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

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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

Old 09-14-18, 02:25 PM
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Q: How to ride with your partner - who rides slower than you

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?
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Old 09-14-18, 02:38 PM
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Spend the entire time pulling.

Or.

Get a tandem.
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Old 09-14-18, 02:45 PM
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My wife is the type of rider who loves to ride to a destination, but isn't into riding for the sake of riding. So when I ride with her, we ride to where we're going and I let her set the pace.
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Old 09-14-18, 02:47 PM
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Don't ride ahead and come back, they don't like that (YMMV, or i guess YWifeMV). Don't pass them on a hill, stay behind (stand and slow pedal?). Try to ride a slower bike (I'll take the 29er instead of the road or cross bike). Ride with her first, then do a second ride at a faster pace.

A lot will depend on her attitude, she may be fine with you getting an interval in occasionally.

I've thought about a tandem or electric assist bike. Both are pricey.
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Old 09-14-18, 02:48 PM
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Ride a slower bike.
Stick it in lowest gear and zip tie your shifters.
Stick it in highest gear and zip tie your shifters.
Keep pressure on your rear brake.
Keep one shoe unclipped.


Realistically, I would just suck it up and try to fit in a faster ride later. Biking with the S/O is "Us" time, while riding at speed is Me time.
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Old 09-14-18, 02:55 PM
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I'm a lot stronger and faster than my wife. I've learned many things.

Some bikes are uncomfortable under a certain speed. It's because I put less pressure on the pedals, so I consequently put more on my hands and feet. A more upright bike is better.

I usually wait at the tops of the hills for her. Sometimes she wants to rest at the top but usually not.

I wear a rear view mirror on my glasses, because she gets annoyed when I get too far ahead. I make sure I can see her most of the time, but it's OK to be out of sight for a fraction of the time.

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.

Sometimes I will charge up a hill to get a little exercise. But on some rides, I give in to the fact that the ride is about being together, not getting a workout. In fact, a full workout seems impossible when we ride together. So I ride by myself or with male friends if I'm after a workout. There are women who are my strength and better, but I'm not friendly with any of them. They are rare.

I got a tandem, and we started riding it three years ago. My hope was that it would be an equalizer. It is, but it has its own set of challenges. The more time we ride it, the better it gets, but it ain't easy. First of all, I had to learn to accede to anything she wants. This is a general rule for tandem teams. Most tandem teams are a man in front and a woman in back with the woman smaller and not as strong as the man. Second, there are plenty of skills that both captain and stoker have to learn, some through negotiation. See the tandem section to learn them. My hope is that eventually, my wife will be able to ride longer on the tandem than a single bike. This has not happened yet. Luckily, my stamina on the tandem is LESS than on a single bike, so it is proving to be an equalizer, but not in the way I had hoped. But it does eliminate the strength disparity. She has learned that I am content with any contribution she makes. She used to pedal as hard as possible going up hill, but I told her I don't need her to unless I request it. And I only request it rarely, and for short periods.

Most importantly, and I've said this already, riding together, the best thing to achieve is companionship, not exercise for you. With your differing abilities, how can you get a workout if she's not as strong as you? After a ride which feels to me like a stroll in the park, she says "Wow are my legs aching!" She does strengthening exercises off the bike, but there doesn't seem to be much potential. She's naturally extremely thin. I'm thin, too, but I have big thighs and butt, and I ride a lot more.
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Old 09-14-18, 02:55 PM
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It's easy...ride slower and know that he/she is working harder than you so he/she is having a different type of ride than you. That means don't try to have deep conversations with someone who is suffering more than you are while grinding up a hill.
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Old 09-14-18, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RJM
It's easy...ride slower and know that he/she is working harder than you so he/she is having a different type of ride than you. That means don't try to have deep conversations with someone who is suffering more than you are while grinding up a hill.
I learned this, too. No talking about anything up a difficult hill.
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Old 09-14-18, 03:23 PM
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Try and go on an intense, short ride before hand.

Its a lot easier to ride slower if your at least a little worn out.
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Old 09-14-18, 03:30 PM
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Uh ... slow down?
/thread?
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Old 09-14-18, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider
Some bikes are uncomfortable under a certain speed. It's because I put less pressure on the pedals, so I consequently put more on my hands and feet. A more upright bike is better..
One of the most uncomfortable rides I did was a 12mile 10mph ave pace ride on my road bike. My arm, hands, backside, etc. were achy and sore. Never happens on same bike at twice the speed and 5x the distance. I too attribute it to having much less of body weight supported by legs and instead all on ass and hands.
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Old 09-14-18, 03:52 PM
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Find a faster spouse/S0.
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Old 09-14-18, 03:52 PM
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Let her ride in front, single file. Or beside, but stay slightly behind. It's the only thing that works for me, otherwise I speed up unconsciously.
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Old 09-14-18, 03:56 PM
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Can you just ride together at the beginning or end of your regular ride? Then you can just enjoy it without the thought of losing a workout hanging over you.
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Old 09-14-18, 04:01 PM
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Deflate your tires to about 50psi, assuming you're on some narrower road 700c tires. Or, make it a different kind of exercise.. put your bike in it's hardest gear, pretend you have a fixie, and never shift again.
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Old 09-14-18, 04:05 PM
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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.

Originally Posted by wphamilton
Let her ride in front, single file. Or beside, but stay slightly behind. It's the only thing that works for me, otherwise I speed up unconsciously.
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Old 09-14-18, 04:09 PM
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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!
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Old 09-14-18, 04:11 PM
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I've seriously considered getting the SO an e-bike for this very reason.
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Old 09-14-18, 04:20 PM
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Plan routes with minimal climbing, and consciously ride to their pace, not yours. Every ride doesn't need to be a "workout."

My wife works, a lot-- more than her share of 10-12 hour days. So she's lucky to get in 5-6 rides a month. I average over 15 hours a week on the bike. I'm significantly faster.

But when I'm out riding with her, I don't give a damn about speed. I'm out there to ride with my wife, at whatever pace she's comfortable with.

We also do a Sunday morning loop where we head out before breakfast, do about 20 miles, stop at the Yum Yum Donuts and share a donut and chocolate milk, then do about 10 miles home.

It's one of my favorite rides. We probably average 15mph.
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Old 09-14-18, 04:38 PM
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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.


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Old 09-14-18, 04:44 PM
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If it's my wife and/or kids, I take their pace, and at the end of the ride load up their bikes on the car, let them head on home, and then I hit it hard for an hour or two eventually riding home. This because the family ride is for their pleasure and their own level of exercise.

If it's a riding buddy, we may stay together for awhile but eventually agree to meet up at the turnaround point or some rendezvous point before the next leg of the ride.
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Old 09-14-18, 04:46 PM
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Old 09-14-18, 04:48 PM
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Sometimes rides can just be about enjoyment and not for training or workouts.
Perhaps your rides with your wife can be your recovery ride?

I ride with my younger brother who is recovering from back surgery and a perforated intestine. I double up on the hill climbs while he struggles but finishes. I still get a good workout while he develops his strength.
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Old 09-14-18, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup
Bicycle Bungee

I was like... that's actually pretty neat. Then I went to the website to look it up, and I was like.. THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS? I'll just ride slower, like I do now!
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Old 09-14-18, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by noodle soup
That's ridiculous, and the narrator is even worse.
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