Convincing Your Skeptical Partner

You’re ready to start rolling on a Family Bike, but your partner is skeptical. Perhaps s/he doesn’t bike at all, or does but isn’t feeling ready to also use a Family Bike. Disagreeing with your spouse/partner is probably nothing new (!), but we all want to try to find a way to be on the same page, especially when it comes to our kids.

So in that spirit, below is a list of common discussion points that arise between spouses/partners when it comes to Family Biking.

Concern #1: Can you really ride a bike?

If you haven’t ridden a bike in a long time, or have developed a reputation for lack of coordination, your partner or spouse may question your ability to add your children into the mix. Heck, you may, too! The reality is that everyone can ride a bike, from small children to octogenarians. If you’ve already learned, getting back on is … like riding a bike. You just may need a bit more practice. That’s why Vie spends a lot of time with you at our Bike Tasting Menu home delivery coaching you on how to handle the bike — on flats, turns, hills, cold starts, etc — before adding children to the mix. But if you feel like you need more practice, or want to make your partner feel more confident in your skills, try these strategies:

  • Practice solo riding on bike share or your own bike before trying a Family Bike. If you work downtown, take MUNI or BART part of the way and hop on bike share to get you the rest of the way. Or borrow a bike from a friend for a couple of weeks.
  • Sign up for a free adult bike education class through the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. They offer everything from learn to ride classes to urban street skill classes.

Concern #2: Is this safe?

This concern often has two underlying components. First, is biking safe? And second, can I trust you to ride safely with my children? Even when both partners have biked for years, one partner can have serious concerns about whether their partner is capable of riding in responsible way. It was annoying when you didn’t have kids. Now it’s a serious concern. If your partner doesn’t bike at all, or very little, they may have little information about the experience to judge its safety. So here are some useful statistics:

  • When factoring in the risks of chronic disease related to lack of physical activity, riding a bike for transportation is much safer than driving. – 2011 Netherlands university study.
  • Young men, ages 17-20, are five times more likely to be hurt or killed driving than biking. – 2012 UK study
  • A review of 23 studies on bicycling injuries found that bike facilities (e.g. off-road paths, on-road marked bike lanes, and on-road bike routes) are where bicyclists are safest. –Environmental Health Journal
  • Motor vehicle crashes for child car passengers are the number one cause of death for children age 1 to 19 around the globe. – Safe Kids
  • Cities with high bicycling rates tend to have lower crash rates for all road users. –Environmental Practice

If you’d like to feel more confident riding on the streets with your kids, we encourage everyone to make use of our Family Biking Routes map and suggested routes, which guide you to streets that Vie’s founders ride with our kids with confidence. Also keep in mind that riding with an electrically assisted bike gives most people more confidence, because it allows you to maneuver through traffic with more ease and gives you more options for routes.

If you have concerns about your spouse/partner’s traffic safety habits, be frank. It’s certainly better to talk about it calmly on the couch when the kids are asleep than scream at them for blowing through a red light when you’re out on the street with your children. Remind your partner that your children are constantly observing and learning from them.

Concern #3: Will we really be able to go many places by bike?

Yes! Want to visit the Bay Area Discovery Museum, MyGym, the Zoo, Land’s End, the Cable Car Museum, daycare, middle school, swim class, violin lesson? You can do it all by bike, easily. Check out our Family Biking Routes map and sample routes for ideas on how to get around. We’re constantly adding new routes.