4. The Ride Isn’t Always About You
If you are riding with someone who isn’t as strong as you, consider riding with them on your easy training day. And don’t talk about how easy it is for you or how good you feel. Don’t show off (unless they actually enjoy that). Put yourself in their shoes. You can also offer to carry extra weight on the ride so it’s easier for them to get up the hills. And remember to always offer sincere encouragement and compliments. Believe me, it helps.
5. Don’t Compare
This one gets me sometimes. I try to ride with people better than me as much as possible so I can learn. However, I find myself comparing when I am not as good as them and getting mad at myself that I can’t ride something or ride the same speed. Instead of this negative thinking, focus on what you are good at and vow to continue building your skills. Don’t judge yourself. If there’s something you can’t ride, look at the challenge as an opportunity for future growth and a goal to work towards. Skilled riders get to where they are by putting in time and hard work. Try to be inspired by your partner’s skills.
6. Focus on the Good
It’s important to focus on the fun and the reason you are there on your bike. Try to unwind and break the cycle of negative thoughts. Think of the reasons you are there, and think of the things you enjoy about riding your bike. Think of what it would be like to be the other person, and acknowledge that they aren’t intentionally trying to make you feel bad. Also be sure to communicate constructively and in a calm manner. Both of you have the same goal – to have a good ride together. That means you need to be patient with yourself and the other rider. Try to focus on a growth mindset. Psychologist Carol Dweck recommends that you consider the process and measure your improvement toward the goal you are trying achieve rather than judging the results.
7. Dealing with Complaints
If your riding partner can’t find their happy place, and instead complains non-stop, gently ask them what you can do to help make the ride more fun. Here are some examples:
- I’m tired, my legs hurt. That’s good! It means you are challenging yourself enough to get stronger. Would you like to slow down or take a break?
- I’m hungry. Let’s take a snack break. Do you need some food?
- I don’t really know what’s wrong. Make sure they have eaten enough food. Low blood sugar = grumpiness.
- I suck. No, you are learning and growing. It can be painful sometimes, but you are doing great! Think about the improvements you have made already.
- You always do this when we ride. I’m sorry, how can I get better starting right now? I want to make sure you’re having fun.
- I’m afraid to try. It’s normal to be afraid. Let’s find something that is challenging, but that you are comfortable with. We can practice it over and over until you feel good, then you’ll work up to the thing you’re afraid of.
- This isn’t fun. Okay, let’s go back.
If there is something that has helped you improve your riding experience with a riding partner, let us know in the comments. Happy Trails!