Riding with your wife

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by 390beretta, Mar 24, 2013.

  1. 390beretta

    390beretta Long timer

    Oct 31, 2009
    Phoeniz, AZ
    My wife and I put on about 75 miles today, all in Phoenix city traffic. Had breakfast, shopped a bit, etc. Because she was more familiar with the area of town we were heading to (Scottsdale) she led, which I was glad of. This evening she told me she was very "antsy" with me behind her....felt self-conscious and ill at ease, because I usually lead. Granted, once or twice I pulled next to her at a light and said "your turn signal is still on". I also told her this evening that "If your leading and want to make a lane change, you need to allow more space/time for your followers to make the same change". Well, that felt like a "criticism" , which I guess it was, although I didn't mean it that way. She's an excellent rider, but I usually lead and sometimes we have a third friend who follows. Don't get me wrong, I love that she rides...she's very good. But I'm not sure how to impress upon her the "mentality" of riding with others and what that entails. By way of background: We both have ridden a lot of dual sport in Buffalo WY and Moab. She sometimes shows off by standing on her pegs in a dirt parking lot where there are a lot of Harley riders sitting around. She rides an '08 Versys and I ride a K75. So we both have enough torque/oomph to maneuver thru city traffic. Any thoughts/suggestions appreciated. Thanks
  2. Anakist

    Anakist n00b

    Apr 28, 2011
    Rockhampton Australia
    I tell my wife she can lead because the view is better!:rofl

    Biggest difference for us was getting an intercom. That way everything can happen in real time and we get to chat as we ride.

    Apparently some people don't like talking to their wives though:eek1:eek1

  3. Rauven

    Rauven I like the cold...

    Aug 6, 2012
    T√łnsberg, Norway
    After sharing one bike with my better half for several years finally we got two machines. It's a charm, finally no fighting over who will be the driver, and no weird looks from people around when they see me as a passenger behind a small, cute blond on a weestrom :p

    Don't really need a intercom though. Over the years on one bike we developed a common riding practice and quite an extensive sign language.

    Regarding the OPs issues. Maybe instead of "impressing" just sit down together grab a beer, wine or any other poison of your choice and talk it over. Without the 'teacher - student' feel to it, or in a possibly most casual way so she doesn't feel criticized. It's really hard to give an advice on handling a person we don't know. Different people handle instructions/advice/constructive criticism in different ways. I guess You should be the expert on the subject of your wife ;) Generally with my lady we have a system of sitting down and talking things over, so I don't have problems like that. Just mention once in a while how awesome she is when giving her tips so she feels more remeasured :)
  4. Tuna Helper

    Tuna Helper Rawrr!

    Jun 22, 2010
    Red Five standing by
    ^^ That's a good idea, I'd start off with "How do you feel you did?" and follow up with "I'd like it if..."
  5. farmerstu

    farmerstu Been here awhile

    Apr 24, 2011
    Minnesota west central
    390, welcome to my world. when you figure out how to talk to your wife in those situations you will have to become an instructor. i will pay any tuition to learn.

    GI_JO_NATHAN Long timer

    Sep 23, 2010
    Middle GA .....Aparently....
    This was the best thing I've done so far as well. Makes my wife much more comfortable. I highly recommend the Sena SMH10 kit sold on here by RocketMoto. We're very happy with them.
  7. fallingoff

    fallingoff Banned

    Jun 11, 2011
    syd oz
    i ride with my better half

    we have comms

    i usually follow her

    as i have found this eaiser

    when no comms

    she watches fo my blinker for when to turn

    when she leaves a blinker on

    i open and close my hand repeatedly

    she sees this in her mirror

    cancells her blinker

    i can always keep up or catch up with her

    if i go in front

    no matter how i ride

    i lose her

    i'm always to blame

    so let her lead, she can ride her own way

    even this is my fault sometimes

    but still is the best thing to ride with your partner

  8. Bill 310

    Bill 310 Poser Emeritus

    Dec 4, 2002
    Hopefully Upright
    I could see it going bad for us 12 years ago.

    We hired an instructor for a day and went riding with him. Apparently the issues were not just confined to one rider :lol3

    We have had cb radios since our first long trip 5k miles and that helps.

    If the Garmin goes nuts on one bike we just ride till it is safe to get off road and regroup.
  9. GrizGirl

    GrizGirl Long timer

    Jan 4, 2010
    Loving life in tha mountains :)
    How about a woman's perspective?

    Does your wife ever ride alone? Maybe she should take some rides on her own to build some confidence.

    Even while riding with another it is an individual sport. Yes, it is good to try to make room for another you are traveling with but it is not the #1 priority, especially when riding in city traffic. You stated you each have enough oomph to get around in city traffic. To me that says you have enough oomph to catch up to her when it is safe and that you shouldn't think you need to stay on her tail at all times. Yes, as the leader she needs to make sure you know when to turn and such but really, it is not always up to her to ensure you can stay right behind her. As for the blinker - when my SO leaves his on I periodically turn mine on and off until he gets a clue. If he doesn't, I don't care, he is capable, he'll figure it out. Mine is not an issue as it turns off after 400 yards.

    My SO and I ride together a lot, both on street and dirt. I tend to lead most of the time. It used to make me a bit nervous but I am now used to it. I ride my own ride, he rides his. If I feel like tearing up the corners in a canyon I go for it - he will sometimes follow, sometimes not. I will wait for him at the next turn if he hasn't already caught up. Same for him - if he wants to go faster he will pass me and wait for me to catch up at the next turn or somewhere that is safe. Neither one of us will push it if we aren't feeling it that day. We understand that even though we are riding together we are also riding alone as we are the only ones responsible for our safety on our bikes. If he wants to turn off somewhere he will pass me and I know that he wants to lead for a reason. Same if I am not leading.

    On dirt I am learning and less proficient than he is. I get self conscious. I will ask how I am doing and he will turn it around on me - how do I think I'm doing? Am I having fun? We have talked about that because it bothered me but now I understand. If I want to know something specific about an obstacle I will ask a specific question. If I doubt something can be ridden I will ask him to ride it first to show me the lines or just that it is possible. He allows me to lead, particularly on dirt, so I don't feel rushed to keep up with him. Since he is a much better rider on dirt he can more easily get through things and doesn't always realize that I am learning and struggling. By me going first we always go at my slower pace and he is good with that. He enjoys that we can share the experience of riding together so it is not about making time, or speed, or doing things "right". Our philosophy is, if we are having fun and not getting hurt we are doing it right.

    Basically I'm telling you it sounds like you need to let go of some of the control and just enjoy that you can share the experience. Let her lead more often and she will get more comfortable with it, as will you.
  10. bbagwell

    bbagwell Adventurer

    Dec 4, 2010
    My girlfriend usually follows me on her bike. She rides slower then I do, and has less experience then me. I never know how fast she wants to go or feels comfortable going. I like her to lead it makes it easier for me to know she is OK, and she can go the speed she wants and I can follow. She feels more comfortable following me, so I just try and keep an eye out for her in the mirror. She loves to ride usually she has a big shit eating grin on her face :D. I just make sure I wait at any intersections so we don't get seperated.
  11. wizze

    wizze Wizze = Wise

    Jul 17, 2009
    Jet City WA
    My wife also rides but prefers to follow. On the occasion I get her to lead, she manages to find more throttle for some reason. :huh

    Anyway, we have Scalas and if I see her do something unusual I will ask her if that felt right. Usually the answer is no. If she asks what she could have done different I will give her my take on the situation. But like anybody else, unwelcome criticism will turn off the recipients ability to listen to what you might have to say no matter how helpful. Maybe the OP needs to change his presentation.
  12. fishheadAZ

    fishheadAZ SV haver

    Aug 22, 2012
    TX...DFW area
    I always follow my wife. That way she can run at whatever speed she wants and I can keep the traffic off her rear tire. It makes her more comfortable and I can keep watch for any issues she might have. Comms sound like a good idea though. We may just have to give those a shot.
  13. DSM8

    DSM8 Where fun goes to die....

    Aug 1, 2005
    Glendora, Ca
    I have helped to mentor a few new woman riders. When first starting off they always felt more comfortable following and I always made it a point to remain at the posted speed limit, a bike moving at that pace tends to be a comfortable speed for most new riders, slowing down in the twisties etc.

    This has been very successful with those I have ridden with and once they are more comfortable I let them lead and record their ride with the Go-Pro so they can see for themselves what they did and how if looked different then when they watched me go through the same corner for example.

    So it really is not a case of criticizing what they are doing or telling them they are doing it wrong, more a case of this is what you did, as seen here. And you can tell how the line was vs. the corner you took etc.

    This makes it more an interactive session and not a I talk and you listen.

    Just my .02
  14. CaptnSlo

    CaptnSlo Derelicte

    Jul 16, 2012
    "Honey, next time you want to change lanes, could you give me a little more notice? Thank you!"

    Say it more nicely? I don't see how anyone could take that personally if said in a friendly manner.

    I'm not sure what suggestions you're specifically looking to give her in the group situation you mentioned, but maybe before all three of you leave, remind all of you (not wife specifically) to give plenty of notice before you change lanes, to wait for the person behind you, etc. If you make sure your buddy is there with you when you give these reminders, your wife won't feel like she's the one being lectured.

    Oh and one more thing, about leaving the turn signal on - if it's something like that where even experienced riders do it every now and then, when you tell her just say "it happens to all of us." Telling her like that is a gentle way of reminding her without making her feel bad.

    And one other thing that just occurred to me, if she's the type of person who tends to take suggestions as criticism (both sexes are guilty of this), the "compliment-suggestion-compliment" trifecta can be handy (I tend to employ this a lot in "real life"). Something like, "you looked great out there, really handled the corners nicely. Just one thing you may want to work on is ___ But overall, you're doing terrific." Rauven alluded to something similar above. And ask her if you could improve in any areas so it won't come across as one-sided.
  15. Dismount

    Dismount Boring bastard

    Feb 6, 2007
    Beckley wv
    Do you always

    speak in haiku form?
  16. tokyoklahoma

    tokyoklahoma 75%has been 25%wanabe

    Jun 24, 2011
    N.W. Arkansas
    When did criticism become a bad thing?

    How can one learn and improve without honest criticism?
  17. D R

    D R ----

    Sep 14, 2007
  18. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Apr 5, 2011
    Western Sierras
    Some good advice here.

    I second the idea of getting comms. I just bought the Sena SMH5 (also from RocketMoto using the advrider group buy). With a bunch of extras, it was around $250 for the 2 person setup. It came in the mail today, so I haven't used it yet, but we have used corded comms when riding 2-up.

    I imagine I will face the same issues as you, since my wife just got her learner's permit. If she doesn't leave room for me when changing lanes, I might say "whoa, I better catch up!" hoping she will get the hint without feeling criticized. Maybe adding "sweetie" to the end of a turn signal reminder will lesson the sting. I am also looking forward to being able to help her by pointing out hazards such as "That guy isn't even looking at us." - "us" being the key word that places the caution on both of us.
  19. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

    Dec 1, 2005
    Pacific NorthWet, Napa Valley North
    "When I'm leading, I try to..."

    My Spouse Unit's problem is when I lead, I'm toward the centerline; she likes to ride a) in my blind spot, and b) about a foot off the curb... swerving out for parked cars. :baldy
  20. dwoodward

    dwoodward Long timer

    Dec 1, 2005
    Pacific NorthWet, Napa Valley North
    I'm sorry. I meant to say "My problem is..."