How to coerce your loved one into becoming a cyclist

How to coerce your loved one into becoming a cyclist

Editor (Eric’s) note: Monica wrote the original version of this post over 3 years ago, and since then has become quite a cyclist herself, completing the challenge of riding all Zwift routes (among other things). With many couples stuck at home these days and looking for ways to stay active, we thought this would be a great post to re-share. Enjoy!


As the non-athletic spouse of a very devoted and disciplined cyclist, I’ve become the recipient of encouragement to also become a cyclist. I don’t use the term “encouragement” jokingly. My husband has truly been a champion when it comes to turning me into a regular spinner of the wheels. It’s probably been a tough battle for the poor guy, having to balance his desire to see me ride with not turning into an annoying nag, even when I’m being a baby-whiney-pants about it. He’s been awfully patient with me through it all and although I’ve not become as passionate as he, I do call myself a cyclist and enjoy a good ride fairly regularly.

If you have someone you’re trying to encourage to become a cyclist you may find these tips, taken from what Eric did for me, helpful…

#1: Be Patient

Another word for patience is “long-suffering.” Sounds fun, doesn’t it? But if you can ride 50 miles on that little seat, on those little wheels, in those tight clothes, in those weather conditions, you can probably hold your tongue more often when working to get someone on a bike. Dear Eric has long-suffered for two years now!

A text I’d get some mornings, after Eric took the time to put my bike on the trainer when he was done using it. It took away another excuse for me to not ride.

#2: Make it Easy

It’s near-impossible as a non-cyclist to look at a bike and be excited about riding it, especially when you know you won’t be anywhere near your cycling friends’ abilities. So when they first start, let them wear their baggy clothes over the best bib shorts you can find. And let them use platform pedals instead of clip-ins. And let them drive their truck with the bike in the back to the flattest, least-busy part of town to ride where they are comfortable. Anything that makes it difficult will just be another excuse for them to not ride. Let them start small without feeling the need to correct them.

#3: Help Them Gear Up

When they have the neighbor’s old bike that was headed to the dump and your least favorite riding shorts there won’t be much of a draw to ride. Borrow a bike that fits them, or buy a used one to begin with. Along with that, they need a bike fitting from the LBS and may need to work getting a proper seat dialed in. And for the love of all that is good and kind, get them a good pair of shorts!

#4: Be Excited for Them

When they do ride give them kudos on Strava, tell your other friends about it in front of them, tell them you’re happy, and ask them what they thought. Yes, you rode 50 miles at 5am, averaging 22 mph the same day they rode 6 miles at 10am, averaging 12 mph, but they aren’t you and they have to start somewhere.

#5: Get Them on Zwift

Don’t just tell them about Zwift, set it up for them. Help them with the trainer, the fan, the connections. Favorite them in Companion so you get an alert when they ride, and can easily give them a Ride On. And ask your friends to give them a Ride On too. Riding on Zwift takes away some of the pressures of cycling (like balance, wind, dogs, and cars) while they gain strength and confidence.

#6: Suggest Group Rides (but don’t expect them)

Group rides can be daunting. To ease them in you can start by riding with them, then eventually invite an extra friend or two along. Invite friends who will be courteous and realize this isn’t the time to take that KOM. Eventually they’ll be more excited about group rides, if they see how forgiving and kind cyclists really are.

You can also encourage them to do group rides on Zwift where they won’t feel bad if they are much slower than everyone else. Set up a small group Meetup ride on Zwift with people you both know and be sure to ride together at the pace they set.

#7: Help Them with Goals and Rewards

Setting specific cycling goals and being sure of future rewards are both good motivators. Any goal from riding 40 miles in a week to completing a 30-mile ride by the end of summer would be beneficial to them. And if they are on Strava they’ll have a way to easily track those goals.

Join them in meeting those goals, encouraging them along the way. (And consider not telling them what your goals are. If your goal is to ride 6 centuries by the end of the summer they may feel their goal is pathetic.)

#8: Optional – Add Extra Fluff

Once the person you’re trying to coerce into cycling shows real interest, consider adding some extra fluff. If that person is anything like me they need it to be as easy and as comfortable as possible. Get them the very best gloves, the coolest-looking helmet, the most badass jersey, the trainer rocking plate, the sassy socks, the blinking red light, the rearview mirror, the trip to Southern California near their best friend that also happens to have a 50-mile ride going on…


Nagging won’t get your loved one to ride, but lots of long-suffering on your part just might. And babying them. Because who doesn’t like to be babied? You’ve got this!

Me and my long-suffering husband!

What About You?

Got some tips we didn’t include? Share them below!

About The Author

Monica Schlange

Monica wears many hats but the two most important to her are: Mom of two teens, and Wife to Zwift Insider editor Eric. A casual cyclist, her resolve is stronger than her legs, which still gets her pretty far! She enjoys trying new things on Zwift that others find intimidating so she can write about the experience and inspire others to push themselves as well.

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Dave Hicks
Dave Hicks (@drhmm1)
10 months ago

Great article, thanks Monica!

hussein
hussein
10 months ago

thanks for your advices data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7

hussein
hussein
10 months ago
Reply to  hussein

sorry I’ve tried to insert thumb+ in my message and I can’t modify it to remove ugly codes

Derek
Derek
10 months ago

I would add #9: Accept that they may not want to ride as much as you. My wife likes to go on leisurely rides, and I love going with her. But if I tried to encourage her to ride on Zwift or on the streets, she would lose interest in riding completely.

Buddy The Elf
Buddy The Elf
10 months ago

Thank you Monica! I am living this right now and hoping to have my wife join in what I call “FUN”. All are great suggestions and am looking forward to suffering like Eric as we move closer to riding together. Ride On!

Danny
Danny
10 months ago

Love, love, love this! Great title, btw–hilarious! I’ve tried 90% of everything you’ve suggested. Going to go for the remaining 10% and we’ll see what happens.

Joe D.
Joe D.
10 months ago

Delightful article Monica, great tips. Coffee stops are always a lot of fun for us. My wife and I did our first 20+ miler today, and I am going to put some cool new tape on her bars in recognition

Marianne van TIenhoven
Marianne van TIenhoven
9 months ago

Good article! Most of the points you make are very relatable. I used to be that non-cycling spouse, who turned into a pretty real badass cyclist. And that did NOT happen overnight… whahaha These days I’m actually more driven to train/ride then my husband is… 😉

Joel
Joel
9 months ago

Some people only like outside and will never ever Zwift or ride a trainer…”because they find it dreadfully dull and expensive”

Others will only ride indoors on a trainer or spin bike…”because they hate dealing with cars that don’t want them on the road”

Everyone enjoys what they enjoy!

Thanks for your insights!

Mark
Mark
9 months ago

I gave up getting my previous spouse to ride regularly with me. When she dumped me I made it my life’s mission to not even date anyone who’s not a real cyclist. I hit the jackpot, my new GF not only bikes with me, riding on exactly the same Roubaix model (one size smaller than mine), we train and race Triathlons together, and, since November, we Zwift together! We both bought aluminum versions of our Roubaix’s for our Wahoo trainers in the past two weeks and we ride gravel bikes together IRW! A match made in heaven!!

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Olaf Dennison
Olaf Dennison (@olafhd)
9 months ago

That’s a well timed article. I’m trying hoping to get my wife a new bike, road type, and that she’ll come with me on nice short rides, or even onto Zwift. She’s convinced enough that I can buy the bike, just need to get her on it.

Den
Den
9 months ago

My wife was never enthusiastic about cycling where hills were involved.I bought her an ebike and now she loves it. Much nicer to share a ride.

Evan Robertson
Evan Robertson
9 months ago

Great post! Thanks for sharing. I’m in the long-suffering process myself right now. We got her her own Trainer/Zwift set up next to mine so I’m now trying to be satisfied with her riding once or twice a week… for now 🙂

David Kelly
David Kelly
9 months ago

I haven’t been able to make up my mind about which Smart Bike trainer to purchase. Meanwhile the Mrs.has new road shoes and bibs and is patiently waiting. I think I have finally decided to buy the Wahoo Kickr bike and they are out of stock. She is both excited and anxious about beginning her Zwift life.

Dave
Dave
9 months ago

Great piece. My wife sent me this article. We are early on the same path and found your story so sweet. Very kind public words from you about your husband. Cheers to you both. DS Austin TX

Jason
Jason (@jason-steinbrunn)
5 months ago

Love these tips from the experienced coerced view. Thank you. I’m taking each point to heart in hoping my wife falls in love with riding.

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