If you are one of those folks that has a cycling enthusiast for a significant other; this article is for you! As my husband and I met through our mutual love of cycling. Of course we ride as often as we can, when not doing stuff to pay bills and afford more bikes (N+1×2).
Cycling can get expensive when there is two of you – just FYI.
Another consideration when you bike with your beloved is your cycling compatibility. This can be crucial to a harmonious relationship. Some seriously nasty fights have begun because of a partner’s insensitivity or obliviousness to the other’s needs on a ride. Cycling can be a dangerous sport and especially when I’m low on sugar and high in miles when my Hubby decides to up the tempo. So, it’s important to understand one another’s needs so that you can be there to support one another.
There are Pro’s and Con’s to cycling with your Hunny.
Here’s a few off of my list:
Often as not: you and your partner have different cycling abilities. Typically men are stronger than women if they are avid cyclists. This can cause a few arguments on the bike – especially towards the end of the ride (for me). One of you is tired and the other wants to do more efforts. My husband, for example, doesn’t know he has legs. He just keeps going like the Energizer Bunny on crack after about 50 miles.
Here’s a couple harmony tips to biking with your beloved:
- Asses your partner’s ability level and plan accordingly in regards to type of ride, ride length, and so on. Leave your inner competitiveness at home. Being competitive with your significant other can get you into trouble including hurt feelings, bashed egos, and jealousy. This one is tough for me because I’m extremely competitive, even with myself. Learn how to ‘let go’ and life will be a lot easier.
- The stronger cyclist rides a heavier bike; even a mountain bike with slick tires or a heavy commuter bike. It’s all about the work-out: not whether you look cool or not. Get over it. Cyclist can be such fashionistas!
- The stronger rider doesn’t ‘Suck Wheel’ – also known as drafting. My husband has a 6th sense for ‘wheel sucking’ and he will find a draft automatically without even thinking about it – whether he should or not. Another good rule of thumb: don’t draft a person that’s not feeling well. One – you aren’t helping them and two: you don’t want their germs.
- The stronger cyclist rides longer before or after the joint ride is over. My husband will do this a lot. I’ve accepted that our strength zones are vastly different. He’s a ‘Diesel’ and I’m a ‘Sprinter’. This leads me to the next topic…
Asses your partner’s (and your own) cycling abilities and strength zones. Some people take a long time to warm up, and about mile 50, they are ready to ride for the rest of the day [Diesels]. Others, like me, warm up quickly – go like hell for about 30-40 miles and blow up [Sprinter]. Some are more in the middle. As I have mentioned above: my husband is a Diesel and will agree to just about any ride length under 200 miles. Me: I’m getting cranky about mile 60.
- The cure: decide the ride pace and stick to it – along with the ride length. No one likes surprises on how long the ride is! Not only will this hijack your training, fibbing about ride length can be dangerous. Having your partner find out (during the ride) that you are actually going to 80 miles, not the 50 you originally told them, is a good way to end a relationship… if not your life!
- Figure out who’s better in a headwind, a better climber, and who has more endurance. For example: I climb faster and am quicker at the start so I lead more in the beginning and usually take over the lead on almost all climbs. My husband takes more headwind pulls (because he doesn’t know he has legs) and will lead more at the end of a ride if I’m completely toast.
Don’t be afraid to gently push your partner to ride stronger and train harder, if you think it’s warranted. Keep in mind that people naturally take a partners actions and words much more personally so this requires some finesse.
Ok, here’s the deal: it’s critical to fuel and hydrate. Understand what your partner’s needs are on a bike and don’t be a jerk when he or she needs to get more water or eat.
- Eating en Route. On a 2-person training ride, it’s perfectly fine to stop for a sec and gulp down a gel or what-have-you. Unless you are more skilled in bike handling, opening and eating anything other than a gel while in motion can be tricky at best. Me: if I’m not racing – I don’t like sticky fingers.
- What Not to Do. Don’t make your partner feel bad for needing to stop and eat when it’s just the two of you. Not everyone is at the same skill level or has the same calorie burn ratio. A pause under 1.5 minutes isn’t a big deal and won’t impact your performance. However: keep the stops very quick in cold weather as warming your legs back up can be painful.
- When to Eat & Drink? Eating or hydrating every 20 miles or so is reasonable. I go through a ton of water during the summer time. Other people don’t. Good for them, maybe they are related to camels. I still need to hydrate because I sweat in a very un-lady-like fashion. Another reason not to draft me. Ha.
- Don’t allow anyone else to dictate your nutrition and hydration needs on a bike, ever. It’s your body and you know best. That. Is. All.
I hope these tips help your cycling relationship be more harmonious! Remember ladies: don’t be afraid of being assertive of your needs during a group ride. Women tend to be more concerned about hurting someone else’s feelings, inconveniencing others, and may struggle when confronting rude behavior. Communication is critical and can be the difference between a safe, enjoyable ride, and a ride gone very badly. Even if it’s your first bike-date!
Have any good advice to offer for cycling partners? Add a comment below >>>>