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Partner Doesn’t Think I’m Skilled Enough

Dear Lynda,

I want to join a group of friends traveling the Nevada BDR this summer, but my partner doesn’t think I’m skilled enough. I think it would be fun, but now I’m worried something will go wrong and she’ll say ‘I told you so.’


Dear Louisa,

What a fun proposal to ride one of the Backcountry Discovery Routes with a group of friends. Of course you want to go! But before deciding if it’s right for you, let’s break your question into two parts: do you possess the skills to take off on this adventure, and how to handle a partner who isn’t supportive of your ambitions.

Luckily there’s a fair amount of information out there on blogs and videos to give potential riders a good taste of what to expect before they head out. This can be the start of determining if your skills match what will be asked of you. Evaluate your comfort riding off-road in a variety of settings. Have you taken classes or been riding in the type of terrain you will be encountering? Next, assess your bike to insure it’s a good match for this particular trip. Finally, make sure you’re willing to make some mistakes in order to learn and improve as a rider.

Determine if the group is at a similar level and are their expectations reasonable for your experience. Will they be supportive if you hit a rough patch or leave you, literally, in the dirt? Group rides can be challenging enough on-road; you don’t want to be discovering you aren’t compatible with people you are stuck with miles from an easy way out. Things will inevitably go wrong when riding long miles on differing types of terrain, but that doesn’t mean things will be catastrophic. Is your group prepared to make minor repairs to dinged up bikes and patch the scrapes and scratches that will later contribute to the great stories of your epic trip?

Your partner’s concerns may be valid if you are attempting to tackle something for which you really are ill prepared. If that’s the case, the two of you should address the need for additional training rather than getting talked into giving up your dream. If timing is an issue and getting into a class is a problem, can you sign up for individual time with an off-road expert and build both your, and your partner’s, confidence in your skills? If not, are you willing to postpone this trip and perhaps plan one for the following year when you feel both more competent and more confident?

But if, after considering all the above angles you’re ready and able to take this trip, and she’s still resistant to you going, there may be an issue not being addressed with your partner. How does she feel about you going off alone with friends, or this group in particular? Is it common for her to need reassurance that nothing will go wrong when in fact things in life do go wrong? Ask yourself if you look to her for approval when you’re unsure of your capabilities or for her to calm your anxieties when you’re afraid you might fail. Do you sense she needs to be right when you make mistakes, and do your goofs typically get thrown in your face with the ‘I told you so?’ If these, or others in a similar vein, are the real issue, couples counseling may be more valuable than more motorcycle classes.

So break it down, figure out what needs to be done, and then take the steps needed to get you on those back roads, whether this year or next!


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1 comment

Shabnam Akram 2018 November 2 at 2:26 AM

Most riding is the guts between your ears. Be ready to learn and if you believe you can do it, you will be able to do it. Just make sure your bike is upto the challenge. The biggest and strongest are not always the best for a specific ride.
Lynda is right in saying that there ciuld be other issues at play with your partner.


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