We ride together most of the time, despite our different strengths. It has its challenges. But like all relationships, nothing is perfect. Some days, I prefer to ride alone. The following are my pros and cons of riding with your significant other.
1. No staring at the clock
Have you heard of a bike widow or widower? This expression applies to couples where only one of the two rides. The widow or widower is left home alone for long hours or the entire day, waiting for the other to return. It’s almost as if their partner doesn’t exist at all on weekends or holidays. They said they’d be home by 4. Tempers rise with each passing tick of the clock.
If you ride together, no one is at home staring at the clock, wondering where the other is. Do you want to make an extra coffee stop or explore a new road? No problem. Family or social obligations are planned around riding time (if you’re honest). And if you’re late, then you both are; no one gets upset.
2. Saves your relationship
Cycling is an activity people of any age can do together. It’s a fantastic way to get outside, and spend quality time together while doing something positive for your health and brain. Cherry on the cake? It’s also kid friendly, so the family can do it as a unit.
And today, there is hope for bike widows and widowers thanks to e-bikes. Cycling may not be your other half’s thing, but on an e-bike, they can keep up, even if you’re a seasoned rider. Do they need to do hours on the bike? No, but a ride here and there with a coffee stop or pleasant lunch along a scenic route is pure quality time that does wonders. An e-bike isn’t an inexpensive solution, but probably equivalent or cheaper than paying a therapist or a lawyer. And who knows? They may eventually take to the sport.
3. Bike-related purchases
I see jokes on social media about cyclists hiding receipts from bike-related purchases from the rest of the household. When your significant other also rides, this isn’t an issue. They aren’t everyday purchases, but when the time comes, it’s okay. In most cases, it’s not something you have to justify. The other person gets it.
4. Bikes around the house
Our place isn’t big, and we don’t have a garage. We live in an apartment in a major city. Space is limited, but we share ours with four bikes. Admittedly, we don’t have kids to add to the equation. But no one ever complains about a bike, bikes, wheels or other cycling stuff taking up space.
5. Easy to plan holidays
We don’t take regular holidays, but when we do, they are easy to plan and usually include the bikes. There is an extensive bucket list of beautiful places to ride on this Earth. We only need to agree where to go, not what we are going to do once we get there.
1. Different strengths
Ours is a male-female relationship. Although it doesn’t apply to every couple, he is definitely stronger than me on the climbs, but rarely shows it. He stays next to me or behind me, so I control the pace. The days when he wants to fly, he gets there first, but always waits for me at the top.
I love a fast descent, while he’s not a fan of speed. Now it’s my turn to wait for him at the bottom. I’ve waited up to 10 minutes. Over multiple climbs and descents, it adds up! I use the time to eat something, hydrate or check my messages, and it gets chilly in winter.
2. Individual rhythms
Everybody rides at their own pace, or should, to avoid blowing up. You may hang on for a while, but when the metre hits red, it’s time to sit up. Even a minor difference in rhythm can mess up your cadence, especially on efforts. When it happens, it’s almost impossible to ride together.
I would love to push myself from time to time by sitting on his wheel at his climbing pace, but he won’t do it. When I make an effort on my own, he’s right there, stuck to my wheel like glue. I ask him to come around, but he tells me he can’t go any faster, which is ridiculous. It drives me nuts.
On the rare occasion when he agrees to pass in front, as soon as up there, he slows down, which screws me up even more. He says he isn’t slowing, but it’s not true. The legs tell no lies. He eventually admits he just wants me to ride at my pace. Thanks, but I’m trying to improve here and your help from time to time would be appreciated.
3. Different approaches
He doesn’t have a driver’s licence, and I do. This may explain the differences in how we handle riding in certain traffic situations, like a roundabout, but it’s hard to be sure. I stick to the extreme outside while he goes inside. This splits us up in moving traffic, which isn’t ideal.
I think he’s doing something hazardous or inadvertently making us vulnerable. He thinks the same, but with my choices at the root of the cause. We both think we are right and it causes occasional bickering. Nobody wants to feel or see their partner put in danger when they believe they’re doing the right thing.
4. A touch of jealousy
That he is stronger than me on the hills is rarely an issue. But I freely admit that the green-eyed monster occasionally raises its head and I get bad-tempered. It usually happens when I’m cranky or having a bad day on the bike. It can even happen even when I’m climbing great and believe I’ve opened a gap he can’t close.
But I’m fooling myself. He’s just giving me space. When I’m about to reach the summit, he appears out of nowhere, right back on my wheel. I’m jealous of my husband’s strength on the bike and would love to know what it feels like to climb so easily, to have so much power in reserve, just once. It’s frustrating.
Wouldn’t it be great if your partner could read your mind? Then they’d know when to slow down, speed up, or where you want or expect them to ride. I think it would get boring pretty fast, so vive la différence. I wouldn’t change my situation for the world. What are your pros and cons of riding with your friends or significant other?