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Options for biking with significant other

Old 05-29-18, 10:59 AM
  #1  
seebol
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Options for biking with significant other

Iím blessed with a partner who is enthusiastic to try road biking more with me. I'd like to ask your opinion how how best to do this, either as the partner introducing or getting introduced to road cycling.

She currently has a nice Trek Chelsea (commuter style, 700x32 tires) bike, and we've had some 20 mile rides at ~12 mph that are not taxing for her, but her top speed appears limited by the design of the Chelsea, even just coasting downhill. I'd like to try longer/faster rides (60-100 miles, 15 mph) with her and am weighing some options: (1) replacing tires with slick 790x25c ones and removing fenders to speed up her Chelsea (how fast could the bike go then?) (2) buying a $300 cheapo tandem (pacific dualie) and installing slicks or (3) buying a Diamondback podium 650c road bike, which would fit well and I can find online for $300. What are your experiences ? Thank you!

Last edited by seebol; 05-29-18 at 02:08 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 05-29-18, 11:25 AM
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Her bike's fine. Just ride more. Speed will come.
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Old 05-29-18, 12:18 PM
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There are too many variables at play here.

- Is she interested in a different bike, or are you imagining a solution for a problem that she does not perceive?
- Has she ridden any other types of bike so far?
- Has she agreed to this 60-100 mile at 15mph goal of yours? What is the time horizon to do these spirited rides? This summer? Next year?
- Maybe an intermediate goal might be better. See if her current bike can support that goal.
- Take her to a bike shop that you trust and let her talk with the staff there. They maybe can guide her and let her try a few different styles.
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Old 05-29-18, 12:24 PM
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Tandem sounds awesome... you get all the workout you want and she contributes as much or little power as she can/wants.


Think of it as toting around your own mountain that can keep you company at the same time!
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Old 05-29-18, 12:29 PM
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The reason why people buy tandems is because a couple wants too ride together but have differing physical abilities. You can have all the good intentions in the world but, at some point, you'll find yourself at the top of a hill with your wife nowhere in sight.

At it's best, a tandem resolves that difficulty so you'll always arrive at the lunch stop at the same time.
At it's worst - well - whichever way your relationship is headed, a tandem will get you there sooner.
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Old 05-29-18, 01:00 PM
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you can also just get a slower bike for yourself & enjoy the time together
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Old 05-29-18, 01:29 PM
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What does SHE want to do? If she wants a road bike, go shopping for a road bike.

My wife and I have a set of Cardo BK-1 helmet radios for when we ride together (I think terrano bought them out), which SHE greatly enjoys. It also lets her ride behind me in the wind and still maintain the ability to chat.
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Old 05-29-18, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
The reason why people buy tandems is because a couple wants too ride together but have differing physical abilities. You can have all the good intentions in the world but, at some EVERY point, you'll find yourself at the top of a hill with your wife nowhere in sight.
FIFY

Nah, just joking. As to the points:
1) None, if it doesn't HURT her speed. You aren't finding any appreciable speed for someone of her level (or, most people here) in going from 32 to 25 and losing fenders. OTOH, the narrower tires may induce more fatigue which discourages her more.
2) Sounds like a great way to make both of you hate cycling. Not the tandem idea, the cheap tandem idea.
3) Buying a bike sight unseen which may or may not fit her, that she had no input in, and had no chance to try out first? Again, sounds like a money waste to me that's likely to backfire.

You just gotta build up to what she is comfortable with, and realize she may not have the same plans as you. There is nothing wrong with leisurely pace 20 mile rides, if that is what she enjoys. Echoing Phil above, have you talked to her about what she wants to do? My wife was into bike riding before she met me, in the same manner as your girlfriend. I got her up to 60 mile rides and some touring, but I know where that limit is for her, and don't see any reason to push it to get me a bit extra enjoyment. I went to Iceland myself last year, because we both knew she had no interest and it would make the both of us miserable. This year, we're doing a flat French canal path at 50 miles a day, which she has been looking forward to. It is all about tailoring the experience to something you both get enjoyment out of, not pushing her to do what you want.

Also, be realistic. Someone doing 20 mile rides at 12MPH is going to take time to get to 60 mile rides at 12MPH, is going to take time getting to 60 mil rides at 15MPH, is going to take time getting to 100 mile rides at any speed.
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Old 05-29-18, 01:40 PM
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Yes a road bike will be faster. Does she want to go faster, or does she want you to slow down? Options seem to be:
1. Get her a road bike
2. Get you a hybrid
3. Get both of you a tandem.
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Old 05-29-18, 01:46 PM
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Also, it may sound stupid coming from my notably cheap mouth, but if she does decide she wants a nicer bike, don't just buy what you find a deal on. Take her shopping, involve her in the decision, don't put an artificially low price constraint on her. Help her if she requests it, but don;t dictate what she wants, let her make the decision. It is her butt on the bike, not yours, she has to want to be on it if you are trying to get her to centuries.

A great point that was made on another thread a few weeks ago: if she's not interested in making those decisions, she's not interested in doing what you are trying to get her to do.
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Old 05-29-18, 02:48 PM
  #11  
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Thanks for all the different viewpoints! I'm glad a lot of you are sticking up for her against my perceived bullying haha. I should have mentioned that she has expressed interest in joining me on spirited rides, and she is quite strong and fit. She is also frugal and would feel wasteful with a more expensive gift since it'd only be used once every couple of weeks. That's why I found a couple affordable options that she can't feel too guilty about but that I think she could keep up with. I've asked her opinion in terms of bike appearance, but unfortunately there are few options on Craiglist or in the LBS for her to physically try. I am leaning toward the tandem option as the best way for us to enjoy rides together, but will look into the option of buying radio headsets to stay in touch on solo road bikes. Thanks for your views and feel free to keep sharing your opinions on this topic!

Last edited by seebol; 05-29-18 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 05-29-18, 02:58 PM
  #12  
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The likelihood that you'll ever get her going upwards of 100 miles at 15mph is, uh, low, IMO.

My typical 30-mile solo ride on fairly flat terrain averages about 17mph. My wife, strong and fit (but old, like me) averages 14 on a good day. Riding together on separate bikes is an exercise in restraint on my part. I like riding with her, so that's fine. But she'll never average 15mph, even for 30 miles.

So we bought a tandem; solves all the problems. It really does. I agree that if communication in your relationship isn't strong, a tandem will be a problem, since constant, high-level, loving, productive communication is a must. But we love it!

Mark

Last edited by 124Spider; 05-29-18 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 05-29-18, 04:37 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
At it's worst - well - whichever way your relationship is headed, a tandem will get you there sooner.
That's quote-worthy.
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Old 05-30-18, 08:18 AM
  #14  
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Removing fenders makes your bike faster?
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Old 05-30-18, 08:19 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by BlazingPedals View Post
Yes a road bike will be faster. Does she want to go faster, or does she want you to slow down? Options seem to be:
1. Get her a road bike
2. Get you a hybrid
3. Get both of you a tandem.
4. Get a new wife.
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Old 05-30-18, 08:39 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
4. Get a new wife.
Can we apply the n+1 rule to wives too?
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Old 05-30-18, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by seebol View Post
I'm glad a lot of you are sticking up for her against my perceived bullying haha. I should have mentioned that she has expressed interest in joining me on spirited rides, and she is quite strong and fit. She is also frugal and would feel wasteful with a more expensive gift since it'd only be used once every couple of weeks. ...
The question "what should I get my significant other" comes up enough that is worth repeating what was said. Bikes are not one of those things that you can just gift someone without either a) really knowing their sizing and what they want in a bike, or b) are willing to risk a substantial investment in something that'll go unused because it is uncomfortable.

That said, unless you are really lacking for LBS, you can often find decent deals. My wife picked out and bought a Specialized Dolce on closeout last year for half off, because it was the previous year's color. Once she found something she liked and was sitting on and enjoying, spending the money became easier. DO you have a general geographic area you care to share, that someone may offer shop or CL suggestions?

As to the tandem idea, would you personally want to ride a Walmart bike on a century ride at 15MPH? I'm guessing no, but that is exactly what you'll be doing with that.

As to the rest, if she is only planning on getting on the bike once every few weeks, it is doubtful you'll ever get her to century level, let alone 15MPH pace in doing so.

Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Removing fenders makes your bike faster?
If one is at a top level of fitness and a decent level of competition and dealing with aero being their primary hold back, sure, I'd probably ditch fenders. I haven't noticed a lick of difference in pre or post fender speeds on any of my bikes that have them, I'm sure the bulk of people in this site are the same way.
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Old 05-30-18, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
If one is at a top level of fitness and a decent level of competition and dealing with aero being their primary hold back, sure, I'd probably ditch fenders. I haven't noticed a lick of difference in pre or post fender speeds on any of my bikes that have them, I'm sure the bulk of people in this site are the same way.
Sure, but we're talking about casual riding of around 14 MPH or less. I don't think the fenders are going to make much difference.
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Old 05-30-18, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Can we apply the n+1 rule to wives too?
Only if you're into polygamy.
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Old 05-30-18, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Sure, but we're talking about casual rides of around 14 MPH. I don't think the fenders are going to make much difference.
Agreed. As I've mentioned, I have never noticed a speed difference going from no fenders to fenders in speed on bikes that have gotten them, I'd be shocked if more than a handful of folks here could objectively prove a difference.
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Old 05-30-18, 09:05 AM
  #21  
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I haven't had fenders on a bike since I took them off my Western Flyer banana seat bike back around 1980 or so.
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Old 05-30-18, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
I haven't had fenders on a bike since I took them off my Western Flyer banana seat bike back around 1980 or so.
All just personal preference. My "road" bike doesn't wear them, because it is basically reserved for doing laps around Belle Isle on nice days at this point. Everything else gets ridden in wetness, so I like them. I became a fan of them after the wife pulled us over in Belgium and said she wasn't riding any further than to the nearest bike shop to buy some without having them on her bike.

That said, on a bike like the OPs talking about, I doubt they are on there for anything but aesthetics.
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Old 05-30-18, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
All just personal preference. My "road" bike doesn't wear them, because it is basically reserved for doing laps around Belle Isle on nice days at this point. Everything else gets ridden in wetness, so I like them. I became a fan of them after the wife pulled us over in Belgium and said she wasn't riding any further than to the nearest bike shop to buy some without having them on her bike.

That said, on a bike like the OPs talking about, I doubt they are on there for anything but aesthetics.
I really liked the fenders on that bike, they were chrome and when I cleaned them up they shone really nicely. I think they started to get where they were falling off so I went ahead and took them off anyway.

I think I actually wouldn't mind having fenders on my bikes now, but I rarely ride in wet conditions so it wouldn't be worth it.
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Old 05-30-18, 11:20 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by seebol View Post
Iím blessed with a partner who is enthusiastic to try road biking more with me. I'd like to ask your opinion how how best to do this, either as the partner introducing or getting introduced to road cycling.

She currently has a nice Trek Chelsea (commuter style, 700x32 tires) bike, and we've had some 20 mile rides at ~12 mph that are not taxing for her, but her top speed appears limited by the design of the Chelsea, even just coasting downhill. I'd like to try longer/faster rides (60-100 miles, 15 mph) with her and am weighing some options: (1) replacing tires with slick 790x25c ones and removing fenders to speed up her Chelsea (how fast could the bike go then?) (2) buying a $300 cheapo tandem (pacific dualie) and installing slicks or (3) buying a Diamondback podium 650c road bike, which would fit well and I can find online for $300. What are your experiences ? Thank you!
Does she also want to to try longer/faster rides or is it just you? If she is happy with the riding you're doing now, leave it at that and consider yourself lucky. If she wants to do more, then let her decide how best to go about that.
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Old 05-30-18, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Ogsarg View Post
Does she also want to to try longer/faster rides or is it just you? If she is happy with the riding you're doing now, leave it at that and consider yourself lucky. If she wants to do more, then let her decide how best to go about that.
I agree. I'd really love to get my wife on a bike, and she's expressed interest, but we need to find the right bike for her. She's a bit self-conscious about being on a bike around town, I keep telling her not to worry about it, nobody cares what she looks like. I think it will come in time, especially when our 6-year-old daughter gets off training wheels and the whole family can go on rides together.
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