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Convincing your significant other

Old 11-17-14, 07:27 AM
  #1  
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Convincing your significant other

My first bike tour(s) are planned for this coming summer 2015. My greatest concern was that my wife would not be pleased with me for taking a holiday without her even though my tour plans could include her (she's not much of a biker so including her means including her car as well). We have always taken our holiday time together and I have always encouraged her to join her girlfriends whenever they ask her to go away with them: to date, these trips have been only weekends in duration but if she was asked to join them for longer such as a week to the sunny south, I'd be fine with it. However, I spoke with her briefly this morning about my hopes to do some bike tours this summer (an overnighter to start, a 4-day and a 5- or 6-day) and, although she's not enthusiastic, she sounds like she's coming to grip with the idea.

Like I said, I have included the option for her to join me by meeting me at the next camping spot or even at stops along the way for either snacks or lunch. She's an avid book reader so she should be fine while I'm biking: she has a Kobo and access to many books so it's not like she'll run out.

How have others dealt with touring without their significant other? I've been chatting with a fellow who is 61, retired, and touring the world without his wife and wondered how he's done it.
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Old 11-17-14, 07:41 AM
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It all depends on the relationship, and every one is different. And relationships change over time. I'm into my fourth decade of marriage. For the first two decades, we did everything together. It was a little comical at first, when we geared up, we looked like identical twins--same Goretex jackets, same sleeping bags (opposite zip, of course), etc. Then we gradually developed other interests or one would get more into one activity than the other. I got nicer skis, she got a nicer bike. And aging differently led to sore knees on one, a sore neck on the other. We started taking trips alone or with others, trips the other just wouldn't have fun doing. After 30 years together, we found a little time apart was okay, too. It was a hard lesson to learn, but it worked out. That led to some dream trips for both that wouldn't have happened otherwise. Most of our friends and family don't get it, so I'm sure you're not alone.
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Old 11-17-14, 07:52 AM
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Every relationship is different, so YMMV.

It's not a bad thing for you to have your own life. Your wife married you - the sum total of your own individual nature and nurture to that point - not what you have now become. (Not to imply that she's not also partial to you now, of course) Perhaps like most long married couples you both have "grown together" and the you that she married has been kinda lost. For me, I got the "me" back while solo touring. And she got the "her" back when I was gone. After many multi-month trips away, my wife is happy when I go, and (I believe) is even happier when I return.

I think letting her know that she would be welcome to come in any capacity or manner she wished, but let her figure out (and own) what that is. Touring is hard enough without your partner blaming you for conditions and insisting on driving both of you home. Just try going solo.
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Old 11-17-14, 09:46 AM
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I convinced my partner, who rides more than I do, to try loaded touring. We had some great adventures, including trips hitting Montana and western Canada. However, she never really took to it for various reasons. Now, I tour solo. She is fine with that. We still ride together and do other cycling-related trips (e.g., supported event rides with camping) together.

As noted, every relationship (and person) is different. Personally, I don't think you can blame you wife if it turns out that she doesn't want to spend her holiday time driving from one spot to another and reading books while you are riding.
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Old 11-17-14, 09:54 AM
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I have gone on 5 road trips so far. The first 4 were me riding the bike all the way and the wife driving the truck & camper that we stayed in along the way leapfrogging one another... This year she decided to get a bike and try riding too, so we had to switch one Hr on riding the bike and 1 Hr driving the truck & camper, 800Kms+ total 400Kms each... Next year we are talking a 2,000Km trip...
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Old 11-17-14, 09:57 AM
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I can relate to both responses above. I grew up with parents who never did anything apart, so I kind of brought that to my marriage for the first couple of decades, too.

One day, my wife came to me with an opportunity to go on a spiritual retreat with her newly rediscovered cousin. She was a little hesitant to ask if I'd be OK to let her go without me. The minute she did, rockets went off in my head and all I could think about was taking my first overnight bicycle tour, something I knew she wouldn't be interested in or physically prepared to do. I said absolutely YES. A discussion ensued about how it was OK to pursue our own interests separately and then come together to do things that we both enjoy. From that day on, I have taken at least one solo bike tour each year and she has gone, with the same cousin, on at least one weekend retreat. I miss having my wife around to explore a new destination at the end of the day, but I'm glad to know she's doing something important to her, and she is very happy to know that I am loving life on my bike.

You and yours can probably resolve any perceived bad feelings by having a short talk. Marriage works better when both partners are fulfilled, and the same types of experiences don't always appeal to and energize both husband and wife (or whatever the arrangement).

Good luck, and have a great first tour!
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Old 11-17-14, 10:15 AM
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It might be more fun for both of you to meet at your destination and spend a couple of days together rather than have her follow you in a car.
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Old 11-17-14, 12:28 PM
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I can't really relate since when my wife & I met @ work, I was already the outdoorsy person, going off on backpacking, canoe, and bike tours. That was 30 years ago. She tried some backpacking (hut to hut) and some car camping, but was never really into it. She likes a day hike, some shorter bike rides for just a day, or paddling for a day, but that's it. She knew what what I was like before marriage, so me heading off for week long trips was part of the deal. She knows it makes me happy, so why would she object. I never ask "permission", I just inform her of my plans & the timeframe, and we insure that there are no conflicts with her job or our kids events. Over the years, she has her own hobbies and goes off on week long get together s & I'm happy that she's happy. I can't see how someone could object to their spouse doing something that brings them enjoyment.
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Old 11-17-14, 12:55 PM
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The trick is in choosing the right spouse.
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Old 11-17-14, 04:47 PM
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Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
However, I spoke with her briefly this morning about my hopes to do some bike tours this summer (an overnighter to start, a 4-day and a 5- or 6-day) and, although she's not enthusiastic, she sounds like she's coming to grip with the idea.
Why is she not enthusiastic?

That's the detail you and she need to talk about.
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Old 11-17-14, 05:10 PM
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Having a car along on a bike tour... Just my opinion, but it has great potential for ruining the tour for the cyclist while following along in a car has to be a miserable time for the driver as well. Think long and hard before you commit to that.

I do know how miserable some wives that I know who drove support vehicles said they were. It created a lot of tension in their relationships.
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Old 11-17-14, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Having a car along on a bike tour... Just my opinion, but it has great potential for ruining the tour for the cyclist while following along in a car has to be a miserable time for the driver as well. Think long and hard before you commit to that.

I do know how miserable some wives that I know who drove support vehicles said they were. It created a lot of tension in their relationships.

Again, it comes down to why his wife is not enthusiastic ... and only she can tell him.

But if she is not enthusiastic because she figures she is going to be sitting in a car by the side of some road reading a book ... then, yes, what you describe is going to be an issue.


IMO if she wants to come along, I'd encourage both jrickards and his wife to sit down and have a good chat about the trips. And to look for things she would enjoy doing. jrickards is probably able to take care of himself during the day and doesn't need her to drive along behind ... so maybe while he cycles, his wife could drive or cycle out to this tourist attraction, and that little town with the interesting shops, and maybe spend a day at the beach, or .... whatever interests her.

And another part of the discussion might be location. If jrickards is not too fussed about where he does his tours, maybe the two of them need to pick a location together that they would both be interested in. It might be near her family, so she could spend time with family while he cycles. It might be somewhere she's never been before but has always wanted to go so that she could explore while he cycles. If she's into lying on the beach, listening to the waves, while reading a good book ... then maybe they might pick that sort of location.
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Old 11-17-14, 06:53 PM
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The wife did just that for me for 4 trips, sat and read then went ahead, sat and read... But at the end of the day we both really enjoyed camping so it worked. Then she decided that riding the bike could also work for her. So now we both ride our bikes but because we don't like tenting we take the truck & camper and it works well for us...
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Old 11-17-14, 07:22 PM
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My wife and I have developed an understanding of sorts. My first long solo tour was a length of Vermont (Rt. 100) and back ride of one week's duration ~30 yrs ago and my wife came and picked me up, in the car, part of the way back and we did a bit of exploring together on the ride home. She says she can't even remember that one now. Since then I've been on rides (and other trips) of varying lengths of up to 6 1/2 weeks. The latter she tells me was "too long." (I sailed across the Atlantic on that particular occasion). The longest bike tour was this past summer (17 days).

Her reaction to the question "how should I respond to this post?" was that she has decided that letting me go is better than having me home moping. The catch is that we have a farm and about 85 animals that need tending. There is a limit to how much time she can tolerate operating solo. My wife tells me her friends tell her they can't believe that she puts up with me being gone for more than a week. She says she tells them that in a "perverse hard-working way" (her exact words) it's a vacation for her. Which I suppose is just a repetition of the response "it depends upon the relationship."
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Old 11-17-14, 07:51 PM
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My wife doesn't bike but, with the purchase of a new bike July 2013, she planned to do some biking. However, 3 days after the purchase, she was playing with the dog, he jumped onto the couch as she bent over to get the dog toy, their heads met and she got a concussion (off work for 12 weeks, as dark conditions as possible, in bed, no reading, no TV, horrible for her) and that was the end of the biking season. This summer, we had planned to do a short tour, 4 days of 40km/day but the summer was so rainy that it never happened. The tour that I have planned for next summer is 5-6 days at about 100km/day; she already thinks I'm crazy (not really, but you get the point) that I find a longer route to commute to work which works out to 22km each way, she's just not that active and not really interested in such. Her favourite summers are spent sitting in camp (local term for cottage) reading. In terms of activity, on a scale of 1-10, she's a 3 and I'm an 8.

Our marriage is not rocky and I don't want bike tours to make it that way but I want to go out and see things and explore and I love doing these things on my bikes.

We will continue talking about it, maybe she'll come, maybe not but hopefully, I'll be able to go. She knows that long distance bike tours (2-4 months) is on my bucket list but since we're both 10+ years from retirement, it is not an immediate concern but I don't want to wait that long for my first tour.

I realize that each of us and our significant others (so) are different and we each have approach our so differently, I'm just curious as to how you did it, especially those whose so does not want to go on a bike tour.
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Old 11-17-14, 08:00 PM
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I want to add a couple of things I've just thought of. My Grandad and Nana on my father's side were both avid bike tourists. I even have a photo of them on their tandem with my father as a baby in the sidecar. When my father was young, he and his Dad would ride from Brighton to London on their fixie tandem, watch bike races then return home later that day. However, after my father married my mum, he didn't bike again.

This brings me to my second point which is that when my mum was sick with terminal cancer, we visited her and dad and we got to talking about bike touring at which point, my mum said to my dad, "why didn't you continue biking? why didn't we go bike touring?" which was a very sad and poignant thing to hear. I made up my mind that I would like to share my wish to go bike touring with my wife and not end up in the same situation as my mum and dad. I realize I can't force my wife but if I go and enjoy it, maybe it will spark an interest in her to join me. At this point, however, I need to get out there and bike tour and then, when she wants to, we can do it together.
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Old 11-17-14, 08:03 PM
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I went on a month long tour this summer, and the spouse stayed home. He doesn't have the vacation, and he wouldn't have wanted to spend that long on a bike anyway. And I admit it's nice to have someone that's looking after house and cat. We stayed in touch by phone and email, and had a lovely reunion at the end.

But we did a shorter tour together along the Great Allegheny Passage earlier in the year, much to the cat's disgust.

So it's a bit of this, and a bit of that. I think he likes being independent for a week, and I know the cat is as pleased to see me as he is when I get back.
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Old 11-17-14, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
she's just not that active and not really interested in such. Her favourite summers are spent sitting in camp (local term for cottage) reading. In terms of activity, on a scale of 1-10, she's a 3 and I'm an 8.

Our marriage is not rocky and I don't want bike tours to make it that way but I want to go out and see things and explore and I love doing these things on my bikes.

We will continue talking about it, maybe she'll come, maybe not but hopefully, I'll be able to go.
Ask her where she would like to go if she had 4 or 6 days of holiday time. And ask her what she would like to do. Maybe ask her to make a list of her top 5 places ... and they all have to be within reach so you can travel there, still have several days for cycling, and travel home again.

Pick one, and base yourself there. If she likes cabins, HQ could be a cabin in her choice location.

Then you've got a couple options (maybe more, maybe some combination of these two) ...

1) Do a hub-and-spoke tour where you cycle out in different directions every day, but return to the cabin each evening. Some days you might ride a long distance ... who knows, you might do a century! Other days you might cycle for a few hours in the morning, and then you and she can go somewhere interesting in the afternoon together.

She might bring her bicycle and ride out a way with you, and then return back to HQ when she feels ready to do that. Or maybe you and she could do short evening rides together ... after you've burned off your energy during the day.


2) Do a loop or out-and-back tour where you cycle away from HQ, more or less, on Days 1 and 2 and then return on Days 3 and 4. Again, she could ride out with you a way on Day 1 and maybe meet you coming back on Day 4. She could even drive out to see you on Day 2, for example, if she wanted.


3) As for some combination of the two, Rowan and I did that one Christmas a few years ago ... we stayed in a cabin for about a week and did hub-and-spoke touring, but then we also did one overnight out-and-back in the middle of the week.


[HR][/HR]

As for your question about other couples ... Rowan and I met on a rather large cycling event: the Paris-Brest-Paris 1200K in France. So we do all or almost all our cycling and touring together.
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Old 11-17-14, 09:44 PM
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My wife hardly rides a bike, so any touring plans are without her. I don't think that she would like being the sag wagon for me while I'm out riding or hang around waiting for me to show up. She know that this is one of the few things that I do that is healthy for me. So I tour with my friend from college.

Now if my wife rode more she would be welcome to ride with but I think she would be bored.
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Old 11-18-14, 09:44 AM
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OP

It sounds like you have spent enough time worrying about your wife. Perhaps you should worry about yourself. If you think that you will ultimately regret not touring and ultimately regret not touring where YOU want to go, then get off the stick and just do it.
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Old 11-18-14, 11:03 AM
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LOL, thanks for the encouragement @Cyclesafe!
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Old 11-18-14, 11:59 AM
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I tour with my wife on our tandem. She loves it. Best of both things: we're together and we bike. She would never do it on two singles.
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Old 11-18-14, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I tour with my wife on our tandem. She loves it. Best of both things: we're together and we bike. She would never do it on two singles.
I've thought about how she might like to ride a recumbent tandem, like the Pino Hase, with me but I can't afford one. However, maybe in a couple of years, if she gets the bug for touring based on the experiences I'm having, it might be something to consider.

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Old 11-18-14, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
But we did a shorter tour together along the Great Allegheny Passage earlier in the year, much to the cat's disgust.

So it's a bit of this, and a bit of that. I think he likes being independent for a week, and I know the cat is as pleased to see me as he is when I get back.
Heh. Now that I tour solo, the GF stays home and takes care of the cat. When the GF and I do biking events together, we are lucky to have a great cat sitter who even sends us photos, but the cat much prefers the company of his "permanent staff," and when I come home from a solo trip they are both happy to see me. And not needing a cat sitter saves $20/day.
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Old 11-18-14, 03:07 PM
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Never happened.. significant other relationship went away first.. . my 10 years of touring, 3 long trips, were solo.. I could do it on the cheap, alone.. even in Europe.

After the War, service, I had miserly jobs so that 'training' kept me away from fancy places too.

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