Yes, it’s not easy dating a non-cyclist but bear with me. If you can conquer Alpe d’Huez or go down the Mountain of Hell track, love should be an easy challenge for you. Especially with these seven tips for dating someone who doesn’t consider riding a bike the pinnacle of their existence.
1. Don’t try to convert them
Love is sharing, I know, but sometimes pushing someone to become your riding buddy is not the best course of action, especially if they are not interested. First of all, if you manage to convince your better half to ride bikes with you, you will have to go easier, cover shorter distances and, even worse, ride in the park among pedestrians, screaming children and running dogs. Neither you nor your partner will enjoy this ride, so if they are unwilling to try your way of cycling, it’s better to leave them be. Sometimes having your own thing is better than having a joined activity that none of you will enjoy.
2. Make sure to find a balance between riding and spending time with them
Relationships are hard and need some effort. That means you can’t spend every waking hour on your bike. Instead, you should dedicate some of your free time to your loved ones. Finding the balance between cycling and spending time with our non-cycling partners is not that hard. All you need is some understanding. Have at least one weekend a month for doing joined activities with your partner (yes, you can actually spend a weekend not riding a bike, who would have thought). On the other hand, dedicate one weekend entirely to your cycling and have the other weekends ready for anything. If a cycling opportunity arises and you have no plans with your loved one – go ahead and enjoy it. If, however, they want to take you on a fun day out (which, may I remind you, in their minds, has nothing to do with bikes), don’t disappoint them and spend the day together.
3. Don’t take your bike on all trips
The same balance should be considered when you are planning a trip. I know that sounds unreasonable to ask but not all your vacation days should be dedicated to bikes. This being said, you shouldn’t bring your bike on all your trips. Vacations are a time you should spend with your loved ones, so bringing your bike will definitely send the wrong message. Also, when planning a trip, how cyclist-friendly the location is should definitely not be among your highest priorities. It’s better to concentrate on attractions that both of you will enjoy.
If your loved one is truly a catch, though, they wouldn’t mind you renting a bike for a day and quenching your thirst for two-wheeled adventures.
4. Don’t put your bike in the best space in your apartment
Your bike is worth more than a thousand conversation pieces and modern art paintings all pretend to understand but no one really does. So, naturally, it deserves a place where it could be highlighted and effortlessly become the centre of attention. Sadly, when you are in a relationship with a non-cyclist, they have a different take on the interior design of your place, especially when you share it with them. Of course, they won’t be as thrilled when you put your two-wheeled friend, with which you’ve just passed through several muddy ponds on your way home, next to the dining table. Even if you clean your bike, keeping it in a central location is not ideal if you are not that into biking.
Instead of insisting that your bike is essential to the vibe of the apartment, just have a respectful conversation about where it would be the best place to keep your bike. A compromise is always reachable. My bike, for example, has a nifty new spot in the kitchen.
5. Don’t get frustrated when they are worried about you
You’ve just escaped your mom’s endless rants on safety and how dangerous everything is and here you are, once again, having to explain that you’re taking every precaution to make your rides as safe as possible. It’s frustrating, I know. Especially when they are writing to you 7-8 times during a ride, increasingly demanding an answer. It doesn’t matter that you are in the middle of a 13-km climb with a 10%+ gradient right now.
Don’t get frustrated, though. In the eye of the non-cyclist, you are constantly dropping from 10-m high rocks and speeding down a narrow cliff, with a bottomless pit on one side and an alligator-infested swamp on the other. Despite the millions of reassurances you give them, they will always worry about your safety. So, rather than feeling it as a burden, it’s better to see it as a sweet gesture. Furthermore, can you think of a better excuse to snap a selfie at the top of the climb stating your time? I can’t.
6. Note that they don’t care about cycling as much as you do
If I had a penny every time I started rambling about a cycling race and who used what tactic to win but was countered by such and such strategy only to see my girlfriend methodically answering, “yes”, while browsing on her phone. And I get it. It’s just like when she starts talking about art. We all have interests that we don’t share. The point is not to get overinvested in explaining everything about cycling and expecting genuine interest. It’s not the end of the world if they don’t share your opinion on today’s stage of the Tour de France with your significant other. That’s what your cycling buddies are all about. There are plenty of other things to talk about with your lover.
7. Spend at least the same amount on them as you do on your bike
That last one is something that most partners will never mention directly. After all, you are not going after a gold digger, be it male or female. Nonetheless, if you spend excessive amounts of money on your bike, yet you give them a 10-buck gift card for their birthday, your loved one will feel a bit underappreciated. And rightfully so. You need to treat them as if they are your second bike (and never use this analogy in front of them. They will definitely not find it as hilarious as you do. It’s been tried and tested). That, of course, doesn’t mean that you should spend any less on your bike. Just make sure, when there is a special occasion, not to cheap out on buying presents or treating your significant other to a dinner, a concert or a movie.
Following these seven tips will make your love life with a non-cyclist much easier and with a lot less drama. And who knows, in time, your significant other may start understanding the difference between a sprinter and a domestique. I wouldn’t count on it but bigger miracles have happened. Remember when LeMond won the Tour in ’89th?