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Old 11-07-13, 09:08 PM   #1
ltmax2001
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Spouse question...

Hey all, not really sure where this question belongs. But here it goes. My wife does Zumba and some other type of activities to stay fit. She has some very limiting health issues. But she does what she can. She will get on her Mountain bike and go for a few miles with me. I really wished she would ride more.

I am new to the Cycling thing. I love it. I have some rides planned. We are doing a weekend ride in the very early spring...I asked her to be our support vehicle. We would start off from the hotel in the morning riding...she would meet us for our lunch break and the next overnight stop. She is ok with it. She gets all but a few hours to do what she wants while we ride. She is doing it and happy...but almost left out. Was a jerk for asking her?

Is there any other ways to maybe kind of get her involved with bikes in general?

She uses the excuse all the time of "Dallas, you never wait for me..you just ride ahead." I pull ahead 20 or so feet to check an intersection or something. Or she will say "I can tell you are annoyed by having to ride so slow. I can not keep up with you. I don't want you to hold back because I am here". How do I get her to understand I don't care if I am riding a bigwheel...as long as her and I are together. I have even started doing Zumba with her once or twice a month (Easy guys, she has had my man card for a while now).

Can some of you give me some insight or some help with this? Thanks
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Old 11-07-13, 09:31 PM   #2
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My partner and I have been riding together for 30 years; I ride 4-5000 km per year, she does about 2000 so I'm often a lone wolf cyclist. IMHO, you need to make sure her bike is equal to or better than yours and be sure her bike fits perfectly. Tell her how fine she looks riding the bike. Next go to a coffee shop or bistro (etc) for lunch. Ride some where to ice cream. Have a mission to your rides that does not sound like cycling trip.
Think of things to do that catches her attention while riding, not riding for riding.
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Old 11-07-13, 10:27 PM   #3
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My partner and I have been riding together for 30 years; I ride 4-5000 km per year, she does about 2000 so I'm often a lone wolf cyclist. IMHO, you need to make sure her bike is equal to or better than yours and be sure her bike fits perfectly. Tell her how fine she looks riding the bike. Next go to a coffee shop or bistro (etc) for lunch. Ride some where to ice cream. Have a mission to your rides that does not sound like cycling trip.
Think of things to do that catches her attention while riding, not riding for riding.
Well, her bike is not up to par with what I ride. But I normally take my Mountain bike...it is slower and easier to just go slow. I have tried talking her into a new bike.

Thank you for the tips. I never really thought about the lunch thing. HHmmm. Thank you.
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Old 11-07-13, 10:56 PM   #4
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It depends on her personality. If there is things that she likes that can be transposed to the ride.
Add extra weight to your bike (food, water, locks, panniers etc) until you can't follow her and/or find her a super light bike.
My partner don't like when we ride on the road with cars passing by. She likes peaceful roads away from danger. I bought her an helmet's mirror in order she can see what is coming from behind. She doesn't like to be cold.
Start with the easy rides. Avoid any stiff hill to climb.
If there is some new landscapes, animals to discover, other cyclists to meet on the way, that kind of things. It all comes back to the mission as explained by martianone.

Last edited by erig007; 11-07-13 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 11-07-13, 11:05 PM   #5
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Well, her bike is not up to par with what I ride. But I normally take my Mountain bike...it is slower and easier to just go slow. I have tried talking her into a new bike.

Thank you for the tips. I never really thought about the lunch thing. HHmmm. Thank you.
My wife and I often do what martianone has suggested as well. We set a restaurant as the destination for our ride. Or a confectionary. Or a bakery. She's pretty happy about it. That said, nothing stops her from making very similar claims that your spouse does - You're too fast, but I don't want you to ride slow just for me, kinda thing. I tell her I just enjoy riding with her no matter how fast or how slow, but she somehow doesn't buy it. Maybe I should buy an old mountain bike.
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Old 11-07-13, 11:35 PM   #6
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I could have posted this a year ago. We've found a balance, as with most things. My wife is happy going once a week or so when the weather is nice on a 10 mile ride around the lake on the bike trail, to her favorite coffee shop and the farmer's market. She doesn't care so much about riding and I don't care to sit so long in the coffee shop, but we are together and happy. In excess of that, I get my kicks commuting.

It helps that we are evenly matched on our mountain bikes. The one time I took the road bike, she was livid about not keeping up. But she loves her bike, an 18th birthday gift from her parents, and has no interest in getting something faster for its own sake.
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Old 11-08-13, 12:44 AM   #7
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Get a tandem?
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Old 11-08-13, 03:35 AM   #8
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Make sure you communicate that you are happy riding together on slow short completely unchallenging rides. Not just verbally, that's the least important. But smiling and being upbeat, showing that you enjoy the day.

Ensuring she has the proper equipment, perhaps even stupid overkill to ensure she's comfortable, happy and having fun. You know it just sucks when you're cold and wet or somethings up with your bike that makes it more work then fun.

My SO's bike is less then 1/2 the weight of mine. But then I'm like twice her weight. It was a challenge finding a bike that just spoke to her yet was capable of carrying a pack properly. But when first got on her Spec Dolce, well she was just beaming! It was so evident I took pictures. 2k miles later, only changes have been a fitting, the right stem, rear tire (exact same as it came with) and a touring cassette.

My SO prefers I lead, I prefer to follow. So I have to remember to take the lead and allow her to ride her own ride. She doesn't mind falling back in the least. But I prefer being able to see her in the mirror...
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Old 11-08-13, 04:14 AM   #9
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I've ridden in mismatched situations on several occasions.

For several years, relatively recently, my father and I would ride together and during that time I was stronger with more endurance. (The tables have turned now, and he's the stronger one ... but we'll see about that. )

1) There were several times where I planned out a route that included an "escape route" ... and he joined me for the first of it, then returned home on the "escape route", and I continued on to finish the whole thing.

2) Or I planned a loop route of 3 loops, and hed join me for 1 or 2 of them.

3) Or Id plan a route, and go ... and hed leave an hour or two later and ride the route backward to meet me, then ride with in with me.

4) Or if we were on an out-and-back, hed turn around at a certain point and I would continue on to another point, then turn around and ride back trying to catch up with him.


5) Several years ago, a cycling friend and I were also mismatched, with him being stronger. He finished work an hour before I did, so he would set off on a particular out-and-back route an hour before me, and would ride hard to the designated turn-around (approx. 40 km down the road), and then turned around and rode hard until he met me. Then wed either keep riding a little further out, or would turn around and ride back, depending on how I felt.

6) Occasionally, I would set off half an hour, or an hour or so, before my cycling partner, and he would ride hard to catch me.

7) During the time we rode together, I wanted to do intervals or something to help increase my speed. So we came up with this game.

We had a beautiful, smooth, 3 km square loop, with a couple streets dividing the loop to make it shorter if we wanted. I'd start somewhere at one side of the loop, and he would start at the other. I would ride hard to keep in front of him and he would ride hard to try to catch me ... then we'd do a recovery loop or two before starting again.

That was THE BEST way I've ever done intervals!!


8) Another idea might be for the stronger ride to ride hard to the next intersection, then turn around and ride hard back to the slower rider, then cycle with the slower rider to the next intersection for a rest, and repeat.

9) Or do side excursions. Ive had a couple cycling partners do that when they see an intersection in the distance, theyd ride hard to it, then ride up it a way and back, then ride hard to catch up to me, wherever I was, and then ride with me for a while to rest. Sometimes I just let them go and kept going my same pace, but now and then, I tried my best to hang onto my partner's wheel for as long as I could.


10) Also see if there are any multi-distance cycling events coming up. The local century often has 50 km, 100 km, and 100 mile rides. Sometimes they set it up so that all the riders can ride some of the event together before they split off and do their own thing.

Last edited by Machka; 11-08-13 at 04:43 AM.
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Old 11-08-13, 06:11 AM   #10
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When I rode with my girlfriend, we'd stay together on the flat portions, but in hills, I could simply not go as slow as she would, I had to stay in my power zone to be comfortable. So I'd do a short section and wait for her. And if there was a load to be carried, I'd carry it, taking the weight off her bike and onto mine.
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Old 11-08-13, 06:32 AM   #11
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When I rode with my girlfriend, we'd stay together on the flat portions, but in hills, I could simply not go as slow as she would, I had to stay in my power zone to be comfortable. So I'd do a short section and wait for her. And if there was a load to be carried, I'd carry it, taking the weight off her bike and onto mine.
Rowan and I did a hill climbing challenge a couple years ago ... 7 long climbs.

He is a much better climber than I am, and I don't like having anyone hovering around me when I climb. I need to concentrate ... and wobble as necessary.

So we decided to ride our own speeds, and stop about every half hour at an appropriate spot ... and that worked well. We both made it up!

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Old 11-08-13, 06:47 AM   #12
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Get a tandem?
While it is important to point out that some couples don't do well on tandems (e.g., when there are too many type A personalities on board), this is an excellent idea. You won't drop her and she doesn't have to worry nearly as much about being responsible for dealing with traffic and any balance issues become much smaller.

If that doesn't work for you, get a big dog and you can pull the big dog in the trailer when you ride with her. If you don't like big dogs, just borrow (please ask and get permission first) a neighborhood kid that wants to ride in a trailer.

And the goal is to have fun. Not get somewhere in some amount of time, but just have fun.

Good luck.
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Old 11-08-13, 05:58 PM   #13
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Get a tandem?
Tandem ? A possibility.
On tours, my partner & I have met a number of tandem touring couples,
they all seemed very happy. So we tried a tandem, we did have some difficulty
with it - we both like to steer. For us, the tandem was a ride to divorce.
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Old 11-09-13, 06:47 AM   #14
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I have even started doing Zumba with her once or twice a month (Easy guys, she has had my man card for a while now).
I was wondering when I read your post if you were saying that she felt left out by driving the support vehicle or you felt like she'd be left out. If it's the former, then she might actually enjoy doing that and feel included as well. That said...

...I will try my utmost not to use this forum as my soapbox again, because in this case I think it's wonderful that you do Zumba (whatever it involves, I have read that it's very good exercise) with your wife and you're trying so hard to make biking better for her. So this isn't really aimed at you in particular, but I sure do look forward to a day when, even in jest, you don't have to qualify going to Zumba just because we still consider anything that mostly women do to be too weak, pathetic, and otherwise inferior to what men typically do. You hear this your entire life, and I'm 57 years old, and it affects you. It's insidious and destructive, and I wish more men and women would consider the impact of this type of message for once. Should we make even such seemingly light comments about any other group's activities to the effect that we'd have to cash in a chunk of our ego to enjoy them, we'd all catch hell for it. I didn't intend to nitpick your comment, because I know you meant very well, but it came back to me hours after I read it and I felt the need to say something. I sincerely hope I don't offend you or anybody else. And that said, I am very impressed with the support you received from the other posters here.
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Old 11-09-13, 07:03 AM   #15
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we both like to steer. For us, the tandem was a ride to divorce.
I did mention worrying about too (two) many type A personalities...
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Old 11-09-13, 08:13 AM   #16
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The sag wagon "opportunity" might work as a once/year thing, but I'd want it to be my wife's idea as opposed to a request. My wife is working through some physical issues and we're not riding the tandem right now, but what I'm considering is a getaway where I get up early in the am, put in 50-60 miles and we play tourist for the rest of the day or weekend.
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Old 11-09-13, 11:59 AM   #17
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Holy crap. Thanks all for the responses. Been looking at a tandem. Dont like it. But looking. I have printed off some ideas all y'all have stated. Going to implement some of these into a ride this weekend with her. I let some air out of my mountain bike tires. added some weight (nothing real big, just enough to keep me slow). She sets the pace and distance. Love the idea of being happy and joyful.

My wife has some serious health issues we have to work around. I will post back after our ride this weekend. I have a 4 mile ride planned for us. 2 miles to this little place she loves to get a pastry and Chi teas, then back home. We live in a smaller town so...not a big worry about traffic.

Again thanks for the tips and tricks. Keep them coming
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Old 11-09-13, 12:13 PM   #18
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While it is important to point out that some couples don't do well on tandems (e.g., when there are too many type A personalities on board), this is an excellent idea. You won't drop her and she doesn't have to worry nearly as much about being responsible for dealing with traffic and any balance issues become much smaller.

If that doesn't work for you, get a big dog and you can pull the big dog in the trailer when you ride with her. If you don't like big dogs, just borrow (please ask and get permission first) a neighborhood kid that wants to ride in a trailer.

And the goal is to have fun. Not get somewhere in some amount of time, but just have fun.

Good luck.

HAHAHAHAHA. I have a 100 pound bulldog (american Bulldog). She would love the trailer. I dont want to drag a kid around. Then all I get is "Are we there yet?"

Loved the post. lol
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Old 11-09-13, 12:21 PM   #19
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I was wondering when I read your post if you were saying that she felt left out by driving the support vehicle or you felt like she'd be left out. If it's the former, then she might actually enjoy doing that and feel included as well. That said...

...I will try my utmost not to use this forum as my soapbox again, because in this case I think it's wonderful that you do Zumba (whatever it involves, I have read that it's very good exercise) with your wife and you're trying so hard to make biking better for her. So this isn't really aimed at you in particular, but I sure do look forward to a day when, even in jest, you don't have to qualify going to Zumba just because we still consider anything that mostly women do to be too weak, pathetic, and otherwise inferior to what men typically do. You hear this your entire life, and I'm 57 years old, and it affects you. It's insidious and destructive, and I wish more men and women would consider the impact of this type of message for once. Should we make even such seemingly light comments about any other group's activities to the effect that we'd have to cash in a chunk of our ego to enjoy them, we'd all catch hell for it. I didn't intend to nitpick your comment, because I know you meant very well, but it came back to me hours after I read it and I felt the need to say something. I sincerely hope I don't offend you or anybody else. And that said, I am very impressed with the support you received from the other posters here.
Well, I respect everyone's point of view first and for most. I work in a prison, offending me is not possible. I enjoy Zumba, but it is not something I would choose to do. I do it so her and I can spend time together doing something she enjoys. We also hike and all. Zumba is predominantly participated in by women. Tongue in cheek humor I guess. I did not feel you were attacking me persoanlly

But back on topic here, I do not want her to feel left out. She will gladly do it. But then again, I don't want her to not have fun...or do it just because I asked her. We have been married a long time. Have 6 wonderful little rug rats (all teenagers now). I don't want her to view cycling as something she HAS to or is OBLIGATED to put up with. I am kind of hoping I guess she will at least want to do some riding with me.
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Old 11-09-13, 12:40 PM   #20
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I second the suggestions about doing whatever it takes to make yourself go her pace. My partner is also a cyclist and as cyclists we are fairly well matched. But we have our preferences plus somewhat different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to riding. After ten years together we've mostly managed to sort those things out and get along on bike rides, but a big part of it was that we were both obsessively into bicycles in the first place.

But when it comes to activities where one of us has a clear advantage, we've had more issues to work out. He's always done more walking and hiking than me, and he likes to hike really, really fast (most people would call it trail running, I think). I'm really not that slow, but when we hike together we CONSTANTLY argue about it. And the times we've ridden together with more paceline-oriented groups (which he does NOT like), he's complained and argued too. The big difference is that when it's hiking, I'm tagging along on his thing and resent struggling to keep up; when it's pacelines, he's tagging along on my thing and resents getting dropped.

So although I basically like hiking, I sort of drag my feet about doing it together because I know I'm going to feel annoyed and not feel like I can just enjoy the hike. It also just sucks to feel like you're bad at something.

As far as doing the support thing goes though, I can understand where she's coming from if she feels left out. Driving a support vehicle is a real sign of true love. You get to go ride around footloose and fancy free with your buddies, and she's just sort of hanging out in the car by herself. If you want it to be fun for her, find some fun activity she wants to do with her friends that you can plan a bike trip around. Then she goes out with her buddies and you go out with yours and you all meet in the middle.
Or you just treat the whole thing as her doing you and your buddies a major favor, and you find some way you can return the favor by facilitating some weekend trip she and her friends want to go on.
My partner crewed for me on the Furnace Creek 508 twice. That means following me on my bike for two days and nights cooped up in a van with no sleep when he'd really much rather be out on a bike himself. Yeah, he got to see the scenery too, but he sure as !@#$ didn't do it for the fun of it - he did it because his woman wanted to go out and do this crazy bike thing and he's a supportive and generous partner.
So take her willingness to support your trip as a generous gesture, and find a way to be equally supportive and generous with your own time.
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Old 11-09-13, 01:48 PM   #21
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As far as doing the support thing goes though, I can understand where she's coming from if she feels left out. Driving a support vehicle is a real sign of true love. You get to go ride around footloose and fancy free with your buddies, and she's just sort of hanging out in the car by herself. If you want it to be fun for her, find some fun activity she wants to do with her friends that you can plan a bike trip around. Then she goes out with her buddies and you go out with yours and you all meet in the middle.
Or you just treat the whole thing as her doing you and your buddies a major favor, and you find some way you can return the favor by facilitating some weekend trip she and her friends want to go on.
My partner crewed for me on the Furnace Creek 508 twice. That means following me on my bike for two days and nights cooped up in a van with no sleep when he'd really much rather be out on a bike himself. Yeah, he got to see the scenery too, but he sure as !@#$ didn't do it for the fun of it - he did it because his woman wanted to go out and do this crazy bike thing and he's a supportive and generous partner.
So take her willingness to support your trip as a generous gesture, and find a way to be equally supportive and generous with your own time.
Yeah she loves me. My buddies and I are planning a week long trip. It will be nothing special, just something to get us into the "Touring" thing a little. My beautiful wife wants to come and share it with me (it is going to be a big thing for me a great achievement). In the morning she is going to leave us to our own devices (Shenanigans galore I am sure). Meeting up with us for lunch and then in the evening (Hotel). Plus any special stops that are planned. She is going to go shopping and just relax. So there is that.

Thank you for sharing.
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Old 11-09-13, 03:12 PM   #22
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She uses the excuse all the time of "Dallas, you never wait for me..you just ride ahead." I pull ahead 20 or so feet to check an intersection or something. Or she will say "I can tell you are annoyed by having to ride so slow. I can not keep up with you. I don't want you to hold back because I am here". How do I get her to understand I don't care if I am riding a bigwheel...as long as her and I are together. I have even started doing Zumba with her once or twice a month (Easy guys, she has had my man card for a while now).

Can some of you give me some insight or some help with this? Thanks
They make tandem bicycles with two seats where you'll stay the same few feet ahead of her for the duration of a ride, tour, etc.
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Old 11-10-13, 02:34 AM   #23
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I think the first thing is to ask what sort of ride she wants to do and make sure that's what you're doing.
My spouse and I are a pretty good match for speed, but it irks me sometimes that he only ever wants to do his kind of ride - long highway rides on road bikes - and is only rarely willing to do other kinds of cycling that I enjoy, such as urban exploration tours. On the rare occasions that I talk him into one, he'll get into a sulk and start going slower and slower, forcing me to keep stopping at intersections to wait for him. I'm quite willing to come along on his highway rides, so this irritates me.
Compromise is a must.
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Old 11-10-13, 08:29 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by ltmax2001 View Post
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My wife has some serious health issues we have to work around. I will post back after our ride this weekend.
Given health problems, I'd give yet another recommendation for a tandem with IPS. The ability for her to stop pedaling and have you guys keep going can make a huge difference. I can't think of any health issues that would be worse with a tandem than on a single bike. (That doesn't mean there aren't any and I don't see any reason for you to have to provide more health details).
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Old 11-10-13, 02:48 PM   #25
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Depending on how severe her limitations are, you might consider something like the Bilenky Viewpoint -- she can not only stop pedaling, but stop putting any effort into balancing. (If she uses clipless pedals and you get the 4-point seatbelt, she can even take a nap.)

Captain is in the rear, stoker in the front. Stoker has independent freewheeling and independent gear ratio.


Belinky recumbent -- Viewpoint by Tandem Guy, on Flickr

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