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  1. #1
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    Riding with your wife-girlfriend, should you have a slight fitness edge

    A commuting friend spotted my wife and I riding on Platte River Trail, a wonderful and very crowded MUP, a few Saturday’s ago. When we got together for the next commute, he remarked at the three bike length separation I was maintaining on my wife and how frustrating that must be for her. I told him it wasn’t my fault, other than the fact I had done something to tick her off, and this was her way of paying me back. As we talked through it, we discovered that there seemed to be patterns and categories that went beyond our specific circumstances. In that spirit, I thought I would write them up and share. Sorry for the length of the post (with no pictures), but please feel free to add any rules or observations of your own, and of course judge me harshly for this.

    General Categories

    Cat. 1: Look at the Happy Couple Riding Together.

    This is the mother lode, the one we’re all hoping to hit every time. The one that justifies spending twice as much on riding gear as you would if you were single, just to have and maintain that couples thing.

    HCRT rides are characterized by her following you in a tight draft, side by side pedaling and chatting and smiling, or you following behind her, letting her think she is pulling her weight and you need the draft, even though all you are doing is appreciating the view.

    Cat. 2: Look at that Poor Woman Riding With the Jerk.

    The PWRWJ ride, otherwise known as the ride of shame, finds you placed three to five bike lengths ahead of her. No matter how much you slow down, the gap stays the same or grows. Slow down too much, and you risk ending up in Cat. 3 hell. The cause of PWRWJ status can vary from pre ride to in ride comments/behavior, but the intent is clear: she wants the world to know that you have too much of an ego, and are too much of a jerk, to satisfy her desire for a simple HCRT afternoon. She’s trying, but you’re impossible.

    Cat. 3: Couple, What Couple.

    By far the worst position to be in, the CWC rides are those in which she falls so far off the back that no one suspects you started out and are actually doing this together. That’s because you aren’t. Not anymore.

    No, you are the loser who can’t find anyone to ride with, even on a sunny Saturday afternoon. And you are slow. Painfully slow, in your fancy kit and riding your CF superbike. Six year old with pony tail on a pink Hello Kitty bike passing you slow.

    But you are nevertheless responsible for the stranger a quarter mile back, because, if she were to get a flat, and you were not there for her, this would be your last ride together (of any kind). Count on it.

    Additional Thoughts and Caveats

    *Regardless of what kind of ride it was or became, one rule is inviolate. Never, ever, ride back into the neighborhood anywhere but right by her side, or this will be your last ….. (see above).

    *It is not possible to have a HCRT ride on asymmetrical technology (your mountain bike or fixie to her road), because the message it sends, that your workout is more important than your relationship and her self esteem, makes it an automatic Cat.2, regardless of the spacing.

    * Tandems may be a cosmetic solution to the Cat. 2 issue, but a Cat. 3 bust up on a tandem would be a disaster of epic proportions.
    Last edited by tigat; 03-27-14 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Last part was bad form, sorry

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Lead from the back . or buy that tandem .

  3. #3
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    It's probably never a good idea to ride with the wife and the girlfriend. Unless they get along famously, and you are just a third-wheel...

    Edit: Then again, my theme song is "I ride alone I ride alone. My shadow's the only one who drafts off me..."
    Last edited by David Bierbaum; 03-27-14 at 03:08 PM.

  4. #4
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    Don't ride with your girlfriend when your wife is around - or vice versa

    ^ beat me by one minute. You must have more experience in the subject than me
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  6. #6
    enthusiast JamieElenbaas's Avatar
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    Try a tandem.

    Those generalizations don't necessarily work though. I know at least two couples where the wives could kick 90% of our a$$'s.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by StanSeven View Post
    Don't ride with your girlfriend when your wife is around - or vice versa

    ^ beat me by one minute. You must have more experience in the subject than me
    Come on guys. The dash means or. An / on the other hand means "and or" which is a different proposition entirely. You're grabbing for low hanging fruit here.

  8. #8
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    Thankfully my wife and I have this all worked out. I ride faster than she does; she's okay with that.

    1. She doesn't want to have to push herself to match my speed.
    2. She doesn't want to hold me back by making me ride her speed.

    On double centuries (she's ridden 25) she usually starts out an hour before I do and finishes an hour or so after me. I usually pass her mid-morning or so.

    And, while I have ridden doubles with several other women (Linda, Terri, Isabelle, Lou Ann, Lauretta and Lynn come to mind), none of them were my "girl-friend" or anything close. Just friends. And my wife knows them and doesn't mind. And yes, she's ridden doubles with other guys and I don't mind either.

    So it's all good .

    Rick / OCRR

  9. #9
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    To the OP: I think it's pretty funny.

    One caveat: half-wheeling is poor form, regardless of circumstances except for racing, and then it's not a great idea. I've seen husbands half-wheel their wives and I thought it looked bad.

  10. #10
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    My wife and I ride twogether on a tandem most of the time. However, there are times when one or both of us want to ride a half-bike at our own speed, and we do that too. We have a short, forty mile, training loop (popcicle, actually; an out-and-back with a loop at the end of the out-and-back stick). She often sends me out on a half-bike with a head start and we meet with her coming up the hill at the end of the stick while I am returning.

    I don't understand the whole chasing of the DA/AA rider thing. I would feel like a fool if I changed my ride simply to chase someone down like a cat 6 rider. While I don't get passed very often, I always have a good word for anyone who goes by me, whether I'm riding a half-bike, by myself or with others, or on a tandem. If we were racing we would have numbers on.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Here's my contribution to the "rules"....unless you know the couple, don't make assumptions about what how they are riding means. Just more self-inflicted drama. And, even then, why waste the time?

  12. #12
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    My wife and I have it worked out as well. I ride and she stays home. We do many things together as a couple. Riding is not one of them. We both know one of the things that make our relationship strong is time to ourselves. My riding time is my time. And, according to her, I'm much nicer to be around after I've had my ride.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
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  13. #13
    Me and the cat... Pamestique's Avatar
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    All of my friends ride harder/faster than me... we have a understanding... they go at their speed and I at mine and we meet up and reconnect time and again... that said if the slower person is not comfortable with this arrangement (and I have ridden with folks slower than me - mostly newbies), I just stay with them and enjoy the cruise. I've learned riding in back actually causes hte other person to be intimidated - I either ride sidebyside or just in front, always keeping track of where the other rider is.

    PS I rode Tandem for many years... it takes a certain confidence in one's won riding ability to be the stroker and not the captain. If known many a wife/girlfriend try the tandem one time, freak out and never again. Not for everyone. I know most people rather have their own bikes to control so that said, learn to relax and cruise...
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  14. #14
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Lead from the back . or buy that tandem .
    +10

  15. #15
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigat View Post
    General Categories

    Cat. 2: Look at that Poor Woman Riding With the Jerk.

    The PWRWJ ride, otherwise known as the ride of shame, finds you placed three to five bike lengths ahead of her…..
    Maybe I’ve been too much influenced by feminism, but my first thought when I read that Cat. 2 Title was the (poor) woman was faster than the (jerk) man and was saddled with riding with him, perhaps slowing to a less than optimal pace to let him keep up, lest he think "that her workout is more important than her relationship and his esteem, makes it an automatic Cat.2, regardless of the spacing."

    So in fairness, maybe there should be that Category 4, something like “Look at that Hottie Riding with the Dweeb”

    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    My wife and I have it worked out as well. I ride and she stays home. We do many things together as a couple...
    When my then-girlfriend-now wife and I toured together including a cross-county cycling honeymoon, we rode as probably Cat 1-2 til about 25 years ago when our son was born, and she stopped riding. Fortunately we had started ballroom dancing during our cycling days, and now it’s a weekly event. Tours back then were particularly fun when we got to our destination for the day, and looked for a place to go dancing.

    Ann Landers once wrote that dancing is a “vertical sublimation of a horizontal inclination.” The only similar aphorism I could think of for cycling was a T-shirt advertised in the National Lampoon Humor magazine, with a picture of a bicycle and the caption, “Put some fun between your legs.”.

  16. #16
    Senior Member rebel1916's Avatar
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    I crush her soul on every ride!

  17. #17
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Interesting perspectives.
    I get to see what people think about our riding team styles...

    My SO has until recently been faster. She still crushes me on climbs.

    I used to, i guess you call it half wheel.

    She has recently expressed her preference that I lead... So when I lead we sort of slinky along. It does mean that I can just let the speed build on the downhill...

  18. #18
    Senior Member miss kenton's Avatar
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    JamieElenbaas
    Try a tandem.

    Those generalizations don't necessarily work though. I know at least two couples where the wives could kick 90% of our a$$'s.

    Jim from Boston

    Maybe I’ve been too much influenced by feminism, but my first thought when I read that Cat. 2 Title was the (poor) woman was faster than the (jerk) man and was saddled with riding with him, perhaps slowing to a less than optimal pace to let him keep up, lest he think "that her workout is more important than her relationship and his esteem, makes it an automatic Cat.2, regardless of the spacing."
    Thank you, Gentlemen. I had to check to see if this was a zombie thread because until I read these posts, I thought it may have been resurrected from 1963.

  19. #19
    USMC Veteran qcpmsame's Avatar
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    As much as I love Monica and as much as I care about my cycling I'm not tempting fate by messing with either one, both got me out of the hole I was in and I frankly really need the both. I got her into serious cycling back in 1978 and it is one of the things we can share and really enjoy. I guess we are the Happy couple riding together that gets along. Anyway, I have enough brains to realize she is going to be right about whatever and I know my place in things, I like peace in my home and life, too.

    BTW, really nice writing in your OP, you have a nice style and great sense of humor, at least I hope its humor!

    Bill
    Last edited by qcpmsame; 04-01-14 at 08:43 AM.
    "I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me" Philippians 4:13

  20. #20
    rebmeM roineS JanMM's Avatar
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    Try as I might, it's just impossible for me to put more than a tiny gap between us when my wife and I ride together.
    On the other hand, my stoker never passes me.
    RANS V3 (steel), RANS V-Rex, RANS Screamer

  21. #21
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamieElenbaas View Post
    Try a tandem.

    Those generalizations don't necessarily work though. I know at least two couples where the wives could kick 90% of our a$$'s.
    I did a group ride Saturday in the mountains, the women all dropped me on the climbs and one of the women dropped everyone, including her husband.
    I've ridden with some pro racer women, that is, they slowed down to wait for me.
    When I was married my wife did all the rides I did, centuries, long mountain bike rides, snow rides, and always at her own pace, whether it was slower or faster than me that day.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
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    My wife and I are category 3 but it is not a negative thing. My wife recently had multiple surgeries and just cannot ride very fast. She wants me to get my exercise so she has no problem letting me go ahead without her. After 30+ years of marriage, we realize we do not have to be around each other 24 hours a day.

    A tandem is a possible solution because I have no problem taking up the slack when she cannot pedal ass hard as I can. Unfortunately my current employment situation means there is not a tandem bike in the near future.

    P.S. as far as flats go, they do not happen very often on modern bikes. However, if my wife did get a flat, she would just give me a call on the cell phone.
    Last edited by mrtuttle04; 03-27-14 at 09:04 PM. Reason: Added PS

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
    Try as I might, it's just impossible for me to put more than a tiny gap between us when my wife and I ride together.
    On the other hand, my stoker never passes me.
    The person who built our first tandem also built a quad to ride across the country on one of Lon Haldeman's two-week rapid tours. While riding a century one fine spring day, a blowout led to his three stokers passing him on a descent. Everyone paid a bit of tribute to the asphalt and two handlebars snapped off, but there were no serious injuries. He retired the bike that day.

    We stokers need to know our place: behind the captain.

  24. #24
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miss kenton View Post
    Thank you, Gentlemen. I had to check to see if this was a zombie thread because until I read these posts, I thought it may have been resurrected from 1963.
    I actually remember the 60s as being more progressive than that. Wait a minute. Who am I kidding? I don't remember the 60s.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright
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  25. #25
    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    Other than what I thought was some clever satire on the part of the OP, not sure what's up with a lot of the other posters. Is there a stigma to being "chicked"? I get passed by women all the time and think nothing of it. One of the most entertaining sights I've ever seen was watching some tri-chick gunning down (relax, mods, it's just an expression. Don't move this to P&R) two smart-ass roadies with terror on their faces. Dang, she was fast.

    And would it be that my wife rode a bike at all. As it is, she has trouble walking around the block.

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