much that I use one now as my daily driver (going to get back into sportbiking once I can afford what I want, but as an "urban assault vehicle" in commuting traffic I feel safer on the Spyder than I ever have on two-wheels, it's incredibly forgiving, and fun!).

Good luck...
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:43 AM   #29
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It Happens

Some people are simply not cut out for riding. My wife is one of them. We've both come to accept it and it makes things easier.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:02 AM   #30
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my partner in life

Ok, my turn:

My riding career started when I was 16 and has continued for 40 years. My wife had riden with others before we married and I took her on as my passenger before she decided that she wanted her own bike. We bought a new Yamaha 650 and she tried real hard to learn to ride it, but just couldn't get comforable. She could do it, but never enjoyed it because of the all the controls that were required. Throttle, brakes, clutch, blinkers, etc...just too much to do. Ultimately, she was a good rider and very aware of the road, traffic, and lane position, but one day she stopped on a side road and when I pull up, she's in tears and shaking and says, "take me home and come and get this thing." She had had enough.

Less than a year later, we traded her 650 for a scooter that included an automatic transmission and she loved it. Until, some jackass mentioned that she wasn't a real biker. That hurt her pride and she sold that scooter pretty quick. Less than a year and she'd bought another Honda 700. We didn't even get home from the dealer before she was suffering extreme buyers remorse. We continued home and she worked hard at learning to ride that bike. She could do it and do it well, but just never enjoyed the experience. We sold that Honda with less than 1000 miles on it, and I had riden most of those miles.

Less than a year later and she has found her perfect bike. Or, I should say scooter. Now, she rides a Burgmann 400 and loves it. "To hell with that biker image, I love my scooter!" She rides well and really enjoys herself when we ride. She is always asking me how she's doing and I can only report that she is great. I'm not sure that she believes me, but all of her riding habits are good: lane position, situational awareness, speed, controls, etc., all is good.

We ride to work often, each on our own bikes. I miss her on the back as my passenger, but the rides are great.

I agree with most on here that say, some people are just not cut out for driving a motorcycle and I believe that you wife may be one of those. What you have described scares that crap out of me, for her. Be very careful, for her.
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Now far ahead the road has gone and I must follow if I can." J.R.R. Tolkien
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