Riding with weaker/beginner riders (road) and patience

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by Devon

So I've recently started riding with my partner. She's really weak on the bike; to an an extent that the local beginner group rides are too fast/far for her. We can manage a 30-40km loop with around 500m climbing at a 20kph average (I'd normally do this at around 32kph average on my own).

She really wants to get stronger/fitter but it's difficult, particularly in the current British weather. Going at such a pace I get cold and fed up quickly; and what would normally be an hour ride turns into 4, becuase she has to stop for food half way.

Does anyone have any hints/tips/techniques for making rides like these easier or more enjoyable (for myself)? Until she gets faster/increases endurance group rides are out of the question.
Last edited by Devon on Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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by davidalone

Ride more. If you cant, then do running to work on the cardio system. I came into road cycling with no cyling experience, but I was able to easily keep pace because of my cross country background.

it's just about improving general fitness.

by Weenie

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by Devon

I meant more for improving these rides for myself. She has no issue with them but I get frustrated and bored very quickly with the pace. I think it's hard becuase I have never ben that that level; having ridden bikes since I was a small child, so struggle to relate.

Obviously I understand she will take some time but I'd like to know if anyone has any methods for making rides more fun, so that I can help her as much as I can.
Last edited by Devon on Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by campbellrae

I am in a similar situation, my partner having just started. Although in her case its 25km flat rides at 15kph... Best way I have found to amuse myself is to ride on my mtb and work on some skills(track stands, manuals etc) while she is riding. It is very hard at this time of year though as you say, the weather is a bugger! She does seem to like the turbo though, so I am hoping she will use that through the rest of the winter and be in reasonable shape come spring so we can do some steady endurance rides together. I am genuinely looking forward to that(I think...).

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by Devon

I'm a road rider through and through so unfortunately the only option is my race bike (it's actually pretty difficult to ride slowly on it). My main concern is that if I'm doign drills or messing around on it while she is riding she will feel disheartened as it will reinforce her belief that she is 'holding me up' (dispite the fact I am only riding for her and not myself).

I don't own a turbo but I have been meaning to get one. Not a bad idea so if I get one in time I will try her on it. She does like to get out though...
Last edited by Devon on Tue Jan 28, 2014 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by shoopdawoop

get big flat slow tires and run them at a lower psi on the heaviest wheels you own.

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by GT56

what sort of works for us is that I do my 2 to 3 hours alone and then we ride togehter for another up to 2 hours ride at her pace

this, obviously only works week-end days

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by legs 11

Ride a MTB with big, fat low pressure tyres mate?
That's what I used to do with my wife, it made it a better work out for me and kept the wife happier as she didn't feel like she was holding me up as much.

But, most importantly obey the 'golden rule' :wink: :D .............always do what you're told and always obey....lol.
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by Geoff

This is a very common issue. The 'trick' is to break-it-up.

In the early stages, she will not have the confidence to ride on her own. Accordingly, you need to break-up your training. It is not as efficient, but you will need to do your Intervals on separate rides. Try riding with her for a shorter ride, drop her off, then go out again. Later, when she gets more comfortable, you can start together, you can go off and do some training, then catch-up with her again on the way back home. That worked really well for me. The other thing you can do is to get a set of race radios to 'keep in touch' while on-the-road. That was a good decision, too.

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by Devon

As said before i only have my race bike, so MTB is a no go unfortunatey.

I appreciate the ideas guys, thanks. Have tried riding with her after a long ride by myself, and was better but still not much difference.

Confidence isn't much of an issue, I've dragged her along some pretty main roads and we live in the centre of a busy city and she hasn't displayed any issues with any of that. It's more a lack of area knowledge that holds her back from riding on her own.

I'm going to have a chat with her about it tonight. I think the issue is partly a difference in mindset. She's riding well and putting the effort in, and I genuinely believe she's getting stronger, but I think she lacks the agressiveness required to advance properly with road riding. On hills and when the wind/rain picks up she'll stick it in the small ring and spin, whereas for me that's where I get stuck in and power through.

By all means I'm not going to force her into racing or riding to my level, but I think a good start may be to focus on technique a little more now that her base fitness is growing. Thoughts?
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by nagge

Just drag the breaks ;)

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by rmerka

I have a similar issue and it's to the point to where she won't ride with me anymore because she feels like she's holding me back and that's not what I wanted to happen, so I can certainly relate. I've never dropped her and left her behind as that would just be wrong and mean. The only time she'll ride with me is when we go to the veloway (a three mile dedicated loop strictly for bikes). She'll do that because she likes to see how many times I can catch her. I recently ordered one of those Copenhagen wheels for her and I have high hopes for it. She's excited about it and I hope it can give her the boost she needs to make riding with me more enjoyable for her. We'll see...

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by HammerTime2

Presuming the road you are riding enables this, rider faster than her and go ahead of her by some amount, then turn around and pass her in the other direction by some amount, then turn around and pass her again, etc. This may be particularly effective on sustained climbs. You can control how far away from her you ever get. You can mix it up by actually riding with her for a while. Whether this counts as "riding together" will have to be judged by the principals.

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by carbonLORD

Buy a Dutch bike.

Buy a fat tire bike.


Try riding in your easiest gear and make it a spin session.

by Weenie

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by aerozy

I only ride with my lady every now and again. When we do set out together I either do one of the following:

- Do recovery rides with her
- or do interval training. So basically I ride off into the sunset for 1-3mins and then turn around to meet her. I only do this on open country rides. I would be afraid to leave her alone in the city on a ride bike. She's quite a novice and has a tendency to fall side-ways once she comes to a halt. hahaha... poor thing.
Sunny cycling holidays in Portugal @ Cherry Cottage Vintage B&B

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