Northern California - Looking for the secret formula to riding vs. Family time
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12-03-08, 03:41 AM
After a 10 year break, I started cycling again about a 1.5 years ago. I'm 40(I know it's true, but I still think I'm 21), fat (I like donuts), diabetic, with high blood pressure and am trying to improve my life expectancy, but am finding it increasingly difficult finding the balance between riding time and family time. I have a 3 year old son and very understanding wife, but find myself the victim of self-imposed guilt on taking time out to ride. I commute once or twice a week, but get home so late that I feel guilty for not having enough time with my son. On weelends, I try to sneak out for a quick ride while the lil' man naps, but it's not nearly as long as I would like. In all honesty, I think my health is only a small part of my desire to ride more. I like the singlemindedness of rinding. It'a huge stress reliver and and as fun as when I was 7. I have a trailer that I haul my son around in, but it's usually used for short trips to the park or grocery store, and doesn't really fill the need for longer trips. How do you people find the time, or justify the time, away from family to do what needs to be done? I guess I'm hoping for a different perspective that makes sense to me...
12-03-08, 08:35 AM
I nominate BlastRadius as the best qualified person to answer your question. He's got 4 kids between the ages of 3 and 10 (approx.), yet he rides and races. I have no idea how he does it!!!
Good post. I'll bet that many of us still wrestle with this - I think it does all come down to priorities. I have two small kids and a cross-bay commute to juggle along with the cycling "habit". Normally (notwithstanding recent BF outings) I try to get two lunch time rides in a week from work (conveniently I work close to San Bruno Mtn) and I've pretty much got a regular 2-3h window worked out with the Mrs for early Sat mornings after I get the kids up. The week ride thing also means that it's not just family vs cycling, but also work vs cycling, which provides some sort of strange balance.
Like you, I came back to cycling in my late 30's about 18months ago after a prolonged absence, and it's given me a whole new enthusiasm and focus in my life. Part of the mind game is that I probably could get more riding time out of hours if I wanted to push it, but at the same time I really do want to make the most of time I can get with my kids, while they're still relatively young, even if that means just hanging with them at home doing "regular" stuff (homework etc.). It's that I choose not to ride sometimes that seems important, even if no-one knows about that choice other than me. Still easier to write than to do.
12-03-08, 10:01 AM
So far I am losing this battle. I get to go to Spinning classes every once in a while. I'd love to join the group rides here but when schedule finally permits, I know that am not in good enough shape to keep up with everyone so I end up riding alone for a short ride.
12-03-08, 10:01 AM
It is all about balance. During race time when I have to spend a whole lot of time on the bike, I ride at 4 or 5am. I get my ride in guilt-free and still have the rest of the day for family, work, naps, etc..
But, I differ to BlastRadius. I only have one kid, and shes almost a teenager...so not as time intensive as a younger child.
12-03-08, 10:28 AM
Commuting is your best answer - assuming you are within reasonable distance from work. You should not feel guilty as long as your family is supportive of it. If anything you should feel good about it. One less car on the road, and you are getting your fix for the day.
Aside from that, your health matters too right? Everyone needs some exercise/unwind time in their lives. Ride for 2-3 hours a weekend and do a 2-3 commutes. Nothing wrong with that. In time, your family will see the difference it's making and maybe they will encourage you more. Then you won't feel guilty!
12-03-08, 11:07 AM
I'm in support of hauling your boy on the trailer for 1-2.5 hr rides to a fun destination (like a coffee shop half way). Cutting out TV time helps a lot. Tandem riding is also a good option.
So in answer to your question of how to justify time away from home? You'll come back from a solitary ride more refreshed, ready to focus on your family. In other words, you'll be fulfilling your role as husband/dad much better.
A few thoughts to consider: Can you try to ride early in the morning on either Saturday or Sunday? If you delay, chances are you will get too busy and won't be able to go. In order to pack the most punch into a 2 or 3 hour ride, hit the hills! You will get a better workout in a shorter amount of time. Sure, it will hurt at first, but it's worth it. Maybe find a local riding buddy in similar circumstances who can join you. Get a trainer so that you can ride for 45 minutes or an hour after your little one is asleep. Wear a heart-rate monitor to make sure you are working and watch 24 or Battlestar Gallactica or an action movie to make the time pass quickly. Try to do a quick hour-long ride before work, if there are places to ride from your house. Negotiate with your wife for one or two longer rides per month. Can you commute on your bike in the morning and then take the bus or BART home to arrive earlier?
Note that I should take some of my own advice here!
12-03-08, 11:28 AM
Ride at night! Seriously. It's much calmer, the air is cleaner, and the kids are in bed.
I'm lucky that my "commute" is only .6 miles from home.
My typical day goes:
Wife goes to workout from 6-7am while I get the (older) kids up and getting ready for school.
I walk my two older daughters to school at 7:40.
From their school, I ride to work (less than a mile).
I typically eat at my desk so no "lunch hour". (We don't have convenient showers here anymore so no lunchtime rides.)
Leave work about 4:00-4:30.
Play with my kids while wife prepares dinner or goes to an evening workout class.
Eat dinner around 6:30 and then relax with the kiddies.
At 7:45, the kids PB&J (Potty, Brush, and Jammies) in preparation for 8pm bedtime. (7 and 10 year olds have 8:30 and 9:00 bedtime respectively.)
I read to the little ones for bedtime and hopefully they fall asleep while I read.
TXT message to my buddy Mike about riding.
Leave between 8:30 and 9:00pm for a loop around San Bruno Mountain.
Saturdays, I typically ride in the morning except the last 10 weeks when my wife was doing a fitness bootcamp. Sundays, I typically have Church in the AM and may get out to ride in the afternoon or evening. During the Pilarcitos Bay Area Super Prestige cyclocross series, I race on the appointed Sunday.
The key is having a flexible and understanding wife. Not having a couple of hours of commuting time also helps (can you telecommute?). The kids will be better served if their dad is healthy so you have to take the time for your own well being (like the flight attendants always say, put your own oxygen mask on first before helping the children or you may both perish).
12-03-08, 11:35 AM
I'm no racer or heavy duty cyclist--I ride for recreation, health, and the feel of the wind on my face. A couple of things to consider:
1) Cross-training. During the work week I get up by 5:45A and after a quick cup of coffee, I'm out the door by 6:20A for a 30-40 minute run. I'm home by 7-ish and start breakfast for our 7-year old.
2) On weekends negotiate individual activity time/child care time with the wife. Perhaps there is some activity that she would enjoy 2-3 hours of time for herself. This arrangement would also give that special "dad-time" with your son.
3) If your work is flexible enough shift your work schedule. Admittedly, not everyone can do this, but if doable, there are a few more options for riding time (with your son). After our son was born my wife and I decided to alternate work days such that two days of the week I am "at home" with our son. He is 7 y/o now and is in school from 845A-310P. This is my prime time for riding and wrenching on my bikes (among other things).
I've got 2 little ones. A 7 yo and a 5 yo. My wife is quite understanding (she rides too). So I just go ride when I can. If we can't find a sitter, I try to keep the rides to under 4 hours. I've gone so far to TT short rides when I can only get in an hour. That way my legs and lungs get a hard, short workout.
It's tough to find a balance. You have to find what works for you.
You mentioned self-imposed guilt. Think of it this way: if you don't get healthy now, you might not be around later to enjoy grandkids. Get yourself healthy!
12-03-08, 12:42 PM
You can do it! Just like everyone is saying it is about balance.
I have a 10 year old and an 8 year old. For sure at 185 lbs they have a better Dad than when I weighed 240, at 45 years old I have a better shot now of seeing some grandkids someday.
I attend all the kids track meets, and little league games etc. One year I even coached. I just ride after the games, after work, early in the morning etc. Plus I have husband duties like yard work and getting the vegetable garden in the ground each spring. My wife also makes sure I get to church each Sunday.
I guess it is about quality time with the family when I am home, not just the quantity.
My goal each year is 4000 miles. (I still need 317 this month to make it) 4000 seems to be the right number. I envy the guys I ride with that get 8,9, 10 thousand a year, but I just can't and still be a good father and husband. 4000 is 333 a month.
Here is my 339 mile July from this year.
It only took 14 rides.
In a 31 day month that left 17 days I did not even get on the bike.
The 7,12 and 13 mile rides were with my kids. I call these La-La rides because they are so slow, but they are fun.
You can do it, keep us posted on your progress.
Wow, that is amazing! I probably average 100 miles per month, for a total of 1000-2000 miles per year.
12-03-08, 03:05 PM
2 words... Kinetic trainer
My wife often works late, so once the kids are down for the count. Bzzzzz,zzzz,zzz,zzz,zzz,zzz
I only have about 3000 road miles this year but I used the trainer for about 100 hours easily.
IT'S NOT FOR EVERYBODY (already anticipating the boo-hiss to trainers :p )
12-03-08, 03:12 PM
I too try to find a balance between family, work and riding. Sometime is tough. I ride early on Sunday mornings before my wife and son wake up. I get out by 7am, get 40 to 50 miles in and be home around 11. If we have plans on a Sunday, then I go for a 2 hour ride on Saturday between dropping my son off at Chinese school and picking him up. On weekdays, after getting my son to bed and if I have any energy left, I'll get on the trainer or tje glider for about an hour.
12-04-08, 12:01 AM
Obvious answer: Bikes for the family.
Works for me. Heck, Tricia got me (re)started riding. Now, if I'm feeling lazy, she drags me out.
12-04-08, 01:32 AM
Great input folks! :)
It looks like I've been too lazy or stupid to see the answer staring me right in the face. Get out of bed earlier on the weekends! I could sneak in 3 or 4 hours of riding and be home in time for a late breakfast. I think I'll probably still commute by bike, but only 1 or 2 days per week(20 miles each way eats up alot of time). On days that I don't commute in, I can haul my bike to work and ride at lunch.
12-04-08, 03:02 PM
My Solution..... Started with the Burley Trailer towing both boys ~ 18 months & 3.5 years.... graduated to pulling the trailer with the tandem... currently pulling the piccolo with the tandem (see pic... Tahoe Sierra Century 100k)... next up, triplet.... wife always complained (complains???) about riding "pain" , so got her a recumbent (after many other gyrations).... now she's happy and everyone's looking forward to the "easier" centuries (mostly metrics). I try and vary my serious training by suffering up some major climbs pulling the tandem or tandem/piccolo rig....my little guy rode up Ebbets pass this past summer as a stoker before his 6th B-day, the 3 of us made it up Monitor this summer too !!! ... We also do some Mountaing biking where my 8 year old now rides his own bike while my now 6 year old rides on the back of a mtb tandem... Short answer... get them involved.... I still do my major training on my own, as well as my "major" rides.... Tour of the Unknown Coast, Death Ride, Death Valley Double, etc.... but this year I'm gonna try and do 3-4 organized rides with the family..... so far so good.....
Lots of good advice here. Personally, I get most of my miles during the week before work. I only live 4 miles from the office but most mornings I'll either meet my buddy for a 20 mile tempo ride or I'll do a solo TT on the long way into work. Saturdays I'll race or go on the local hammerfest group ride. Sundays I'm either off the bike or going on a mellow ride with the kids. (I have 4-year old twins. My son is off training wheels and loves to ride alongside. My daughter is still on training wheels and prefers the trailer bike.)
Get the family involved, if possible. Make it fun. It's really the best Dad Time with your kids. And stop feeling guilty about taking good care of yourself. You're going to be a Dad for a long time and you need to be happy and healthy for yourself, your wife, and your kids!
Here's me and the Wonder Twins from July 4:
12-04-08, 07:34 PM
Your twins are aDORable!
Thanks! Lucky for me they take after Mrs. Caloso!
12-05-08, 12:56 PM
Very cute kids LouD and caloso. I can't wait till my son gets off his training wheels.
12-06-08, 02:30 AM
I'm still trying to get my son off the bigwheel an onto a 2 wheeler. :) Very cute kids, by the way.
12-06-08, 10:57 AM
Here are the reasons I keep it balanced.
Mrs. Oldstrong, currently out on a TNT ride training for Sovlang 2009 her first Centruy.
my son Michael age 8
my daughter Erin age 9
This picture is from the 31 mile Halloween Spooktacular last 0ctober 25th
12-07-08, 03:00 AM
Beautiful family Daniel! :thumb:
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