How to keep riding from ruining your relationship

February 12, 2016

Sarah Braker, communications manager

“Biking used to be our biggest fight. Every weekend.” That’s what the spouse of an avid road rider had to say when I brought up this topic. Couples are encouraged to have separate interests, but when yours is time-consuming and expensive, it can lead to arguments, frustration and maybe even the end of the relationship. But it is possible to devote yourself to your bike riding passion and not leave your love life in tatters. Skeptical? Here’s how one couple did it.

Plan ahead

“Before the weekend I always ask, ‘what’s your plan?’ and I always get a timeline.”

It’s best for everyone if you have a set schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Being predictable gives your partner an early idea of when you’ll be gone, and gives them the chance to make plans at the same time. This way your schedules are synced up and you’re away at the same time and home together.

Make non-ride time special

“If he goes on a really long ride he might say, ‘when I get home maybe we can go out and do something special that you want to do.'"

If you’re spending hours on the bike each week, you probably plan those rides. You know where you’re going, how many miles you’ll ride and which trails you'll take. It’s time to be that thoughtful about your post-ride plans and make your partner feel as special as your group ride pals. You don’t have to sweep them off their feet with romantic and expensive plans every weekend, but you also don’t want your time off the bike to be filled only with chores.

Include your partner

“I got into it more and now I understand what it takes to be good at it.”

The best way to avoid leaving your significant other behind is to take them with you. Show them what you love so much about riding with an easy and beautiful route or a beginner trail that also involves a fun pit stop. Riding with you can also help your partner understand why you’re so committed and why sometimes you'll be gone for six to eight hours. If they’ve been out with you they’ll realize you’re not just going on an all-day joy ride with your buddies—you’re actually training hard to get better.

Ride when they won’t miss you

“He always goes super early so we can have breakfast together when he gets back.”

The best time to ride may not always be your favorite time to ride, but that should be a sacrifice you’re willing to make. If your partner works later, hit the trails when they’re still on the job. If they like to sleep in, get up early and ride before they rise. Trying your best to ride when it suits them proves that you’re putting your relationship before the bike.

Have the 'money talk'

“Whenever he buys a new bike he usually sells another one and he only does it as long as we can afford it. We talked about it and we know that’s how it is.”

Money is itself the cause of many relationship problems and coupled with biking it can be a double whammy. Not only are you away riding a lot, but when you’re home you’re busy buying new gear and components that can really add up. Figure out a plan with your partner that works for you as a couple. Maybe you have a monthly maximum or maybe they get the green light to spend the same amount on their hobbies. These conversations are hard to have, but having a plan helps cut the tension and keeps you from feeling guilty each time you buy something for your bike.

However you make it work, there's one piece of advice that shouldn't be ignored: "Just make sure they know you love them more than you love your bike."

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