In my experience, it can sometimes be quite challenging to get someone on a bike if they haven’t ridden one in a couple of decades. Mostly you have to deal with all kinds of excuses, even if the weather conditions are perfect and their bike is ready to go. For them it might be too hot or too cold, the laundry needs to be done right away and the weather man said it was about to rain anyway.
Take my dad for instance. He’s been a sunday league footballer all his life, though you couldn’t tell it by his physique. Years of truck driving and those post-match beers have left his belly a bit rounder than it should be. The extra weight-carrying his body’s had to do has left its toll and now it seems he’s turning more and more away from football and looking for something else.
For a long time I’ve been trying to sit him on a bicycle, but as mentioned, there was always something else that needed doing. On top of it all, he also lives on quite a large hill and the first reply was always that there was no way he would be able to make the climb. Walking wasn’t much of an option either.
Then as I got the Diverge I had a decent, very rideable Felt QX70 hybrid waiting in reserve for just these kinds of occasions. Hybrids are perfect for people who are just starting out with cycling – they’re easy to use, comfortable and decently quick. They can also take whatever you give them, from smooth tarmac to dirt roads and field tracks. Because I live just under the same hill he does, that meant he could drive by and leave the car, go for a spin with me, and drive back up.
It took a bit of convincing and patience, but now with good weather and all, he admitted he’d been thinking about it as well. We’d actually done the same round trip before last autumn and you can see glimpses of the route in this post.
In the end it was a great ride. Slow and relaxed, no major obstacles along the way. When going out like this, you need to consider physical limitations of the least prepared person in the group – they’re the one suffering the most, and probably won’t come back again if you get them into hard times. Choose a scenic route, let them see what cycling is all about. Build up a general interest in the activity and just have a good time. Climbs, sprints and fancy bikes will come later.
So we took it leisurely. No busy main roads, no rushing ahead, in fact we were a lot like a pair of pensioners. I’ve been through these parts so many times that I barely give them a second thought, but having someone with you gives it a new perspective. Dad seemed to enjoy it a lot, and if we keep going like this he might even end up cycling full-time. While going through the Požeg natural park, a popular recreational area for the locals, we even met a swan family paddling across the lake. I thought it might make for some nice pictures, so here you have it. 🙂
So what about you? I’d love to hear your experiences about getting “non-cyclists” out on the road. I’d also greatly appreciate it if you followed the page for more similar content and dropped by some other time as well. 🙂
Until then, enjoy! 😉