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Q: How to ride with your partner - who rides slower than you

Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Q: How to ride with your partner - who rides slower than you

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Old 09-14-18, 07:05 PM
  #26  
SylvainG
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Looking for some advice/insight in how you ride with your spouse/partner when you ride at different paces/speeds. And how to accomplish such a ride without a) hurt feelings or b) the ride ending in divorce

Seriously though, how do you (assuming you ride with your spouse/partner) deal with this on road rides? Just suck it up and ride at a slower pace, realizing you're not going to get a good workout? Ride up ahead of your partner and then circle back to make sure they are ok before riding off again? Or just not ride with your spouse in the first place to keep everyone happy and stress free?
When riding with my wife, I keep in big ring / small cog and work on my slow cadence muscles. Once when climbing a hill that she stopped half way and started walking instead, I went downhill and back up three times saying hello each time I guess it gave her incentive because now she ride the whole hill
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Old 09-14-18, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by LAJ View Post
That's ridiculous, and the narrator is even worse.
I can't believe the stupid thing ever went into production.
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Old 09-14-18, 07:31 PM
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Get her an E bike. I have seen that around here and it works well. I think an E bike can add like 300 Watts in high.
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Old 09-14-18, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Sometimes I ride behind her. Sometimes I do this going up a hill, but it annoys her if I'm very close behind, so I keep a distance. Climbing is a very bad time to give tips. In fact, unsolicited tips on riding better are usually unwelcome. Sometimes I ask her if she wants to hear something I've thought of, but it's best after the ride is over.
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I learned this, too. No talking about anything up a difficult hill.

Oh I'm so glad to hear that I'm not the only one who doesn't like people around me when I climb!

I go into a climbing zone. No talking. No riding on my wheel. No riding beside me.

I just need to do my thing at my pace.


BUT I will add that climbing flights and flights of stairs really improved my climbing ability on the bicycle. Rowan used to get to the top of the hill and then wait several minutes for me. Prior to his accident, he was getting to the top of the hill, turning around to wait, and I was only about 100 metres behind ... sometime I've been right there!
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Old 09-14-18, 08:45 PM
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I've ridden in mismatched situations on several occasions.

For several years, my father and I would ride together and during that time I was stronger with more endurance.

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.


Several years ago, a cycling friend and I were also mismatched, with him being stronger.

5) 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.
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Old 09-14-18, 10:20 PM
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Ride slower or do like we did and buy an ebike.
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Old 09-14-18, 10:58 PM
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My wife and I bought a tandem. That was some good ridin'.
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Old 09-14-18, 11:21 PM
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A) Ride slower and take your slowest bike if you have one. And
B) Get her an electric bike.
my wife and I go out for rides in nice weather on a fairly regular basis. I let her set the pace, which is generally about 10-12 mph. Depending on the hill (some I can still get up faster than she can even with her electric assist), I'll wait at the top. When we're out together, it's for gentle leisure riding, so we make it that. Have a nice chat, stop for a picnic, go pub and cafe hopping. Normally we do a decent distance, 30-50 miles but it's all day.
Also, if you have a bike with a pannier rack, take it and fill the panniers. That will help with slowing down slightly.
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Old 09-15-18, 03:47 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by colnago62 View Post
Get her an E bike. I have seen that around here and it works well. I think an E bike can add like 300 Watts in high.
This is exactly what I'd do if they weren't so expensive. My only concern would the riding in close proximity at higher speeds than she's used to, but that would probably be alleviated after a few rides.
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Old 09-15-18, 05:21 AM
  #35  
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My husband rides faster than I do and has a faster bike. We mix things up. At the start of the ride he rides with me. Midway he takes off and leaves me behind. He will circle back to me and we finish the ride together. This compromise works for both of us. We both get to ride at our own pace and still ride together.
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Old 09-15-18, 05:32 AM
  #36  
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I just bought my wife a faster bike, I didn't stick her to a mountain bike and my road bike like before. She hated riding just for the fact that she was always the slowest in the group. Found a smoking deal on an Orbea for her and now I cant keep her off of it.
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Old 09-15-18, 07:11 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Looking for some advice/insight in how you ride with your spouse/partner when you ride at different paces/speeds. And how to accomplish such a ride without a) hurt feelings or b) the ride ending in divorce

Seriously though, how do you (assuming you ride with your spouse/partner) deal with this on road rides? Just suck it up and ride at a slower pace, realizing you're not going to get a good workout? Ride up ahead of your partner and then circle back to make sure they are ok before riding off again? Or just not ride with your spouse in the first place to keep everyone happy and stress free?
One key piece of missing information is your wife's reason for riding. When I ride someplace with my wife, it's usually along the lines of picnicking at a park or going someplace to eat/drink that has outdoor seating. Cycling is a pleasant conveyance, not an activity unto itself.

Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
This is exactly what I'd do if they weren't so expensive. My only concern would the riding in close proximity at higher speeds than she's used to, but that would probably be alleviated after a few rides.
My wife has a Dutchie bike that she really likes, it's in like-new condition and, because new e-bikes are so expensive, I've been keeping a loose eye on the powered wheels that can be retrofitted. $600-$1000 for something like this would be totally reasonable but I'd really like to see more reviews and immediate availability - I'm not going in on any Kickstarter BS. Unlike the OP, riding at her pace isn't really a problem for me and the main reasons for making a purchase like this would be to extend her range and help with some of the "hills."

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Old 09-15-18, 09:07 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
One key piece of missing information is your wife's reason for riding. When I ride someplace with my wife, it's usually along the lines of picnicking at a park or going someplace to eat/drink that has outdoor seating. Cycling is a pleasant conveyance, not an activity unto itself.



My wife has a Dutchie bike that she really likes, it's in like-new condition and, because new e-bikes are so expensive, I've been keeping a loose eye on the powered wheels that can be retrofitted. $600-$1000 for something like this would be totally reasonable but I'd really like to see more reviews and immediate availability - I'm not going in on any Kickstarter BS. Unlike the OP, riding at her pace isn't really a problem for me and the main reasons for making a purchase like this would be to extend her range and help with some of the "hills."

Crosswind would be a pain to deal with with a wheel like that IMHO.
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Old 09-15-18, 09:12 AM
  #39  
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That's why you always "Pass The Dutchie on the Left Hand Side."
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Old 09-15-18, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by SylvainG View Post
Crosswind would be a pain to deal with with a wheel like that IMHO.
Considering the speed, weight and handling of a Dutchie? Yeah, not too concerning IMO.
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Old 09-15-18, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Considering the speed, weight and handling of a Dutchie? Yeah, not too concerning IMO.
How about this one? It's no longer a kickstarter but in production.
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Old 09-15-18, 09:51 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by SylvainG View Post
How about this one? It's no longer a kickstarter but in production.
That's some space-age looking ****. Worth looking in to, along with others, after the winter.
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Old 09-15-18, 09:59 AM
  #43  
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Tandem. I know several couples who've used this solution. It's the only one that actually works. The weaker rider will get much stronger stoking a tandem that they can riding their single. Plus it's just more fun. I get out on my single a few times a year. Mostly, we ride our tandem. It's better training for the captain too, one of the reasons I prefer to ride tandem. The place for the single bikes is on trainers or rollers with loud rock music and box fans. Then it's easy to ride together!
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Old 09-15-18, 09:59 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
I've seriously considered getting the SO an e-bike for this very reason.

Me too. Makes it easy and enjoyable for them, my concern would be handling skills at speed though.
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Old 09-15-18, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Bluechip View Post
That's the only thing that works for us. If I ride in front I will invariably just ride off a faster pace. I have to stay behind her. The only exception is when it's extremely windy then I will just get in front an try to hold her pace.

A slower bike help too I usually ride my Fargo when I ride with my wife. I just plan on an easy day when we go out together.
Yeah, that is one solution I came up with this past summer. Letting her set the pace. As you mentioned, if I ride out front I invariably end up taking off on her. Not on purpose mind you. I just keep peddling my own pace and when I turn around, she's dropped off the back.

Of course it doesn't help that she is nervous about staying too close to my wheel. She was a bad crash in a women's only group ride and it did a pretty good job of spooking her for following too close on a wheel.

Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
I've seriously considered getting the SO an e-bike for this very reason.
Funny you should mention this. I did suggest it and, well, let's just say it didn't over very well

Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
I have to be a backseat rider, otherwise I'll end up leaving her behind. We're usually riding to a destination so she leads and sets the pace. If we're going somewhere unfamiliar or JRA, I'll guide from behind letting her (always) set the pace. This is "us" time, not "me" time. Besides, the view is always better from behind.

Get your workout ride in before or after.
You hit the proverbial nail on the head here with a couple of things. One, I need to get a workout ride in before hand. That will satisfy my need to get a good, fast/hard ride in. Second, it will tire me out sufficiently for the ride with my wife that I won't be inadvertently dropping her. And lastly, I like the point you make about it being "us" time and not "me" time. I think that is huge. It's a mental shift that's important and one that will likely take some getting used to. But in the grand scheme of things, I think it will make for a more pleasant ride for everyone.

Originally Posted by SylvainG View Post
When riding with my wife, I keep in big ring / small cog and work on my slow cadence muscles. Once when climbing a hill that she stopped half way and started walking instead, I went downhill and back up three times saying hello each time I guess it gave her incentive because now she ride the whole hill
I like this suggestion. What I had been doing is a lot of stand up cycling. I'd put the gearing in to some kind of combination that facilitated a lot of out of saddle peddling. I found that it helped slow me down enough to peddle with the wife, and I still felt like I was getting a workout in. Once I pick up a powermeter (black Friday sales hopefully) that should help with me training too.

Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Tandem. I know several couples who've used this solution. It's the only one that actually works. The weaker rider will get much stronger stoking a tandem that they can riding their single. Plus it's just more fun. I get out on my single a few times a year. Mostly, we ride our tandem. It's better training for the captain too, one of the reasons I prefer to ride tandem. The place for the single bikes is on trainers or rollers with loud rock music and box fans. Then it's easy to ride together!
Maybe one day for the tandem. Right now both of us are enjoying riding our road bikes. That said both of us have such strong personalities that I can see a tandem causing some issues too! One of my friends has a tandem though. Perhaps it's worth borrowing it to see what we think.
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Old 09-15-18, 04:59 PM
  #46  
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I just put the bike on the small chainring, big cog combo and spin. On a ride where we average 12-13 mph, I can spend most of the ride in cardio zones 4 and 5!
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Old 09-15-18, 05:59 PM
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Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Y<snip>
Maybe one day for the tandem. Right now both of us are enjoying riding our road bikes. That said both of us have such strong personalities that I can see a tandem causing some issues too! One of my friends has a tandem though. Perhaps it's worth borrowing it to see what we think.
Yes. see if they'll let you try it if you wan both reach the pedals. First you go with his stoker. Then your wife stokes for their captain. Then you try it together yourselves. If you can do it mentally and emotionally, it'll be good for you. Builds a stronger team.
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Old 09-15-18, 10:32 PM
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In my opinion, the answer to this question is to a different question: why are you out there? Time with SO: making it a good experience for your partner is all that counts. Mix of time with SO and getting a bit of a workout in: good luck there but likely to leave you both unsatified. Different drummers, same activity: organize however you want and it will probably work.
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Old 09-15-18, 11:39 PM
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I dont know man if you have to ask such a simple question with an obvious answer , that would be to smash yourself day before or day of and recover on the ride .
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Old 09-16-18, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by chicagogal View Post
I actually think that this is a great question and one that my partner and I have been working on a lot lately. Now, it bears noting that our speeds are not very different, so what I am about to describe wouldn't necessarily work for vastly different cyclists. He is (usually) faster on flats and into the wind and I am (usually) faster on sustained climbs. I just wait for him on top of climbs and it is no big deal. It has been more complicated on the flats. If I draft the whole time, I don't get enough of a workout, and if we ride two-abreast the whole time I am usually suffering. It would make some sense for us to take turns at the front, with his turns being longer, but that just turns into a time trial, which usually isn't what we are after when riding together. Thus, we try to ride side-by-side as much as possible.


Sometimes we determine a point at which he is going to go ahead. If this is toward the end of a ride, then we both just ride home at our own pace. Sometimes, he will divert from the course mid-ride, taking a slightly longer route and then trying to catch me. Finally, he will sometimes charge ahead before a long climb and I chase him down on the climb, and then we finish the ride together.


We try to plan this ahead of time, because I hate it when he surges ahead and I don't know what is going on. However, the planning has been the hardest part, because we don't always know how strong we will each be feeling until we get out on the road. Thus, if we predetermine that he is going to chase, he feels pressure to do that, even if he is having an off-day...then he just ends up suffering and blaming me. Or if we decide to do the whole ride together and I'm the one having an off day, then I either feel bad for slowing him down... or I end up suffering and blaming him.


As you can see, its a work in progress, and not an easy calculus. Good luck figuring it out with your wife!
Lots of great responses in this thread and people do it a lot of different ways.
Me personally because I ride with women all different speeds, most of whom are slower, I just ride their pace and pull for them. But many times, we don't push and just chat on the bike. Some don't like to ride fast at all. I don't really care. I use it for recovery and fresh air. I can always go out later or early on my own and hammer. I try to accommodate the other rider and not take them too far out of their comfort zone unless they want me to push them.

Perhaps one of the most annoying things a rider can do to another is half wheel them. I am not always in the mood to hammer. I have a friend who is always trying to show me how fast he is. He is always pushing the pace. I can drop him if I try hard enough but he is no slouch. So when riding side by side, he is always 'half wheeling me'. Most of you know what this is like. Don't do this to others. Its common when a faster rider rides with a slower rider. So what I do when this happens is...I drop back and get behind this guy who is a good friend....and let him pull for me. Since he is a sporty rider, we still click along pretty good. Of course its doesn't accomplish what he wants.

People have personalities on the bikes just like they do out in society. For example, you write that your partner sometimes surges ahead which makes you feel uncomfortable. Of course. I believe surging ahead of a riding companion is rude. Disrespectful if the other rider can't or doesn't feel like keeping pace. I like what one very good rider said on here. He doesn't ride with the A listers any more because too many with poor self esteem trying to prove something to others. This occurs even in two people riding together.

Take away is, pick your riding partners carefully. Some who are in relationships can't ride together or play golf together for that matter.

I also generally will ride a gear or two up for a bit more leg work with slower riders but typically, I just enjoy the ride and the social aspect. I always love to see couples riding together and couples on tandems.

Last edited by Campag4life; 09-16-18 at 04:42 AM.
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