Originally published in Spoke + Blossom
Sam yells loudly from the bottom of the steep granite crux to Jessie at the top. Jessie is stressing about riding the granite slab and Sam continues to pepper them with (likely unsolicited) riding advice. As you pedal by, you connect the dots and realize you’re witnessing an awkward moment on the quintessential date ride. You secretly hope Katie Burrell is recording nearby so you can watch the ending later.
We’ve all witnessed a similar trail scene or maybe even starred in the scene. Whether you're ten days or ten years into a relationship, a standing date ride is a fabulous way to spend quality time together. If you and your partner have varying skills or riding speeds, below are a few ideas to help set both of you up a fun experience.
Photo Credit: Jenn Minery
Après Ride Maple Cremees at Kingdom Trails, VT
Before You Go
Carve out time to brainstorm trail options together. Consider length, vertical and difficulty. Let the less experienced rider choose, creating a more level starting ground.
Clear is kind. Articulate your specific needs and expectations.
Who leads the ride? Do you take turns? I’m an advocate for switching to shift your perspectives.
What does support look and sound like? Especially on challenging sections? Would you prefer your partner cheer, hide, spot you, ride ahead, or keep quiet
Decide on your après-ride plan. Are you heading to your local gathering spot, ordering take out or heating up leftovers?
Photo Credit: Corey Kopischke
Scoping Slab Lines Mid-Ride on Cream Puff, Pemberton, BC
On the Ride
Shift your mindset from “me” to “we” and remember it’s about spending time with the other person, not Strava or training.
Take a break to be present and soak in nature. Perhaps snap an “us”-ie (not a selfie) to capture the memory.
Celebrate accomplishments together.
Leave your coaching at home. If you think your partner might enjoy some professional coaching, encourage them (at another time) to take a skills clinic.
Be mindful with the words you choose. If you’re the more experienced partner, your comments may unintentionally make them feel less than awesome.
Photo Credit: Erin Minnerath
Hartman Rocks, Gunnison, CO
Pro Tips: What not to say to your partner (unless initiating a breakup):
“Why are you so slow today?”
“This section is so easy. Just do it.”
“You’ve ridden this trail dozens of times, why can’t you clean this section yet?”
“Do you need to watch me ride it a fourth time?”
Share a little gratitude such as: “That was fun. Thanks for making time for us to ride together.”
Execute the après-ride plan and get your next date ride on the books!
Be mindful that these suggestions are based on my own experience and observations. Each person, partner and rider is unique so take only what serves you both. Here’s to kicking off the riding season with more stoke, trail joy and less-awkward date rides.
Have any Fun Date Ride Photos?
1. Share this blog post with your fun photo (include trail name and/or ride location)