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Cycling w/ Spouse, SO, Partner? Share your experiences(29 posts)

Cycling w/ Spouse, SO, Partner? Share your experiencesFez
Jan 3, 2003 7:11 AM
My wife has shown some interest in cycling.

Besides a tandem, any tips on how couples can enjoy cycling together?

I would imagine different skill and athletic levels may be the most common challenge for couples to ride together. Please share your ideas.
re: Cycling w/ Spouse, SO, Partner? Share your experiencesnetso
Jan 3, 2003 7:33 AM
I ride with my wife. This has improved how we get along immensely. Before she rode, she felt that I was using too much of my time cycling, not enough with her. This has changed since we started riding together. At first the athletic difference was great, now she rides with me and my son. This is and has been a great improvement in our lives.
It ain't easy being the less fit person (I should know).MB1
Jan 3, 2003 7:44 AM
So a few suggestions.

Let her set the distances and pace.

Don't force her to do things that come naturally to you that she is uncomfortable with (like drafting for instance).

Never, ever, never ever make "Constructive Suggestions" for her own good.

Find easy groups to ride with so she won't always be the weakest, least skilled rider. (One of the Potomac Pedaler short rides ought to be fine).
additional tipsWise
Jan 3, 2003 12:15 PM
MB1, this is a good strategy.

Although, make constructive suggestions if they ask... but never solicit them on your own.

and if you want to get them really into biking, make sure you invite someone else along whose ass your SO can kick. or ride with them on a mountain bike. Anything to even the odds will make it more fun for them.

Remember, if you drop them they will hate it, but they will love it if they drop you. But be careful not to let it seem like you let them win though ...

it can be tricky business
re: Cycling w/ Spouse, SO, Partner? Share your experiencesMike-Wisc
Jan 3, 2003 7:46 AM
Ride with her, not against her, it's not a competition. And don't get all technical with her or start counting her pedal cadence, at least not until she asks for advice in those areas. A gentle guidance on shifting and gearing might be helpfull and appreciated. Maybe start off on some trails or residential side roads with little traffic. If you want a training ride and she just wants to take a pedal around town, then go for your training ride first or last and do the riding with her at her pace. Keep it fun and light. I say this as I think of how I'll approach riding with my wife once the season and weather become more friendly.
I agree, ride at her pace and do training on your ownUprwstsdr
Jan 3, 2003 7:54 AM
I ride often with my wife, both road and mountain. If I plan on it being a training ride I will only end up frustrated and she will end up upset with me. Go at her pace, and enjoy the time spent together, we have had many fun times together on our bikes, as long as I have managed my expectations. In general, if we are going to ride together, I go off earlier for a ride on my own for about an hour at my pace, then I come back and then we ride together.
re: Cycling w/ Spouse, SO, Partner? Share your experiencesMXL02
Jan 3, 2003 8:05 AM
I know you said "besides a tandem", but I have to say that there is no way I could have gotten my wife to ride with me without a tandem...it is IMHO the absolute best way for two people of differing abilities to ride together. We love it!
What we do.Len J
Jan 3, 2003 8:11 AM
My wife started riding last year. She has a bad back so she chose a recumbent.

Rules that have kept us enjoying it.

1.) Don't ride together when you really want to hammer, She will know it & feel like she is holding you back. My wife knows now that when I ride with her it is because I want to. Usually, I will do recovery rides with her. I tell her (and mean it) that she is helping me stap easy.

2.) Don't give unsolicited advice. My wife knows that if she asks I will give her the benefit of my experience. Sometimes she just wants to figure it out fot herself. I only answer inquiries, it really has kept us closer.

3.) Help her organized other "Like experienced" riders. I helped my wife organize some women from church to train together to do her first Metric century. I ended up being "Head Mechanic" and problem solver. They ended up calling themselves the "UU Biker Chicks" and all did the ride & felt great about it.

4.) When you ride with her, enjoy both the ride and the company. My wife and I talk, notice different things along the way etc. It really becomes a shared experience.

If she starts to get into it, buy her ever nicer wheels. Nothing will improve her speed more than faster wheels.

Good Luck

Len
Some of the best advice I've seen.RickC5
Jan 3, 2003 11:55 AM
Outstanding in fact. I have just one more bit of advice to add:

NEVER buy your SO a bike that is, in any way, "less" of a bike than the one you ride. Her bike should be the equivalent of yours.

Trust me on this. Don't go there. Just say NO.
Ha ha!Fez
Jan 3, 2003 12:57 PM
I am not a great cyclist (but I do have good road manners and always cycle safe). Anyway, I figure some who have passed me on the road must have labeled me a poseur for having too much bike and too little speed.

I'm scared to think what they would call my wife if they saw her on a comparable bike with a giant stack of spacers, gently cruising along at 12mph!
even the tandem can be toughDougSloan
Jan 3, 2003 8:16 AM
Our couples record is 15 miles on the tandem. Her butt gets sore and she gets bored, scared of the cars, and the awesome speeds (maybe over 20 mph on a couple of 1% descents).

It's tough when they really just don't want to do it.

Doug
Yeah, I agree...it has to be of some enjoyment for them.MXL02
Jan 3, 2003 8:39 AM
My wife who is a total non-workout type, loves cycling on our Tandem, 'cause she loves to see the countryside and the fresh air, and loves us being together. She thinks the tandem is "fun". And because she loves it, I can get her to go 40 miles, with stops every 10 miles or so. But it is real tough on her, and 20-30 miles is more to her liking.
Yeah, I agree...it has to be of some enjoyment for them.Fez
Jan 3, 2003 8:56 AM
My wife and I have joked about the tandem. She says if she gets tired she'll start pedaling real easy and transfer nearly all the pedaling duties to me. Said something about how much better of a workout I would get.

But the real reasons we can't get one now include the huge investment, home storage problem, and challenges in transporting it (no in-vehicle solution).
affordable tandemDougSloan
Jan 3, 2003 9:33 AM
We bought a KHS Sport tandem for about $650. That's pretty darn cheap for a tandem. It's much better than the "department store" type bikes, but nothing you'd want to race. It works perfectly well, with it's 21 speeds, wide 26" tires, and side pull brakes. Check it out:

http://www.khsbicycles.com/page165.html
yup...same here. you can't force itColnagoFE
Jan 3, 2003 9:38 AM
I finally found a type of biking my wife likes...riding around town on her new cruiser. I swear we have ridden more on those baloon tire cruisers lately than any other time we tried to bike together. She hates mountain biking because she doesnt like the bouncing around(has a nice MTB I bought her though) and road riding takes too long. She'd rather just take a spin class. It's not that she's in bad shape. She is the director of the athletic program at a local health club and probably exercises more than most people ever do, but for some reason she doesn't cycle. Doesn't ski either and she grew up in Colorado.
How to Get Started?Fez
Jan 3, 2003 8:34 AM
Did you do the initial rides together? Where - At the parks? MUT? Neighborhood roads?

I want her to learn and enjoy cycling herself and not offer any unsolicited advice.

She knows the basics - rules of the road, shifting, braking, etc. but I want to be there for her just in case.
How to Get Started?Len J
Jan 3, 2003 8:40 AM
1.) Helped her pick a bike.
2.) Asked her if she wanted to go alone or together for first few rides.
3.) Taught her how to change a tire & helped her practice.
4.) We have great roads with wide shoulders here, so where wasn't a problem. I would avoid MUT's if they are crowded, you want someplace she feels safe.
5.) We both always ride with cell phones, and she knows I am just a call away.

Len
Reluctantly, after nearly 20 years, just about given it up.Silverback
Jan 3, 2003 8:53 AM
We tried for quite awhile, even did a couple of centuries together, but our approaches and goals are just so different that we ride together only occasionally now. My wife likes cycling but really wants to bump along at 10 mph and, as she says, "look at the cows." I'm not competitive anymore, but I enjoy long rides at the best pace I can manage. And since I ride at least partly for fitness, it just takes so damn LONG to get a significant workout at her speed (she'd rather go to the gym for a workout and ride for pleasure). Solo or with friends, I can do a 50-mile ride in about half the time it takes with her, and she doesn't enjoy the last 25. I wish it were different, but it's just too frustrating for both of us.
here's what I do.Frith
Jan 3, 2003 9:34 AM
First off, my girlfriend is athletic but by no means a cyclist. She enjoys coming on rides with me though and this is what we usually do.
We start off together and then at a certain point I zip ahead and for about half an hour then loop back and meet her. This gives me the chance to get the speed fix I need.
Another thing that she likes is when I push her. This really works my legs and she thinks it's fun (I do too). It only works on really deserted routes though. Also try to do the things she likes as well. For us it's beach volleyball. I don't mind it but I don't need to tell you what I'd rather be doing on a warm sunny day.
Here is how we did it.jwhite480
Jan 3, 2003 9:43 AM
I just spent a year in the Washington DC area and my wife decided to "get in shape" and wanted to start riding with me. At first I would do two rides, one with her and one for me. After a while she started getting into better shape, bought a better bike and I would just ride in a lower gear (heart rate stayed the same). Now she manages to keep up with me and at times will even push me a little. but it took a year.....
Washington DCFez
Jan 3, 2003 10:06 AM
We live in the DC area. Where did you ride in DC?

How does it compare to your current hometown?
Just an idea...bludoggy
Jan 3, 2003 9:49 AM
maybe instead of getting an SO to be a cyclist, get a cyclist to become an SO.
Just an idea...Fez
Jan 3, 2003 10:10 AM
Great advice! You think my non-cyclist wife could help with this?
interesting...velocity
Jan 3, 2003 12:47 PM
I'm hoping that soon I'll have some tips on share. In the meantime, as usual, most of the posted comments are helpful and constructive.

It's kind of a conundrum. On the one hand, because we spend so much time together, it's great to get on the bike and ride away of a while, get that buzz that comes after being in the saddle for hours. My wife really appreciates and encourages my bicycle madness, likes that I have a healthy hobby. On the other hand, I'd really like to have her share in some of the fun.

Ultimately, I think it'd be really good for us to enjoy cycling a bit together.
A few short intervals for the more fit riderContinental
Jan 3, 2003 2:37 PM
When I ride with my wife I do 4 to 8 hard (for me) 2 minute intervals. I turn around and rejoin her after each. She understands, and I'm only gone for about 3 minutes for each interval. Sometimes I put my hand on her back and give her a boost ofr a mile.
others have given good advice, here is my experiencemaximum15
Jan 3, 2003 5:01 PM
My wife actually got me started biking. At first, she rode a road bike and I was on a Huffy mtn bike and all was good. We were very proud of our 5 mile rides. Then she got a better road bike and I got a better mtn bike and all was still good. We were still very evenly matched. Then I got a road bike and found that #$%@ mtn bike review site were many of us road bike people came from. I rode more than her, I read more than her, and I got stronger than her. All was good most of the time. I would pull her for 20 miles then she would pull me part of the time for the last 5. Then I rode even more than her and expected her to keep up. All was very bad -- she quit riding because it wasn't fun anymore. Almost a year has passed and she has started riding again and I have started commuting. When we ride together, it is as she wants because there is nothing worse than a miserable woman except for a whining(sp)man. Also, I really like my wife and like to spend riding time with her. I will ride however is necessary when with her to keep her riding. Bottom line, ride together for fun. Ride by yourself to train -- unless the significant other wants to train or compete with you.
great threadmoschika
Jan 4, 2003 12:28 AM
my wife used to ride more. then we went on rides and that wasn't good. i was too fast but when i slowed down she felt she was "slowing me down". i kept telling her i wanted to ride with her but that sometimes just frustrated her.

she doesn't like group rides. she feels she will always be the last one and if she isn't she'll feel bad for the last one. not good either.

the advice i've read have been great. she has agreed to try and ride more with me this year. i want to make it fun for her. these tips will help, i hope.
Interesting thread.djg
Jan 4, 2003 8:37 AM
I do best riding with my wife when I surrender the idea that I'm going to do what I usually consider a ride. Sometimes we do best when I'm pulling a trailer, or the trail-a-bike, but the fact is that she likes to go slow. Even tiny little dips in the road have her feathering the brakes. So we toodle along at 11 or 12 mph and I spin a low gear and enjoy the scenery and the company. It's kind of like going for a walk together. Occasionally I'll up the pace when we come to a hill and then circle back--she doesn't mind. But mostly we don't ride together. I've known people to get girlfriends/wives/SOs hooked on cycling in a serious way. I suppose there are serious women cyclists out there who have gotten SOs interested in turn. But it's not happening here.
Have a DestinationRCA
Jan 4, 2003 8:55 AM
I can go out find a lonely road and let er rip, me, the clock and pedals. My wife always wants to know where we are going so I pick a store or something we can grab a drink at. Doesn't matter if its 30-40km she doesn't mind as long as there is a destination. As for speed drop a couple of gears sound like your winded and ride behind so she doesn't see you yawn