Should Riders Date Riders?

Words Jon Harris and Cam McRae
Date Mar 25, 2015

Be careful what you wish for. A lot of single riders think hooking up with a mountain biker would be a dream. But is it all romantic rides in the sunset and two-wheeled bliss? Certainly there are upsides, but there are just as many reasons why dating a ‘civilian’ makes sense as well.

When I mentioned to a friend that I was considering getting my girlfriend a mountain bike he blurted out “Why?” For the sake of this article let’s call my friend Trevor. Coincidentally my girlfriend (now fiancé) was standing next to me at the time. Let’s Call Him Trevor had no qualms about unleashing this opinion to her face.

Let’s be frank. If you are reading this you aren’t a casual rider. We know you’ve got a problem. Let’s call it an addiction shall we? Is it better to have two addicts in the same house? Is a hard core user compatible with someone more recreational? These questions should not be taken lightly.

So before you cancel your Tinder account and start ring shopping, have a look at this comprehensive list.

Note – this list is meant to apply to riders of all genders. Even so you’ll have to adjust our findings to suit your particular circumstances. We can only do so much from our North Shore headquarters.

Matt Dennison covered the downsides of dating a rider for non-riders – but what about us?

  1. Pro – selling a mountain biking vacation will work if your significant other is a rider. Your riding trip to the Alps will die on the vine if your chosen one is all about getting honey bronzed on the beach, and avoiding those funny tan lines.
  2. Con – you won’t be going away with your riding buddies without your one true love if he or she wants to come too.
  3. Pro – you get to spend more time together.
  4. Con – you have to spend more time together.
  5. Pro – you’ll get some understanding when you get home late after riding.
  6. Con – you may have to get take-out if your SO is out late riding with their friends too.
  7. Pro – it will be easier to justify buying new gear for your bike.
  8. Con – you’ll need to buy and maintain more bikes – and store them.
  9. Pro – you may be able to pass on your old parts to your SO’s bike.
  10. Con – you may get busted pawning off blown out gear on your sweetheart.
  11. Con – you’ll be competing for the family budget when your lust for those new carbon wheels becomes overpowering. You may need to spring for two sets of aluminum hoops instead.
  12. Pro – your life mate is going to be fit.
  13. Con – he or she will often be injured.
  14. Con – your life mate might kick your ass on the climb.
  15. Pro – those incredible riding experiences will be made sweeter by your sweetie.
  16. Con – if your bed-mate is having a crappy ride he or she may make sure yours is equally poopie.
  17. Con – if the two of you get lost – you’ll get the blame… and the cold shoulder in bed later.
  18. Pro – sharing your passion with your SO and see them understand more about why you want to ride your bike all the time.
  19. Pro – teaching your SO to ride is an opportunity to learn more about their psyche.
  20. Con – You will gain profound insight into your love’s psyche.
  21. Cons – You may have to wait on the trail and take in the scenery if your SO is slower than you.
  22. Pro – you will gain a better sense of the scenery that you are riding in as you wait for you SO to catch you while they are learning the ropes.
  23. Con – your SO may want to join your ride when you want to go for a buds’ ride.
  24. Pro – she may turn out to be really into spending a day in the Whistler bike park.
  25. Con – you may be all about enduro.
  26. Con – when you get a flat you may reach into your pack and find your tube has been pilfered.
  27. Pro – your repertoire of rides will grow as you search out routes that suit your varied skill levels.
  28. Con – joining a Crabapple train may be off the cards for a while.
  29. Pro – you will be able to practice your teaching skills and pass on your wealth of mountain biking knowledge.
  30. Con – your teaching skills may suck and your partner will hate you.
  31. Pro – what is better than doing something you love with the apple of your eye?

All of this is moot once you are smitten. Few of us are objective about our dearest one, but it makes sense to know what you are looking for, before you fall hard. The most challenging decision is whether or not to encourage your non-riding partner to drink the knobby Kool Aid. This is going to be a bumpy road and the odds are stacked against you. We’re not saying don’t try. If you think it’s best for your family unit give ‘er; but be aware that it won’t be easy.

Any more factors you’d like to add?


Trending on NSMB


John Utah  - Feb. 5, 2016, 9:42 p.m.

Ive been married 17 years now , when I met my wife i was an acid ww paddler and she was not. 5 years ago i got in riding and I love it although it has a steep learning curve. I always wanted to ride with but I would push her , that never works. Howver last spring SHE decided she wanted to do it. I bought her a nice used exprezo wuuu up in whistler and off we go. I convinced her to take endless biking course with her and some friends which worked out well although none of friends looks at their bikes now. I am also the mechanic <iwalways build my own bikes up and have a machine shop at home too. Ahat the gejunkie and mec membership since 1987 you get the picture..
I love riding by myself and with my friends. But now I get to ride with my wife and best friend =simply awesome . She was even the one who suggested bringing a trail beer for us to share! We don't get to ride alot together due to my work schedule but I love my trailside PDA's. I have have always been "outdoorsy" canoe trips by the dozens , whitewater trips all over the BC and washington and back east etc never a complaint , just a "have a good time" and a kiss.
She grew up in Lillooet so is a little jaded in regards to the outdoors.
Bottom line is life is too short not to share the things in life you love if you can, I would want it any other way:)


Tara O'Reilly  - June 11, 2015, 7:20 a.m.

Dating a MTN biker is a baseline criteria for me—it's away of life. The trick is that each individual needs their own riding buddies.

I want him to go rip with his friends! I also want to experience riding together (connecting) every week or, a few trails together before he spends the rest of the day with his blazing-fast buddies.

But once people start living too much in their fear-based ego, getting stuck in a selfish mind—the relationship crumbles.


Mick  - June 10, 2015, 2:36 p.m.

Married my riding buddy 8yrs ago and we both still ride. We've got two little kids who are now starting their little grom adventures. It won't be long until we start chasing them down the mountain, but not just yet 🙂


ashroadadam1 .  - April 4, 2015, 1:53 p.m.

Wait up wait up, why won't you ride with meeeeeee?
Oh no, don't worry, it's okay, just ride with your friends, don't worry about me.

Wait, come back, ride with meeeeeeee!
Oh, don't worry baby, just go have fun, I don't want to slow you down.



materials-guy  - March 27, 2015, 8:56 a.m.

Item # 10. How come I get your "hand-me-downs" after I gave her one of my King wheel sets.
Item # 13. She does not think twice of leaving me at home and going for a ride with our friends while I sit at home healing a broke clavicle. Then rub it in on how good of a ride she had in Squamish.
Item # 14. I do not try to keep up with her on the climbs due to the fact that I don't need an aneursym.
Item # 15. Summer road trips riding in varied areas is a big plus with my wife.

New # 32. Con - The hubby mechanic. Wife - My bike does not feel right, and it has a squeek, can you fix it. Hubby - What is wrong, why does it not feel right? Where is the squeek coming from? Wifes answer - I don't know, but you need to fix it for my next ride.


John Fox  - March 26, 2015, 1:38 p.m.

Those are a pretty good list of pro's and con's. I married a rider, and though some of that is true a lot is not. My SO knows when its a buddy ride, and doesn't want to come because she is just not that agro, and hates to climb, so no shuttle or reasonable climb, she no go. She loves her bikes and looks cross at me when I say something about her upgrading. I on the other hand am free to upgrade as long as it comes out of my personal budget, and she is happy with my downgrades. This doesn't mean I am not waiting taking in the view from time to time, and I sometimes have to tailor rides to not be too long or arduous for her enjoyment, but the vacations are awesome! As long as she gets a day or two to shuttle, or a bike park, and a few other good rides in, the rest of the time I am able to put the hurt in on myself the rest of the time. Try it you may find you like it. Just saying.


Kristian Skjødt  - March 26, 2015, 12:49 p.m.

Pro: You get your ass kicked on the down hills by your significant other
Pro: Your significant other kicks all of your mates asses on the downhills!
Con: Your significant other steals your riding buddies


Amanda  - March 25, 2015, 7:58 p.m.

Unfortunately, I can't find a guy I can tolerate who also happens to ride well enough that his ego isn't bruised when I'm not the 'little lady on a bike'… As is often the case, I also catch a lot of shit from potential mates by 'being gone too much' or seeming 'more interested in other stuff'.

So no, a partner who rides (or wants to ride) isn't a good thing. It means they feel left out when you don't invite them along, but bitch about how much time you spend at the trailhead post-ride, and they yell about the majority of your riding partners being male and… Ugh. I've just reminded myself of why I'm still single. Thanks, NSMB!


Nat Brown  - March 26, 2015, 8:48 p.m.

Hang in there, and easy on the blanket statements. You might just count the possibility out thinking like that. Doesn't sound to me like a too much of a long shot to combine those things. Well, relative to it always being a long shot…

My wife is a better rider than me, and absolutely kicks my ass in snow sports and I never feel jealous or bad for myself because I can't do things that she can. On the flipside though, I do annoy the crap out of her daily 😉


Amanda  - March 29, 2015, 8:13 p.m.

You're right, and blanket statements are for jaded people. 😉 I love that you and your wife have that mutual respect -- that's just so cool.


BillyT  - March 29, 2015, 7:17 p.m.

@disqus_tfypbLK26X:disqus - Any chance that the blame lies within yourself? You seem damn annoying on the internet… I can only imagine what real life must be like.


Amanda  - March 29, 2015, 8:12 p.m.

Ha ha ha ha aha ha! Thank you, sir… For giving me a laugh and, once again, reminding me why I'm single. Maybe I am damn annoying 'in real life', señor anonymous, but you know what? That's okay. It's easy for the insecure and the uninitiated to see 'fucking awesome' as 'damn annoying' -- I get it. The Internet kind of IS real life (at least for those of us not cowardly enough to hide behind pseudonyms and blank profile photos), and I'm still pretty goddamn rad. 😉 But thanks for the giggle.


Kurtz  - June 10, 2015, 2:14 p.m.

A great deal of my women friends are well matched w/ their rider SO's / Partners. A few are single, but not that many (many more of my men friends are single / pining for women rider Partners than single women riders for men, reflective of the current demographics).

The competitiveness is a moot point for most of these couples that have settled into Partner status (besides the occassional breakaway, of course). They each realize and celebrate the others' strengths, and have a large enough friend base to plan separate (but not lonely) other rides if particular speed / skill level differences may complicate a couples' ride. Even then, they find the time to ride together either casual / exploring or riding bikes that will level the field more (ie, road riding for fun if one is more of a stronger mtb rider and the other a better cross racer).

Of course, this is SF Bay Area, where most serious women riders are widely acknowledged by their men rider peers for their badassery (vs. protecting their tender man-egos asserting their testosterone). Most of the men, at least (idiots do pop up everywhere on this planet, unfortunately).

I do have one woman rider friend, though, who did voice your concerns commented. Any time a guy would talk about their trail / cross / road experiences, she was consistent with making a point about her own prowess on those same rides. To excess some times, and it seemed to stem from hypercompetitiveness vs. men (conversely she was very outwardly supportive / never vocally competitive with her fellow women riders). For at least a couple years, she was single, and defaulted to men riders intimidation (expressed in bruised man-ego quotes similar to yours) at her own badassery as the #1 reason she hadn't found a partner that rides.

Over the past year, she's settled in with a partner who rides hundreds of miles / mo, but at his own casual speed. Not a racer, nothing to prove on his part, but someone who loves multi-displine riding as much as she. Nowadays she doesn't ever mention her riding ability (despite their shared amazing bike adventures), more relishing in being outdoors w/ someone she loves. And the happiness seems quite mutual. She still shreds it, but doesn't seem to be concerned with reiterating her shred-dom anytime a man talks about his ride in front of her. She's happy to talk about her own solo, women-only, group, and partner rides with the enthusiasm / lack of ego. And, of course, she's a ball of anger with the fury of a thousand suns for any idiot dude that talks trash on women riders, both online and in person.

She, like my other women friends w/ men rider partners, appear to have found a way to happiness that addresses your last paragraph: non-competitive partners / variety of riding disciplines to address strengths & rooms for improvement when riding w/ SO's / variety of riding partners so they're not pigeonholed w/ just their SO's.

Of course, these are just observations. And as so, I'm sure there are many mitigating circumstances of which I'm not aware that may lurk beneath the happy sheen of these partnerships. Grain of salt, etc.

Best wishes in your happiness, in riding and life, whether it be solo, or with an eventual partner.


BikeSkateSki  - June 11, 2015, 7:15 p.m.

Yeah, I surely hear about the majority of my riding buddies being male. My husband knew that when he met me, maybe even thought it was cool that I mountain bike, ski the trees, etc. The guys are mostly married, with kids, and surely not interested in me (I'm older than most, too!).

I wish more women would ride, just can't find them and keep them riding with our group!


James Becker  - Aug. 29, 2016, 10:41 a.m.

I've always wondered about this. I know that mtb started out as a male dominated sport. But as of recently women have really gotten into it. I think for males, if your ego gets bruised because your GF/SO/Female can shred harder than you, you need a reality check. Maybe you need to put in more effort to get better? Maybe you need your So to push you harder! It totally mystifies me when I see males getting all up in arms about females being better riders. Its just a plain fucking fact of life that there will ALWAYS be someone better than you.

Me personally, I've always found it pretty rad when I see women crush features I havent hit, or even just ride stuff that they don't normal ride. Overall I view it as a learning experience for everyone. And people need to get off their high horse jerkface waggon and get pumped and excited for the female riders out there, because in the end, the males with egos are only limiting themselves.

And in regards to finding males that are on the other end of the spectrum, as in super nice, dedicated and all for helping each other improve. If you can't find them in the mtb community, you won't find em anywhere else!

Alrighty /Rant!!


Sass  - March 25, 2015, 5:35 p.m.

I've been riding all my life. My husband only started a few years ago. It's been fun being the fastest downhill for a change, although he kicks my ass at pedalling. I'll hit up the jumps and he gets excited for me when I nail something I've been working on. We ride together, and separately with or without other riding buddies depending on our schedule. He does all the mechanical work, which is good because I am notoriously lazy. We rarely have a bad time when biking is involved. It's all the other stupid stuff we fight over, like him not hearing me properly from the other room or me not paying attention at all when he's trying to patiently explain some bike mechanism to me.


OldManBike  - March 25, 2015, 4:21 p.m.

Kudos for the non-sexist & non-heterosexist language. NSMB a step ahead of the prevailing meathead mtb media again.


David Mills  - March 25, 2015, 3:28 p.m.

N+1 becomes N+2, as the question goes from "Did you get a new bike?" to "Where's mine? Make it powder blue." That's also why when we renovated the house, we put in a gear room, workshop, and space for 10 bikes.

Pete Roggeman  - March 25, 2015, 9:07 p.m.

Let's see some pics of your workshop and bikes!

BTW, I love powder blue bikes…


David Mills  - March 26, 2015, 8:35 a.m.

Here you go. Not all of our bikes are present. My wife rides to work, the Inbred awaits outside, and the Fatty is in the garage for the time being. The trike is a project for a friend. I'm not a tidy guy by nature, but the bins in the workbench make me less likely to lose things.


Mammal  - March 25, 2015, 12:56 p.m.

I found my GF, then taught her to mtb 6 years later. She's been at it for 2 years now, completely understands that I need my solo time, time riding with buds, as well as our BF/GF rides. All about the balance. And yes, bike-cations are now always the best holiday option in my household.

The one thing that rings true is the "double the bikes to find space for". I think the key is finding your mate for reasons other than mountain biking, then take it from there.


Henry Chinaski  - March 25, 2015, 10:09 a.m.

My wife used to ride with me 10+ years ago and I’ve recently tried to pull her back into the fold. My issue is that I have a hungry 6 year old that wants to do laps on Bobsled and King of the Shore. I’ve told her that if she wants to see her oldest on trail, that she should do it now, as he’ll likely be hard to catch in 3 years or so. I’m basically envisioning a feeding program where my wife manages the beginning phase and I get them when they’re ready to pedal. Not nearly as sexy as it was in the late 90's - but that's life…


t.odd  - March 25, 2015, 9:59 a.m.

my special lady friend rides, and totally understands me needing to ride with the guys or go on guy trips, but we also ride lots together too, it's all about balance.


Cr4w  - March 25, 2015, 9:28 a.m.

I was dating a very athletic girl who decided to get into riding. Initially I thought it was a great idea. But it turned into a nightmare. There was always tension if I chose riding with my buddies over her. There was me having to become a defacto bike instructor. And then there was the removing of a key mechanism for me staying sane. Suddenly I was never free to go for a rip by myself at my own pace to clear my head.
Now I would rather date someone who's passionate about a few things of her own. It doesn't matter what they are as long as they exist.


TBone  - March 25, 2015, 9:22 a.m.

Darcy and Geoff's " A Couples Ride" was the defining moment that I (and about 3 buddies) decided that getting our wives mountain bikes was a BAD idea.


Squamish  - March 26, 2015, 9:45 a.m.

Trail side domestic is a real thing. I would more than a few Squamish divorces happened well out on the trails.


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