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  1. #1
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    Riding With the Wife - A Question on Etiquette

    My wife and I got into cycling this spring, her with a goal of losing 40 pounds and me 10. We are both 52 years old. I think it is fair to say I am more "in to it" than she is. My concern is this is going to be yet another fitness regimen she loses interest in, but I digress. I ride 10+ miles practically every day. She seldom rides.

    Next weekend is the "Capital City Century" here. We decided we would like to do the 40 mile segment. My wife wasn't even sure she could do 40 miles so, this past weekend, we headed out to the local MUP to do four 10 mile legs. 10 miles out, 10 miles back, twice. The plan was, after the first 20 miles, we would meet back at the car, refill our water bottles, see how we felt and head out for another 20. At least, I thought that was the plan.

    We rode the first 10 miles of the first 20 mile loop together. At the turn, I decided to push things a little and ended up dropping her. She finished that 10 mile segment 10-15 minutes behind me. The problem is, she was pissed that I dropped her like that. I guess she expected me to ride ahead, then double back to make sure she hadn't crashed and burned or something. I really don't know. From my perspective, we were both riding at our own pace. My pace just happens to be a little faster than hers. No big deal.

    So, what say you. Was I wrong to drop her or was she wrong to expect me not to? I am sure I am an insensitive bastard so there will be no need to beat that dead horse.

  2. #2
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I would treat the wife (If she ever came out on a ride with me) as I would a new member to our group. There would always be someone riding with them and I would only pick up any "Major" faults in their riding style. That would be the same even up hills just to make certain that they are not over extending themselves by trying to stay with us.

    Admittedly in a group- it would not always be the same rider having to go slow all the time- but if you want to keep the other half riding- those first few rides will need a lot of company and encouragement.

    OR-- And I honestly would not do this- Get a tandem. Then if the fit rider wants to go faster- he will soon be bought back to the other riders level.
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  3. #3
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    When I ride with my wife I do not drop her, nor do I try to make her feel like she is holding me up. If we are in a group, then I may have a bit more freedom to ride up the road but either way I eventually wait up at some point for her to catch up. I think if you want her to continue with riding and acheive the weight loss goal then you'll have to make it fun for her. Otherwise it will just turn into a nonproductive struggle for control or she will quit.

  4. #4
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    You are not a good trainer for your wife, at least in most marriages that is the case.

    When I ride with the wife, it is HER ride and not mine. We go her pace. She understands that I might zoom ahead for a bit, but she also absolutely knows that I will double back or be waiting for her with a smile at the next convenient stop.

    If she shows an interest in going faster/longer, the idea has to come from her, not from me, and we do that at her pace, also.

    If she wanted professional instruction, I would arrange it.

    It is not good, IMHO, to take up bicycling with weight loss or exercise as a goal. Instead one should take up bicycling with fun as a goal. In my experience, folks who take up an activity for exercise or to lose weight invariably stop that activity. If it ain't fun (and folks define that in many different ways) it won't last.

    Succcessfully married for 43 (or is it 44) years.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  5. #5
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    If you don't keep it fun she will not stick with it.
    When I was married I rode with my wife a lot. She kept improving and when she realized that, she was stoked. She eventually got strong enough to start dropping some of the slower club riders. At that point, she was hooked. Not hooked on me, however.

  6. #6
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    When you ride with the wife, you ride together... period.

    If you want to push up the speed, go alone sometimes or find a riding buddy, otherwise, check your testerone at the door. You know better (right?) than to anger her plus you can easily discourage her. Just ride along and if she wants to push it, than have at it.
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  7. #7
    pedaling from Black Dog Snail Male's Avatar
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    +1 to much of what has been said already. "Hell hath no fury..." and all that.

    I am still paying - decades later - for a similar indiscretion,although it was in reverse. Allow me to explain:

    We were staying at her parents' cottage on Georgian Bay (head north on Lake Huron and hang a right at Tobermory) and we picked a terribly hot/humid July day to ride into town just a few kms away on the old cottage "circus bear bikes" as we called them. Trouble is, there's a fairly steep hill between us and the town and we were on >40 yr old bikes with corroded shift cables. I chivalrously rode behind her so she could set the pace and I would ride interference on the pokey tourist traffic. Our paceline slowed to an absolute crawl when we got to the heartbreak hill, and I took for granted my wife would surrender at some point & we'd walk it.

    She instead doggedly mashed away at what was literally slower than a walking pace, and, between the heat, the near flat in my rear tire, and my pathetic fitness at the time, I stepped off my bike - hey, I was on holidays, right? - and incredulously watched as she heaved her way on up to the crest of this rise, almost out of sight. Ignoramus that I was it didn't occur to me to announce my status had reverted back to 'pedestrian'. I will never forget the seething look she scoured the hillside with until she found me, standing, halfway down the hill. My second mistake was trying to make up for this by applauding heartily.

    I've likely blacked out most of the rest of the day, but eating crackers for dinner and sleeping out under the stars by myself are a couple of images that pop into mind.

    I tell you all of this to give you hope: she is still my wife after all of these years, and that's with her having done all of the sweating in this transgression of mine. You, probe1957, at least made the error of effort instead of sloth, and I am betting you'll be forgiven sooner for that. Keep us posted!

  8. #8
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    When we ride our singles together, we ride at her pace, on the tandem I can push as hard as I like. On the singles we will ride a maximum of 20 miles, on the tandem we can do a century.

  9. #9
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    You never drop your wife when the two of you are riding together on single bikes. Ever.

    If you want to ride together get a tandem.
    Most economic fallacies derive from the tendency to assume that there is a fixed pie, that one party can gain only at the expense of another.....Milton Friedman

  10. #10
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    A wife who is willing to ride with you is one of the sweetest blessings in life.
    I would do whatever I could to nurture and sustain her interest in it. If you start nagging or criticizing, it will only discourage her and terminate her interest in riding, (possibly more.)
    Good luck. Don't screw it up.

  11. #11
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    My wife's pace is 5 MPH below mine on a good day and she doesn't want to do as much distance I'd like either. It didn't take me long to realize that if I led, she'd get dropped. Now I follow her and let her decide pace and direction. I offer encouragement and, if she's doing something dangerous, a gentle correction. If I'm really chomping at the bit, I'll take a 5 or 10 mile fast-paced ride when she decides to stop for a break. By the time I get back, she's rested up and I've gotten a nice mini-workout. Makes it easier for me to cruise behind her at a slower pace the rest of the ride.

  12. #12
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    When riding with my wife, I let her lead. Sure at times the pace can be slower than I'd like. But that is a small price to pay.

    I even bought the same category of bike (a Trek 7300) that she rides. Not the bike I would of normally chosen, but that too is a very small price to pay for having her ride with me. I changed some stuff on my 7300 to make it at least somewhat more of what I like in a bike. I think of it as a touring bike. I can live with that.

    My wife?: She has come a long way this summer in her pace and the distance she rides. We're going on her first group ride this Saturday, a MEC sponsored 50km (30 mile) ride. Her idea.

  13. #13
    billyymc
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    I drop my wife. I drop my daughters, who are 9 and 10. If they can't keep pace with me, they need to get out and ride more. It's not my problem if they can't man up.

    Sheesh.

    hehe...I am lucky, my wife really likes to ride. I get to ride more than she does, but we ride together as much as we can - both MTB and road. And we get a couple family rides in each week when the weather and daylight permit. I'd rather ride with them, than hammer without them. I get my hammer time (such as it is) in on my commute.

  14. #14
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    Congratulations to both of you on starting to ride together. Usually two people who start a sport together do not have the same abilities neither do they progress at the same rate. Welcome to the world of most couples. Continue riding together at her pace and distance. When you go out solo you can push to your hearts content. As you get faster, you may want to go out before the "couple ride" and work out and only ride together when you are on a recovery ride. I have cycled for about 8 years with my spouse. I may cycle from 2-8,000 miles a year. He may cycle from 200-1000 miles. I cycle from 16-20 mph (used to be 22) and he cycles from 13-14 down to 9 mph. After going on so many solo trips, now I especially want him to ride with me. Some of the tricks I use are that I cycle a heavy touring bike with panniers (with water in the bags) with large tires. He rides a lightweight road bike. Sometimes I'll pinch the brakes so they slightly rub on the rims (only beater bike). I'll ride on tires with less air pressure, etc. I try to not let him know when I'm taking the measures saying things like, "I don't want to run out of water" "We may need the sweaters" "I'll take a lunch" "Only my bike has panniers so I'll carry the stuff". Somedays I'll cycle to the club ride to get in an extra 10 miles before he joins me. We volunteer to take the new riders out so we can go slow. It is wonderful to cycle with the person you love. Now that you are progressing, make sure you still enjoy the "couple thing". It is entirely different than catching the cycling bug and wanting to feel the freedom from riding fast. It is very normal for men to be faster riders than their spouses. In our club, if the female rides at 18, her guy rides at 20, if she rides at 22, her guy rides at 24-26, so there is usually a speed variance, but once a week or so, the guys will slow down and spend time with the honey. BTW I am an overweight female and my husband is only about 10 pounds overweight. His love is music, he is a drummer and I am into most sports but love to eat.
    Last edited by outashape; 09-08-09 at 08:30 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    One word: Tandem.

    Mrs. Grouch and I have been riding tandems together since 1976. Most of the tandem teams that we know, the huge majority, are couples who want to cycle together yet aren't well matched physically. As you have discovered no matter how good your intentions, at some point you will find yourself alone at the top of some hill with your wife nowhere in sight. A tandem solves that problem. With a tandem you always arrive at the pie stop together.

  16. #16
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    I can't even imagine dropping my wife.........

    You will pay for the transgression for a very long time.

  17. #17
    just going for a ride... lbear's Avatar
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    Never drop your wife!
    When I ride with my wife I let her lead. She set the pace I may sprint for a few minutes or take a hill at my pace but I always fall back or stop for her. If I want to ride at my own speed I ride solo. When you ride with your wife you ride with your wife. How long have you been married? It one of the unwritten rules you should know.
    Especially since you are both ridding to lose weight you must know that dropping your wife will effect her self esteem. Its something that you are doing together, right?
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  18. #18
    Senior Member smorris's Avatar
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    Wow! Seems overwhelmingly one-sided. I really like billyymc's advice. But I don't follow it. Even though I'm relatively new back in the saddle, it is still sometimes excruciating riding at my wife's pace. I can barely coast as slow as she rides. Last ride we averaged 6 MPH over a mostly dead flat MUP for about 10 miles. Arrghhh! I should bring my unicycle, or build a fixie and learn to ride backwards. That would at least make it challenging.

    She's the same way on her scooter. It is a slow one, only going 42 MPH top speed, but she'll still creep along at 25-28 MPH on 35 MPH and higher roads, and slower in neighborhoods.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Thou shalt not droppeth thy wife.

    If you want to hammer, do it on your own time, when you are riding with your wife, you are riding with your wife.
    Nothing wrong with dropping her for short periods...like on a climb or on a nice downhill or when you and a friend get to chatting and don't realize you dropped the wives/hubbys...but even then, you best hook back up with them by the next convenient place to do so.
    Quote Originally Posted by lbear View Post
    Never drop your wife!
    When I ride with my wife I let her lead. She set the pace I may sprint for a few minutes or take a hill at my pace but I always fall back or stop for her. If I want to ride at my own speed I ride solo. When you ride with your wife you ride with your wife. How long have you been married? It one of the unwritten rules you should know.
    Especially since you are both ridding to lose weight you must know that dropping your wife will effect her self esteem. Its something that you are doing together, right?
    +1 Ride with your wife, SO or GF.
    My wife is my riding partner, we ride everywhere together. Yes, over time we
    have had different athletic abilities and tolerances. On a long flat road, she is often leading. If a hill or touch of wind comes along - I'm in front.
    Last edited by martianone; 09-08-09 at 04:38 PM. Reason: expand

  20. #20
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Proper etiquette would require the OP to state that he needs to drop forty pounds and that his wife would like to be ten pounds lighter.

    (I never drop my wife - we ride together on a tandem)
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  21. #21
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
    Thou shalt not droppeth thy wife.

    If you want to hammer, do it on your own time, when you are riding with your wife, you are riding with your wife.
    Nothing wrong with dropping her for short periods...like on a climb or on a nice downhill or when you and a friend get to chatting and don't realize you dropped the wives/hubbys...but even then, you best hook back up with them by the next convenient place to do so.
    I felt that way, until Mrs. Road Fan started dropping me with regularity. Now we are more evenly matched, at least. She's become a ver secure cyclist in the p;ast few years, and we can just have fun together.

    I think I did the right thing by avoiding dropping her early on. She's really grown. I'm not buying her any more new bike parts. She's already able to shell me anytime she wants. She doesn't need a faster bike. At least, not until she asks for me to take her to the bike shop ...
    Last edited by Road Fan; 09-08-09 at 05:10 PM.

  22. #22
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post

    It is not good, IMHO, to take up bicycling with weight loss or exercise as a goal. Instead one should take up bicycling with fun as a goal. In my experience, folks who take up an activity for exercise or to lose weight invariably stop that activity. If it ain't fun (and folks define that in many different ways) it won't last.
    I have read that exercise by itself is not a good way to lose weight because most people work up an appetite and eat more. The way to lose weight is to eat less, or eat less fattening things.

  23. #23
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smorris View Post
    Wow! Seems overwhelmingly one-sided. I really like billyymc's advice. But I don't follow it. Even though I'm relatively new back in the saddle, it is still sometimes excruciating riding at my wife's pace. I can barely coast as slow as she rides. Last ride we averaged 6 MPH over a mostly dead flat MUP for about 10 miles. Arrghhh! I should bring my unicycle, or build a fixie and learn to ride backwards. That would at least make it challenging.

    She's the same way on her scooter. It is a slow one, only going 42 MPH top speed, but she'll still creep along at 25-28 MPH on 35 MPH and higher roads, and slower in neighborhoods.
    I understand - I rode Saturday with my older father - he goes 4 - 5 miles an hour so I take my mountain bike and I cruise behind him or beside him but I don't leave him behind. Sometimes I even let him get out ahead... just because.

    Suggestion... before I met Dad I did a hard 15 miles out to meet him (and then after I rode back 15 miles for a total of 40). I was then ready to slow down. If you and your wife plan a ride, go out before, ride as hard as you can, and then just cruise and cool down with the wife. BTW do you realize the bike handling skills you can develop riding slow? Makes you a better rider overall!
    Last edited by Pamestique; 09-08-09 at 08:02 PM.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    If she is okay with you riding ahead a bit and waiting for her, you'll still be in just as much hot water if you fake like you were taking a nap while waiting.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  25. #25
    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    My wife really hates when she has to struggle up a hill and I'm sitting comfortably on her wheel. She would rather me go on up the road and wait than see her suffer. I feel the same when I'm in that situation. Just ride up the hill and let me suffer in peace.

    It is especially bad because she used to ride not too far behind me but I get so much more time on the bike these days that it is just not possible for her to keep the pace. So it would be very bad form for me to remind her of that by not breaking a sweat while she is cussing her way along.

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