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Question for the girls

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Well I had to pinch myself today 'cause I thought I must be dreaming! I already know I'm the luckiest man alive to have found such an awesome girlfriend, who is my best friend, soul-mate and I hope, partner for life. So at lunch today she say's "you know you sure have a wonderful thing with that trail riding you do, I believe I'd like to see for myself just how great it is". I'm already so fortunate to ride with my son almost every weekend, and now she wants to come and try it too. How cool is that?

So here's my question: How should I go about this? I'm a fast rider and don't want to overwhelm her with difficulty or speed. She's extremely fit, 36 years old and a weightlifter and marathon runner, so I'm not worried about her strength or endurance. I don't know what would be too much for her though and sure don't want to discourage her on the first time out. I would love some advice here so please share with me any thoughts about how best to get her started.

Thanks and happy trails ~Mark

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Lucky you! I'm 36, too and just started in Sept. So, yeah for another late bloomer! :)

So, how tall is she? That might help the more experienced ladies offer sound opinions.

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What kind of bike will she be using for the first ride? I know girls who gave up the first or second time out because of a bad experience on a bike that was not suited for them. Please read (if you have not already) Firecracker's post at the top of this forum, there is a lot of helpful information there.

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Goose,

This is jack, we met last weekend at Brushy. She can ride with me, I am way slower than you and I have an extra drz that my wife rides.

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She's tall, about 5'10". I thought putting her on my DRZ400 in a big field would be a good place to start, then move into the woods when she's ready. She told me she rode a dirtbike some when she was a teenager, so she won't be a stranger to the basic controls of the bike. She's also a trail-runner so balance and coordination shouldn't be a problem either.

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Goose,

This is jack, we met last weekend at Brushy. She can ride with me, I am way slower than you and I have an extra drz that my wife rides.

Thanks for the offer Jack. Refresh my memory though, were you the one there with Ray on the DRZ?

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When I was first learning to ride my buddy was out in front of me and I would just follow him he would speed up when I was beside him, that's when he knew I coud keep up. He was allways looking back to make sure I was doing ok. I learned out in the desert on rather flat trails then worked up to some more rocky hilly terrain. I was on a CR85 then which I would not recomend the 2 stroke thing (since it's a 4 strok forum that probably wouldn't be your choice anyways). Most importantly I think find a way to not push to far past where she is comfortable but you have to push some or you won't get any further. My biggest fear when I was starting to ride was steep hills and rocks, I would avoid that untill she is comfortable. I hope that advice helps.

Courtney

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I rode when I was younger too and I just hopped back on a bike last year. I rode in an open area and on an old logging road my first few times then when I did my first trail ride I followed a buddy up. He's also a fast rider and would stop and wait for me and then soon as he had me in his sights would take off so I didn't have to stop. It worked out perfectly. If she rode when she was a teenager I bet she won't have any problems!! :)

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She's tall, about 5'10". I thought putting her on my DRZ400 in a big field would be a good place to start, then move into the woods when she's ready. She told me she rode a dirtbike some when she was a teenager, so she won't be a stranger to the basic controls of the bike. She's also a trail-runner so balance and coordination shouldn't be a problem either.

I think that would be a great way for her to start... she's as tall as I am, so she won't have a problem touching and as long as your there to help until she gets used to picking it up, I don't think she'll have a big problem with it.

Ultimately, though, she'll likely want something a bit lighter (what does the DRZ weigh, though, honestly I have no idea but I'm betting over 240?) ... its not just 'picking the bike up', but as you get better it becomes 'picking the bike up for the fifth time on a steep hill climb you just couldn't make the first six times', etc. :) Plus, its nice to have something you can load yourself in a truck, in a pinch...

I love my YZ250F, at her height, if she gets into it, that might not be a bad choice for her as well!

Then, when you both have your own bikes, remember that beginners go MUCH faster if their pretty sure if they crash you'll be there to help them out pretty quickly... in other words, if you're leading, the more she sees you looking back to check on her the faster she'll go!

Also, when you first start out, reassure her that you will not do anything she can't do, and have her follow you, and THINK LIKE A BEGINNER! This is HARD, but really important for her to trust you! And, tell her if she is really doubtful, its ok, don't do it and you'll come back for her (because you're always looking back for her, right? :p )

After she gets better, and learns her own limits, you can tell her you might start hitting stuff thats a little tough for her, and she can make her own call on it. You might want to make this clear to her, though... I got in a few interesting situations because I 'assumed' my boyfriend would gesture to me, to tell me to wait, if something was to tough... so I followed him up some pretty rugged stuff a few time as a newbie! (But I survived, and it was fun! :D )

Then, when she gets a little better, let her lead... it'll help her learn how to choose a line, and again, she'll likely go faster knowing you're BEHIND her, and can see if she crashes! (and it'll save your neck, too... and you can find stuff to 'play' on while keeping her in sight!)

Once she gets a bit better and is pretty confident a crash isn't going to kill her, you'll be able to leave her a bit more for fun fast sections and to play around... when I was past the 'raw beginner' stage, my friends would just ride around and jump stuff, do hill climbs, etc, while I'd take the 'straightest path between two points'... until I got fast enough to keep up, now I get to play, too! :)

Also, consider a track that has a kiddie track or opens the track up for beginner riding occasionally, she'll learn a lot about handling and jumping there.

Good luck to you both, she's a lucky girl! :D

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It is very easy to overestimate her comfort level.

The DRZ is a great bike, but it is heavy. My wife (over 40) started riding with us on an XR200. She is 5'7" and is also very fit. Triathlons, kickboxing, etc. But she opted to "retreat" to my son's XR100 because it was easy for her to manhandle. She rode it for about a year before she got back on the XR200, and now occasionally, our XR300. She rides moderately difficult single track, but has no desire to go fast.

So, don't rush her. I would really suggest taking her out on a much smaller bike at first, and let her tell you that she wants to move up to a bigger bike.

RH

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The most important that no one has mentioned is protection, if she is well protected she can/will take a few falls and not be afraid of the bike. Taking spills whether your a female or a man is going to happen during the learning process and 1 good one without good protection can chase ya away from the sport. I would have to say that the 400 for a newbie is probably a little much, would start with something a little smaller until she hits a comfort level.

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I've just found out a buddie of mine has an XR250 to loan. I think that'll be a whole lot more beginner-friendly for her. I also thought of a good place to try some easy trails. Thanks for all this input ladies, I'll post up her first trip's results and maybe some pics too. Cheers ~Mark

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A sweet bike for her to learn on and learn quickly, CRF 230. Air cooled, very light, decent power, electric start, good handling. From there, WR 250, KDX 200 is very friendly. 200 EXC when she's ready. :)

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