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Cycling holiday: I ride, she doesn't

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

Cycling holiday: I ride, she doesn't

Old 08-21-11, 10:05 PM
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rousseau
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Cycling holiday: I ride, she doesn't

Anyone do holidays where you ride but your insignificant other doesn't?

My wife and I (no kids) want to do short holidays of about two weeks at a time in various places in Europe. Maybe once or twice per year, probably during the winter when our business is a bit slower. We're both home office types, so we have flexibility.

She loves museums, cathedrals, buildings and European streetscapes. I like those last two, along with the vibe and the history stuff, but my feet get sore looking at pictures. Since I got into riding a few years ago I've developed a keen hankering to ride over there. I recall during a holiday in Spain a few years ago thinking how great it would be to ride around Girona.* And the south of France, well...bliss, t'would be.

Has anyone ever done this kind of trip? How'd it work out? Was there any resentment from the non-cycling party at being left alone? Did you only ride every other day? Did you discover any tricks to make the trip work well?

*Interesting sidenote: over fully 24 days of traipsing throughout the cities of Barcelona, Valencia, Madrid, Cordoba, Seville, Granada and Girona in January of 2007 we saw precisely one person riding a bicycle. That's right: one. It was 20 degrees and sunny much of the time; absolutely lovely winter weather. I don't get it. Oh, wait a minute: we also saw a pro cycling team in training on the shoulder of the A-42 into Madrid. Ten guys in spandex were in a peleton at the side of the high-speed limited access motorway. The coach driver politely veered over into the passing lane to pass them. No one batted an eye. Wild!
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Old 08-22-11, 02:36 PM
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Nobody got any words of wisdom for me?
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Old 08-22-11, 02:42 PM
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Does your wife like to sleep late in the morning? If yes, then you do an early morning ride, and return to the hotel when she is waking up.
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Old 08-22-11, 02:43 PM
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My girlfriend enjoys her bike, but not like I do. I don't take bike specific vacations, but I'll take my bike with me when we go check things out around the state. I'll spend a day riding, hard, while she does her thing. Fortunately for me, and for my situation, the ocean doesn't really seem any different from a very big lake to me, and isn't any more interesting. So a good trip is somewhere that lets her go look for whales, or into the void or whatever, while I ride. Then we'll do stuff together the next day.
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Old 08-22-11, 02:51 PM
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Give her a Credit Card with a large limit available and your blessing to use it and ride all you want...

Don't ask her what she spent until you get home.

I took my ex-wife to Greece, spent a lot of time fidgeting in jewelry stores while she hemmed and hawed about what she wanted. It was 13 years ago and that's all I remember about that trip.

Just make sure to save some time for her in the afternoons/evenings and take her to some nice restaurants (maybe suggest a spa while you are riding?).

She will probably enjoy the catherals and museums more without you (she knows you don't enjoy them even if you don't complain).
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Old 08-22-11, 02:53 PM
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Are you going to be moving around a lot going from city to city, or staying in one place the whole time?

There are few things more likely to get on you partners bad side than schlepping a giant bike box that you have to keep packing and unpacking.

Maybe look into renting rather than bringing your bike with you.
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Old 08-22-11, 02:56 PM
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Also, if you go camping, and the girlfriend or wife says that she can sleep out under the stars or in the car so you can fit the bike inside the tent where potential thieves won't see it ... say thanks, but no. And then tell her you love her. Try not to look at the bike when you say it.
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Old 08-22-11, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
Anyone do holidays where you ride but your insignificant other doesn't?
Did you mean to say "insignificant", man harsh!!!
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Old 08-22-11, 03:00 PM
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I just took a trip w/ my non-riding wife and the morning approach worked. I'd be out riding and she enjoyed having a light breakfast while reading a book on the deck. Worked out very well.

One ride we did drive into town together and she went shopping while I took off for a ride and then joined her for lunch. Just be planful about it, so she doesn't think you're just taking off to ride every chance you get.
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Old 08-22-11, 03:08 PM
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Oh, I have an idea!

Ask your wife what she thinks.

I know, I'm an innovator.

It's like this: if there's something that she can do that you aren't interested in or would be bored with if you accompanied her, there might be some opportunities to go your separate ways for a couple of hours. Or if she's going to be sleeping in, as someone else suggested, that could work. But killing opportunities for "together time" is not a good idea, and come on - isn't that what vacations with a partner/spouse are all about? Spending time together? You might be on safer ground planning your own personal bike vacation in Europe that doesn't interfere with a vacation that the two of you are spending together. You'll have all the time in the world to enjoy the riding, you won't be feeling guilty, and she won't be sitting in a hotel room twiddling her thumbs and fuming.
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Old 08-22-11, 03:20 PM
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Actually, the two of us both have home offices, so we're together all the time, both at work and at play. The only time I'm not with her is when I go for rides. It's been like this for 15 years, and we're both completely used to it. So doing separate stuff on a holiday isn't a big deal.

I wish I was a morning person, but I'm not, so the early morning ride won't work. We have actually discussed this, but her only concerns were about schlepping the bike on the plane. Otherwise, we figure we'd spend two weeks in one place and really get to know it. We've had it with backpack trips where you have to arrange for buses and hotels every other day.

I was just wondering if anyone had ever done this sort of thing and if there were any tips to or things to avoid.
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Old 08-22-11, 04:51 PM
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Your wife sounds a lot like mine. Just take us along on your vacations and she'll do the museums and buildings with her while you and I ride.

Seriously, though, I have always left the bike at home when going on our annual vacation with her, but I almost always find myself on at least one road thinking "It would be really fun to ride here". She suggested I ride one day out of the week, but that's hardy worth the trouble of packing the bike and equipment.
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Old 08-22-11, 07:03 PM
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I worked shoulder to shoulder with my late wife for over 20 years.....She didn't ride or have any interest in it. I rode additively.
We never went on vacation "to be doing separate things". Somehow that never even crossed my mind.
Just ignore me if you wish but I think you have reached a "reassessment moment".......Particularly with that Freudian slip in the original post.
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Old 08-22-11, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by AlexZ View Post
Just ignore me if you wish but I think you have reached a "reassessment moment".......Particularly with that Freudian slip in the original post.
No, I won't ignore you, I'll take the opinion of an anonymous humour-challenged person on the internet to heart. It's like you've peered into my soul and found me out. How do you know me so well? It's uncanny!

Urbanknight, I'd love to be in an economic position where we could take you along. We haven't been on a vacation in five years due to the recession of 2007-09, and are just now pulling ourselves out of the red and looking forward with cautious optimism to doing some travelling. Eventually.
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Old 08-22-11, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
Urbanknight, I'd love to be in an economic position where we could take you along. We haven't been on a vacation in five years due to the recession of 2007-09, and are just now pulling ourselves out of the red and looking forward with cautious optimism to doing some travelling. Eventually.
I hear you. My wife just got her salary restored after a 2.5 year pay cut, but now I'm on the chopping block. Our vacations have been budget ones within the states, but we will travel the world some day... with or without the bike.
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Old 08-23-11, 12:57 AM
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I have done this now a few times. Wife doesn't ride, doesn't care about it at all. We both work from home, no kids either.

We just came back from a 2 week trip to France. I rode the Etape, did Alpe D'Huez, rode Ventoux, and did two other rides around the Luberon. She drove to many of the places I rode (Modane, Ventoux, hilltop villages in Luberon) - but stopped along the way at markets and shops and other places I didn't care about. Riding around the hilltop villages of the Luberon, we met at a couple of them for coffee, lunch, a drink. Riding up Ventoux, she came later and met me at the top, and we went off together to visit lavender farms and such. It worked really well.

My advice - at least what works for us:

- If you can find a like-minded couple to go with, that is awesome - you both have someone to be with (I rode with my brother, my wife hung out with his wife). Not always possible though.
- Don't ride every day, and like eippo1 said, have a plan so you both know when you will be together and do 'together' stuff.
- Don't ride all day either, so you spend some time together every day.
- Make sure she plans some stuff to do together that she loves, even if you don't. Encourage her to do some stuff alone that she really loves too. You should both be doing some stuff you love.
- Make it special when you are together - a nice dinner, a spa (we did these several times - great for aching legs!).
- As mentioned, shopping is always a good thing for the womenfolk, as I understand it.

Hope this helps. My wife and I did it this way - not entirely premeditated - and it worked really well. We had a ball.
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Old 08-23-11, 05:24 AM
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My wife and I have talked a bit about doing this:

http://www.cinghiale.com/tours/cooki...ept-10-18-2011

A little expensive, but probably not for what you get. I've only heard rave reviews of their tours.

Generally though I just get up early so that I'm back by 10-11. Maybe one day out of a trip I'll do a full day ride. Works out well for us, but she generally prefers to lounge around on vacations anyway, so I don't think it's much of a compromise.

Except for the irritating condescending tone, I also second what grolby wrote. Everyone is different, so talk to your wife and figure out a compromise that works for the both of you.
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Old 08-23-11, 07:44 AM
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I did a vacation much like this 8 years ago. I went and did some E'tape rides, my wife and daughters did the sights of Paris. I was there for them almost every afternoon and evening. I didn't ride every day so still took in the major sights. It worked well for us. Do you have relatives or another couple with similar interests that you could travel with? I don't know that my wife would have liked being left alone.

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Old 08-23-11, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by and1homer View Post
I rode the Etape, did Alpe D'Huez, rode Ventoux, and did two other rides around the Luberon. She drove to many of the places I rode (Modane, Ventoux, hilltop villages in Luberon) - but stopped along the way at markets and shops and other places I didn't care about. Riding around the hilltop villages of the Luberon, we met at a couple of them for coffee, lunch, a drink. Riding up Ventoux, she came later and met me at the top, and we went off together to visit lavender farms and such. It worked really well.
That sounds like an excellent idea. I think I'll have to propose this to my wife.

Originally Posted by and1homer View Post
- If you can find a like-minded couple to go with, that is awesome - you both have someone to be with (I rode with my brother, my wife hung out with his wife). Not always possible though.
- Don't ride every day, and like eippo1 said, have a plan so you both know when you will be together and do 'together' stuff.
- Don't ride all day either, so you spend some time together every day.
- Make sure she plans some stuff to do together that she loves, even if you don't. Encourage her to do some stuff alone that she really loves too. You should both be doing some stuff you love.
- Make it special when you are together - a nice dinner, a spa (we did these several times - great for aching legs!).
- As mentioned, shopping is always a good thing for the womenfolk, as I understand it.
More excellent advice. Yeah, I think not riding everyday would be a key aspect to a trip.
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Old 08-23-11, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
Anyone do holidays where you ride but your insignificant other doesn't?
Yes.

Every year, we have a trip where I do a ride while she goes nuts going to the theater. This started a few years ago because she seems to resent staying at home when I go on a cycling related trip. So now she comes on some cycling trips, but does what she's really interested in. It works out well since I would go absolutely nuts having to see as many shows as she wants to watch.

However, these are driving trips. We've talked about cycle trips to Europe, but I'm not persuaded they'd work as well.
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Old 08-23-11, 09:40 AM
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I just got back from two weeks in Spain and didn't ride any bikes. If I wanted to go to Europe to ride I'd go with some riding buddy's not my wife. Though some day she may want to tour around too this was just not that kind of trip. My advice is it's one or the other go to ride or go to drink wine and look at cool things.
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Old 08-23-11, 09:46 AM
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I'm in the same exact boat as you are. My girlfriend of 6 years and I have never been to Europe, and we are planning to go sometime next year. She knows I'm absolutely dieing to ride my bike over there. She occasionally rides with me here in the States, but she doesn't take it seriously enough to where she would even have a chance of keeping up on mountainous European terrain. She says she doesn't care if I bring my bike, but I'm worried that all I'll want to do is ride! I don't want my first time in Europe to be anything less than special for the both of us. I'd feel bad leaving her alone while I ride for 6 hours. She says she wants me to ride in Europe since it's all I talk about, but I can see her getting really sick of it after 2 rides. I don't even want to bother bringing my bike if I'm only going to go on 2 rides.

What's a brother to do? I'm thinking maybe go for 3 weeks instead of only 2, so that way I can ride plenty and still give her all the attention she needs.
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Old 08-23-11, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by ilovecycling View Post
I'm in the same exact boat as you are. My girlfriend of 6 years and I have never been to Europe, and we are planning to go sometime next year. She knows I'm absolutely dieing to ride my bike over there. She occasionally rides with me here in the States, but she doesn't take it seriously enough to where she would even have a chance of keeping up on mountainous European terrain. She says she doesn't care if I bring my bike, but I'm worried that all I'll want to do is ride! I don't want my first time in Europe to be anything less than special for the both of us. I'd feel bad leaving her alone while I ride for 6 hours. She says she wants me to ride in Europe since it's all I talk about, but I can see her getting really sick of it after 2 rides. I don't even want to bother bringing my bike if I'm only going to go on 2 rides.

What's a brother to do? I'm thinking maybe go for 3 weeks instead of only 2, so that way I can ride plenty and still give her all the attention she needs.
Forget the bike on the European trip -- make this a special trip just for her, and later do a bike trip for you back in the states.

It won't be the same, but the good karma will be totally worth it.
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Old 08-23-11, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jfmckenna View Post
If I wanted to go to Europe to ride I'd go with some riding buddy's (not my) wife.
FTFY. This thread is rife with the Freudian typos!

I am in the same situation. I've now traveled a few times with my family, with bike in tow, and it has usually worked out pretty well because so far it has been to see family, mostly hers, so she has had plenty to do while I disappear for a couple of hours. Haven't done the European trip where extended family is not involved, but plan to. I'll have to report back in

As far as the debate over renting or bringing (and I believe this does tie into the spousal happiness discussion) I got a bike fitted with BTCs (AKA S&S couplers) so I could bring. My experience has so far been that it is worlds better than the miserable ordeal that is traveling with a full-size case. I've done that, and it has caused more than a little stress between me and my wife. Not only does the airline charge extra, and not only do you have to lug this thing around the airports, but then you have to figure out what to do with this huge-ass box when you get where you're going (hint: it won't fit in a rental car or taxi!)

However, BTCs are not a complete panacea. Packing and unpacking a BTC bike when you include the adjustments and tuning is not a quick affair; even if you got really good at it you'd have to plan for 45 minutes to an hour at the least for each, so that is a 1.5 - 2 hour chunk of time each time you move locations.

The point of all this is that if you plan to travel and stay in one city for a few days, bringing a BTC bike might be the way to go. If you're going to move around each day, your wife is seriously going to get annoyed with the time you're spending assembling and disassembling in addition to your riding.

That leaves you with renting. In my experience, depending on rental bikes basically translates to "don't bother". I spent a couple of months in Spain hopping from place to place on an almost daily basis, then finished up with 2 weeks in Barcelona. The number of bike rental places I found that rented decent bikes was exactly ZERO, even in a big city like Barcelona. You would definitely need to plan it out and find a guide company that can outfit you with a decent bike, but of course this is going to be a little more expensive.

So bottom line, if you're going to go to one or two places over a two-week vacation, BTC bike is a good option, especially if you're into going off and exploring on your own. Hopping from place to place is going to make it much more challenging and you're better off finding an outfitter/guide in advance.

Wow, rambling post
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Old 08-23-11, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by and1homer View Post
- If you can find a like-minded couple to go with, that is awesome - you both have someone to be with (I rode with my brother, my wife hung out with his wife). Not always possible though.
I'll be sending you two some PMs when the economy rebounds!
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