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Significant others and riding...(23 posts)

Significant others and riding...pnitefly
Nov 17, 2002 10:50 PM
I have seen a lot of posts recently about supportive/unsupportive S.O.'s. Let me tell you my story...
I got bit by the riding bug early in my marriage. I needed some form of exercise so I decided I would get a "mountain bike" to ride around the streets of suburbia. That's what mountain bikes are for, right? My wife and I trudged down to Scheels. I finally settled on a $400 Schwinn Mesa. When she heard the price, I thought she would flip out and go on the textbook "at Wal Mart they have bikes that are cheaper...etc" We've all heard that! She didn't have a problem with it, just smiled and said "Okay dear". Great! All is well in is ridden every day on paved singletrack (sidewalk). One day I overheard some guys at work talking about mountain biking. "Oh! you can ride the bike on trails? Let's go!" After 2 lung busting, filling rattling, white knuckle and dirt eating hours. I knew three things: 1. I would never look at a bike the same way again and 2. Cycling (not "riding a bike") was a close second to sex and 3. I had the wrong bike. This time (less than a month after the first bike) wife and I go to LBS and I go all out. $2200 for a Specialized FSR. Just waiting for her to go off the deep end. Other than being strangely quiet...nothing! Homefree! At this point I am riding 4-5 days a week at 2-3 hours a pop and loving every minute of it. Wife is kind of up and down about the riding. She knows I am not pleasant when I've got the riding Jones but sometimes she needs "quality time". However, my wife is right there for my first race. Packed all the food. Stayed for 16 hours total helping me (it was a 12 hour race) and was 6 mos. pregnant! In order to train better for my mountain events, I bought a road bike. Now, the "Road Epic" enters the picture and $3000 leaves it. Wife doesn't really have any hobbies so my share of play money seems disproportionate to hers. Also, Jr. is now in the picture and babies need formula not Dura-Ace. At this point, I am a full fledged cycling addict. I practically need a shot glass of pedro's ice wax to get out of bed in the morning! I ride all winter snow or shine. Road and mountain. I take road trips all over the state to scope out new riding spots. When summer hits the riding is even more frequent. My bikes and I are like host and parasite, locked in some kind of bizarre symbiosis. Finally, one day my wife wants to have a "talk"...

Now, you are probably reading this saying "uh oh, I know where this is going..." From day one I made it a point to use some serious diplomacy and compromise for my riding. Sometimes I would have to be out the door by 5am to get a 4 hour ride in. Sometimes Jr. and I would go out together with the Burley to give mom a break. At home I wrote poems, told jokes, ran bath water, gave massages, brought her lunch at work, bought jewelry, cooked dinner, hired sitters ON MY OWN INITIATIVE so we could have romantic nights out and of course even cut many rides short even though I had the legs of Indurain that day. And when I did go all out, I never came home and just crashed on the couch (even though I had to pin my eyes open to stay awake sometimes)I turned down rides during sunny days to ride in evening thunderstorms. And let's not forget all the rides and events I didn't do because I got "bad vibes" about bringing them up. All these sacrifices I've made and she wants to "talk" to me???

The next thing she said completely floored me. She pulled out a stack of bike brochures and said "I think I want the R900...and in pink." I cannot accurately explain how I felt at that point. It was one of those moments when you fall in love with your S.O. all over again. You just realize how fortunate you are to be with such a complex and beautiful person. Suddenly I just had a flood of emotions; I realized that all the wonderful experiences I had on my bike couldn't have been possible without her support. I realized that the little things I did to compensate for my riding
Nov 17, 2002 10:55 PM
The next thing she said completely floored me. She pulled out a stack of bike brochures and said "I think I want the R900...and in pink." I cannot accurately explain how I felt at that point. It was one of those moments when you fall in love with your S.O. all over again. You just realize how fortunate you are to be with such a complex and beautiful person. Suddenly I just had a flood of emotions; I realized that all the wonderful experiences I had on my bike couldn't have been possible without her support. I realized that the little things I did to compensate for my riding obsession were noticed and appreciated. I realized that even though I had plenty of riding partners, my wife would still be the ultimate. Especially from a woman who thought a bike was only good for delivering newspapers.

Okay, I won't get too sappy on you. I guess it's all about compromise. However, now that my wife rides, we will go out together. Talk about a win-win situation. I get to ride my bike and do the quality time thing. She's no slouch either! We're both in our 20's and after a year she's thinking about racing (she's got legs). I guess the message in this convoluted story is that I loved her enough to quit riding altogether, but she loved me enough to never make that an issue. We just compromised...

Any good or bad tales from fellow riders???
Great story!js5280
Nov 18, 2002 8:20 AM
It's good that only she rides with you, but that she now has a hobby which she sounds passionate about as you. Everyone should have a one, especially in a relationship. I think that is why SO's sometimes resent another, they have to compete for attention vs. taking that time and exploring their own interests. Great story and you have a nice flare for writing too. Thanks for sharing!
Great Writing!!!GeoCyclist
Nov 18, 2002 12:27 AM
Sounds very similar to my cycling adventure. Only difference was my wife and I got a Tandem. Now we go on cycling tours.
Nov 18, 2002 1:45 AM
Man you got the gift of gab. That mirrors my own psuedo-domestic experience--my girly had three things ready for me at the top of Grandfather Mountain upon completion of the Bridge to Bridge century (and change) : a cold beer and pretzels, a clean, warm change of clothes, and a demand for a caad5 49 cm aero frame stars and stripes ultegra gruppo bike for herself. I was, uh, shocked. Next year, baby.
Same here except a Trek WSDBNA_roadie
Nov 18, 2002 2:51 AM
It lasted 2 weeks.................she hated it. Everthing about cycling, traffic, shifting, clipless pedals, the form fit clothing, bumps in the road, etc, etc. I'm kinda glad, it gets me away from her madness. LOL.
My wife is my riding partner.....gogene
Nov 18, 2002 8:25 AM
Earlier this year I built her a Calfee so she could ride an event that covered 200 miles and 3 tough mountain passes in 3 days. She's a tough broad, but I am faster than she is. So last week I bought 'her' a tandem. We're itchin' to go!
You are going to have a great time!GeoCyclist
Nov 18, 2002 3:30 PM
My wife and I have been riding a tandem for the last three years. It has been a great experience for the both of us. Yeh, we go slow up hill, but just try to catch us on the downhill or flat! The speeds you can reach on a tandem are really remarkable. If you are riding in the mountains, I hope that you have a hub or disc brake. Be careful using your rim brakes as a drag brake on long steep hills; as it will over heat and blowout your tires!!! I didn't think down hill speed would be a problem (road bike motto - "Speed is our friend"). The first time we hit 70 (MPH not KPH) on a steep descent I had a change of philosophy!

Enjoy, be safe, and take turns up front if possible!
my gf...Frith
Nov 18, 2002 8:35 AM
will never get into cycling on anything even aproaching a serious level, even though she's pretty athletic. It just isn't her thing. That said she's completely supportive of my hobby/addiction and loves to come on rides with me. Her favourite part is when i get sick of going slow and push her along with my free hand. good workout for me... fun for her. Once in a while to show my appreciation i go and play beach vollyball with her :(
re: Significant others and riding...netso
Nov 18, 2002 8:48 AM
My wife rides with me. We support each other. This is our main hobby, recreation and exercise. I am really pleased she likes to ride!!! She rides an r2000si.
You're lucky. My wife wants a Colnago for her first bike!Tig
Nov 18, 2002 8:53 AM
At least she likes the lower end "Chic" model. It will have to wait until we can free up some $$. I tried to convince her the Bianchi Milano cruiser would be cool (and I could borrow it!), but she wants the serious road gear instead. This will be fun!

Thanks for the story. You did good with her.
That's so special.....I've got a better wayGrabnmcbutt
Nov 18, 2002 9:01 AM
I found the best way is to develope a slush fund of sorts. Work expense account, gas money, ect there are lots of ways to build up a slush fund. Then begin slowly building up your stable of bikes, always finding them online almost new at incredible prices ;) See the objective is to build up your stable of bikes to the point that the spouse loosed count. Road bike first, then add in the MTB, start with a hardtail then maybe a FS. My fourth bike was a Tandem, then cyclo cross, then classic/retro road bike Bingo when you get to this point the real fun begins. Swap that old steel kona for a litespeed, or maybe that Specialized for a Colnago. Keep her in doubt. After a bit she will never even notice the change in bikes occurs. It really works and it is much more fun than having to buy her a new bike and drag her along...
Mine is similarly supportive but ...Humma Hah
Nov 18, 2002 9:10 AM
... I've not been inclined to push my luck on price. I don't know what she'd do if I declared I wanted a $3000 bike. She had reservations over the $360 powdercoat job for the cruiser, and the $450 for the vintage Paramount frame. But she's seen how fit the bikes have made me, and I know she realizes that's a bargain.

I've gotten her out rides up to about 20 miles. Last Christmas day, we rode from Colonial Williamsburg to Jamestown and back, then I continued on to Yorktown and back.

Her old bike is a '78 Higgins lady's 3-speed. She's perfectly happy with it. I've been trying to get her to try out a tandem.

One thing I think she appreciates is that I've had that old cruiser for 31 years, ten years longer than we've been married, and she knows I tend to get really attached to things I'm comfortable with. She know's she's one of 'em.
Williamsburg bike rideFez
Nov 18, 2002 10:00 AM
Did you ride on the Colonial Parkway? I can't remember if they allowed bikes on that road, but I remember it was a little rough. A little rough for a roadbike and 700x23s? I don't have access to a cruiser.
A little rough ...Humma Hah
Nov 18, 2002 11:43 AM
... yeah, I think that concrete pavement on the Colonial Parkway has been weathering for about 50 years. Its like riding over toe-sized cobblestones. It wasn't especially pleasant on my balloon-tired cruiser, she was on my balloon-tired MTB for that ride. Her 1 1/4"-tired 3-speed would have been worse. On a roadbike with 25mm or thinner tires at 120+ psi, it would be positively BRUTAL.
A little rough ...BikeViking
Nov 18, 2002 1:51 PM
I did all 26 miles of it (13 miles out and back) on 23mm tires and it was a little tooth-rattling. Even the OCLV didn't do much to smooth out that stuff!!

On the flip side, asphalt felt like BUTTAH on the ride home!! :o)

I guess that "Rough" is a personal thing...Gregory Taylor
Nov 18, 2002 2:20 PM
I really didn't notice the Colonial Parkway being that rough. Hmmm. I guess that my kiester is calibrated differently.
A MTBer would probably consider it smooth ...Humma Hah
Nov 18, 2002 2:37 PM
... more than the bumps, I really noticed how draggy the surface felt. Kinda like running flat tires. Great exercise, though.

The bumps are not huge. Its just that the cement has eroded away from the agregate, toe-sized smooth river rocks. In some spots, its about like riding on a trail composed of such rocks set in hard dirt. Getting out on smooth asphalt after the ride, I felt like I'd suddenly unhitched a Burley.
I guess that I am terribly sensitive.djg
Nov 18, 2002 3:42 PM
It's to do with my upbringing.

If I'm thinking of the right road, we did a stretch of it during this year's DC AIDS ride and it seemed pretty rough to me. On the other hand, it was a nice stretch in other respects and its not as if the roughness was a terrible problem--just not the surface I'd want mile-after-mile, for regular daily rides. The chatter was pretty pronounced--either we're thinking of different roads or you would have noticed (noticed and forgotten?) that this isn't the usual road surface.
Don't worry about's really nice.Gregory Taylor
Nov 18, 2002 12:53 PM
The Colonial Parkway is great. Don't worry about it being rough...I was there a couple of years ago, and did the stretch between Yorktown and the 'Burg at the end of a century. A couple of us decided to rock just as fast as we could, and basically did a team time trial. Oh, I was on my Cannondale CAAD3 with the tires pumped WAY the heck up there...
ab fab sstory and she's a keeperj-son
Nov 18, 2002 12:03 PM
My wife surprised me with a similar request ... but she wanted a Steelman in powder blue.

When my wife and I started dating, I had already been a serious rider for a long time. She hadn't ridden a bike since she was a kid. As our relationship got more serious, she decided to try riding so we got her a GT mountain bike.

We rode together pretty regularly and eventually ended up with a Diamondback road bike to complement her GT. We continued riding, eventually working our way up to centuries. She was maturing into quite a strong rider.

Well, we get married and she decides to go to veterinary school (more difficult than medical school, and more selective to get into; her class moto: Real doctors work on more than one species).

In vet school, riding is no longer a priority. Her first year, she rides just a handfull of times. Second year, even less. I continue to ride, unfortunately without her.

At the end of her second year (May '02), she approaches me one evening with a proposition. She says that she's is sick of being out of shape and overweight (she put on about 20 pounds sincec starting school). She wants a new bike to replace her aged DB, and she has fallen in love with a powder blue Steelman (I ride a Steelman Manzanita mtb).

We call up Brent, and place our order for a 48 cm Steelman with Ultegra. After much gnashing of teeth, it finally arrives. And once again we're a cycling couple. She even bought us a Kurt Kinetic to ride through the winter (which I will probably be riding a lot with my injured shoulder).

Sharing cycling with your SO is sublime. I don't always ride as far or as fast when I'm out with my wife, but I always have a fantastic ride. And I think it's made us bloser and strengthened our marriage.

re: Significant others and riding...aliensporebomb
Nov 18, 2002 1:10 PM
It was my wife's idea - it's her fault.

You see, I used to ride a lot. My cousin was a die hard
racer all thru his teen years and into his twenties and
was buff and fit.

While I wasn't a racer, I'd do 40 mile jaunts on my old
Schwinn Traveller and enjoy it. I was as fit as I ever
was likely to be in those days. I even kept it up until
I was 27 or so and then got my drivers license finally
and got a sedentary desk job and grew fat. For eight

Finally, one day after some family tragedies occurred and
my wife was getting concerned for my health she and I are
out driving and she surreptitiously pulls over to a bike
shop's tent sale and sneakily buys me a mountain bike.

I rode that thing with a vengeance. And it lead to a
road bike, a commuter bike and a lot of clothing and gear,
shoes, gloves - the works.

We'd bought her a Schwinn comfort bike but it was anything
but comfortable. First year she made it 4 miles, next
year she made it to 7.5 but no more. Next year it pretty
much just sat in the basement in showroom condition with
the little rubber hairs sticking out from the tires.

This year she was getting concerned about her own fitness
and I suggested a recumbent merely for the comfort factor.
She took to it like a duck to water. 400 miles later she's
upset that the season has pretty much ended. Now it's
her turn to deal with helmets, gloves, shoes, clothes, etc.

She now understands my feelings when the weather stinks or
is too cold to ride.

So, I put her trainer together this past week but she's got
the flu so I'm feeding her soup and letting her get her rest.

She still reminisces about the rides from this past summer
too which is a good sign.

Aren't SO's great riding partners?! I think so. nmgogene
Nov 19, 2002 8:00 AM