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Thread: Riding with my amazing wife

  1. #1
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    Riding with my amazing wife

    My wife recently bought a F650GS Twin and I love having her along on our ventures. The only problem I have is worrying about her when we ride together. She is a very good rider but I just worry about what might happen. Now I know how she feels when I take off on a ride. I want to keep riding with my best friend but not sure how to get over my fears. Any thoughts out there from the female side of our riding community. Thank you
    Mark

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    My wife used to ride her own bike(s) until the arthritis in her hands made it too uncomfortable and painful to operate the clutch on longer trips. She now prefers to ride as a passenger with me. I actually do this too, because I always worried too much about her safety when she was riding herself and it took too much concentration away from the operation of my own bike.
    One of the things I observe when couples ride and the man has more experience, is that often he rides behind her. Probably because he thinks he sees better what is going on with her.
    That is one of the biggest mistakes being made. If you are an experienced rider and ride with a person who is a beginner or has less experience, you need to ride in front. That relieves the other rider of the pressure of "making decisions" and enables the rider behind to just follow.

  3. #3
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    Not enough information. The OP says "She is a very good rider but I just worry about what might happen."

    It is unclear if she has been riding for years, or for weeks. It is unclear if she used to ride a lot, took a break, and is now back at it or what.

    Most spouses and significant others have some anxiety about each other. That is normal. What about when the spouse rides off alone, for a short ride or a long trip? Is this more or less stressfull than when riding together?

    As for who should go first I think it depends. What I might say for a group of testosterone laden guys riding off to carve some canyons would differ from what I might say about an inexperienced but conservative spouse. And what I might say on a ride down rural country roads would differ from if riding in quick, congested, urban traffic.

    When Voni and I ride together I lead maybe 95% of the time. When she is leading and we pull up to a stop sign sometimes I forget and take off, resuming the lead. Then I get reprimanded.

    Voni says that I should usually go first because (at about 800K miles compared to her 1,000,000 plus) I am the least experienced rider.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  4. #4
    Lost again Texpaul's Avatar
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    My wife rides her own bike and I have much the same "fears" as the OP. Of course she thinks that is ridiculous, and to some degree she is right. In reality she actually rides better than me in certain situations.
    Anyway, I found that if I let her lead I don't seem to have the same concerns as when she is behind me. She likes it better also, mainly because she thinks I ride too slow. But it's also safer for me because I'm not always looking in the mirror to see what she's doing (as opposed to watching the road).
    Of course to lead you have to know where you're going, but that's a subject for a different thread.
    Paul Mulhern
    MOA# 56330
    '05 1200GS Big Blue

  5. #5
    Amma Holly's Avatar
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    I never thought anything about riding long distances alone, until my son decided to ride his bicycle across Canada alone. (I keep telling him the best accessory for 2 wheels is an engine, but who listens to Mom?) I really worried when I didn't hear from him regularly. Now that I know what it is like being the one at home, I wear a SPOT. Not an answer to your post, I know, but just letting you know that it is perfectly natural for family members to worry about each other.

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    Smile Thanks

    Thank you everyone for the great input. My wife is pretty new to this riding thing so hopefully the more miles she gets under her belt the more relaxed I will be. I do relax more when I ride behind her but being in front sounds like a good idea. The front position would give me more control and decision making options about what's coming up like EMsimon advised. Good heads up on my wife being in the back and my bad habit of looking too much in the mirrors and not paying attention to my riding. I will do am better job at that for sure! Thanks again for the help on this one. I am already feeling better about the whole thing.
    Mark

  7. #7
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    My wife also rides. She has a 650GS (twin) and has been riding for 3 years. I do get concerned about her when we go for long rides but i figure she is probably more careful than I am and is a good car driver.

  8. #8
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    I hope she has had some formal training like the MSF course(s). But training should never stop. I taught Voni to ride well before any formal state sponsored training was available where we were. Sometimes I rode in front, for that "control of the situation" reason. But on more occasions she rode in front.

    (Note: We have since taken several MSF course and on track schools several times.)

    But, and one very important thing: I had equipped our bikes with CB radios. Cheap pillow speakers were in both helmets. I freequently pointed out things as we rode along. To this day, when certain situations arise, she can hear a voice in her head say things like, "Watch that car on the side road - I don't think it is going to stop", etc.

    That was back in the stone age of bike-to-bike communications. Today it is different. There are several good comm products out there now. We don't use bike-to-bike comm now, but know many people who do. Simple is better in a training environment. You don't need tunes, or cell phone, or a GPS talking to you for this purpose.

    It can be very handy, regardless of who leads.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    I hope she has had some formal training like the MSF course(s). But training should never stop. I taught Voni to ride well before any formal state sponsored training was available where we were. Sometimes I rode in front, for that "control of the situation" reason. But on more occasions she rode in front.

    (Note: We have since taken several MSF course and on track schools several times.)

    But, and one very important thing: I had equipped our bikes with CB radios. Cheap pillow speakers were in both helmets. I freequently pointed out things as we rode along. To this day, when certain situations arise, she can hear a voice in her head say things like, "Watch that car on the side road - I don't think it is going to stop", etc.

    That was back in the stone age of bike-to-bike communications. Today it is different. There are several good comm products out there now. We don't use bike-to-bike comm now, but know many people who do. Simple is better in a training environment. You don't need tunes, or cell phone, or a GPS talking to you for this purpose.

    It can be very handy, regardless of who leads.
    Yes she did a safety course and before each trip we do a slow ride training session

    Also use Sena and are able to talk. You are right it is very handy.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk 4

  10. #10
    Rocky Bow BMW Riders #197 bogthebasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Not enough information. The OP says "She is a very good rider but I just worry about what might happen."

    When Voni and I ride together I lead maybe 95% of the time. When she is leading and we pull up to a stop sign sometimes I forget and take off, resuming the lead. Then I get reprimanded.

    Voni says that I should usually go first because (at about 800K miles compared to her 1,000,000 plus) I am the least experienced rider.
    Now THAT is funny!
    Ken
    [2008 R1200RT (Biarritz Blue) - Mine]
    [2007 R1200RT (Sand Biege) - Hers]

  11. #11
    Novice Adventurer Newstar's Avatar
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    I started riding long after my husband. He was very patient with me but pushed me to stretch my comfort zone and improve my skills. Now, he generally lets me "ride my own ride" although I admit that I ride faster than many and I blame him for that - afterall, he is the one I often follow.

    You don't state how long she's been riding but I don't really think that is entirely the point. Is she a safe rider? Has she had any formal training? (MSF Safety Course) Wearing gear? Can she pick up the bike by herself? If the answer is yes to these questions, please keep in mind that while anything can happen on the road, she is capable of looking out for herself. If she is out without you, perhaps consider getting a SPOT to help ease your concerns.

    As Paul mentioned, perhaps a set of radios so that you can communicate will also help ease your mind.

  12. #12
    Small road corner junkie pffog's Avatar
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    As I type this i am in the Smokey's with my wife on her f650GS, been here for a few days, riding the real small tight twisty stuff that makes deals gap look like the interstate.

    I lead (her choice) and I communicate road hazards, gravel etc, via brake light flashes, she knows if she sees brake lights going into a corner, there is extra caution needed. I do worry some, and as Paul said, that is normal. But when riding together YOU need to not let it distract you!

    Tips:

    1. Let her know what the plan is as you go, let her have a say in the ride, if it is flexible.

    2. Stress she rides her own ride! If she is trying to keep up and please you, she could get into trouble.

    3 If she desires to get a little faster in the twisty stuff, stress SMOOTH, never try to be faster, just smoother. SMOOTH makes you comfortable, being comfortable make you ride faster PERIOD!

    4. You need to know her limitations, when exploring I frequently get down the wrong road, My wife is only 5'1" and has small hands, so U-turns can be a challenge, harder to dip a foot, and harder to modulate the clutch brake and throttle all at once. So I ride until I find a place she would be comfortable turning, or stop and turn her bike for her. Makes all happier.

    5. Stress and make her practice brake use, with ABS, she should practice panic stops often, and when just riding I practice and encourage her to make hard braking maneuvers on occasion, when approaching a stop sign etc. Brake hard and scrub 50 mph off rapidly, then slowly coast or even accelerate again to get to the intersection.

    6. MSF, and TRACK DAYS are the best teaching tools out there, encourage both!

    7. Don't over do it. Know that like you, if she gets tired or feels pressured to reach a destination attention and judgment can get compromised. Stop more often for coffee, or to sit by a waterfall and chill, especially if riding demanding roads.

    8. My wife has learned to just stop when she needs a break. I am guilty of riding an hour or two, looking for a plac to eat etc. If she sees a place I missed, she just stops, and knows I will soon see she is gone and turn around.

    She doesn't want an intercom as she said she would probably kill me for constantly yelling advice into her ears, and disrupting her concentration.

    Teach her everything you know (in a NON condescending way) which can be tough to do as a couple.

    Stress FUN and keep it that way!

    This has succeeded, as she can ride the challenging roads at a pace that would, and has, embarrassed many of the riders I know. Nothing like having your best friend along sharing time together.
    2010 F800GS Full Ohlins package, '04 R1100S Replika
    '01 F650GS Wife's bike
    Maritime Alps and Vosges 2012
    Tuscany and Central Italy 2010

  13. #13
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    My fiance and I ride together often. I rode before meeting him and so we both came with different riding styles. But thankfully, the styles have meshed together well. He leads 95% of the time. I was used to that in a prior relationship and he enjoys leading. We purchased the Sena headsets over the winter and I don't know if we could ride together as well without them now! He is fabulous about warning me to a situation; a hole in the road, an animal, a car...and he LOVES hearing me in his "head", so to speak! It has been a great addition to our ride. We also can go for an hour without saying anything to each other. I think you will find your "style" as you ride together more and more.

    Oh, and I love the title of your thread! Some men don't like that we ride; we are invading their space! Thankfully, you don't feel that way and I'm glad I found a man who doesn't either. We plan on growing old together riding our own bikes and sometimes with me on the back of his. What a great life!!
    Tonya
    2007 F800ST - Lovin' it!!

  14. #14
    It is what it is. Bud's Avatar
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    Good advice for us all!
    I used to post here, but now I don't.

  15. #15
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    Don't over-think it. If she is competent, puts safety first, rides defensively and has at least a few thousand miles under her tires, her risks are minimal.

    The risks from mistakes other drivers make can only be mitigated by defensive driving.


    Sent from my iPhone

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